A Conversation with Devi Brown, Author of Crystal Bliss
Los Angeles native, Devi Brown, has long been considered a powerful woman who's played a significant role in shaping culture by bringing real, honest conversations with some of the biggest names in music and entertainment to national audiences. Having spent more than a decade hosting radio and television shows from coast-to-coast, Devi most recently held the position of music director and #1 rated host for iHeartMedia’s, 93.7 The Beat, while also hosting entertainment segments for CBS television affiliate, KHOU11. This Sol Sister rides for the culture with no apologies and cites Tupac as one of her most significant music influences.
So, how does a national radio personality, entrepreneur, speaker, content creator, wife and mommy-to-be with deep ties to hip hop and entertainment emerge as a certified meditation instructor and owner of retail and lifestyle brand, Karma Bliss?
Why does an industry powerhouse who has interviewed music legends including Quincy Jones, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Nicki Minaj, Common and Kanye West write a book about crystals of all things?
To understand the how and the why, you have to delve into this fascinating woman’s backstory.
Get Your Sol gives you an intimate look into Devi Brown’s journey as she shares lessons on mindfulness, entrepreneurship and her spiritual beliefs that led her to write, Crystal Bliss, a new bestselling book that offers a fresh approach to healing crystals with advice for selecting, preparing, and using crystals for meditation and energy healing.
Get Your Sol: What's your personal philosophy on spirituality and mindfulness?
Devi: My personal philosophy on spirituality and mindfulness centers around doing the best you can in every moment.
Get Your Sol: When did you start meditating and what prompted you to get into meditation?
Devi: I have always been really, really intrigued by meditation. I grew up as an only child raised by a single parent. I think this kind of dynamic automatically lends itself to a more introspective view of oneself because you are your own company for the most part. The majority of my time was spent around adults so that led me to be what my mom calls a "deep feeler" my whole life. I was always self-inquisitive, examining my feelings and my place in the world. I’ve always been open to all different kinds of belief systems.
I didn't get into actually practicing meditation regularly until about five years ago when I was stressed out about my work life and my personal life. I was really restless. I just moved from New York to Houston, I had recently gotten married and I was shifting things in my career. There was a lot of transition and I needed to feel more free and have more peace in my life. That initially led me to going on a meditation retreat that I credit with changing everything that I knew to be true, and really challenging me to step more fully into myself. This is where I learned meditation and this is what started my mindfulness journey. I am now certified as an instructor of Primordial Sound Meditation through the Deepak Chopra Center.
Get Your Sol: Tell us about Karma Bliss and why you created the business and the movement?
Devi: I created Karma Bliss as a way to blend my two worlds. As I embarked on what I call my journey of mindfulness and self-discovery, I noticed that a lot of people who followed me on social media, a lot of my listeners on the radio, and friends and family were becoming intrigued by my journey. People had lots of questions for me all the time so I wanted to create a space where I could share information as I learned it and also share different tools that I was using. I launched Karma Bliss as a website and an e-commerce business where I could l find treasures and connect them with people, offering the treasures for sale on the website.
If you wanted to find crystals, you had no idea where to start and the stores where you might find them seemed a little kooky. This can be kind of scary and weird for most people just getting started, so sharing and demystifying the process was my biggest desire when I launched Karma Bliss. Eventually—and this was part of my initial vision—I want to start doing retreats for people who look like me. When I started my journey, I met incredible people and I would go to incredible retreats all over, but it wasn't lost on me that I was usually one of the few if not the only brown face, and definitely one of the only young people there. I’ve always thought, how I can encourage more people who look like me to discover this way of life? I love it so much. It has changed my life and I want everybody to feel this!
Get Your Sol: Congratulations on your crystals being sold in Nordstrom stores. Tell us how this deal became a reality.
Devi: Thank you. I call this partnership divine timing because I was definitely interested in moving into the retail space. I'm a huge fan of Nordstrom. Nordstrom has been one of my go-to retail stores since college and it's my go-to place now for myself and also when I'm looking for gifts. The buyers from Nordstrom’s beauty department found our website and our Bliss bags online. They reached out to me because they were launching a Well Beauty component in stores and looking for ways to connect their customers to some of the awesome holistic offerings they saw happening. I was super impressed because the women who head up Nordstrom’s corporate offices and the beauty department are into wellness and holistic products.
One of the women in particular, when she’s not being a boss at Nordstrom she's training for her yoga teacher certification. The women know about crystals. They’re into meditation. I thought, Wow how beautiful that they are stretching the landscape of what they do in their industry and connecting their passion with what they're able to bring customers. I'm really excited to partner with such a reputable brand and to grow my business in this way. Karma Bliss is now in 40 Nordstrom stores nationwide.
Get Your Sol: Tell me about Crystal Bliss. What inspired you to write the book?
Devi: Crystal Bliss is a book about all things crystal and manifestation. It's a blend of my personal story and things that I’ve experienced including practicing meditation and of course working with crystals. The book has great information for anyone looking to get into crystals or just trying to find a way to make them more easily accessible or easy to use in their daily practice. When I started learning about crystals, I was into a lot of the amazing crystal books that are already on shelves. There are some incredible books out there, but one thing I noticed is that a lot of them were written by authors in completely different demographics than my own. They were not written in a way that would connect with me as someone on the cusp of being a millennial and a young woman of color who's also a professional and has a life with many different layers. When I wrote Crystal Bliss, I had a strong desire to be the Malcolm Gladwell of crystals. He's one of my favorite authors because he breaks down big concepts in a way that’s easy to comprehend. I want to demystify crystals and provide really cool, historical context and fun facts. I want to share different ways they've been used throughout history, thousands of years of geological information and also metaphysical information. I want the book to be easy for readers to explore and say, “Hey, I'm feeling this way, what crystal do I use?”
Get Your Sol: What do you hope people will come away with after reading your book?
Devi: I hope that they will come away with useful, practical and inspiring information.
Get Your Sol: Devi, what’s been your greatest victory on your path to connecting hungry, young people with spirituality and mindfulness? What's been most frustrating?
Devi: You know, all of it really humbles and inspires me. There are things that I share in the book, on KarmaBliss.com and on social media that I knew were breakthroughs for me or “a-ha” bits of information for me personally, but it's been humbling to learn how many people needed to hear those things or to know those things or how many people connect with the things that we're sharing especially on Instagram because sometimes I think you don't realize how many people are seeing things at the perfect moment when they really needed to see it.
The most frustrating thing has been the pitfalls of entrepreneurship. This is definitely a day and age where—especially on social media—everyone is telling you to quit your 9 to 5 to be an entrepreneur and to be a boss chick. But with that comes a lot of work and also a lot of isolation depending on what field you're in. I went from working with like 50 people a day, constantly joking, having conversations and building upon ideas, to working by myself for several hours a day in the emptiness of my house and that kind of messes with you a little bit. It’s a big shift and it changes everything about the way you're used to working and you feel like a novice again. I came from a field where I had become an expert and where I could very easily master all of the things I needed to do. It fed my ego and it fed my paycheck. Then you go into entrepreneurship and you're relearning some things and learning a lot that you didn't know. Some months are great and some months suck. You're just trying to navigate and you're in a very vulnerable state. So, that has been the most difficult part for me.
Get Your Sol: In your moments of self-doubt as an entrepreneur and as a woman, how do you build yourself back up?
Devi Brown: You have to keep going. I want to be so transparent with this… The build up doesn't mean you've now got the perfect mindset and you're excited and you tell yourself, “Okay yes, I can do this!” It doesn't always look like that when you're trying to get motivated. Sometimes it just looks like, push through, keep going, and still with a level of uncertainty and frustration. So, I think for me I just have to remind myself of my overall goal and I ask myself, “Am I capable of this?” The answer is always going to be yes. I can come up with a million excuses but as I strip them away, as I let go of my ego, the answer will always be yes. It may be frustrating, it may be hard, I may not want to do it, but I always can do it, so I keep reminding myself of that.
When I was coming close to my book deadline it was excruciating. Writing 10 hours a day and having to turn this book around in a couple of months was excruciating. When I needed to get the Nordstrom deal done, I wanted to quit so badly. I had like two weeks to learn everything possible about skews and retail fulfillment for a big-box retailer. I had to do inventory and redesign some of the packaging and it all had to be done during Christmas break. I was losing my mind and I felt so insecure. I cried a couple of times because I was so frustrated, but I knew it was such a monumental opportunity and it was so exciting. I said to myself, “You'll do it because you must.” God wouldn't have put these opportunities in my path if they weren't for me, and because I know He sent them, I can't slap God in the face and not pull through. That's what I use to get myself going. “You'll do it because you must. You have to figure it out, so you will.”
Get Your Sol: Name someone you admire or look up to.
Devi Brown: Oh gosh, I admire so many people! I have to always surrender to and praise the queen. I admire Oprah in a way that words can do no justice because for me she’s a sage, she's a guide. She is somebody who is authentically standing in her power and her destiny. Watching her be great leads me to want to taste that too and that's the most you could hope for when you are living in your truth. By simply being yourself, you give others permission to do the same and for me she represents that.
Outside of Oprah, I would shout out my good friend Charlamagne Tha God [from The Breakfast Club]. I admire him so much because he is exactly who he says he is. That doesn't mean he's always going to be understood by everybody, but he is a great, great person and he always approaches everything from the vantage point of being a seeker and a student. He is always open to learning whether it's in his craziest interviews or in reading the books he challenges himself to read. He is always studying, he is always learning, he is always striving to understand things.
I also want to shout out my dear friend Tracy G [from Sway In The Morning]. She’s another great example of somebody who is that beautiful mix of being a teacher and a student. She's so open to life and so committed to being her best self and enjoying every facet of who she is. We all have things that are beautiful and terrifying inside of ourselves but we have to love them equally. I think she represents this and she shares her beautiful journey and great information with all of the people in her life and her fan base.
Get Your Sol (Leslie): Yeah, I can't say enough great things about Tracy G. She's even opened me up in ways that I never thought possible. She’s the real deal. I adore her so much. Shifting gears, Devi, if you can share words of encouragement or advice with people on their journey toward living a spiritual and mindful life, what would that be?
Devi: I would tell people to stay open. Stay open to however this journey unfolds for you and don't be scared to dive into the pain. I think a lot of our lessons sometimes come as perceived hurts or things we feel we need to guard or keep a wall up to and that keeps us from being the best, most compassionate, kind and open versions of ourselves. The only way to the version of you that you want to be is to pass through all of the things that you need to go through. This includes unlearning all of the things that you need to shed. It means acknowledging the good and sometimes the harmful or perceived painful things that make up all of us. So, just stay open. Whenever you get the desire to close up, force yourself against it. The biggest thing I tell people is when they're scared, they should go a little deeper to unlock new parts of themselves. It's going to hurt either way, you know. If you choose to not investigate it, if you choose to not release it, you're still going to be in pain versus when you choose to walk through it. It will feel uncomfortable yes, but there's a payoff at the end because you're free of it. The rate of our evolution is up to us.
Get Your Sol: How can people with questions about your wonderful new book, Crystal Bliss, or about living a mindful life get in touch with you?
Devi Brown: I would love to connect with anybody who reads this and has anything they want to share. I can be reached through social media and my website. If there are thoughts that I’ve shared that resonated with anyone or anything they want to build upon, I would love to hear it.
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