Devon “Devi" Brown is all smiles as she strolls into the slightly crowded Hollywood vegan restaurant Café Gratitude.
Her attire is casual — a simple pair of blue jeans and a white tank top — and she's radiating positive energy despite us having to switch lunch locations at the last minute. It turns out that this is one of her favorite spots, a coincidental, yet optimal choice given our impending conversation about vibrating higher.
"I love the menu. Like saying, 'I'll have the I Am Incredible,' or the plate that asks 'What are you grateful for?'" Brown says, referring to the restaurant's affirmation-themed dishes. She pauses to carefully snap a photo of her "I Am Liberated" pasta kelp noodles — a perfect selection for someone who has, herself, become free in mind and spirit thanks to her discovery of meditation and the power of crystal healing.
“I usually keep a little pouch with me at all times with whatever kind of energies that I want to attract at that moment," she confesses. “I have a lot of crystals that are great for focus, spontaneity and sporadic luck…and also good with discipline."
Her face lights up as she explains her love affair with crystals, and why, despite having a successful career as a radio and television personality, she's finding a greater purpose through her newly-launched lifestyle brand Karma Bliss, a site that educates and gives people the tools to connect deeper with themselves by unlocking their true power and potential through meditation, journaling, and crystal therapy.
"People who enjoy crystals believe they all carry a multitude of energies, and in a very sacred and spiritual way aid you and surrounds you with the kind of energies to manifest the things you're looking to manifest," says Brown. "If you have them and think of what it stands for, just the way life works you're changing your thoughts so you're changing your life and attracting things in, so I keep them tucked in my purse all the time."
Courtesy of Karma Bliss
While there are many who talk the good energy talk, Brown is a testament to the fulfillment that accompanies knowledge of one self and desire for continuous growth. Growing up in Los Angeles, Devi always had a fascination with transformation. As an only child to a single mother she describes herself as someone who was always deeply self-aware even if she didn't quite understand what that meant. She didn't go to church but she had encountered spiritual people throughout her lifetime — family friends who practiced Buddhism, chanting, or meditation.
“I was always into meditation, but I also over thought it. I didn't think I'd have time; I thought it would be hard and I didn't know how. I always would find myself to coming back to asking someone I knew who did it what it was like."
She was curious but the fear that stemmed from her lack of understanding made her shy away from the practice until years later when she began dealing with her own internal struggles. Her constant relocating throughout her childhood and into adulthood left her feeling a sense of instability.
“As women we don't give ourselves enough love and care and acceptance for the fact that I might be all over the place inside because I'm all over the place," says Brown. “Moving across the country is one of the hardest things you can do, especially alone. Even if it is for an amazing opportunity and for a lot of money, it doesn't matter. You're out of your comfort zone; everything is new and different. You have to put yourself out there to meet new people. You don't have your normal safe places."
Shortly after relocating to New York to co-host The Sway In The Morning Show and MTV's Hip Hop POV, she met NFL offensive tackle player Duane Brown and within a year the couple had married. “When we decided to get engaged it was such a strange, transformative time. We met within a few weeks of me moving into New York and I had just started working on a morning show and doing TV stuff and hitting the pavement. At that point I had been away from home a year and a half [from L.A.], but I knew that I loved him so I said I'll take the risk; I'll take the jump."
The leap was worth it, but admittedly uncomfortable as the newlywed gave up her job to move with her husband to Houston. The transition left her battling with her purpose in life as she assumed the role as a wife to a pro football player.
“At least the first couple of months I didn't have a job title," Brown says. “All of a sudden now I'm somebody's wife and living someplace that I didn't necessarily think I was going to be. It was uncomfortable. It was tough. But what I really started paying attention to was this feeling in the absolute restlessness. Everyday I would wake up feeling like I needed to escape and that's a terrible feeling to have, wanting to escape but you have no idea to where. I was very restless and through that restlessness I got really sad because everything I thought I was working towards had been paused. Transformation can only come through pain or restlessness."
"Transformation can only come through pain or restlessness."
Despite her unfamiliarity with the Bible, Brown surrendered her feeling of idleness and prayed for revelation. The answer came in the form of a 10-day meditation retreat with mind-body healing expert Deepak Chokra. It forced the self-proclaimed nomad to be still and to dig deeper within herself. The experience was transformative, and Brown began incorporating it into her lifestyle, picking up more healing practices such as crystal therapy and journaling and attending a number of meditation retreats. But as Brown began her own ascent into self-enlightenment she noticed that as a young person of color she was often the minority in the room.
“I was like I want to be able to share this with people. Your story, your journey is not to be hoarded, the whole point is to complete that circle and share it with another and helping them to unlock whatever they have. I really wanted to create something specifically with helping young professionals to remember to invest into their spirits and their souls through the chaos and through their accomplishments. None of it means anything if you're a wreck of a person inside."
Running her new business Karma Bliss, while fulfilling, has certainly been no easy feat for the new entrepreneur. As the midday host for Houston's 93.7 The Beat, Brown often finds herself running from one job and diving right into her venture, burning the midnight oil as she processes orders, updating the website, and packages her thousands of carefully hand-selected crystals that help the user manifest everything from emotional healing to physical vitality.
"There are so many different kinds and it really depends on what you're trying to attract more of in your life," Brown says. “I really love having crystals throughout my house. I keep a ton by my front door hidden behind our mail carrier because I want to make sure that people with bad energy are not coming into my house or that their energy gets checked at the door and they can claim it when they leave."
Transitioning into being her own boss has required Brown to create her own definition of balance. It's not, as she has discovered, being the perfect wife and career woman a hundred percent of the time, it's realizing that having it all means having the things you want, but not all at once — and being okay with the unexpected outcome.
“I freed myself of that have-it-all desire and mentality because the truth is we're just people. We're just human beings. Having it all is not my goal. Some days I'm going to be an extraordinary wife — I'm going to blow people away with relationship goals and I'm going to be shining in my wifedom. And then other days I'm not going to be able to talk to my husband except for the five minutes right before we go to sleep. And I'm going to be killing it as an entrepreneur."
The 31-year-old credits being whole individually to the foundation of their healthy relationship and staying connected. "A relationship ,no matter how good it is, will never complete you. That's not what it's supposed to do. It's supposed to stretch you; it's supposed to challenge you. You are supposed to experience love but it's not supposed to complete you. There's a huge difference between being ready for a relationship and being lonely. You may think it feels the same because you may think it's a longing for this person or that person; it's deeply different.
"Loneliness is an invitation to fall in love with you, not a warning sign that you need a relationship."
A few years ago Devi shared on her personal blog that she didn't want her marriage to define her, and she's worked tirelessly to ensure that she continues to shine without the title of Mrs. “I was already eight years into my career so that piece of me was so complete and fine-tuned like a well-oiled machine. I don't have time to allow my identity to be wrapped up in his accomplishments because I am so firmly locked into my destiny."
To those who may be struggling with their identity in their marriage, she offers this advice. “I think it's a great opportunity to start looking at our challenges and depression and those restless feelings or insecure feelings as what they're supposed to be, which is warning signs. If you notice that you're feeling jealous or insecure it just means you're out of balance. It means be more gentle with yourself, pay attention to that feeling, and find more things to feed it. Because it's a warning sign, it's an invitation to 'let's get you right'."
Devi has made it her mission to help others unlock the things that keep them from living freely. It's not about a paycheck, but having a passion to help others through their pain and become the highest version of themselves.
“We all end up wherever we're supposed to be in time in the process, but if you can give someone access to tools to help heal them and serve them where they're at, how amazing is that?
Originally published in October 2016
Featured image by Porterhouse Los Angeles via Devi Brown/Instagram