Ep 36 Featured Image Podcast

Becoming More Alive – Brandi Stanley – Ep 36 

June 29, 2022


A good question can often provide more clarity than 1,000 answers, especially on the journey of a creative. But of all the questions, one stands out from all the rest. It is the question I follow in my art practice and the founding question of Art2Life.com, my online creative teaching platform. And it is this: What brings you alive?

When human beings participate in what brings them alive, they become inspired. As a result, there is an uptick in creativity. I ask this question a lot. So much so that it recently prompted an email from someone who equally loves this question. Of course, we instantly connected. 

Meet podcaster, writer, and fellow creative explorer Brandi Stanley. It has been a long time since I have talked with someone who can clearly articulate the nuances, challenges, and magic of those pursuing the creative path. I know I have found a great guest on the show when just by having a conversation with them, I learned something I was not expecting to learn. I think you will too.

Listen if you are interested in…

  • Getting to know Brandi Stanley [2:24]
  • The art of following your compass [6:29]
  • The scariest part about being an artist [13:31] 
  • Unpacking the idea of purpose [18:16]
  • Exploring synchronicity in nature and debunking the need for struggle [25:04]
  • How to optimize your creativity [33:19]
  • Questions to help you go deeper [41:45]

Follow your compass

What does it mean to be alive? To be vital? To have or not have energy? These are the questions that wake Brandi Stanley up in the morning. Her grounding truth, core principle, and as I would put it, her “come from” focuses on the answers to these questions in a concept defined as aliveness. Brandi notes that she often finds her aliveness in seemingly contradictory things and that the stuff of life comes from the places where they meet.

A great example of this is Brandi’s own story. Some years ago, Brandi had an extremely visceral experience that changed her trajectory. She had recently gotten into science and quantum physics despite leaning more towards the arts for most of her life. She began auditing a college class while working full-time in branding and marketing to increase her knowledge. Brandi left each four-hour Wednesday night session feeling so energized that she felt like running around in the street. This is highly unusual because the fatigue she normally experiences due to chronic illness seemed to dissipate in this classroom. The result was concrete proof for Brandi that aliveness is tangible and provides a clear, guiding compass for which direction her life should go.

Take the leap

When was the last time you realized there was a big change for you on the horizon? We’ve all been there. It’s that moment where everything shifts and we realize “I need to quit my job” or “I have to move out of state”. Whatever that thing was for you, it required you to be in tune with yourself enough to know the next step. This is what Brandi calls one of the hardest parts of being an artist. It’s way scarier to be connected with yourself than to stay distracted like everyone else because that connection often takes us deep into the wild unknown. It’s far easier to ignore your internal compass than to take a leap not knowing if you’ll find sure footing on the other side. 

That leap of faith perfectly illustrates what it means to make art. None of us know exactly where we’re going. That’s the beauty of it! We each have a unique mix of things that light us up inside. By connecting with those parts of ourselves, we clarify our voice and find our style. But because we’re all so different, there is no one clear path to take. However, even though the paths are different, we all have to gather our courage and take the leap. It doesn’t get more alive than that.

Unlock your purpose

Purpose is often viewed as an external entity. We often feel and are even told that purpose is something you go out and find. In contrast, Brandi believes purpose is so intrinsic to who we are as individuals that there is never a moment that we are not living in our purpose. She gave the beautiful analogy of an acorn tree. Acorn trees are always in the process of producing acorns. Whether they’re dropping or gestating, they never stop being acorn trees or doing what they are alive to do. Brandi believes we have a lot to learn from the acorn trees in our own aliveness journeys. Some people know what they are born to do early on, just like some artists find their voice and style quicker than others. Yet others need to gestate and figure it out. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself the time and space to figure out what makes you feel alive. Especially if the last thing was sucking the life out of you. To paraphrase Brandi, sometimes you have to do some living before you can know how to be alive.

Connect with Brandi Stanley

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Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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