I met her on the corner of 44th and Evanston, about five houses down from mine. She was trimming rose bushes with gardening shears–mind you roses that were in full bloom as the ones in my yard were just beginning to bud. I wanted to know her secret, but starting up a conversation didn’t seem likely. I was on my way to Marketime, focused and determined to stay on target. On the way back with a case of Session Lager, a shallot, garlic and a serrano pepper, we made eye contact and that was it. Lo and behold, she has the same name as me–give or take an ‘n’! And is probably the only person I’ve ever met who can hug as long and as hard as I can. Maybe its a Bri thing. Cool points well-earned. Our interview was conducted almost a year later, just after a few key transitions in Bree’s life.
State your name for the record, please.
Briana soon-to-be Squirrel-Barrett
Your art form?
The art of invitation, namely helping people feel welcome. Anyone could extend an invitation, the art of the thing is making it personal, asking what they want and then getting them to do it.
Seems like an important task that might go overlooked. How do you do it?
I focus on helping people make time for what they consider important. It all starts with asking, finding out what it is and then getting excited is easy because, usually, what people want is something that our whole community needs.
How does a motivator keep motivated?
Meditation and my mantra, “I’m an invitation. Don’t forget to mention…”
What challenges to you face as an invitation?
The same as everyone, shadows and fears and asking why. That nagging voice that says, “Why do I want attention?” As if I need a reason. I don’t need a reason!
To be effective despite fear is courage. What are your outlets for channeling your fears?
I write poetry, laugh at jokes and gather together with friends.
For Bree (and for all of us, I bet) doing the thing she’s afraid of quells the fear. Bree’s amazing! She also says things like,
“The force that causes leaves to unfurl is still coursing through it even after the buds have flowered and gone.”
What other sorts of solutions help you stay on track?
I have an accountability appointment with a friend weekly. So far we’ve determined that I needed some time to rest after having been sick. It helps to have the conversation, otherwise I don’t easily grant myself the gift of time for things like healing or taking care of myself proactively. I’ve also enrolled in a 9-week business course where I will meet other entrepreneurs and build community while learning.
Bree’s business, Neighbors on Purpose, is all about community and offers a whole heap of services such as cleaning, gardening, and consignment based yard sales. Wanna get involved? Go to neighborsonpurpse.com and tell her Sunshine sent ya!