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Love Yourself More (with Devi Brown)
About the Episode
In a world that feels too chaotic to be believed, we need to take a deep breath and find peace and healing. This encore episode with Devi Brown is the perfect remedy for the things happening in the world around us right now.
Devi is the Chief Impact Officer at Chopra Global, and is certified in Primordial Sound Meditation, Spiritual Psychology and Energy Healing. After over a decade of working in hip hop entertainment as a radio and TV host, she answered her calling to become an advocate for women of color in the wellness space. Devi’s company KARMA BLISS is devoted to spiritual connection meant to aid in the healing of generational trauma. Through her best-selling book Crystal Bliss and her podcast Dropping Gems, Devi’s work is rooted in sharing tangible healing modalities for women of color that help support their full lives.
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This is a healing and beautiful conversation where Luvvie and Devi are talking all about how Devi transitioned from a huge career in hip-hop radio and broadcasting to doing the work she does today, why healing your inner child is vital (and how to go about doing it) and how we can find our way to our own spiritual practices.
God is inside of you now.
Your wholeness already exists inside of you in this moment.
About the Guest
Devi Brown is the Chief Impact Officer at Chopra Global. She’s a wellness expert and author, a multi-media host and a mom. Devi is certified in Primordial Sound Meditation, Spiritual Psychology and Energy Healing and regularly teaches in LA, as well as leads retreats and events internationally. After over a decade of working in hip hop entertainment as a radio and TV host, she answered her calling to become an advocate for women of color in the wellness space. Devi’s company KARMA BLISS is devoted to spiritual connection meant to aid in the healing of generational trauma. Through her best-selling book Crystal Bliss and her podcast Dropping Gems, Devi’s work is rooted in sharing tangible healing modalities with millennial and generation Z women of color in support of whole-life enhancement.
Creating a life that is authentic, bold and purposeful takes audacity. It takes disruption. That is what it means to be a Professional Troublemaker. Professional Troublemaker is a book, a podcast and a life habit.
I’m your host, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, bestseller of books, aficionado of authenticity, and sorceress of side-eyes here to bring you conversations with world movers and change agents who have gotten where they are through their tenacity, truth-telling, and commitment to making good trouble. From time to time, I will even do deep dives on topics that are on my spirit.
My hope is that this show compels you to do BIG THINGS in a world where we have so much to fear. Let us loan you courage. Listen in!
Before we jump into today’s episode, know that this podcast is named after my second book and 2nd New York Times bestseller Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. Which btw, is now out in paperback! Not only does the paperback version have a sleek new cover and travels well, it has an exclusive BONUS CHAPTER called “The Guide to Truth-Telling”. This chapter takes you step-by-step through the most common fears of speaking your truth AND how to overcome it with boldness. How do you speak up in the meeting when the tough idea comes up? How do you confront a loved one who hurt you? What are the things to consider when silence is the easiest, not the best answer? I talk about ALL of that in the Truth-telling guide.
How would our lives would be different if we were given permission to be disruptors for the greater good? How high can we soar if we knew FEAR is natural and we’re actually supposed to do the things that scare us? How audacious would we be if impostor syndrome wasn’t holding on to our ankles? I wrote this book to loan people courage. In PROFESSIONAL TROUBLEMAKER, I talk about how my life has transformed because I’ve ran towards what felt bigger than me, doing the things that feel scary as shit.
Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual is game-changing, and I know it. So, if you value this show, if you value the guests and their stories, the lessons and the wisdom.If you’ve ever listened to something I said and wrote it down, YOU WILL LOVE Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. Courage is a habit. You can choose courage each and every day, and this book is the verbal hype team to let you know YOU GOT THIS.
So, get a copy of Professional Troublemaker wherever books are sold, or go to ProfessionalTroublemakerBook.com. You can get the hardcover, paperback with the new exclusive chapter or audiobook (which I narrated, AND has the new chapter included). That’s PROFESSIONALTROUBLEMAKERBOOK.com. I’m so excited for you to read it.
Today, I’m talking to my friend Devi Brown. Devi is the Chief Impact Officer at Chopra Global. She’s a wellness expert and author, a multi-media host and a mom. Devi is certified in Primordial Sound Meditation, Spiritual Psychology and Energy Healing and regularly teaches in LA, as well as leads retreats and events internationally. After over a decade of working in hip hop entertainment as a radio and TV host, she answered her calling to become an advocate for women of color in the wellness space. Devi’s company KARMA BLISS is devoted to spiritual connection meant to aid in the healing of generational trauma. Through her best-selling book Crystal Bliss and her podcast Dropping Gems, Devi’s work is rooted in sharing tangible healing modalities with millennial and generation Z women of color in support of whole-life enhancement.
During our conversation, me and Devi talk about a lot of things. We talk about her growing up, we talk about how little Devi became this big Devi. We talk about how she made this career transition, and why she really doubles down on figuring out how to heal her inner child.
Let’s get into it.
LUVVIE My first thing that I always want to ask people as they grace me with their presence is, what did you want to be or do when you were growing up? What was this dream?
DEVI God, I love that you asked me that question because I’ve been doing much inner child work the last couple of years that I feel like I’m reconnecting to myself at different ages and understanding why certain callings were on my heart. When I was a kid, my biggest dreams were in two categories that seemingly appeared to be very different, but that ended up making sense. I initially either wanted to be in broadcasting as a news anchor or as a radio personality, or I wanted to be a social worker, or a child psychologist but I wanted both of them equally bad.
I went with the broadcaster for the first part of my life but now I’m understanding why that deeper calling was on my karmic path and why both really appealed to me. It’s that connection with voice, it’s that storytelling, it’s that curiosity that is available to you when you have a journalistic life or a broadcasting life. It’s that deeper knowledge of self and also the getting ahead of traumas, or coming in helping people with barriers to healing. I was like, “Wow!” I ended up doing both and I didn’t know how I would get here but my soul always knew. It’s really interesting.
LUVVIE Come on, your soul always knew. What was little Devi like? Five-year-old, six-year-old, seven-year-old Devi. What was that girl like?
DEVI I feel excited to talk about her now because I think for most of my adult life, I really was in deep judgment of her. Which is something that we all do. As we’re adult women and we come into a space of really learning how to fully accept ourselves and love every facet of who we are including the experiences sometimes that we never wanted, the experiences that perhaps bring up some pain and the shadow aspects of ourself. We’re all made of light and dark. I think oftentimes we don’t know that part of the tools for that healing and that acceptance come through revisiting how we felt about ourselves as children and what narratives we created about who we were, or what we meant to the world, or to the adults in our lives and how much that planted a seed that deeply informs and affects everything about our womanhood.
If you had asked me that question, even maybe three years ago, I was holding onto my story and this false narrative that I created that that little girl was somehow not loved enough. That she wasn’t seen enough. I had this vision in my head of being a little Oliver Twist. A little disheveled, running around, no one did my hair. That there was something wrong with me because of how I interpreted my childhood story and how I interpreted the adults in my life as a kid. But if you ask me now how I feel about little Devi and I’m looking back at her, and I did a lot of work with her, a lot of work with her over the years but I feel integrated with her. When I look back at younger me I’m able to see her radiant joy. I’m able to see how naturally wise, and deep, and intuitive she’s always been. I’m able to see that she has always been so worthy, and was so lovable, and was silly, and fun, and incredibly creative and always a lover. Always someone that deeply loved, felt deeply and was really curious about so much.
LUVVIE Where did you grow up?
DEVI I grew up in Los Angeles. I’m an LA native. I grew up with a little different about the typical LA story I think sometimes. I grew up all over LA County which is a unique experience. Growing up in a place like LA or New York there’s already such a high volume of culture that you are exposed to really young and also many different socioeconomic backgrounds. There’s lots of contrast in every moment. That develops your brain and your heart a little differently. But when I look at my particular path growing up in LA, I grew up all over LA County. For anybody listening from California you’ll get this, but anywhere from starting out in South LA to being more by the beach to then being in the IE, I lived in the San Gabriel Valley. Lots and lots of really distinctly different cultures all wrapped up with within the same experience. That’s something I really love about my childhood.
LUVVIE You were jumping around. You were the kid that was usually outside?
DEVI No, sadly.
LUVVIE Really? Indoor kid here, indoor kid here just so you know.
DEVI I was an… Were you? Oh my God.
LUVVIE I was an indoor kid. I was definitely not the one riding bikes and jumping on things.
DEVI No I wasn’t. For a lot of my childhood, I was a latchkey kid off and on. I either… My mom was a single parent. She worked really hard but she was gone pretty much the entire day and a lot of the evening. I was either in an afterschool program or I was at home trying to lay low that the neighbors didn’t know a kid was home by themselves. There was a lot of that. I was a… I love that you called it that. I’ve never heard it called that. I was definitely an indoor kid.
LUVVIE Indoor kid like-
DEVI I don’t have no scars on my legs. I wasn’t doing much.
LUVVIE You know what? I do actually have scars on my legs because when I was outdoors in school, I would totally be like… My most interesting scars is on my right knee It speaks very much to who I am today. I was six and I was like, “I’m really fast. I bet I’m faster than you.” I challenged somebody to a race.
DEVI I can so visualize this happening right now.
LUVVIE I literally challenged him to a race and I was winning. Then I tripped over a sharp rock and fell on the rock.
DEVI Oh my God.
LUVVIE Yeah, that’s how I got one of my biggest dark scars but-
DEVI Little Luvvie no.
LUVVIE Little Luvvie was just a mess.
DEVI I want to meet little Luvvie. I imagine we’ve had our own conversations about childhood and our little selves but some of what you’ve shared with me. I’m like she must’ve been such a powerful little girl.
LUVVIE Apparently she was actually. That’s what the reflection that I get back from everybody who was around. I was very much a selfish short kid. I actually found my report card from when I was nine.
DEVI All A’s?
LUVVIE Yo, the notes for my teacher said, “She’s is gentle, respectful and neat.”
LUVVIE Yes. I found the report card last week when I was cleaning my office. And it speaks to this little yeah… I think you and I, little Devi and little Luvvie would have been friends.
DEVI They would have loved each other. We would’ve had the curved necklaces with the little hearts.
LUVVIE With the hearts. Yes, I’m all about it.
DEVI And piece them together.
LUVVIE And the indoor kidness all day. All day, me in the house. Once I’m in the house, I’m in the house. And I was a baby. Are you the only kid?
DEVI Yeah. Only child, which it’s funny because people always have much to say about only children like, “Oh, they’re spoiled.” That was not my reality. I was not spoiled at all. I wish I could go back in time and be spoiled but it did make me someone that is very, very comfortable with spending time with themselves and someone that naturally always knows how to self-investigate and self-regulate.
LUVVIE That’s big actually. The thing that people do say about only kids is that because you were the only one, you’re usually self-centered and you don’t have the perspective of what other people are thinking but you are like I’m literally opposite of that.
DEVI Yeah. Well, it’s a spectrum, right? Because it all depends on who were your parents. Everything about your child experience is crafted by the adults in your life and how they help you to see the world. I think by having a single mom who works so hard and also was out of the house working much, that wasn’t necessarily possible to be my reality versus maybe if I was in a two-parent household and I’m lavished with attention I would have been a little bit different but no, little baby Devi, little only child Devi. There was a lot… There was a big learning curve. There was a big, big learning curve.
LUVVIE I see why you’re wise now. You basically were like let me figure it out and get myself together at an early age.
DEVI Exactly that. Yeah. I think… You know what it is too? And I see the gift in this now, I used to probably see it as a lacking part of my story but now I see it as the deep gift as part of my karmic path of purpose. Whatever I signed up for before I got here, whatever God wanted me to know while I was here but I had to have those experiences. I had to cultivate and work on that skill set so I could arrive at this moment already having done 50,000 hour’s worth of self-introspection and self-regulation. But I think for some of us that had, even though there’s no such thing as a traditional or a normal upbringing, but I think for those of us that had some variations that felt challenging, it’s like I did realize very young that I was going to be in charge of my emotional development, and that I was going to be in charge of showing up for myself, and feeling safe, and feeling seen, and heard, and fully supported with some things.
LUVVIE Yeah, that’s significant. Where’d you go to high school?
DEVI I went to high school in California. I went to two different high schools. They were more towards the IE East San Gabriel Valley area. Both were very different experiences which was… The first high school I went to, my remembrance of it was it didn’t seem the adults cared as much. I remember being able to… I was sneaking out of school constantly. I was definitely, definitely up to no good. Even though I was in honors programs, definitely up to no good. Then the second high school I went to was way more suburban. There was much more parent involvement and it seemed such a night and day experience.
LUVVIE Were you popular? Were you part of any cliques? Who were you in high school?
DEVI I want to say I was popular whatever that means but I was someone that knew everybody. I had a lot of different friends. I always gravitated towards older. My freshman year I was probably more so friends with a lot of seniors and that kept going. But I would say… I wouldn’t say popular in that cheerleader-esque way but I knew a lot of different people. I had people I was connected to that were probably part of all different kinds of cliques and different kinds of experiences. But I was also someone that even then enjoy time by myself. I was still a little more independent I would say. I always had different experiences too because my mom was very into culture and into exposing me. A lot of my summer breaks, or winter breaks, or our weekends were always spent in different areas with family friends, or wandering around museums, or having different fun footy experiences, or things that expose you and get your mind dreaming up a little bit bigger.
LUVVIE At that point, what was your dream senior year of high school? Do you remember?
LUVVIE Because college is about to start.
LUVVIE What did you decide that you’re going to major in, in college?
DEVI I majored in Broadcast Journalism. I think by that time I was like yeah, I want to work in the news. I want to do something with that. Even though I really didn’t assert myself a lot in high school. I didn’t join a lot of clubs. We didn’t have a lot of money so I couldn’t really do a lot of programs I couldn’t be a part of because of transportation or the fees but I definitely didn’t assert myself enough in high school. I wasn’t a part really of any programs but I had figured out that I had a voice that people liked listening to and I was able to say things in ways that caught people’s attention. That further fed my dream of making it on the radio one day, or making it as an anchor one day. When I signed up for school I majored in Broadcast Journalism.
LUVVIE What school did you go to?
DEVI I went to Cal State University, Northridge, which I know no one has ever heard of unless you’re in LA but-
LUVVIE Somebody’s going to come on your Instagram and be like, “I went to Cal State Northridge.” Watch.
DEVI [inaudible 00:15:13] See sign, go Matadors.
LUVVIE You actually started with that major and ended with that major?
DEVI Yeah. Funny enough, I started with that major. I was in the thick of it. In college I joined a bunch of stuff. I was like, I’ve ran PR for our NAACP chapter there. We did events and I was a part of all different things but I had this really beautiful opportunity to get this internship with a radio station in LA while I was still in college. Then I got a full time position with that radio station before I finished. I still have a year left when I started working. I started working actually at… Looking back at it, it’s shocking I was pretty high level really, really young in the exact field I want it to be in.
LUVVIE Where you on the air?
DEVI I was eventually. Anybody listening that knows the radio hustle back in the day. I started out as an intern for two leading personalities the GoodFellas and I started naturally implementing stuff into their show and producing their show as an intern which then led to the PDB saying, “I want to give you a shot.” He gave me my very first on air opportunity was doing the weather and the traffic for The Steve Harvey Morning Show. I was the person that would come on and I’d say, “All right, today we’ll have a high of 75 with a breeze. The 405 is a little crowded but on the 101 you can expect…” I was that person every morning.
DEVI Which was amazing but it also required me being at work every day at 4:00 AM. I was still at that time a struggling student. I still had another job. My car had broke down. I was catching the bus. It was a lot but that’s how I earned my stripes. Then slowly and surely I had this rapid ascension in the first few years of being able to get on air full time, becoming one of the youngest woman music directors in the country in a top 10 market and having access to all kinds of different things that I have at a very young time.
LUVVIE Give me that ascension. You started as a traffic and weather girl on The Steve Harvey Morning Show at 4:00 AM. What was the next job?
DEVI Okay. I started there and then… I had a really unique experience. I’ve worked at a company that was a privately owned broadcasting company in LA. I was in the number two market in the country with an insane amount of access like 19 going to Oscar parties and doing this, doing that and interviewing people that I never even dreamed of very, very young. But at the same time we’re a privately owned station so we didn’t have any of the bells and whistles that any other radio station in LA had. It quickly turned into maybe a little child labor.
I got that first opportunity and then out of nowhere I’m promoted to also being the music director, the promotions director and the community action director. I lived at the station for at least two years. There would be times that I wouldn’t make it home for three to four days and I would sleep on the filthy couch in one of the studios. I would keep a little bag with me that always had a toothbrush, that always had some new little stuff to switch into. But yeah, I was in full, full hustle from 18 to probably 27. I was in a relentless non-stop hustle and I didn’t sleep for that entire nine to 10 years at all.
LUVVIE Oh my God. What kept you going during that time? Were you like I know this work is important, or I’m really enjoying this because that’s crazy. A decade of that much grinding and hustling is a lot.
DEVI It was a lot. I think because I did have many rewards. There was… Even though a lot of the situations I was in whenever I deal, I did have to deal with… I was typically the only woman in every room I was ever in for those 10 years, with the exception of a few different experiences but you had to stay hypervigilant all the time over yourself and it really… I think I was really good at that. I was seeing results. I wasn’t always treated the best but I was seeing results that I was seeing continual forward motion. That’s what really kept me going. It seemed I had this… This is really before I got fully connected to some of the things that I do now.
Some of the manifestation and ritual I do now but I think that was my first understanding that God had a bigger calling on my life because no matter what happened, there was this divine grace always sewn into the fabric. I was having… I was always prepared and I was always equipped for every room that I was in to show up in excellence but God gracefully ushered me into the majority of those rooms. Even though I was grinding there was still an ease about it. I never had – any job I ever wanted I got. Anytime I ever… I never really had to get into a space of competition. It was like, okay time to move her here, time to move her there. I would keep showing up in the best way that I could. I think that’s what helped but I got over that fast and I will never do any of that again.
LUVVIE Bruh, bruh.
DEVI That grind life is not my life.
LUVVIE No, no, not at all. What is the biggest lessons you think you learned during that time?
DEVI In retrospect it taught me how to have the boundaries that I have now. It also filled me with a confidence. When you are in that mode, you get this professional confidence that then informs the rest of the ways you can be excellent at whatever else you do. Even though I was really tired, I was underpaid. It was tough but it created in me the formula for excellence and success that I can now replicate but without having to put as much into it. Once you learn how to show up. Once you learn how to deliver in a big way and how to sacrifice for the things that you want, you don’t have to do it again because you learn first time and then you apply, apply, apply.
LUVVIE And that’s the value, the lesson, right? Because if you have to learn it again, that means you didn’t learn the lesson you were supposed to learn the first time.
DEVI Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
LUVVIE You went from radio hustle, hustle, hustle, and then you disappeared.
LUVVIE Talk about that. You basically opted out of this career that you had been in essentially.
DEVI I went from working in radio in LA, and I had a bunch of other side stuff that I did too that was entertainment related, to then moving to New York where I worked for SiriusXM for awhile, I worked for MTV and then moving to Houston where I worked for iHeartMedia. In the midst of all that I was still, because we are these multi-hyphenate multi-dimensional beings, the personal side of me was also really beginning to do some of that deeper excavation of self. It was really… Especially as I had moved across two states completely by myself start… Not started over because I went there for a great job but you’re rebuilding and in that comes much restlessness, in that comes so many opportunities to figure out who you are, what you’re made of because your distractions become fewer and the friendships, and the connections are a little more sporadic.
I had already started a lot of my excavation and around I was probably 26, I had got shingles which for those that don’t know about shingles, you might’ve seen the commercials. It’s something that lies dormant. It’s a virus that lies dormant in your body when you have the chicken pox. Each one of us has it inside of us but if you get it, you don’t get it until you are usually in your seventies. It’s something that usually happens when you’re much older in life but it is incredibly painful, incredibly painful. You break out in these rashes or hives. It felt someone’s stabbing me with an ice pick that had been in the freezer and it affects your nerves. It was really, really challenging. When I went to the doctor she was like, “Girl, you are 20, 25, 26 how… You’re doing too much. This a hundred percent caused by stress.”
That was my first real understanding of how we experience ourselves how it manifests in our outward. Sometimes as disease or sometimes how we choose to take up space in the world. That made me start really slowing down and really looking at different things. That’s what eventually led me to my first meditation retreat where I learned how to meditate. I learned how to be with myself and that changed everything. Once that seed was planted inside of me that there was more. That purpose was not my job title. That my mission in life, the calling on my life had nothing to do with my job title, which I can’t stress enough to people because when God created us there were no jobs. When God created us there was not career, there was not even language. So this idea that our worth, or our value of self would be wrapped up in something someone else created in a title, or in a check, understanding that was one of the greatest, greatest moments of my life.
From that I knew I was being called to share this information. When this happened, this is right before the big bang of wellness happened that we see now. There were not Instagram wellness Instagram pages. There were not easy access to this stuff. You really had to forage. You had to already know you on a spiritual path to gain access to any of the things that we can now scroll and see within seconds. It was this long journey and I was having that dark night of the soul. I was really having a reckoning with myself and what I noticed that people started calling my radio show to ask me questions about why did I seem I had much peace, and what it is meditation I’ve never heard of that. I would have people and this is before I was a mother and I was young. I was in my twenties. They’d call me to wish me Happy Mother’s Day on Mother’s Day my listeners and I’d be like, “I’m not a mom.” And they’re like, “Yeah, but you’re kind of like our mom. You’re always looking out for us.”
When I started really getting that feedback I knew I needed to share what I was learning and I knew that the way I was doing radio at that time and what was accepted at that time was not enough for me. I did not want to talk about celebrities. I don’t care. I did not want to be forced to make constant judgements about people every time I came to work. It was exhausting my soul. So I said, you know what? I think I’m done. I’ll figure out another way to use my voice and use all these skills I’ve amassed in broadcasting but right now I’m being called to deepen my knowledge of self and to share this work with other people. I did not know what that would mean. I didn’t know that it would eventually lead me to start my own business, build that business, then come aboard as part of a global wellness company. I didn’t know any of that would happen was not on my vision board.
LUVVIE Chief Impact officer of the Chopra Institute but continue [inaudible 00:26:56]
DEVI I mean.
LUVVIE I mean.
DEVI But there was no blueprint for that at the time especially not anything that I saw from a woman of color outside of the GOATs like Oprah and Iyanla. I didn’t see it, I didn’t know what it could be but I did listen when I felt that call and I trusted. Then, which is not to say what’s easy, it’s been a long, long journey especially in the entrepreneurial world, but it all started making sense and I kept trusting that.
LUVVIE And literally today here you are CEO of Karma-
DEVI Chief Impact Office, yes.
LUVVIE You have two titles. You’re still CEO of Karma Bliss–
DEVI Oh yes, Karma Bliss, sorry yeah.
LUVVIE Then now you’re Chief Impact Officer?
DEVI Yes, at Chopra Global and The Daily Voice of Meditations on the Chopra App.
LUVVIE That’s Deepak Chopra in case you all missed that point.
LUVVIE You all miss that point.
DEVI The super GOAT.
LUVVIE When I tell you the super GOAT of wellness, the super GOAT of wellness. Your mentor is Deepak Chopra.
LUVVIE Which is wild.
DEVI What a gift. It’s so interesting because… Oh God is so dope. God is so dope. We don’t always know where we’re going and we don’t always know how things are going to pan out. When I first left my job in broadcasting, so many of my colleagues because again, wellness did not exist in that way for our communities at that time. It just didn’t. People didn’t know about it. Everybody laughed. There were many comments that made their way back to me about, “Yo Devi’s lost it. She’s off playing with rocks. What is going on? What are you going to do?” It’s like, that’s fine. You can’t see my vision because this isn’t your life. This isn’t your destiny. Some people have a limited view of who you can be because they’re terrified to examine who they could be.
LUVVIE Come on hun, drag us.
DEVI It was like, okay you think that’s cool. This is my life. If I fall, if I fail at this that’s fine too. It’s a long road. We have to take risks with ourselves especially when we feel called to. All of that chatter was happening. But on the flip side of that I was still diligently doing my work. I basically now when I look back, I have an Ivy League’s education in wellness and wellbeing with the amount of study and the amount of programs that I’ve done over the last several years.
I didn’t know I was going to end up working with Deepak. I knew that he had changed my life. I knew that his books had opened up a world I didn’t know existed and taught me how to be with me, and taught me what higher consciousness was and how to continue to grow in that and stand in that. I remember my friend Joy Sewing who is the fashion editor at the Houston Chronicle she did a piece on me, I’m looking at it right now, and it was like a feature of someone who was notable in this city. I had a great radio show at the time. The tagline of this feature was Tupac meets Deepak with LA style.
LUVVIE Yo, and this was years before your-
DEVI Yes, this was 2014. Yeah. Then I look at other little knowings. Other little moments like that where your life is seasoned and peppered with things that are foreboding of what… Not foreboding excuse me but a glimpse into the-
DEVI Foreshadowing a glimpse into what is manifesting what’s coming, and you don’t know at the time but yeah then now full circle and it’s like what a gorgeous gift and opportunity to be on faculty and to be a change maker in this space of bringing this beautiful work to the world which has been my soul’s deepest desire for the last 10 years.
LUVVIE Oh my God, that’s amazing.
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LUVVIE And you as a woman of color, as a black woman in wellness. Let’s talk about the whiteness of wellness. Let’s talk about it because you and I have already talked about it where we’d be like, girl!
DEVI And it’s funny because we were actually… We went on one day and this is before… I think right now there’s been this boom and really speaking out against this about the whiteness of wellness and the colonization of mental health spaces. That’s happened in the last couple of months but we were talking about this way before that kicked off and we were like we should do a show about this.
LUVVIE Seriously because wellness is so white. You as a black woman, as a woman who’s not white and blonde and wearing Lululemon leggings, your work is significant because you stand out because that area is typically gentrified.
DEVI Yeah. And you know what I’ve come to find because a lot of the work that I do that I’m really interested in is specifically in the dissolving of trauma for women of color. Intergenerational trauma we refer to it as generational trauma but really coming in and teaching tangible tools for dissolving those barriers to healing that we have in front of us that are due to the very obvious systemic racism, capitalism, and also due to colonization, and the profound effect especially here in America generationally the burdens that have been placed on us in the path of forced resilience that black women specifically, and also really all BIPOC women and people that have come to this country what we’ve experienced, it’s this path of forced resilience. It’s this path of servitude. This idea that love has to be earned, this idea that acceptance has to be earned.
These are all of the things that kept us out of those spaces. What I really think of those worlds obviously any program I ever did, and again, I can’t stress this enough. This is before the big boom happened. Talk about being the only in the room, not only would I be the only person that looked me but I was the only person near my age at that time I was in my twenties. There were no really millennial women but no black millennial women in any of these rooms, not one. Not one event I went to. Not a single certification program that I’ve ever done. It was like, okay why is this? We understand economically there are some barriers in these programs. I did have the vacation time to take off of work to do this. I did have the salary that allowed me to pay for these, but that’s not it because I know a lot of women like me that have the same means and the same ends.
What else is it? The more that I really investigated it, there was this spiritual narcissism that has existed within the wellness community. There’s obvious barriers to healing that we face like generational trauma and complex post-traumatic stress disorder but then there were these spiritually narcissistic glasses that it’s easy to find yourself wearing. This is not a… I’m not condemning anyone, I’m not judging anyone. It’s easy to wear these if you don’t have experiences outside of your own and if you don’t have people near you that have other experiences but in the spiritual communities it’s often taught, which is very true, that we have this spiritual curriculum. That we have this life path that we signed up for before we got here to return to our wholeness, to learn whatever lessons were necessary.
When you teach through those lenses, it’s easy to discount all of the extra trauma that non-white people face because you wrap it up into this thought process of, well your soul signed up for that. Well, God must have wanted that for you as part of the way you needed to learn, so don’t question it just do it. So easy to say from a privilege standpoint, but if you’re somebody that already has that spiritual curriculum that you came to earth to learn, and then you were also confronted with a barrage of complex post-traumatic stress, of systemic racism at every turn, of an ideology and a society that built into you this seed of worthlessness on top of the other challenging experiences that we all face in this human condition.
Well, you have to deepen your work as a teacher to be able to speak to that. You have to look to research and educate yourself on other experiences and other barriers so that you can show up in a way that allows for a safe and supportive environment for non-white people to enter into. I think that’s been the deeper problem. It’s not just that so many communities of color are deserts for many things. From technology to healthy food, to wellness and wellbeing and mental health services, but it’s also many of these mainstream wellness spaces, they are deserts to deepening their own knowledge of spirituality and learning how to divinely translate it in a way that is able to reach more people that don’t look like themselves.
LUVVIE Come on, I love that. You talk about spiritual bypass and toxic positivity and that’s part of it. When you follow all these white wellness people they’re like, “You can do this thing.” None of it is speaking to what you’re saying the trauma of being black and being woman, being-
DEVI Broken family structures.
LUVVIE All of the things and all of the arrows that we face. You’re in these rooms, you’re seeing all this work that is not reflecting the real experience and people are seeing well this is like the crystals are woo woo woo.
DEVI Oh my gosh. Yeah.
LUVVIE To put it at Tupac plus Deepak of you, you are at the intersection of making it real as you talk about the crystals, and the meditation, and how this looks you are also a real person that shows what it looks in practice.
DEVI Yes. Thank you. Yes.
LUVVIE And that’s significant. That’s huge because a lot of people feel wellness is outside of their reach, it’s not accessible.
DEVI Yeah. Yeah. And you know what’s interesting I think Luvvie especially for our community it’s multiple things. It’s one, it not feeling organic, it not feeling easily accessible. Us not having backgrounds that necessarily peppered us with the little glimpses of this world to make it feel more comfortable but also there is a toxicity and enmeshment that exists in a lot of our family structures and in a lot of our belief systems that makes you think you have to go through another person to get to God.
LUVVIE Come on.
DEVI So I think as we expand and grow and gratefully this is happening in such a big way for many of us but it’s also understanding how much personal power we have. I’m going to specifically speak to the woman of color as I’m saying this but there is… God is inside of you now. Your wholeness already exists inside of you in this moment. It’s about connecting to the tools that will help you to remember what you’ve forgotten. We came to this earth whole, and so worthy, and so loved and cherished, and then slowly the human experience and condition that we did sign up for chiseled that out of us, or put up blockages that made us a little foggy in remembering how to travel back to that inner knowingness.
I think for our communities a big part of how we are able to connect more deeply to mental health, to our emotional health, to our wholeness is really taking a very focused and critical eyed look at what parts of our beliefs and family structures, the well-intentioned just don’t serve us, or that we’ve outgrown, and then giving ourselves permission to charter our own path and our own course for what leads us to the better version of ourselves.
LUVVIE I just had to note that down. God is inside of you now. I need people to really understand that and absorb that because oh man that’s powerful. I literally had to be like let me put this down on my phone right now and know that I have to call this out and people need to hear this message because we feel we need somebody’s help to find God all the time.
DEVI Right. Also sometimes we may need our different teachers on the path to guide us in certain directions but you can also take the training wheels off at a certain point. Yes, if church’s your jam go. I love church. I do a lot of things but also you can be home and talk to God. You can be home and have a thriving spiritual practice where He is deeply connected to your life. Though a lot of our leaders, and that goes not just for religious leaders but thought leaders. All of us have access. All of us have access. You don’t have to have a guru to grow. You don’t have to have a pastor to grow. You don’t have to have a thought leader to grow. People can be catalysts for your own knowingness because guess what? Them talking to you is them remembering the God in them. That’s how they’re able to show up with their message for you and it’s a valid message but you have access to your own inner messaging that is equally as powerful, equally as intentional.
LUVVIE Listen you all, Devi’s literally who I go to whenever I’m feeling stuck about something and having a conversation with her it doesn’t matter what it is about, I ended up walking away with the clarity because it’s like oh she reminds me that we all have the ability to come up with our own solutions. We’ve all been guiding each of us waiting to be listened to and because we’re going, going, going, we don’t typically stop and say, okay- [crosstalk 00:41:35].
DEVI Yeah, because you know what too Luvvie, and first of all, girl I’m grateful for you and thank you for that because you are everything. And I’m always hitting Luvvie like, “I need business advice.”
LUVVIE I’m like, “Call me girl, call me. Can you teach me how to do this?”
DEVI No, but… I think too to the point of what you said, the barrier to us remembering and having access to that divine GPS that leads us home is we are so rigid and so uncompromisingly hard on ourselves. When we think to ourselves because even in us saying that, there’s somebody listening that says, “Well some people can access the God in them but why can’t I? Something must be wrong with me.” That’s the inner story that they’ve told themselves already just from listening to that 30 seconds. The way to get to that inner God voice that all of us have inside of us that is equally powerful in each of us, it’s learning how to be gentle with you, and learning how to stop judging yourself, and to forgive yourself in moments that you’re in judgment of yourself.
I’ll say honesty Luvvie full transparency, I’ve been on this path in a pretty deep way. A very magical and interesting way for the last probably 10 years but also my whole life by nature of my childhood and some of the character traits that were forged in my Karma over lifetimes but the last couple of years is when I’ve done some of the most difficult, darkest but powerful work on my spiritual growth. Even though I had tools, even though I had thought I had done a certain amount of healing already there’s always more. There’s always more opportunity to dissolve residues that we still have inside and gentleness was a big part of it. On an ego level I could walk around saying, “Man I think I’m great.” And I really meant it. I did think I’m great. I do think I’m great.
I was looking at my life on paper and it’s like, “Damn girl, you did this, you did this, you did this, you’re a good person, you’re friendly, you have lots of friends. Yeah, you’re great.” Okay. That’s one layer but was I being tender with myself? Was I being gentle with myself? As I experienced moments that were confusing or hard, was I judging myself for my reactions? Or was I able to come into a space of compassion? That’s what I’ve been cultivating the last few years and that is what makes all the difference. That’s what’s given me access to God right now in a way that I never had him before because it’s hard for him to talk to you when you are being so disrespectful to yourself in different ways.
He’s like, “All right, I’m going to fall back. When you’re ready, I’m here.” To really fully feel God’s love, you have to love yourself more. God speaks through the frequency of love. God is love. The language of God is love. When we are not in full love with ourselves, does he still love us? Of course, but He’s able to speak to us as clearly and as purposefully. He isn’t, He isn’t because we have too many blockades up. We have too many systems in place that are going to disregard his word when it comes to us, or say that we’re not worthy of His word, or His calling when it comes to us.
LUVVIE This is why I’m always like people need to go to therapy. People have to do all forms of-
DEVI Yeah it’s not one thing.
LUVVIE It’s not one thing because therapy is not going to fix it all. You also need to pray and figure out what that looks like. Even if you don’t believe in God, pray to something like hey [crosstalk 00:45:33] different energies-
DEVI Speaking intention.
LUVVIE Yeah. Speaking intention trying to be positive to yourself because to your point, we disrespect the hell out of ourselves. Basically it’s like this quote about how speak to yourself as you would speak to your best friend. Don’t say the thing to yourself that you wouldn’t say to somebody else because it wouldn’t be kind. We’re constantly being unkind to ourselves and we can’t see past that to be able to actually be better.
DEVI Yeah, and even more than a best friend, I’m going to give everybody a great hack right now that I have been doing myself for the last couple of years and it’s changed everything.
DEVI You got to work on re-parenting your inner self because that’s how you teach yourself kinder language. Talk to your self not just as your best friend, talk to yourself how you would any three year old child. Because the thing is you don’t have to know yourself, or someone else to be kind. A three year old child on the street, your natural go-to would be kindness. Would be, “Hi child. I see you. You’re worthy. You’re enough.” You’re speaking life, “You’re so smart. You’re so cute.” That child could be a stranger. Cultivate the kind of language with you that you would with the same type of enthusiasm, and depth of love, and joy that you would have a three-year-old-
DEVI And grace, that you would have three-year olds and practice looking at your own three-year-old. A little re-parenting work and this is, full honesty, challenging at first depending on what your story is, and depending on how you look at your childhood but get a picture of yourself. One that maybe makes you cringe a little bit. The first picture I got was a photo of myself as a little girl, and I was in deep judgment of this picture. My hair is disheveled. I felt like I was wearing these hand-me-down clothes and all of it’s fine but the way that I had told myself I was as a child or how much love I didn’t think I had, I was in judgment at this little girl constantly. There’s no way that adult Devi could speak to herself with grace, and joy, and personal compassionate forgiveness if the little girl that is also a piece of who I am didn’t get to get in on the action.
I got this gorgeous… Now I see it as gorgeous, this gorgeous picture of younger me, I put it in a really beautiful frame and I put it up where I would see it every day. The first couple of weeks that was challenging for me because I was going against every story I had ever said was true. I was breaking through narratives and toxic traits of being with myself that I had taken on without realizing. Every time I walked by that picture I was annoyed for the first few weeks. I was irritated but I forced myself knowing that this was the work my soul needed. I forced myself to do it in any way, and I would walk by and at first it started with, I love you little girl. All right I love you, you’re cute. Now I see pictures of myself as a little girl and I’m like Oh, beautiful, sacred child of God, I love you. Oh you’re so courageous. You’re so brave. You’re so wise. You’ve always known who you were. You’ve always been enough. You’ve always been deeply loved, held as precious and cherished.
I started deepening my own emotional language to use with her with the words. I sat and thought what words do I want to feel and embody? Precious came up instantly. Cherished came up instantly. Divine. Then speaking that to her as if it already is true because it’s always been true. I was the one that reframed the truth of my existence. The truth is no matter what experience I had, I was always precious to God, I was always cherished, I was always worthy, and always enough, and always loved, period. That’s the essence of why I was here. As I started doing more of that and really diligently doing it, it became such a joy for me which then turned not just how I feel about little me into a joy, but it turned how I feel about me in all moments, no matter what chaos is happening in my life. And listen, there is some. To joy, to being able to access joy always.
What you do is you’d incrementally bump up the ages. I started first with a photo of me at two. Bumped it up to five year old Devi. After a certain amount of time a few months later, it’s 10 year old Devi, 15 Devi, 20 Devi. I’m forgiving all the different stages of myself and releasing judgment of whoever I showed up as in that moment because the deeper truth is no matter how I behaved in every moment I did the best I could based on my level of consciousness then. So I have to give myself grace and forgiveness for all moments.
LUVVIE Listen, that’s beautiful. That is stunning. That is so incredible. Oh my God. I’m instantly like, okay I have to go frame a picture of me when I was little.
DEVI Little Luvvie yes.
LUVVIE I have to do this work because we don’t realize how much we judge who we used to be, who we are now and it does start with us as young kids. It’s funny ever since I started this podcast me asking people, what did you want to be when you were growing up? I didn’t realize it because I’m always interested in finding out who people have been since they were little because I always picture small versions of everybody I’m looking at because I picture-
DEVI Me too!
LUVVIE I do. I’m like, “What would Devi be like?” Because I low-key one of my dreams honestly is to have a cartoon about a little version of me.
DEVI Oh my God, that would be amazing.
LUVVIE It’s been my dream for years.
DEVI But that’s happening.
LUVVIE I want a cartoon of little Luvvie and her random rambunctious friends and all their random shenanigans they get into and why it never sticks but they’re really cute and really smart. Because I’m so fascinated by how kids they end up on learning everything that’s them. The world ends up telling kids that who you are is not good. By the time you grow up, you’ve unlearned who you are. You’re not trying to find them again, I’m like, what happens if we never have to unlearn who we are and we stick to being that person? I, the work I’ve been doing in the last and who I represent in the world is this person who shows up super true and it’s because I’ve insisted on not unlearning myself. I’ve insisted on always not doubting who I am because that means I can be without constantly being like, are you good enough? Should you do those things? Should you said this thing? What happens when we all stop unlearning who we were when we were five.
DEVI God, that’s so beautiful. Like a reflection to you, it’s like you’re on such a divine path. The way you show up in the world is with so much majesty, so much power. It’s so beautiful to witness Luvvie seriously especially now that I know you, know you and I also know how deeply authentic you are and how this is you in all moments. For you to be able to gift us with sharing of yourself, and your majesty, and your fearlessness and your truth, what a magical path that you have that you’re gracing us with and giving us.
LUVVIE That is the first time anybody has ever used the word majesty in talking about me, just so you know.
LUVVIE That word hit me in the street. It hit me in the chest. That is wow. I don’t even have… I’m stumped. I’m stumped, I’m over here like, oh shit!
DEVI Because you’re like… We are ushering in a new era of womanhood and it’s crazy right now. I mean yes, right?
DEVI None of us are going to get an A on the pandemic, we are all challenged and struggling in a certain degree but this is also such a time of illumination and awakening but especially for the divine feminine. Especially for that archetype of womanhood. We in this moment are allowed to take up full space in a way that no other generation ever has had access to. We’re able to be multifaceted. We’re able to be multidimensional. It’s like when I see you, I see that radiance. I see that majesty will also be deeply in power and also being soft. It’s you have your powerful presence on stage. You have your powerful tone and language as bestselling author. Then also we get to see these photos of you so soft in your wedding dress, so loving, so elegant. Those photos of you, I was like, “What? You’re a whole sex symbol in these streets.”
LUVVIE We’ve got to give them layers. We’ve got give them layers.
LUVVIE Show up and knock them out there. Knock them off their feet because we are multi-hyphenate. We can exhibit different spaces. We can be soft one day and show up hard the next. We can be powerful and then gentle. What I really appreciate about you and the other women in my crew is that we all show what it looks in different forums. We’re all perfectly ourselves in different forms and being able to be in that orbit is so encouraging, it’s so affirming to the spirit and I am hoping that people are seeing a show up. They don’t even know all the things we handled behind the scenes that we never talk about.
They never know the struggles that we are in constantly but the fact that we’re able to show up even in the tough days and let people know sometimes we have nothing for you. I have nothing for you today. It’s powerful. I’m really… It’s a gift. It’s one of the gifts of my life to walk in this time and playing you. It is one of those acute realizations where you are living in a time that’s so magical and knowing that you are walking amongst saints and deities is actually wild. And I thank God for always bringing the spirits to me who are supposed to walk alongside me to give me the power when I don’t have my own power. You’re one of those people.
DEVI Thank you. I’m literally getting a little misty [inaudible 00:56:10].
LUVVIE Look I’m over here. My eyes. And you’re a blessing and this conversation has energized my spirit in a way that you already know anytime you and I get off the phone, we’re always like, “Child let me go conquer the world today.”
DEVI I know.
LUVVIE Give me something. I got something for you. I got something for you.
DEVI You are so rare. I’m so grateful for that reflection because it’s literally the exact embodiment I see in you. I see you and I’m just like… I think all of us in our little group that we have on our little Sunday group, it’s that my jaw is always dropped. I’m like, “Wow! Wow, what a gift! What a gift to find one another.” For anybody listening like that… Because I understand so often when we’re on our paths of growth, depending on our backgrounds, depending on what we have access to, it feels so alone and so defeating. But I say trust your path because you will find your people. Each of us individually I’m sure that we have had many moments where it was like, “Does anybody else in the world think like I do, or am I going to be alone with my thoughts and playing a role of less because I can’t show up in these circles as my full self because they can’t handle it?” No, keep the authenticity of who you are and then set the intention for God to connect you.
Set that intention. If you can’t even fathom it, or see it based on where you’re living or who know, set the intention for God to guide you to your people. To the people that effortlessly get you, that see you, and hear you, that you can reflect your light off of. Because that’s… I have had many moments in my life. I’ve always been a really deeply… Life has been challenging for me from day one. There are very specific experiences in my life that have repeated very often until I was finally able to face them that were profoundly painful and challenging. But even in that, and we all have our stories, because I still had this natural enthusiasm about me people always assumed that, oh she’s always happy, or she’s always… The thing people used to tell me when I was younger, why are you always smiling? You always got a smile on your face.
Because life had beaten joy out of many people and they didn’t know how to return to it. Seeing me was triggering for them because then their expectation was why do you have to get a life easy? There was no way that you could have had the pain that I’ve had and still have joy but that’s one of God’s… That’s the divine grace He wove into my story was still being able to access that personal enthusiasm for life, that optimism. I used to think, am I the only person like me? Will I ever find people that understand me? There’ve been various moments of my life when I felt that way where I could be my full self. Where I didn’t have to, I guess code switch to unhealedness. Where I didn’t have to downplay myself or my gifts. I didn’t have to speak with an essence of misery so that I could get along with everyone else in the conversation.
Now, and as conversations that you and I have, and some of our circle has, it’s like I can get on a call and be, “Oh God, this profound challenge is happening in my life but wow I feel joyful. God is still good. Look at what’s showing up for me. Look at what I’m getting. Look at what I’m doing. Look how I feel about myself.” Anybody listening that maybe is hearing me and Luvvie reflect off of each other that is available to you too but you do have to make the conscious choice. You do have to shed what doesn’t serve you, and you do have to believe in your own authenticity and truth, and really stand in that whether other people are getting it or not.
LUVVIE And that you are worthy of love in all forms. In all forms, love friendship, community. Actually before you go, for those who are listening Devi has a community. If you’re constantly looking where’s my tribe of people who are also on this path of I got to get my life together. I got to do this inner work, Devi recently created the Karma Gang.
DEVI Yes, thanks to Luvvie. Thanks to Luvvie searching me up. We did this divine timeout challenge that was right at the start of the pandemic. It was a 19-day guided self-care challenge because I’m very… The deepest part of my passion is teaching people self-care in real life. I’m not talking about the rainbows, and the puppies, and the bypassing positive talk. I’m talking about self-care in the sense of let’s excavate. Let’s pull up our demons and our dragons, and look them in the eye and love ourselves deeply, and experience all the facets of our stories and who we are, and dissolve what doesn’t serve us. Let’s set healthy boundaries. Let’s say no when we need to. That’s the deeper parts of self-care is knowing you are love and you can demand your joy in your life.
We did that challenge and Luvvie did the challenge with me, and we were talking about it and you filled me with much life. You filled me to the brim with your reflection of what you saw that I was doing and you were like, “Girl, let me connect you with my people so they could show you how to do this because it’s time you need to do this now.” Because of Luvvie we started Karma Gang, which is karmagang.org and we have a gorgeous community there. We have two different tiers. If you want to come and have a love fest and be connected to incredible other women who are on this path and filling one another with positivity. We also have activities and we have different resources that I share on there. You can join that for free. Then we have a second tier where we do some of the deep dive. If you feel so called, that’s available to you too if you’re ready for the path of mastery.
LUVVIE Yes. Those of you who are already in LuvvNation it’s the same type of platform. Karma Gang, you join in there, pick the one that you think is worth, and I actually honestly I want to cue up my audience to this. People are not used to spending money on stuff because now everybody’s throwing out content out here. Put your money in the spaces that will fill you. Put your money and invest your money in the people who show up authentically. I will say spend the money to actually join the paid group in Karma Gang and do the work. Do the work. That is significant and it’s important and I think people need to be cued up because right now everybody’s like, “I don’t know who to trust.” Trust Devi. Alright, trust Devi because I trust Devi. I vouch for the people who I know that I would go to the ends of the earth for, she’s one of them. [crosstalk 01:03:25] Karma Gang.
DEVI Oh Luvvie. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
LUVVIE Brown I love you.
DEVI I love you.
LUVVIE You are a constant gift and this conversation has blessed my spirit and I’m so excited to be on this path with you.
DEVI What a profound joy and blessing it is to know you and to be connected in this lifetime to get to do this work together in this lifetime. I love you Luvvie, thank you.
LUVVIE We’re blessed. We are so blessed. Love you friend and yeah-
DEVI Love you.
LUVVIE We’ll talk more.
Yo. Devi is just this magical unicorn, and I’m so glad that she was on to share her Noir Pixie Dust with y’all. She’s constantly blessing my life with all types of ancestral wisdom. One of my favorite quotes from this interview is about how God is inside of you now. And I hope you hold on to that. Y’all, be sure to follow Devi Brown on social media. She is @ D-E-V-I-B-R-O-W-N @DeviBrown on Instagram.
And check out her podcast – she has one. It’s called Dropping Gems. Could not be more accurate. All she does is drop gems. And also, check out Karma Gang. It is worth your investment. Go in there, do some work, have someone hold you accountable for your well-being. Be around people who are committed to being elevated versions of themselves. And just support whatever Devi’s up to. If you loved what she said on this podcast, go over and shower her with love all over her social media. Let her know that the Rants fam heard her and are holding space for her and are encouraging her and affirming her dopeness. All right? Ok!
Much love to Chicago Recording Company, who I’ve been partnering with from the start of this podcast and they allow me to bring the radio voice to y’all, so much love to them.
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