We are thrilled to introduce you to Vana Feliciano of The Quiet Brave this week. It takes but one interaction with Vana to realize that you're in the presence of a truly remarkable and thoughtful woman.
When we first met Vana, we were taken by her openness to connect and were in awe of the way in which she interacted with the world around her. Our continued connection to her has served to deepen that understanding and provide a foundation for which to understand it.
We highly encourage you to go down the rabbit hole that is Vana's online world — spending time on her website and Instagram account, as well as listening to the arcives of her podcast.
We promise you won't be disappointed.
For those that may not be familiar, tell us about yourself and what you do.
My name is Vana. I was born, bred, and lived in Brooklyn for just about all of my life, until two years ago when I decided to trade in the city lights for the happy little trees of Vermont. I’m a lover of color, an advocate for compassion and sucker for a good beat. I am a Conscious Creative who currently explores her work through podcasting.
How did the idea for The Quiet Brave take shape?
My journey into conscious living started 12 years ago. It was a personal crusade I never intended to make my business. But, when my grandmother and one of my best friends died two weeks apart back in March of 2016, the loss devastated me in a unique way and ushered in a new perspective for me. I was already heart deep in asking myself what I really wanted to do with my life because, two months prior, I had decided to give up my practice as a time management coach.
One day while at my job at the time, I remember asking myself, over and over again, what lights you up? What can’t you stop talking about? And like a bolt of lightening my Soul answered me and said - sustainable, green, conscious living.
I originally wanted to publish an Indie Magazine. I’d always thought the idea of a magazine was cool but also knew it was expensive and, years ago, was unaware of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. I imagined we would publish micro articles on Instagram, four articles a month online and go to print once a year using this eco-friendly Canadian company I came across. It would be filled with the stories of everyday women and how conscious living was looking for them in this moment.
I mapped out all the ways the magazine would lead to other things, like a podcast, retreats, an online shop and soon realized that I didn’t want just a magazine. I wanted a movement — a community — and the magazine was only one slice of that pie. So I switched gears and decided to position The Quiet Brave as a lifestyle community and pursue a podcast first. I love podcasts and thought it would be the best way to kick off the adventure.
Speaking of podcasts, What is Quiet Brave Radio? Who is it for, what is it all about, how can people make use of the information contained inside?
Podcasting found me at a time when I was exploding at the seams to talk to the world about this mission. The intimacy it provides immediately drew me in. Not to mention, I love writing but not blogging and making videos felt way too big to tackle. As a creator, podcasting met me right where I was, and I just imagined it doing the same for someone who was consuming it.
Quiet Brave Radio is a mini-workshop style podcast designed to explore the practice of being a conscious woman. My experience has taught me there are so many ways to live and lead in a way that’s more mindful and meaningful, so in Season One, each episode aims to give listeners 3 ideas they could explore off air and in their everyday lives.
It asks a lot of questions to get the listener's mind thinking about all the micro ways conscious living can take shape. For any women who might feel overwhelmed about how big this conversation can become, the podcast focuses on making the information very digestible and encourages her to use what she already has, to make her change starting today.
Creative expression is at the core of who you are and how you show up in this world. Can you talk more about what that looks like for you and how you channel that energy into your work?
Yes! Creative expression means the absolute world to me. What I love most is that my creative expression has just been one experiment after the other my entire life. For years it showed up as dancing. Because I wore a dress code in high school it showed up there too. I would tie shoelaces in the most random places and always dyed my hair. It’s always shown itself through words, mainly poetry, but I also dabbled in creative writing in college and loved it. I love working with my hands, so snail mail cards, painting, photoshop, illustrator, even cleaning and organizing feels like a creative expression to me. And because the energy is open to showing up in different ways it seamlessly makes its way into my work. I encourage myself to remember that there’s not one way to live, lead, or create and that keeps me curious and receptive to the evolution of my work.
When we first met you through Alt Summit, you were working on something completely different. How has your business (or focus) shifted over the years?
Ah, yes!! When we met at Alt Summit I was a time management coach, designing custom planners. Since then, I realized that I (still) care about time a lot, I just don’t care about time management — at least not in the linear way a lot of people do.
In the end, no matter what way I approached, it wasn't giving me a great amount of joy and I knew I had to let it go, which was really hard because I had built an entire identity around it and was really afraid of what that meant for me moving forward. But I did it. It’s funny because it still ties into what I do now but as a topic, not a focal point. I still use my skills from that time in my life to help others, but now it feels more authentic and aligned with ALL of who I am, where just being a time management coach, didn’t give me that.
Talk to us about what it means to live the questions.
For me living the questions is about focusing our lives more intently on how many ways one question can be answered versus being determined to find “the one” answer that will solve everything.
When you live the questions, you’re curious about the journey which naturally makes you less judgemental, especially of yourself. You welcome a playful tone into your life. You ease up on expectations and invite more exploration into your life. The metrics you use to define what happiness and success look like shift. It becomes a devotion to having the here and now matter more than any future date.
To live the questions is to step into your power as the creator of your life.
What does the future hold for you, your work, and your life? What dreams are you looking to bring to life and what visions do you want to give shape?
Answering this question at this point in my life is such a special moment for me because things are shifting on the inside. I want a life filled with ease, space, joy, laughter, and creative expression. I work every day to remind myself that I don’t need anything to “happen” before I can feel that way.
That being said I’m holding space for The Quiet Brave to grow into a thriving community that connects online and through in-person retreats. I’ve begun writing my book. I’m looking into offering my original artwork to the world and daydream of creating an online shop where I offer classes and journals. Hey, maybe even circle back to the magazine one day.
Famous last words... What advice would you give to women who want to infuse more creativity and joy into their lives?
Done will always be better than perfect and take care of yourself well, and first. When you feel nourished from the inside, out, that’s when you best serve the world through your roles. There is a lot of strength to be found in starting where you are. Name (out loud) what brings you joy and give more of your time to that. Dare to follow what makes you curious even if you don’t know where it will lead. Look for reasons to laugh, love, and learn as much as you can. And no matter how awesome the advice you get is, no one knows what’s best for you more than you do. Trust your heart.