In the span of 20 months, radio personality Devi Brown moved from Los Angeles to Houston, only to move again to New York, get married (to Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown), and finally settle back in Houston, where radio listeners can hear her every morning on 93.7 The Beat. All good things, right? But Brown says the constant upheaval left her so stressed out that she developed shingles, a painful disease more commonly seen on 80-somethings than on 20-somethings.
"My doctor said it was 100-percent because of stress, just putting my body through the ringer. That was my first wake-up call. I needed a change," she says. Soon after Brown found herself at Deepak Chopra's Chopra Center in California, where she discovered meditation and mindfulness practice.
"After that I was the person using every vacation day to go on a retreat," she laughs. As Brown continued to grow and learn in the practice—she's certified to teach premordial sound meditation, based on 5,000-year-old Vedic techniques—Brown started to notice and wonder why she was often among the youngest people on the retreats, as well as one of few people of color. "I started to think, 'Why is it that younger people that are in the thick of their stressful careers and family life are not doing this stuff?' It clicked for me that it's not that people don't want to, it's that they don't know how to start."
Brown wants to change that with Karma Bliss, her new lifestyle website and product line launched earlier this month. Brown is a big fan of crystals, and Karma Bliss offers curated stones with different meanings and energies. There's also jewelry, produced in collaboration with Houston's Zuze Designs, which feature beaded crystals with a lovely weight and presence to them that can be worn as long necklaces or wrapped around necks or wrists. There's also sections of the site that focus on journaling, vision boards and meditation.
"I wanted to give people tools for meditation, for journaling, for utilizing crystals, for manifesting vision boards—four things that are super instrumental to me in my journey," says Brown. "Our products are super high-quality and I love them, but that's also to reel people in because my big desire is for people to do the work. These are the tools, but I'm also going to give you guidelines so you know where to begin."
Brown herself carries crystals on her person all the time, as well as leaving them in her office and all around her house. And she's been known to give crystals to hip-hop artists she meets through her day job when the moment strikes her. She takes me through some of the crystals in the Karma Bliss jewelry—rose quartz for love, white quartz for clarity, amazonite for aiding adventures and finding your destiny, even rosewood malas with cute colored tassels that are used in meditation practice. (Anxious or unfocused wearers can recite their mantra 108 times, or once per bead, similar to a rosary.) But Brown says even skeptics can find benefits.
"Crystals are believed to harness various qualities and healing abilities, but for those who aren't fully tied in, you can still share a beautiful intention. When you put them on and know what the meaning is, that's your road to self-awareness, because you're acknowledging the things you're looking to harness in your life. It's setting that intention for who you want to be," says Brown.
"People are loving crystals right now, but they may not know what they mean or how to utilize them. Once you're there I want you to roll up your sleeves and get to the business of you."