I met Briana through her cousin at a dinner party in Venice Beach, LA, and her warmth and vibrant personality drew me in instantly. We talked about her hip hop dance classes, healing botanicals, The Gene Keys, and her Neuro-Linguistic Programing work. Since then she's been giving her heart to the movement at Standing Rock, and more recently working with a non-profit in Cusco, Peru. In her exclusive interview with The Anicca Way, Briana shares the obstacles she overcame to become a NLP professional and talks of her recent visits to Standing Rock and Peru.
The Anicca Way (TAW): You run a NLP business WholeLife NLP based out of Venice Beach in California. How did you get into NLP and what spurred you to launch the business?
Briana: Okay, this is a HUGE question! I began my journey with inner healing work in my early 20's. This took me on the road of meditation, breath-work, traditional talk-therapy, plant medicine, and eventually, I found my NLP mentor. This was the first body of work that I found that could sustain positive life change for long periods of time, felt respectful and loving, and was fun. That was really it for me. It was effective. And fun.
I began my training at NLP Marin (nlpmarin.com) in 2010, and went through their 2 year Master Practitioner Course. I now run a 1x1 work and NLP training classes here in Santa Monica and throughout Southern California.
TAW: What obstacles were you experiencing in life that led you to turn to inner healing work in your 20s?
Briana: First, I was dealing with an addiction that led me to abusing food. With that (as per addiction protocol) came deep patterns of lying, manipulation and exaggeration. I felt worthless. And that fed my need to numb my feelings. Which kept me behaving in ways that felt shameful. Which I felt like I needed to hide, or at least distract people from.
Second was my sexuality.
I was sexually assaulted when I was 18 at a party in Malibu, CA. Up until that time I had had very few sexual experiences. I then became very sexually active with an older boyfriend of mine. And I also explored other non-normative behavior. I did not however, deal with my pain of the assault. I hid it. I masked it. I pretended that I was super sexually charged when what I was... was hurting. This combination led me down a path of deep shadow exploration around food, sex and money.
Down the rabbit hole.
And back again.
And I denied my need for help.
And I am still forgiving myself for the remnants of these shadows coming up and out.
And that is what led me to my deeper search for wholeness. Healing. Applying loving to the parts of me that feel unlovable.
Which is still my practice today.
TAW: For those who don’t know, can you explain what NLP is and how you work with clients?
Briana: NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programing is a work with the mind that allows for subtle shifts so that you don't have to remember to be different. I work with each client distinctly. So I listen in depth to each potential client to really get a sense of where they are at, where they would like to go, and how we can get there. With my 1x1 clients, I often work with them for 6 months - 1year. I also teach 6 week and 10 week Transformational NLP courses in the LA area.
TAW: Following your social media accounts, you seem to have dedicated recent months to the movement at Standing Rock. What motivated you to not only support the movement, as many of us have been, but to physically go there. What stories can you share from the experience?
Briana: I have led a pretty privileged life. And, knew this from an early age. Around the time I was 15, i had become aware of my heart and how much the quality of my life was effected by the suffering I could feel others going through. I have been a Sacred activist for most of my adult life. The past five years have been more focused on healing and spirituality. Then one day, my inner core just knew that my next piece was to share of I really feel deeply the pain of another to the point where I could not sit idle.
To feel another's experience fully as my own.
To stay centered.
Then act from a place of full resource and compassion.
That's what took me to Standing Rock. To witness. To be there. To feel what was happening. And to stand with the conviction that I can fully accept everything exactly as the way it is. I also deeply honor and accept my desire that it be different.
Sacred Activism is what is really growing from this experience. This is an integration of -
- Social Justice
- Environmental Protection
- Artistic Expression
- Personal & shared spiritual experience
In terms of who I met at Standing Rock and how this entire movement have changed me - I could write a book! I met many amazing sisters and brothers. And I am clear that Standing Rock is be beginning of the of All Human Rights Movement.
TAW: Now I see you are in one of my favorite places on Earth, Cusco, Peru. What has brought you to Peru?
Briana: I was facilitating a journey of nine participants in the Cusco-Sacred Valley region. I work with a non-Profit called Prosperity Homes and we partner to create a Sacred Journey for their volunteer-participants. We began our journey together in in Cusco, spent a few days in a rural home stay, and finally completing our time at the sacred prayer site of Machu Picchu.
TAW: What message(s) are you hoping to spread on your journeys?
The lightness of unity.
Inner peace for world peace.
Learning ancient technologies that can support us in expanding the integrity of modern technologies.
TAW: How is social media helping you on your quest?
Briana: Social media is such a blast! And a beast! Sometimes it feels like it is helping me connect, sometimes it feels like a weight of death! I get sucked in, I wanna see who likes what, I want to comment back!! Ahhh!!!
When most of the time I work best with hugs.
Social media is a tool.
I just have to make sure I don't become one.
I love it.
But it is addictive for me.
So I have to watch it.
When I'm feeling alone especially, I'll check everything once through, and then again. And again. Then my hands have fallen asleep because I am laying in bed commenting on kitten videos and learning ancient Celtic songs.
I have tried to limit myself to three "checks" a day. Meaning I don't leave my apps open. I post something then I am only allowed to check any social media three times a day. I have Facebook, Instagram and twitter, so that is still nine intentional "looking for feedback" moments.
There are times too when I feel alone.
Like the lack of justice is just so sad.
Or the low levels of consciousness just hurts my teeth. Or the lack of respect... ouch.
And then I get in my Facebook. And someone has commented on a photo I have posted of an artist from Peru, or a moment at Standing Rock, or a healing moment from a class and I think... yes. THAT is why I do what I do.
And sometimes social media can help that.
TAW: What advice do you have for others wanting to help?
Briana: Well, what do you love to do?
Like, when you think about it, it feels like your first crush just circled *YES* on your love note.
Every moment you can get away with it.
We need more people in our world loving life.
Wildly. Boldly. Beautifully.
That will help all of us.
NLP with Briana: http://wholelifenlp.com