The Visual Element

Your Brand is not Your Logo

Self-discovery is all about trying new things and finding out who you are along the way.

Let me say this again – Your brand is NOT your logo. This is a common misconception and it is because the logo is typically what you think of first when you think about a brand. However, branding is so much deeper than just the surface logo.

Personal branding is first-and-foremost about self-discovery. If you do not know who you are, what you do, why you do it – then you will never have a viable brand. Consistency is key, but if you don’t know what your base is, then your brand will inevitably fail.

Think of your brand as a person. People have personalities. People have visions and mission. People have goals. People communicate. If you are lacking any of these, then your brand will suffer. Personal branding a process which helps to guide you on your journey through business. Without this guide – there will be many distractions that will hold you back from what you are truly hoping to accomplish.

In order to help further your brand development, I have a series of guides, activities, and some serious homework. Branding takes time. If you spend the time necessary to achieve the best brand for you – the you will reap the rewards of that investment. You are worthy of this investment. You need this time.

Through the process of self-discovery, you will be able to clearly communicate who you are, what you do, and why you do it. This gives you value way beyond your education, expertise, or bank account. It answers the questions, “what makes you different?” and “why”? It gives you clear guidance to accept your strengths and follow what you are truly passionate about.

If you want to further your journey of self-discovery with me, please schedule a time.

This is my passion. This is my purpose.

Contact

The Visual Element
Elgin, Iowa

(563)-380-1126

Merging Science Principles & Business

I am a nerd. There. I said it.

With that – I want to discuss one of the evolutions behind my way of thinking. I see the world as connected. And not just the world, but the entire universe. From the structures of atoms to the structure of galaxies, there is consistency and repetition. The interconnectedness of these ideas and the laws which govern them can be applied to the very human-centered idea of business. Science – specifically biology – can be used as a tool to understand the future of business.

If you can, imagine business as a person. What is its personality like? How does that fit in in the big picture?

What is the big picture of business? How does this relate to science?

Similar to ecosystems where every stage is interconnected, so are the moving parts in business. Not one thing is more important than another – it all needs to work and function synchronistically in order to survive and evolve. Think of evolution on the scientific scale. Natural selection is trial and error. With this, some species survive and some do not. Inevitably, it is the species that learn to adapt and evolve with the ever changing world and life itself, that go on to produce the next generation. This is the type of scientific principle that needs to merge with business. Innovation is key – not just at the individual (atom) level, but as a whole (system). Can you see how this works on a micro and macro level at the same time? Are you only looking through the microscope and not the telescope simultaneously?

Whenever I am guided by my spirit – I seem to always become a bird. I am governed by the fact that I can see the whole system from a bird’s eye view, but I can also hone in on the details – I can see the opportunities (the mice in the field) – and I have the innate drive that I need to catch them. I want to grab hold of each and every opportunity that comes by because there will be times that the mouse escapes and I will go hungry, but that will only further the drive in me to be sure that the next opportunity does not go to waste. See, there is something to learn from every experience. And if we work together, collaborate, and share our stories – we inevitable are sharing the collective knowlege of humanity. I cannot say how grateful I am for the internet. The internet and all its connections and networks – similar to that of the structure of the human brain. I can gather so many stories and so much data. The entire world is literally at my fingertips.

So here I go, gathering data and researching. I am constantly researching. It doesn’t matter the subject, although most of my questions are about science, art, thinking, systems, design, sustainability, and growth. How do we take all of what we know and share it so that everyone is on the same level of understanding? If we all understood the world at this ultimate level – how much more could we learn, discover, and grow? The universe is so vast and there is so much left to explore. If each of us takes just one little bit, connects with the world, and shares it, how much farther – deeper – can we go? Not just as individuals, but as a species. We are at the brink of the next stage of evolution. We either work collectively to enhance our understanding of life or we slowly fade into the distant past. The choice is ours. We are the only beings that we know of that can consciously observe ourselves from the perspective of the universe – the fifth dimension – the collective spirit.

Therefore, I invite you to look deep within yourself and view yourself objectively. Can you become the observer of your life? All scientific research involves observation at one stage or another. I challenge you to become more through less. You are not your thoughts. You are not you body. You are not your feelings. These are just the constraints of being the universe observing and perceiving itself through human form. Be open to new ideas. Challenge what you thought was real – You may be surpised what you find. Inevitably your perspective with shift and you will be more intuned with your self. Strip away everything you ever thought you were – these are just human constructs and experiences that have shaped your perception of yourself. There is something more true to your nature – that observer that sits and waits.

I encourage you to practice stillness. To sit in the quiet. Learn to just be. No longer will your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of how things are be your definition of self. It will be so much more powerful. Explore deeper. Find that lost connection to your truest of trues. There is something the has being lying so deep and patient inside you that needs to be brought to the surface. Tune in to your microscope – It will evolve and in synchrony – it will also become your telescope. You will see how everything is connected, where you fit in, and the true meaning of life.

Life is not what you make of it. It is who you are – what you are. Life and consciousness coexist.

I am so much more than body.

I am more than thoughts.

I am more than feelings.

I am more.

I am.

I am.

I am.

I am.

I. AM.

Am.

Janus

I made this piece during a Community Art session at Upper Iowa. It was ceramic hand building. What started out as a basic vase shape turned into so much more. I love the art – and not just in the sense that of the physical manifestation, but the process. I have discovered that art is not about the end product, but the journey you go through. It is about acceptance and understanding. It is about exploration and discovery. It is about going deeper. It is allowing your subconscious to use your body as a tool. It is a means of communication.

I have found that the best pieces are those that resonate with my truest of self. These expressions of self are mystical, magical, and powerful beyond measure. These expressions are not planned but allowed. This type of art making is about letting go and trusting that whatever is going to be already is and has been.

The synchronization of this type of art as a reflection of the subconscious to the conscious self is beyond words. Although, through this process I try to use words to help me (my conscious) to understand what my self (subconscious) is telling me.

Meet Janus. Janus is what I discovered about my self – not to be confused with myself – along this part of my journey. See, as I was constructing this vessel I was unsure of what was going to happen. By the time I had built up to the top these two faces emerged. It was at this point that I stopped as I knew I had discovered something but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. This is the part of the journey where I go searching. Usually that means the internet as it is the most efficient tool. As I began to search, I came across answers that did not resonate with this vessel such as “two-faced”. I knew I had to dive deeper. Since this is ceramic, I tend to be attracted more to the Greek and Roman beliefs. So on my search went. When researching “two faced being greek roman” I came across the god Janus. This was it. This is what I needed to find.

See, at this time in my life is when my dad suffered a series of strokes. I was trying to understand who he was now and what he was going through – and what I was going through. Where did we go from here?

Janus has a Greek origin meaning “gateway.” He is the Roman god of transitions and dualities – the god of doors. I was unsure what I had felt about all of this trauma until I could put it into the big picture. Here I was, standing in a doorway – unsure of which way to go, which way to turn, to look forward or go back. Janus is “usually depicted as having two faces looking in opposite ways, one towards the past and the other towards the future.” He presides over transitions. I was in a stage of transition as was my dad. He had to relearn who he was all over again. I would say I can’t imagine what that is like, but see – I can. I am in a constant state of transition, of moving on to the next stage – sometimes going backward. But – then something like this vessel helps me to understand where I got off track and offers me hope and a way forward.

See – I no longer have to carry this burden with me. It is a heavy one – quite literally. It took more than 40 lbs of clay to make this piece. However, I can always look at it and return to it whenever I need to find my way. It shows me how far I have come and reminds me that there is so much more distance to travel.

I have always been fascinated by the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, the European Renaissance, and other ancient and past cultures as I believe that they knew much more about the self or the soul than we do now. This has gotten so lost over time and I think it is time for a rebirth. I am here to be the founder of this revolution. This is the new cycle of awakening. We need to learn from our past – not just individually, but as a collective whole – who we are now and where we came from. We have been struggling and now it is time to grow.

The Age of Aquarius

The Buddha and The Badass – Vishen Lakhiani

This next year, 2021, begins the Age of Aquarius. I know some of you may not believe in astrology or see the universe in the way that I do, but I am here to shift those thoughts and ideas. I am here to plant the seeds of new ways of thinking to promote more growth. We humans, as a collective whole, have not had a bursting forth of growth and evolution since the Renaissance. It is time for a new era. The era of consciousness.

“[Aquarians] channel from the collective consciousness and ether, and bring the intangible to life with their creations,” says Crysler. “They often know what we need before it’s needed, and their intention—although they sometimes can seem detached—is typically for the greater good of humanity.”

“[In the Age of Aquarius,] the power is turning over to the individual, and giving the freedom for you to choose your own reality based on what aligns with your soul.” —Adama Sesay, astrologer

One practice that I have added to my daily life is meditation. Such a simple, but powerful tool. Guided meditations will help you to see beyond the veil of what you perceive as reality. Here you can plunge into the deep vastness of the collective consciousness. Granted – this takes practice. But isn’t that is all that life is anyway? A series of practices? You can either choose the practice of – lie and wait for something to happen – OR – you can choose a more purposeful route. To tap into your deepest level of self – keep searching. You will be amazed, inspired, and find things you knew were there, but needed to be brought to attention. Everything you need is already within you. Dig deep.

Identity

2020 has been a year of growth for me. An entire year. Usually I would fall off the bandwagon here and there with long gaps of sinking into a depression. This year has been life-altering and not just because of COVID although that has played a part. I think that has helped others to understand that change can happen, will happen, and that pivoting is a part of the cycle of nature.

I have re-established a connection with my inner-self. This is so important to me because without this centeredness, wholeness, alignment with my spirit guide, I become lost in the small stuff. I had to take some time these last few weeks to start a ‘Miracle Morning’ routine. I used to do this when I was first in college and would get up early and go out running. There is just something about the stillness of the morning – the quiet. I have learned that I have a better day if my mornings are not rushed, but instead welcomed. Along with this daily practice, I have begun to challenge myself and implement a few more things on my self-improvement practice to-do list that I have long been ignoring. Why? Because society tells us that everyone else matters more than we do to ourselves. This is wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The truth is…In order to be able to help others in a supportive and guiding manner, we must first help ourselves to understand the practice and the process. We must struggle ourselves in order to be able to empathize with the struggles of others.

There have been many struggles in my life as I am sure there have been in yours. We all experience the world and reality differently. Our brains develop as we progress through life. The brain is constantly repairing itself, forming new pathways for information to flow. Thoughts are in fact a physical force, an energy. If you practice, you can tap into this at a much deeper level and help to form those pathways in a purposeful manner. This reminds me of my dad. He is such a big part of who I am and I am sad that he has moved away. It is more than that. I miss having that guide – another deep thinker. Deep thinkers are rare, but we are out there. If you are feeling alone because no one understands the depths of your imagination, please reach out to me. Back to my dad – well, maybe even farther… In order to understand where I come from, you must first understand my story.

I grew up in DeKalb, Illinois. When I was nine years old, my parents bought a small farm here in northeast Iowa. Practically every weekend – rain, sun, snow, holidays – we would travel the 200+ miles each way to come out and work at the farm. See, when we first bought the place, it was a complete disaster. An old farmhouse had been moved in from several miles away, set on a foundation, and left there. The previous owner was allowing his horses to take shelter in the basement. Yep-horses in the basement and a foot – a literal foot of manure left in the dairy barn that we scooped out and cleaned up. That was the worst.

I have spent so much time in a car or truck. So. Much. Time. What did this give me? It gave me time – time to be bored – time to wonder – time to think. We would often travel in two vehicles because we were moving items at the same time that we would come out. So all at once we were cleaning up the former owner’s mess, rebuilding the farm house and the single room cabin, generally taking care of the property (mowing, plowing, etc.), and moving in. I am a helper so I liked to help out with projects – sometimes I had to be told to. We did have play time too. There is a creek there that we would swim in, catch crawdads, and watch minnows. The woods provided plenty of hiking in nature and imaginative play. Oh, and the hammock. I love laying in a hammock. I also love to read – so you might have found me there too. Or sleeping a on the forklift. Yes. That is correct! Ha ha. I would sit on the forklift in the dairy barn and sometimes, with a cat, I would fall asleep.

Anyway, this was our way of life for years. Yes, YEARS. Eventually, my dad and my little brother moved out here. My older sister and her husband followed along, but they bought a house in the next town over. My dad and brother lived in the cabin while my mom and I stayed in DeKalb my senior year of high school. See, I had this friend – my best friend – and I didn’t want to leave her and start all over. Although, this happened eventually when I came the next year and started college at Upper Iowa. I moved into my sister’s basement and lived there for about a year. Time went on and I met my husband and eventually moved in with him, got pregnant, and we started our family. More time goes on…

About three years ago my mom filed for divorce. This was a huge blow, but also felt – expected? A little over six months later, my dad suffers from at least seven strokes. He had had a stroke or two before this, but this was serious. This was life-altering. I lived in the hospital with him for a few weeks until he was transferred to a nursing facility where he received physical and cognitive therapy. This was heartbreaking to watch. Before all of this I had held my dad up on a pedestal like most children do. All of this made him human. It made him – fragile. It was heartbreaking because I would go with him to his speech therapy where he would work with the therapist and name random objects, but he didn’t know who I was. I was erased from his memory. Maybe not completely, but that pathway had been broken. I suffered so much breaking at this point in my life. It has taken time, but he has mostly returned to himself – however, the genius pathways have not been totally reset. But at least his sense of humor has returned.

Another six months goes by. My husband suffers a literal gut-wrenching accident at work. He was rushed by ambulance to the nearest hospital where they performed life-saving surgery. I will forever be in debt to those doctors, nurse, and hospital staff. He was then life-flighted to Iowa City hospital. Meanwhile, my mom has come to my rescue to drive me to the first hospital where he was taken to find out that he has been flown farther away. Never before has my soul felt so ripped from my being. We stayed in the ICU there for over a week and then were transferred to a quieter space. That whole experience was… I am not even sure how to put words to it. The complete and utter depth of despair the ICU held. Unfathomable. A woman who shared our same room was taken off life-support and I sat in there and listened to her die so slowly, so, so, slowly. It was unbearable. She died while her family sat there and talked like nothing was happening. They ate lunch. They laughed. There was so much denial. I cried for that woman. I mourned her even though our meeting was just moments, really.

Eventually, my husband recovered enough to go home 17.5 days later. Through all of this I somehow lost myself as I became a caretaker. I lost the art of taking care of myself. Everyone else was more important. But, if you take a step back and really look at the big picture, all there is is you in the now. Who you are right now. That is it. You are the universe experiencing itself in human form. Think big. Go beyond. Reach farther. You are the universe. You, as in your soul, your spirit, your inner-self, your guide. Whatever you want to call it. You are the universe. You are all that ever was and all that ever will be. You are connected to everything and everything is connected to you. Each of us has had experiences that make our paths through life and our neural pathways unique. But in essence – in the physical world – all that is and all that means is that one this is connected to another. One thing leads to another.

How is this relevant to my identity? Over this past year I have focused on growth instead of all the immense pain. I chose to do things that I have been long pushing aside. I chose to focus on myself. While that may sound selfish, and parts of it are, I also believe in balance. You cannot have the growth without the struggle. Similarly, you cannot act selflessly without also being selfish. selfishness doesn’t have to be greedy – It just means that you also must care for your self. Find your inner child. Care for her. Take her on the journey with you. You are your inner child’s guide. You know in the end it will be okay – Be sure to convey that to all the parts of you that are broken or hurt. Heal yourself. It is so powerful and will guide you to a better, stronger, and more truer you than you have seen. Be true to yourself. Accept the good and the bad. Shout it out.

Others are listening and they need our guidance.