260 Brandee Powell: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Success
Brandee Powell is the Co-Creator of the Rythmia Life Advancement Center in Costa Rica, where she infuses ancient and modern wisdom, plant medicine and breakthrough technologies for healing and inspiring entrepreneurs to conscious leadership. Brandee shares the adversity that propelled her to success as an advertising agency phenomenon, creator of products like children’s DJ toy Beamz with rapper Flo Rida, and now into enlightened transformation.
Melinda Wittstock: Brandee, welcome to Wings.
Brandee Powell: So great to be here, Melinda.
Melinda Wittstock: I'm so excited to have you on as well. I'm so excited by all you're doing in the world and everything you're up to at Rythmia. And I wanted to start by asking you about your own transformation story. How did you end up on the journey, on this amazing healing journey that you're on?
Brandee Powell: Yes. That goes back to my really, crazy traumatic childhood. And so many of us that are in this space came from that and we get to a point where we just cannot follow the same patterns or allow the program to take us down and so we find personal development work and transformation work and find that it's the only way to freedom. For me, I came from a very crazy childhood.
When I was six years old, my dad committed suicide in the house while I was there. And I walked in on the room, and that was when my life changed forever. And after that, my mother took myself, my sister, my little brother and did her best to raise us, but, you know, she was really suffering and she got into using drugs do until I was 11 years old, I was raised in a house where my mother was constantly doing meth and I was raising my little brother who, you know when I was eight years old, I had his crib in my room and he came to me to change his diapers and to do all of these things.
And when I was a little girl, I was super creative, like the beauty of this craziness that I was raised in was just that my outlet was creativity and I loved creating things. I actually used to create little businesses. That was my favorite thing to do with my time so nothing much has changed as an adult. But, you know, so that was my outlet and I remember going to like the Salvation Army to get clothes and I found like a little miniature business suit and I used to dress and fantasize about being a businesswoman.
Then when I fast forward, my mother went to prison and at 11 years old, I went to go live with my grandparents who were the absolute opposite of what I was raised with, with my mother and father. They were my angels. Like never said a cuss word. Like I went from like this rock star lifestyle to Leave It To Beaver in the 1950s in Oakland, California. And then, I went into really, rough schools where I was pretty much the minority. Like most of the, usually you hear girls having like eating disorders from wanting to be skinny. I was like so embarrassed for being like a white girl and being skinny, when I wanted to be like all the ethnic girls and curvy so I used to like have the opposite problem. I was like drinking creatine, eating double decker supremes from Taco Bell, trying to gain weight and I couldn't a pound.
And it was survival in those schools. Like there was this crazy stuff going on. You know, drugs and violence and gangs and all of this and thank God somehow, by a miracle, I survived all of this and when I was in my twenties, I had an experience where you know my grandparents were in a head on car accident in their 80s, their full bodies were broken, and my grandma was on a life support and I moved to Sacramento to live in this hospital and take care of them and I was just praying to God, I was like please don't let them go. I'm not ready.
And this was when I actually had just found the secret. The book, “The Secret.” So I was like, you know, just sending positive affirmations to my grandma, to my grandpa, and just speaking to them and bringing the back to life and bringing them amazing food and little by little after a year of living in this hospital, they both came back to life. They went home. The doctor said it was a miracle. Like the things that cured in them were impossible and this is, you know, when I started having mystical and spiritual experiences while I was going through this in the hospital with them. And I started reading all of the books I could get my hands on about spirituality and the mystical path of every different ancient religion.
And then, I started my first business. And you know how that goes, like nothing will bring you to your knees and bring you to, you know, the work of transformation than creating a business on your own. So that's really, that was what got me into it.
Melinda Wittstock: What an extraordinary journey. You know, I think of all the pain that you endured, must have endured through all of that. And yet to think, at this point, does it feel now that it didn't really happen to you? It happened for you?
Brandee Powell: Oh my God, yes. I mean, I am so grateful for my mom and dad, you know. I did this plant medicine ceremony one time and it was on Mother's Day in Costa Rica and my mom came and I watched her, our track together, and what an amazing mother she is for playing the role that she played so that I could play the role that I'm playing. And the sacrifices that she made and I learned so many things from my mother. Like I learned to be self-reliant. And I learned to be a problem solver from my mother and my father and, you know, every single, you know the whole, all of the darkness of my childhood today is just the biggest blessing ever because I would never be who I am or doing what I'm doing without any of it.
Melinda Wittstock: I feel so similarly about my own life. You know, it's interesting what you say about your mother. My mother's really on my mind right now because she's 90 and she's falling increasingly into dementia. You know, and it started really with small things and now it's pretty major. And we never had a good relationship. I mean, there were all kinds of drama and things that happened in my childhood too also the age six. Which, you know, you spend your life sort of recovering from in a way. But they also spur you to do things and have insights and be able to help people in other ways.
And I spent Thanksgiving during a crisis where she went wandering, I spent all day on Thanksgiving just thinking about her and from a position of gratitude. Like what she gave me, even the things that were really awkward. Like I just set about consciously reframing the story, because there were a whole bunch of things that were very painful and not great. Stuff that really like I felt like I was running from through much of my life. But in forcing myself to just say, “Okay, what was good about this? What did she give you that was really good?” And I got more and more and more into this practice and with just visualizing for her and now we've had this really great outcome because she's found this really great place to be but also she's in a totally different place. She's in this, she's in her true essence, you know?
In joy. She's forgotten all the stuff, all the resentment, all the, it's almost like she let go of all that stuff in her dementia and it made me think, “Wow, well don't wait till 90 until you have that happen to your mind.” I mean, let go of all that stuff now.
Brandee Powell: Exactly. Yeah, this was a, this, for me, working with the plant, this and this was what I came to, was exactly what you're saying. You know, we are invoking this opportunity to have the experience of lifting the veil and being able to cross to that other side and then bring it back into the world. Bring those realizations and bring those healings and awareness back now so that we don't have to wait until we're 90 years old to have that experience but then already be crossing over. Let's be able to actually live it now.
Melinda Wittstock: You know what's fascinating about all of this is what seems new age is actually ancient. Maybe it's just new to us.
Brandee Powell: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: Right?
Brandee Powell: Yeah, it is exactly right.
Melinda Wittstock: In another life, back when I was a journalist, I remember one of my editors on the Times of London saying to me, “You know, Melinda, just because it's news to you, doesn't mean it's news.” It was like that quintessential kind of English sort of put down, you know, for a journalist.
Brandee Powell: Totally.
Melinda Wittstock: But it's true, you know, I think all these things that we're discovering, they are new to us but they are actually ancient and when, I mean I have a similar journey in a way that you have these and mine also similarly started with a secret and it leads you to new things and new things and also to plant medicine and ultimately to surrender and letting go of all these kind of limiting millions and millions and millions of these limiting beliefs that we have all in our minds, right?
Brandee Powell: Yes, yes.
Melinda Wittstock: And just getting past ego and all of that. And it's a process. Like I don't really feel that it's ever finished.
Brandee Powell: Right. No. It's a question of like how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go?
Melinda Wittstock: Right.
Brandee Powell: And once you take the, what is it the blue pill or the red pill?
Melinda Wittstock: Right.
Brandee Powell: Or take the-
Melinda Wittstock: Or the green pill.
Brandee Powell: Once you take the red pill, you know, you're kind of like oh shoot, there's no going back. Once you have an awareness there's no going back and the question is how far into your awareness are you going to go.
Melinda Wittstock: It's funny though. I mean I share my Amazon experience because I went there a couple years of go with the Pachamama Alliance and I actually won the trip to the Amazon in my maverick 1000 Entrepreneurs [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:26:42"].
Brandee Powell: Oh wow.
Melinda Wittstock: And it was funny because we were all competing, because we do all this work, you know applying our business and entrepreneurial skills to help charities and so it just so happened that Lynne Twist from Pachamama was there and John Perkins the two founders of it.
Brandee Powell: Oh, yeah, we've had John at Rythmia, yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. And like saving the Amazon rainforest and so they gave their whole presentation and we all got really into the cause. And so then we divided up into these tables and came up with their marketing plans and their plans and all of this, and we were competing, but we didn't know what we were competing for. We were just competing because we're entrepreneurs, right? And turns out, my table wins and they said, “Congratulations, you've won this trip to the Amazon.” I'm like, “No way.” Right? So like several months later, I find myself on this journey and I didn't know what plant medicine was. I didn't know anything about it at all. I just, you know, we were just discovering things as we went on this journey and towards the end of it, we all did it and I think in my case, it was so funny, there were these moments where you'd have these revelations, but it was also make you sick. Like because you were getting rid of a whole bunch of stuff.
And I remember at one point, one of the assistants from Pachamama came over, “Melinda, are you all right? Like can I help you?” Whatever. I'm like, “No, no, no, no I've got a lot of stuff to get rid of here so if you don't mind, I'm just going to like get rid of it.” Like and I was really efficient. This like businesswoman is like let me get rid of this right now. I'm here and I've got to get it done, right? And it became a joke.
Brandee Powell: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: You know, she's going to make her numbers, right? She's also going to get rid of this stuff like with efficiency. And it was, you know, it was funny but it was really truly transformational on so many levels and I could talk for hours about it. And so, what was the first, so with you, what was your experience that brought you to the medicine? Like what was happening in your life? How did you find it? And what were some of the first things? Tell me about your experience with it?
Brandee Powell: Yeah. So, you know, for me when I first heard about the plant medicine, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it because my history with my mom and drugs, I just, I wouldn't even smoke pot.
Melinda Wittstock: No, right.
Brandee Powell: So for me it was just like absolutely not. I had, but what brought me to the medicine was actually my visions so probably eight years ago, I started working on a project called The Sleeping Giant's project and, you know, I owned my marketing and branding company but really my heart and my passion was really to make an impact and I asked how could I be used to really make an impact with the situation that was going on? Like I love like watching horrible, heartbreaking documentary films or just things that make me cry so that I can just remember to not get caught up in the little bubble of Los Angeles and all the things that I think are important and to remember what's really going on here and to align with the mission of being in service.
So for me that was what I heard. I heard the way you could be in service in the greatest capacity is to wake up the giants. So back then, I thought, okay, bring the most progressive modalities for healing and transformation and I put this whole vision board together to create a center in Costa Rica and I had this whole idea. Back then, I didn't know what the plant medicine was so I was working on it on the side helping, I created a whole life transformation program working with men that were transitioning out of prison teaching them mystical teachings and meditation and I really loved what I was doing and wanted to make this what I did full time.
But, you know, I thought well okay well how am I going to do all that, how am I going to fund all of that? I got to do this business that I'm not really into first and then I could get really go all into what I really want to do. So luckily the universe had a better plan for me and my business partner and I had a falling out and over night I lost everything. And I had a choice to go back into what was comfortable because already amazing opportunities were lining up. Or to step into the unknown and so this was the first time in my life where I decided to step into the unknown and to just surrender and to be asked to be guided.
And I spoke it out loud. I said, “God, I want to work on one of the biggest movements on the planet. Use me.” And when I said that, it put this force greater than me into action and I started getting guided. Like first I was guided to different transformational leaders. I was working with Marianne Williamson, helping her with her campaign for Congress. Then I had a group of shaman contact me from Costa Rica who had an [inaudible [spp-timestamp time="00:31:53"] resort and I went out there to check it out. It was so beautiful.
Like they had a waterfall. And it looked like the Garden of Eden. And I'm like, “Oh my God, my vision's manifesting.” But, I wasn't sure about whatever this was that they were taking. I'm like this sounds like a drug. But they were beautiful people and I heard about the miraculous healings and I'm like, “Okay, I'll support you. You guys do your work over here and I'm going to build my retreat over here. We'll partner together.”
And I went back home and I started getting invited every week by someone different to do the medicine. And finally, one of the women I was consulting for who's 70 years old was the one who got me to go. And to help her with the vision for her company. And when I went and asked the shaman to really explain this experience to me. And when she explained that, you know, a drug is something that's taking you outside of yourself. And the medicine is taking you inside of yourself. And it's an opportunity to lift the veil and to be able to connect with your soul and see what it is that you can't see so that you can get clarity, visions, and also healings from the things that are holding you back from living the life that you really want to live.
So I was in a time where I really needed some help and I set my intentions. I asked what is my life purpose and I had a serious, like pattern with men like attracting men, you know, that were, we would get into these really crazy relationships and it would just drain me energetically so I would asking to get clarity on why I kept attracting the same man over and over with a different face. And the night, that night the medicine gave me this vision and it broke it all down in such detail and it said, “You are an over compensating mom. Every one of the men that you were ever with, they have a problem with their mom and because you didn't have a mom, you became the mama of mamas. And the love that comes out of you, you just want to like protect and give it what you didn't get to somebody, you know, who wants that and, unfortunately, it said you're choosing men that aren't really at a place to meet you with the where you're going, doing the work on themselves. And then you end up trying to save them like saving your mother. And then it drains the life force out of you and that life force, when you put it into your work, you're going to impact millions of people.”
And it showed me the vision of the Sleeping Giants project and Costa Rica and all of this. And what was amazing was that two weeks after this ceremony, I was a synchronicity happened, someone who heard that I had a resort in Costa Rica connected to me to his friend, Gerard Powell, my now husband, and we met up in Malibu because he wanted to open a center in Costa Rica. And that was how it all began.
Melinda Wittstock: Wow. What an amazing story. So what I love about that and what leaps out, well there's lots I love about it, but what leaps out at me is that moment where you just ask for inspiration. Like it's kind of like you get out of your own way. It's like, okay. It's kind of like my morning meditation where I saw, you know that I know that I don't know. So please, please, please show me inspiration. Allow me to act in alignment with my true purpose and my inspiration. Show me, teach me, etc. And really is a surrender and, I mean, that was very much, I think, I mean earlier in the interview you mentioned also how business tends to bring you to your knees as well.
because there's so much about entrepreneurship that just goes awry, right? Like things we can't control.
Brandee Powell: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: So just getting into that zone as fast as possible in your business career or in your life, like whatever it is you do, is so important, right? And so, so the Ayahuasca, or the plant medicine, can kind of, I guess, shorten that timeline, kind of hasten that a little bit. I know for sure that before it, I was trying to meditate and I did yoga and I was doing all the kind of right things. But after it, things fell into place much faster for me.
Brandee Powell: Yeah, and I really, like I really do believe everybody has a different path and Ayahuasca Plant Medicine is not for everyone, but wow, what an amazing catalyst in a time like this. We're so disconnected from ourselves. We're so disconnected from nature. And we're living in this super, fast paced reality and we're using devices that have been created by people who worked in the casinos and where they've figured out how the iPhone, how to use our phones and our devices to, with gamification, so that we're actually releasing dopamine and it becomes an addiction to check social media and to do all of the things that we do.
So we are in this state where we're addicted. We're addicted to our thoughts. We're addicted to technology. We're addicted to getting more. Doing more. Getting more done. And as a result, we become super disconnected from ourselves and the plant medicine is an amazing catalyst and it's coming at a time where we don't have 20 years for somebody to figure out their issue. We need you to wake up now and to wake up to who you really are and what you came here to do because we're each here on assignment and with a calling and this is one of the most incredibly exciting times in human history for entrepreneurs, especially for women, but for everybody because we have access to all this information and we have access to ourselves like never before.
You know, like you said, this isn't new. This ancient but it's new to us and we are stepping into what, you used to have to go into a mystery school or be the elite or be in some underground secret society to have access to the plant medicine or these different teachings and technologies and we have access to it right now. And we have the freaking internet so each one of us has a different path. You Google what you're interested in and you have access to find the best teachers and where you want to go to learn or to heal so yes, the plant medicine is a huge catalyst for us right now.
Melinda Wittstock: It's interesting too that women, I think, are uniquely placed as entrepreneurs to step into a nice balanced, authentic feminine energy with all that masculine that we've been trained to harness in business, because frankly men were our only role models, but when we're able to integrate both, we're, and in alignment with our true purpose and passion, we're able to do amazing things and so if you look around at just the pace of change in society, but also a lot of intractable problems. You know, seemingly impossible to solve, there are so many ways that we can solve these things using entrepreneurship.
Brandee Powell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Whether climate change or education issues, health issues, all of it. And do you sense, as I do, that the pace of disruption, right, and like disruptive innovation, I guess, is picking up steam. I mean, disruption is a great word for an entrepreneur because you want to go and change something so much that you change behavior and hopefully for the better, right?
Brandee Powell: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's happening so quickly and you look at, you know, since we're talking about plant medicine. Even the movement of plant medicine in the tech industry, and in silicon valley, and in entertainment, these are the areas that impact the planet and the direction that people are going in such a huge way and for so long, you know, Hollywood and entertainment has been such a dark force just hypnotizing people. The music industry, the entertainment industry, and I'm just blown away at what's happening in Los Angeles right now.
So many people are, you know I was called the medicine asked me to bring the entertainment industry to the medicine. And it was just crazy how I started landing in all of these different environments and places that I normally would never be, but I was like okay, nobody in here's going to know about this and to my surprise, every single person, all of the celebrities were coming up to me. They've either tried it, wanted to try, or were interested in it and it's exciting because, you know, these people have such an opportunity to influence millions of people by the way that they live their life and so for these people to have these awakenings and to see what that does for the world is super exciting. You know? And the same thing with technology.
Melinda Wittstock: Gosh, it's so true. I mean it makes business easier in a way, I've found, that I'm more likely to get into an inspired flow state or flow consciousness where you not all hung up on the how, you're just kind of conscious of the outcome. Right? And you're in alignment with that, you're kind of walking your talk. All of that. But not sweating the how. Just thinking, just imagining it done and letting the universe kind of figure out how that's going to work. So the more that I actually operate on that, the more, a crazy thing, a seemingly crazy things that would seem impossible like synchronicities, the right people show up, even the right person I'm supposed to be talking to on the right day on this podcast with an automated calendar, I swear to God, you know, it's awesome talking to you today Brandee, because every now and again you get kind of, you're re-inspiring me on the perfect day for me. Having come back with all the stuff going on with my mom which was inspiring in a lot of ways, but also very draining.
Brandee Powell: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, but, do you find that? Do you find that it's actually, in a way, business is sort of easier, or perhaps it's just that your attention is focused where it should be rather than all the busy work and all the being a human doing and all the should’s and all the stuff that aren't really going to advance you anyway, like maybe it just provides a clarity.
Brandee Powell: You know it's so true. Because there's such that masculine force in me for of manifesting. That was what I was taught. But really the most beautiful things that have shown up in my life were when I stepped me into my feminine flow state, you know? Like even my vision board of the Sleeping Giants project, when I was trying to like manifest it my way at my time at my speed, it just wasn't happening. And then when I was able to surrender, I couldn't have planned this out. I didn't even know what plant medicine was. So the whole idea of manifesting by setting a goal and the linear model of taking the steps and forcing and pushing and fighting and breaking your back to make that you have work, I really feel that we're stepping into a time where yes, there's a part of that, there's a place for that, but now, let's let the feminine manifestation, and the feminine energy come in to balance that, you know, because we do need that, to actualize and to make things happen in the world.
You know, like if you're going to build a house, you need to have a plan and take action and have the materials and build it, but if you're going to step into your calling and if you're stepping into what your assignment is, well you can't use that same way of thinking to align with that because Spirit has a plan, your soul has a plan that's much greater than anything that you can imagine for yourself so yeah, you have to take action and move forward and visualize but you also have to, like you said, in the middle of my vision board, I said, “Okay, how am I going to manifest this whole Sleeping Giants project in Costa Rica and this resort and all this stuff?” And I wrote, “I will attune my will with Thy will.” That was the middle of my vision board. And I put that on my meditation table and I held the vision of this beautiful.
I just felt what it feels like to be inspiring people and transforming people's lives and watching people wake up to their calling and their gifts and creative problem solving and coming up with ways to solve the problems that we're facing and before I knew it, this force, this energy that was supporting that just took over and just guided my life in such a divine perfect way that I could have never, ever, ever planned or made happen.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh gosh, this is so inspiring. I love this. So I could talk to you for hours, of course.
Brandee Powell: We do talk for hours, girl. We just happen to be recording this one.
Melinda Wittstock: We're just recording this one.
Brandee Powell: When you and I talk, this is just how it always goes. I love you.
Melinda Wittstock: It is true. I love you too. This is just an amazing conversation and I'm just, I want you to be able to explain what's going on with Rythmia right now and how people can find out about it and, you know, if it does call them and, of course, you and I are going to have a special event so everybody who listens to Wings, you're all going to hear about this and will have the opportunity to join us if it does call you. But please explain a little bit about it and anything else that's going on right now, you know, in your life and in your vision that you see as really calling you and inspiring you.
Brandee Powell: So I mean Rythmia, we have this amazing program that has been created by my husband, Gerard Powell, Dr. Jeff McNeary, Michael Beckwith, and it's really this progressive, week long experience where you set an intention and you have access to all of these different modalities that are not just going through the mind. You know, for so many years, I was stuck and I was, even though I was having a lot of breakthroughs, I still had these major patterns that were like haunting my life and holding me back from going to the next level and living my purpose.
And what's amazing about the program at Rythmia, is that you're able to heal the mind, body, spirit, emotional body, the subconscious mind that's creating so much of most of our reality that we're not even aware of so for us to be able to have access, to be able to lift the veil, to be able to communicate and talk with our souls when we're totally disconnected from ourselves in this fast paced society is a real opportunity to step in, in a really quick way, to resolve the things that don't serve you once and for all and to heal and to awaken to what it is that you're really here to do on the highest level. So this is happening every week in Costa Rica. There's all different programs. If you're into the plant medicine, those are happening. If you're not, we have the transformational breath work and you can have the same healing and access to all of yourself through this ancient technique for breathing. So that is one thing.
And then to your second part of your question, you know what I've been feeling really called to is I have created a program called Majesty and it's a women's program. It's the, it's a program bringing the ancient mystery school technologies and wisdom to the modern woman and the last one we did was at Rythmia. There was 80 women. It was incredible and I am looking forward to doing more of these. I have two more coming up at Rythmia. One in March and one in June so anybody who feels called. And not only that, if you're carrying the female energy. If you're gay, you're welcome to come as well. I decided that too last time.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that's awesome.
Brandee Powell: Yeah. I was like wait a minute, because I had some people asking like oh right.
Melinda Wittstock: That's awesome. Well, Brandee, I just want to thank you so much for taking the time to put on your Wings and fly with me. And all of us today.
Brandee Powell: I love talking to you. And you're so inspiring and thank you for the work that you're doing in the world, Melinda.