labradorite: self-love through self-discovery
by victoria larkins
Writen by Isabella Sofio, An Editorial Piece on Kylee Brandt's 4 and a half year journey wearing Labradorite ...
“It’s funny, I’m talking about a necklace, but it feels like I’m talking about my entire life.” Labradorite sat above Kylee’s heart for 4 and a half years. Falling off on the day she turned 24, she realized her intention had finally fulfilled itself. Over the years she wore the gem, she wondered why it had never fallen off.
I met Kylee through the class at CU about two years ago. She is someone who walks into a room and immediately garners attention through her confident presence and joyous, also blunt, take on life. I have always admired the way she approaches life’s adventures. When I think back on it, she was truly my first role model in college: a young, confident woman unafraid to use her voice or be who she wanted to be. As she told me about that day at the Hanaman festival, I saw that there was a time when she felt unsure and vulnerable. Yet, her smile glowed, even through FaceTime, as she worked to place herself back into the beginning of her journey. She began to tell me about the day she came across Victoria’sSankalpa tent at the Hannaman Yoga Festival that takes place early during early summer here in Boulder a few years ago.
It was towards the end of her first year in Boulder. Growing up in conservative Fargo, North Dakota, Kylee explained she felt a sense of freedom living in Boulder compared to the structured lifestyle of her hometown and state. It was even apparent in the way people dressed, she said. “All my life views were shattered… in the best way possible,” and this was both exciting and overwhelming for Kylee. At nineteen in a new, and very different, place than she had been a year ago, she felt that she had all the opportunity to be who she wanted to be. Yet., she was lost in the maze of her potential future paths. Amongst the flurry of rushing to the festival to teach a class that morning — Kylee is a transcendent yoga teacher, by the way — and partaking in the festival's events, Kylee walked into Victoria’s tent.
She laughed as she described her experience with the ritual that placed the gem with her. “For lack of a better word, it was dramatic.” Kylee sometimes describes herself as a small-town girl, although I would argue that she is quite the gypsy soul living out of the van she built with her boyfriend this last summer. Yet, as a small-town girl from a fairly conservative place, this was her first ritual experience. Victoria asked her to hold the stone in her hands and say her intention three times to herself. Kylee recalled, “I had an overwhelming feeling of being exactly where I was supposed to be.” At that point in her life, she felt she needed help finding a direction for her future path. During the ritual, surrounded by women, some of whom she worked with at the time, and some of whom were young business owners, she felt this was the universe’s way of leading her towards her future.
The stone, a “mix of dark blues and greens, reminding me of metallic earth, rocks, and moss” as Kylee described it, was tied by Victoria. When Victoria ties gems to anyone she asks that they say their chosen intention three times, once each time she ties a knot with the thin string. As Victoria tied the knots, Kylee thought to herself “self-love through self-discovery,” three times. Throughout her time with the gem, she transformed this intention into a mantra that she used during yoga and meditation when she was feeling uneasy or anxious, or sometimes just when she was bored.
Breathe in, “I am love.”
Breathe out, “I am becoming.”
At this point in her life, Kylee was unsure of who she wanted to be and felt a lack of confidence in her abilities. Often wondering, “why me?” when she was chosen for things such as the managerial position at her yoga studio, she chose to focus on loving and appreciating herself more. Her intention, the mantra that came along with it, and the labradorite provided her with small reminders that she deserved to be where she was. Over time, when she saw the gem in the mirror, it began to remind her of how far she had come.
After her first year with her the gem on, she remembered wondering why it hadn’t fallen off. “I felt so much more comfortable with who I was, what I was doing, and where I was… so why was it still on me?” She said each summer she thought the same thing and wondered why it was still around her neck, above her heart. At 21, Kylee said her entire life changed again. This was when she realized that she had not yet reached her intention. “I wasn’t giving myself enough love.”
At this point in our conversation, I wondered if Kylee ever experienced moments where she wanted to take it off. She responded, “I was so dedicated to wearing it until it fell off that it was never an option to cut it off.”
Hearing Kylee’s dedication to her intention has reinforced my own dedication to my own intention. I have now also created a mantra for myself. I use it when I go on walks and runs in the mountains, in yoga, and when I feel that I need a little extra strength. I have never considered taking off my citrine gem, although it’s only been with me for a handful of months at this point. I’m sure there will be points where I feel like I’ve completed my intention and will wonder why it still sits about my heart. When this happens, I will remind myself of Kylee’s story and how she preserved through her journey of self-discovery.
On her 24th birthday, surrounded by her family and boyfriend, the gem fell off. “I started to cry. Not because I was sad, but because there was some sort of emotional release.” Kylee says it feels different without the labradorite near her heart, but that she keeps it in a small box with other things like a button from a jacket she loved. “Freshman year I drew a sketch of a van during my microeconomics class, and I realized that I’m doing that right now. I feel very sure of who I am and who I want to be.” Kylee recalled that everything in that moment felt very true. She concluded her story by sharing, “I’ve never loved myself as much as I do now. I act out of love for myself rather than seeking validation from others. This gem has taught me to be more intentional in the way I think and live. I used to be so good at doing what others told me to do, but now I feel like I care more about my happiness and options of myself rather than those others may have of me.”
Oftentimes, we come to places in our lives in which we feel that we have figured everything out. After listening to Kylee’s story, I was reminded that it is rare that we are ever aware of when we have reached that point of having ‘everything figured out.’ Kylee’s story is about self-discovery through self-love. I see her story as one of trust. Trust in yourself, the sketches that always appear in the corners of your notebooks, the ideas you have always dreamed of, and that the universe is there for you.