27 min read

The transformative power of beauty

The transformative power of beauty

In today's fiercely competitive business landscape, prevailing wisdom often champions hard skills as the key to success. Against this backdrop, discussions about beauty seem trivial, even out of place. Whether navigating the complexities of a tech giant or steering a local start-up, the focus typically leans towards business development, finance, data analytics, and strategy.

When Chris Everett embarked on a collaborative business venture with a couple of colleagues, he anticipated a role aligned with these conventional areas of expertise. To his surprise and dismay, he was assigned the domain of "beauty." Initially, Chris felt diminished by this assignment. Nonetheless, his trust in his colleague's judgment propelled him to investigate the concept of beauty. His exploration led him to a profound realization: beauty transcends superficial glamour, touching the realms of soul and spirit. It influences not just our perception, but our connection to and search for meaning in the world around us.

With a diverse background that spans from being an accomplished musician and designer to a farmer and co-founder of an arts non-profit, Chris brings a unique perspective to the concept of beauty. His journey has led him to explore and embrace beauty in all its forms, not just as an external aesthetic but as a vital, transformative force. For Chris, beauty is not about perfection or mere decoration. Instead, he sees beauty as a “shy peek at divinity.” Encountering it has led him to create experiences that connect us to each other and to the world in a meaningful way.

In our conversation, Chris talks about how he came to embrace the title of "minister of beauty," a role that reflects his commitment to nurturing spaces and experiences that are truly transformative. He also shares how beauty has concretely shifted his approach to work and life. From his relationship with the land on his Wisconsin farm to the sacred spaces he creates for artists and performers, Chris's practice is imbued with a reverence for beauty that goes beyond the superficial. His story is a powerful reminder of how embracing beauty in its fullest sense can lead to profound personal and communal healing and growth.

You can watch our conversation below on YouTube or listen to it wherever you get your podcasts. Please take a moment to subscribe and leave a review, since it helps to spread these discussions to a wider audience. An unedited transcript follows.

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Interview transcript

Brandon: Chris, it's such a delight to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Chris: Thank you so much, Brandon. That was a beautiful intro. I really appreciate that.

Brandon: Sure. I mean, I'm such a fan of the work you're doing. I'm delighted we're going to have a chance to talk and explore your journey. And with that in mind, I want to ask you to start with your childhood. What role did beauty play in your childhood, whether in art or music or whatever else you were doing?

Chris: I was born in Austin, Texas. I grew up in Texas. I was there until maybe five or six. I did most of my schooling in Houston, and then I went to University of North Texas as a piano performance major in north of Dallas.

Beauty played a big role in my life, I think, in two different ways. One, through music. Absolutely, I was one of those weird kids at five years old who told my parents I want to take piano lessons. Evidently, I really meant it. I took to it like a fish to water, and I soaked it up. That's how I thought. It's how I processed the world. From there, the other piece where beauty shows up, we were a religious family in a very religious place in the world, the Bible Belt. I started playing piano in the church when I was in junior high and had a deep love early on for ceremony, for sacred spaces, and the way that music met those sacred spaces. It oriented me, I think, in a very particular way around the power of music and community very early on.

selective focus photography of black wooden piano keys
Photo by Ebuen Clemente Jr / Unsplash

Brandon: Okay. So from music, how did you then — I mean, were you also doing visual arts at that time? Because you started doing some work in the visual arts as well, right?

Chris: Yeah, I was a light artist. Early on, I was constantly drawing. But music was really my space. When I was in high school, I dabbled in just about everything, theater. I picked up trumpet for a while. I accompanied the choir. I sang in the choir. I had a few art courses. But interestingly, when I went to college, the end of my second year, several of my incredibly talented friends were graduating and were freaking out about how they were going to make a living as a pianist or a performer.

I started exploring the university and discovered the graphic design program. I remember that very first class. It blew my mind. I'm like, okay, this is happening. How did I not know about this earlier? Because it's exactly how I think. I'm a visual thinker. There's a whole other discussion about the ways that people are brought through school and taught how to think, or process, or regurgitate. I have a hard time holding on to language, and I have a really hard time holding on to numbers and math. But I think visually, so graphic design just really hit a beautiful sweet spot. I ended up taking that path. I graduated with a Master of Fine Arts with Graphic Design major. It was a hard moment because music hit the backseat, although it is continued to carry with me through the course of my life and now has a whole different expression in my world. All of these different paths have come together now. But I really didn't investigate visual arts deeply until I was in college.

At that same time, the universe brought an incredible mentor into my life. He was my best friend's father. I will never forget going to their house for the first time, his parents, his mother and father. She was an interior designer. He was a creative director for Bloom Advertising in Dallas, Texas and was also an extraordinary painter. I walked into their house. And again, it was kind of like the graphic design, it blew my worldview open. I'm like, people live this way. This home is so exquisitely beautiful and every thoughtful piece, and how you were in the spaces. They introduced to me the idea of living an artful life, an art-centered life. What that means, for every aspect of how you show up in the world and how it feeds you.

Ken, my friend's father, was one of the first men in my life who's really saw me. He said, "I would love to be a mentor for you, if that would be valuable." I said, "I'll just do it wholeheartedly. Yes, thank you." We dove in not into graphic design, but he taught me how to walk a tight wire in his backyard which was about balance, focus, directedness, tension. We cooked together. We made music together. We did body work together, and then we did graphic design together. He taught me an entire philosophy around art design and beauty and the way that it embodied his life. The ripple of that moment hits my life now very deeply in how I live and my marriage in a beauty-centered, art-centered life, which is not just an aesthetic but it is a practice. It is a discipline. And so that was the seed that really carries through now.

Brandon: Could you say a bit more about what struck you as you're walking into their home? What did it look like in practice for them, to live this sort of art-centered life? How was that conveyed to you?

Chris: Yes, in many different ways. I had a lovely home growing up. But how do I put it in language? The home that they were living in, there was an ease and a flow of space and design in the way that they capture their life in each other. The photographs, it wasn't just like a family photo on the wall and all of the little squares. It was a six-foot tall black and white portrait of mom, of Jenny. That was just so breathtaking. There was a sense of awe in the spaces and the way that the space held you. There was an interaction with it and how the art making was woven into all of it.

One of the ways that I think about it now, and it's how my mind works from a design perspective. So you walk into a hotel lobby, and it makes you feel a certain way. You feel sophisticated. You feel sexy. You feel elegant, whatever. I want to back off from that feeling and ask, okay, what were the thousand design choices that were made to add up to that feeling, which is color, texture, height, tension, relationship, how space and spaces are created? All of that minutia adds up to — it is a portal of its own into a way of feeling and being. It's an invitation. I think it was Charles Eames that talked about one of the main roles of design is to be an invitation into an experience, into a way of being. It is the difference between a practical home and a home that is so thoughtfully designed that you step in. It's like, I now feel a certain way. It has shifted something energetically in me. That now shows up not only in my personal home, the strategic design decisions. Because the design now has a purpose. How do I want people to feel and be in my space?

We have an artist retreat on site. My husband and I run an arts non-profit here. We have a farmhouse that we have designed for our artists that come in. This year, we have I think 34 artists coming from all over the country and stepping into a space. And so that space has a design creative brief. There's a strategy. How do I help these strangers, these artists, step into a space and feel, oh, they get me? I feel known here. I will be held here and that it is opening me to be more creative and for the flow to start happening. That is not accident. It's not utility. It is something more than that and that there are a thousand signals that are set up in that space to allow someone to feel at home the minute that they walk in the door. I think that's what I'm pointing towards.

Brandon: And so you were cued into that as you're walking into their place, and you realized that the way this space conveys something to you makes you feel and so on is very different from your home, from the other environments you've been in. But then, you continued with a career in graphic design. What was that trajectory like? Did this mentorship then start to shape the way you approached design? What unfolded after this?

Chris: Yes, it's been such an interesting journey. I started in the advertising agencies — TV, radio, billboard, identity systems, branding, writ large. Branding in an essence is storytelling. It is understanding who you want to share your story with and how you're meeting their need. You are sharing yourself not only in a compelling and unique way but in a way that is so authentically true to who you are.

It took me an art to really understand the power of the storytelling and the graphic design. As I got to understand the industry and interpreting campaigns and identity from the core of who an organization is, I am someone who wants to know why. I want to get to the essence of the thing. And so here's the brief. Do the design. Create the fun ad. And why? What is this in service to? Who is this in service to? That eventually, over the course of time, I started in advertising. Every job, I changed medium. So I went into package design, in retail space design, retail experience design, digital design. But I kept asking why, which brought me into brand strategy, which is building out a framework that articulates all of these things. Can we get to the truth of who you are, the truth of your vision, the truth of where you want to go, the truth of who it is that you are serving? Articulate that in such a clear way that you can get to a brand promise, which ultimately gets to proof points and then what do we stand for an organization. Beautiful. You can build these out all day long. And is it true? You can say this is who you are. But is the organization now embodying that from the inside? Is it authentic? Do we need to act differently to embody our best selves now, which brought me eventually into culture work, culture design, cultural healing, cultural reorganization and coaching which, of course, ultimately leads to leadership.

So my work went from that external storytelling piece now all the way into the heart of the organization which is in leadership. I recognized that, for me to be in this space, I needed to do my own leadership development as well. And so I've been seeking out teachers and frameworks of all different kinds, some specifically in leadership development but also just — this is all personal work, personal development. Who am I in this world? And so it's all kind of cyclical that way. But it's been an interesting art pick because it went from the outside to the deeply inside.

Brandon: Then going back out again as you're working with leaders, right? I'm curious to know what role then art or beauty has played in this journey, particularly in your work on leadership, both personally and in working with the leaders that you've served.

Chris: As I've mentioned before, I keep getting back to the why and how do we know that it's true and it's real. If we are talking about development, transformation, in some cases, evolution most of the time, from a place of intention, how do you make it count? How is that real? How is it not just a surface thing? We can have an aha moment. But then, how does that truly integrate into your life so that I am now being differently in the world?

From a design perspective, I now took a step back and started looking at experience design, studying a lot of people. A really remarkable experience designer, Ida Benedetto, wrote a paper that is free online called Patterns of Transformation. She studied the patterns of transformation through three completely different experiences and said, what are the frameworks under here? What are the languages under here? How are the guides setting things up so the two are held safely, and you are guided in a direction, and there's the right amount of risk which is critical for real transformation? They're the core principles. But for me, getting back to my religious upbringing, I also just sensed in myself that there's something very powerful about ceremony, ritual, portal, sacred spaces. That this is not just outer work, this is inner work, which includes wisdom, values, taking on grief and trauma, your own narratives. But it's also spirit work. It's energy work. It's consciousness raising work. That energetic container needs to be held differently than just a workshop in a conference room with a bunch of post-it white things on the wall. There's nothing wrong with that. But it is a different level of truly opening up and going into something much deeper.

When I was introduced to the Medicine Wheel teachings, and the Medicine Wisdoms, and the earth intelligence, what I love about them is that it is ancient, and it is one part magical and in the spirit space. It is also equally, deeply practical. Here is something to do. Here is a way. One of the leadership tools called Command is about raising up and to observe yourself and assessing what is going on, what role am I playing, and what is needed for everyone? The diamond in the center is authenticity. Sincerity, I'm sorry. So now, how do I also step into this from a place of my truest self with my voice? It's beautiful, and it's such a practical tool. But all of this starts with my own personal practice. And so I want to teach some of these practices, teach some of these tools, including some other things that I have designed and from some other places. But that's how beauty has entered into the experience side of it — for real and true opening and transformation of individuals.

Brandon: Great. We chatted last year. We did shared this moment when you had an insight or given an insight into your calling as a minister of beauty, and you had an aversive reaction to that phrase. Could you talk about the context around that experience and what that word meant to you, and why you reacted to it that way?

Chris: Oh, yeah. Thanks for the question. This is the subject where you and I are both lighting up: beauty. Several years ago, I had two colleagues. The three of us were talking about starting a business together. One of them knows me for many, many years. He was thinking about the three legs of the stool. He's like, "Hey, I think you own this. I think I own this. Chris, I think you are going to own beauty." I don't know why. But in that morning, that moment, I felt so diminished. Really, just beauty? What about all of this other stuff I've been working so hard on, strategy and all the rest of it? I trust him enough to know me deeply and to sense that there was something really important here. And so rather than running from the concept of beauty, I wanted to open the hood and really look and see what is here. Why did I have a visceral reaction of being smaller rather than bigger? And so I started a journey of research on what is beauty, really. What did the scientists have to say about it? What did the philosophers have to say about it, priests, poets, artists, other designers, strategists? It was fascinating. It completely reoriented the whole concept to me.

John O'Donohue wrote an exquisite book on beauty called Beauty. One of the things that he wrote in the book was: when we experience authentic beauty, it feels like a homecoming. That lit me up. I thought, that is it. That was what my friend, Richard, was pointing towards in the first place. I have on my website my opening statement. I wrote this in 2020, an artist statement on beauty, why beauty, and my whole journey of research and looking into myself and seeing what society has to say about it. Part of why it felt reductive is, as a society, we've reduced it to just glamour. That's not what we're talking about here. The glamour is the veneer part of it. What John O'Donohue was talking about, what I've come to believe, is that beauty is nothing less than a shy peek at divinity. It is the crack in the wall where we get to re-experience God, spirit, mystery, whatever that is. But it is also the thing that weaves us all together. It is the thing that lives inside of us. Therefore, why wouldn't beauty be at the center of all of our transformative experiences? It is the way that we are cracked open. We remember who we are and where we come from, and how we are connected, not only to each other but to everything. Which means that beauty needs to be handled with reverence, and it needs to be handled with care and strategy. It isn't just decorating.

white and grey cloudy sky
Photo by Mariam Soliman / Unsplash

Right around 2019, a friend mirrored back to me in the same way: "Chris, you are the minister of beauty." I recoiled at that too. Not beauty but the minister part. It's the way this extraordinary universe works. It was the full circle back from my origins of being in the church and loving the sacredness of that, and the ceremony, and the ritual, and the community, and the music, and being a part of the sacred space-making. It was centered on the wrong thing for me. It felt like we were missing the point. Here in my mid-50s coming back, now I know in my heart anyway what this is about, and where it is that we're going, and what the ceremonies and rituals are in service to — this great remembering, this great homecoming.

It is a reminder to me that I have to approach it and hold it and guide it and do my work from this place of reverence, that this sacred work. And so I took on the minister of beauty and had my own ceremony maybe two years ago, where I realized I had to set a threshold and walk over it and claim it. It shifted something at me. I will, for the rest of my life, continue to unpack what it is and what it really means. But it is completely right. It holds the work, and it holds my language and my way at the same time.

Brandon: Could you point to something that has concretely shifted, I suppose, in your practice, in the way you either approach your work or create the spaces that you inhabit or build that have shifted since this recognition of owning beauty and being a minister of beauty? Has something concrete changed that you could point to?

Chris: Yeah, that's a lovely question. A couple of things come to mind. We're talking from my farm right now. We have 57 acres in western Wisconsin. As I mentioned, we have an arts non-profit here, Everwood Farmstead Foundation. We host performances, workshops, all summer. Then we have an artist residence or artist retreat on site. A couple of things have shifted. One, my relationship with the land. I've always loved land. I grew up with the prairies in Texas and the rest of it, and so I've had an appreciation for it. Then I got to be a steward of this place. In the caregiving and the husbandry of the land, there has been great joy.

But something fundamental shifted as I started doing the medicine work and leaning into a space of ministry, which is now I have a relationship with the land. Every single morning, I walk the land, and I am in full communication. I am connected to the earth. I'm connected to the moss. I hear it in communion with me, and I am supported in a different way. And so there's reverence in listening and a back-and-forth relationship with this place where I am, knowing that energetically it is supporting many other people as well. The spaces, I set as sacred spaces. Before every performance, I sage the barn. I invite our ancestors, the ancestors of this land, the ancestors of everyone who is going to be there and the musicians or whatever be with us. Support us. Bring us what we need in this moment, so it's a healing space.

Same for the artist retreat. I've created spaces for artists to go for meditation. A couple of years ago, I created a self-guided walking meditation in the woods called the Singing Path. That is based on a particular Medicine Wheel. I call them the Four Harmonies. There's a threshold and you have some cards. We just set them in and go deeper with your relationship with nature and remembering nature within yourself. So we're not just hosting. We're not just creating spaces. We are creating experiences for people for healing, for opening, for reconnecting, communion with each other and communion with the land as well.

Personally, I find myself showing up in relationships and in my work differently. I have my daily practice to center myself energetically and remember why I am here, which provides a sense of common centeredness in my work but even in the real tense moments. I had one last year. I pulled back and asked myself the question, because I could not figure out what is the way to move forward here. I thought, well, what would a minister of beauty do? It completely re-oriented my response from one of being defensive to one of what is needed right now for the best of everyone. And so that has been a helpful question in all of those moments of what is needed, and how do I show up as a minister versus just a human?

Brandon: Wow. How did the farm and the artist retreat come about? What led to that?

Chris: That was a surprise. My husband, Bill, and I had a loft in downtown Minneapolis. We had a very urban life. He would bike to work every day. I'd walk to work every day. We loved it. Minneapolis is a wonderful city. We were craving nature and some spaces to gather friends and have some more intimate time together. Minnesota is a very late cabin culture. We are a land of 10,000 lakes. While the lakes are lovely, we were craving space and land. Part of this may come from my own upbringing. I think that we thought we were going to buy some land and build. We started down in Pepin on St. Croix and worked our way up the Driftless zone, which is really beautiful, bucolic rolling hills.

After putting an offer in on three or four places, we ended up here at this farm mostly because we just wanted to see this incredible barn that's in great shape. Literally, we drove on the property in the driveway, and it took both of our breath away. There was something energetically that was just like, this place, this place. We walked around just kind of buzzing. I mean, logistically, it makes no sense. It was all over brown. Every building needed to be repaired. But this place just called us. We bought it and started renovating the farmhouse the first year. Then the next year, we went into the barn. The barn is about 2,500 square feet. It was finished in 1914 at the beginning of the war. It's built out of California redwood, which makes no sense here in central western Wisconsin. It is a beautiful church-like space. The more that we were in there, we just felt like something's got to happen here, something centered around community, healing community.

Both of us have been big art supporters over the years on many boards. I'm an artist in several ways. And so we thought, let's just experiment. We invited four artists: a director, an actress, a composer, and a poet. They stayed for three or four days. They wrote a piece. We had maybe 30 friends show up, and we had this extraordinary evening in the barn. I will never forget we walked out of the barn at the end of the evening and stood on the edge of this field, and it was covered in fireflies. Our jaws were just dropped, but it felt like everyone was saying yes, yes. And so we thought, all right. Was this good for us? Yes. Was it good for the artists? Yes. Was it good for the audience? Yep, it felt like it was good for Everwood. Let's try it again. And so we kept prototyping, and testing, and sharpening for about two, two and a half years until we knew what it wanted to be.

brown wooden barn
Photo by Conner Baker / Unsplash

Evidently, it wanted to be an arts non-profit. And so I did the brand work that I usually did for others, business strategy for ourselves, mission, vision, values. We created the board. We knew what our pursuits were going to be. Over the course of the first 10 years, we started the artist performances, our artist series until that was humming. Half of all of our proceeds go to the artists, the other half to the local art school teachers. This year, we're going to bring $50,000 to local art school teachers. We got the workshops up and running. We launched the artist retreat. This is our eleventh year now. Everything is in space. We're looking about how do we go deeper here. But all of it is in service to supporting the artist. Because we know that when the artists are happy and healthy and nurtured, it's good for everybody.

And why artists? Their job is to find fresh language for the human experience every day. We are in a time where language seems to be failing us. It's turning into rhetoric. Maybe through dance, or through a poem, or through a song, we can re-orient ourselves to the hard stuff. And, of course, you put beauty on the top of that, and you've got something really powerful happening.

Brandon: Extraordinary. How do you articulate the mission of the artist retreats? Because you're non-profit. What is ultimately the goal, would you say, there?

Chris: Our mission is to host inspiring spaces for artists to perform, teach, and work in a natural environment. Our mission, again, which is all focused on the artists, we don't reference our audiences. Our vision, our hope, as a result of that, is to heal and reweave our broken communities back together again. We're in a really interesting spot. We're one hour basically directly east of the Twin Cities. We're an hour west of some larger cities in Wisconsin. And so our audience is a very diverse mix of urban and rural, all ages, all beliefs. I think many of our audience members would never speak to each other on Facebook. And yet here we all are in the barn together, picnicking together, and experiencing some incredible beauty together. We have witnessed over this last decade some real healing truly and some new maybe uncommon relationships that have come out of it as this has become a new community. The reality is none of us are cardboard cutouts.

Brandon: Sure.

Chris: And I think social media and the rest may want us to believe that we're one dimensional, that I'm defined by one thing. And we're not. And so we're all in the barn together face-to-face. How powerful is that for healing?

Brandon: Is there an example that stands out of one of these transformations, one of these changes that has come about because of beauty that we're able to catalyze?

Chris: Yes, I will offer one story. We had an incredibly remarkable Cuban jazz and classical pianist here named Nachito Herrera. He lives with his family in Minneapolis now. He is co-owner of one of our larger jazz clubs. He was discovered as a kid in Cuba playing a major Rachmaninoff piano concerto and was brought to the states. He's an extraordinary talent. He's played at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and somehow said yes to come play in our barn, on our, at the time, questionable grand piano. So Nachito was here.

That week, in particular, there was the shooting in El Paso that Monday, the week before, in Texas. It was heartbreaking. That whole week, Bill and I talked about just how heavy our hearts were as the news stories kept coming in. That Friday, we were driving to the farm from the cities. There was an NPR piece about the impact of this on that community, in those families. We were both in tears. This was fairly early on. We had a great discussion about the nature of this community in this barn. That if this is a sacred space, is this a space to take this on? Or is this just a space that people come to get away from it, to see something and experience something different? We chewed on that for about 24 hours and came to the conclusion that this actually is the space to take it on. But maybe take it on in a different way.

Before every performance, I'd do a little experience design. If our mission and vision is about re-weaving us back together, you can't go up and say, "Hi, my name is Chris. Our mission is and our vision is..." We need to experience it with that transformational thing. And so I will do a little experience design before every show, not only to get everybody present because we are a listening room but to remember what a friend, neighbor, colleague feels like again.

And so how do we navigate this without, again, dividing? And so, "Welcome to Everwood. We're so happy you're here. I have to be really honest. This has been a hard week. My heart is just hurting for what happened on Monday. Are you feeling the same?" A lot of heads are nodding. I said, "I have a question for you. That is: what do you need from Everwood tonight? Do you need camaraderie? Do you need cookies, sweetness, nature, friendship, a hand on the shoulder? What do you need tonight?" I had everybody quiet for a moment thinking about it. I said, "Beautiful. Would you turn to the person sitting next to you and let them know what you need?" And so everybody shares. I bring them back. "Perfect. We're going to have an intermission in 90 minutes. Would you find that person and make sure that they're getting what they need?" So this sets a stage now for Nachito to come. The point being, we didn't talk about guns. We didn't talk about why we were sad or upset, but just that we're all feeling unease right now. And what do we do as a community? We look out for each other. You tell me what you need, and I'll just make sure I've got my eye on you. That's what community feels like.

Nachito, who told us afterwards, he said, "That set me up in a completely different way." He had a whole set list of what it was he wanted to do. Everybody was leaning in. He said, "I thought I'm going to experiment with something." He just started playing, and everybody was with him. He threw out the setlist, and he went in a completely different direction than he thought he was going to go. So he ends the evening by saying, "I feel like I can tell my immigration story, and I want to share it with you." He talked about how he came to the States. He fell in love with the United States. He was going to bring his family here, and 911 happened. Everything was shut down. He was separated from his wife and his kids for two and a half years, and they finally came.

He talked about how difficult that was but how determined he was going to use his music as a way to heal. He said, "I love this country, and I am so grateful to be here with my wife and my family. I will do everything that I can to give to this country and this community." Then he did an improv version of God Bless America. That was weeping and gorgeous. There was not a dry eye in the entire place. There was someone that I know in the audience who has a very far right rigid beliefs who was in the barn. He got to experience this whole thing. I had my eye on him. I'm like, I'm wondering how this is being received. And afterwards, he was the first person to shake Nachito's hand and say, "Thank you. I'm so happy to know your story." I feel like the beauty and the intention and the sacredness healed several things in that moment, including Nachito and his ability to fully bring himself and his story to the moment and how that moved everyone.

Brandon: Wow. Extraordinary. That's really incredible. So delighted that you're doing this work. I think it really speaks to the power of beauty to transform us. For those who are in our audience wondering what it might mean to live a beauty-centered life a bit more, what tips might you offer? What would you recommend to them?

Chris: That's such an interesting question. I'm actually beginning to work on an experience offering. I just introduced a bundle of eight experiences a couple of months ago that I'm calling the Hum Experiences — the website is humexperiences.world — that are teaching some of the ceremonial tools, ways to connect deeper with nature, some simple practices that you can do at home. One of them that I want to design for next year is exactly what you're asking, dancing with beauty, living a beauty-centered life.

I will go back to where I started. That in, say, putting a home or a room together, there are functional questions. But a big part of the question is, how do I want this to feel? What energy am I setting? How do I want to react with it? How do I want others to react with it? That could be a room in the house. It could be a room in your property, outdoors. There are portals and entrances and ways to say, all right, I'm going to honor this and then be held.

green grass field under white sky during daytime
Photo by Rowan Freeman / Unsplash

It's all sensorial. It's what you see. It's how you feel. It's what you hear. It's what you smell. It's what you taste. There's just such a richness of environment that can open us, that can shift energy. It is an energy exchange, ultimately. Everything has vibration. So I think intention is a huge part of it. This is going to be a fun one to explain, because it's something I just know in me and I know what's it like. I want to get it on a table and articulate it so that it becomes useful for others, and I'm sure more useful for me.

Brandon: Yeah, that's fantastic. I think it's really sorely needed. You talked about us living in a sort of beauty desert these days and the ways in which we inhabit our lives in the world. I think these experiences are really crucial. And also, just the commitment we need to make to trying to explore this on our own and to make this journey is really important.

Where can we direct our viewers and listeners to your work where they could learn? I will certainly put Hum Experiences in the show notes. But where else we should direct our folks?

Chris: Yes, thank you for that. My personal website is chriseverett.world. This was written and formed over the entire of the pandemic. It was an opportunity to slow down and really look at this crazy world that I have created somehow as a designer, and a farmer, and an arts non-profit person, and a guide, and all the rest of it. I felt like there's something. I'm the same person at the center of all of those worlds. And so what is that? I started with my artist statement on beauty which is on the homepage. So chriseverett.world encompasses the whole of my world, from guiding to artwork.

Then our arts non-profit is everwoodfarmsteadfoundation.org. We list all of our performances and workshops for the year. You can see the good work that's happening out here and the beauty of this particular place, which I feel every single day, deeply grateful to be able to be in a relationship with.

Brandon: Wonderful. Chris, it has been such a delight. I've learned so much. I'm sure our audiences, as well. I'm so glad you were able to be with us and to share your story, your journey, and the amazing work you're doing.

Chris: Thank you. I feel really honored to be asked to be a part of this podcast and the conversation. It's been a joy getting to know you as well. It buoys me in many ways to know that you are researching what you are researching and asking the questions and dedicating yourself to it. Now it feels really important to me, obviously.

Brandon: Great. Fantastic. Well, thanks, Chris. I look forward to seeing you soon. And yeah, this has been really wonderful.

Chris: Thank you so much.

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