My simple vision is for you,
as someone affecting our culture & the world
just by living in it,
to experience each act of neighboring
(waving… making eye contact… sharing dreams, burdens & celebrations…)
as a sacred, purposeful act of cultural change.
I celebrate each time someone ‘gets’
that each attempt to connect with a neighbor,
whether it seems to affect them or not,
can be an act of humanity & our own re-humanization.
That every time we wave, attempt eye-contact, or just recognize a neighbor
can be a gift to our nervous system,
and that of the whole world.
That every desire or vulnerability shared with a neighbor
can be a gift; a cultural exchange; a revolutionary act.
And I’m not resting until the ripple-effect of
neighborliness-as-spiritual-practice, -as-gift, -as-revolutionary act
envelops all of North-America in closeness and belonging,
wells up around my family on the East coast,
and resounds deeply in Europe & beyond,
to affect all our relations;
to hold ‘my’ family
& all families
Briana Barrett-Squirrel combines her backgrounds in science, research, and holistic education with spiritual resiliency. Through being a Neighbor On Purpose, she fosters real, integrated community, step by step, and on a doable scale: on the scale of a child’s world.
Squirrel is a one-step-at-a-time community builder who trusts in the power of showing, not telling. She believes in the power of questions to open our minds, and the power of relationships to open our hearts. Employing heart, mind, and more, her mission takes complex topics to personally meaningful levels. Her approach to being the change she wishes to see in the world is – quite literally – 100% inclusive of the people in her immediate environment, here & now:
Since 2008, Squirrel has committed herself to knowing & loving the 200 people who wake up within 100 yards of her pillow every day, helping neighbors to dream together… and articulate what “local,” “sustainable,” “life-long learning” and “community” might mean for each and all – without even using the buzzwords, or evangelizing these basic human needs.
Born in Ontario, and educated in medical research in Europe (Bachelor of Applied Science in Biochemistry), Squirrel has experience of living a decade each in Canada, the Netherlands, and in her now-permanent home: Seattle, Washington. Her work experiences range from salesperson to holistic preschool teacher; from delivering mail by bicycle for the Royal Dutch Postal Service, to performing cutting-edge research at Harvard & Fred Hutchinson laboratories; and from hard labor in factories and on construction sites, to helping hundreds quit smoking by phone. She loves dance, people, & purposeful playfulness — and her husband in particular. All of these loves were characteristic of their block-party wedding.
Her life experiences — including theater and activism — form her hypotheses & inform her intuitions: Are we realizing which artful practices were almost lost along with the single-income household? How can we improve on, and be effective at, what people used to do while choicelessly home-bound… in our free time? What are efficient, effective, and holistic ways of valuing each other as natural resources?
Briana’s personal transformation came about when she committed to being fully where she currently lives, unapologetic of not being anywhere else. Previously susceptible to overwhelming concern for all species & cultures at times, she now faces the daily (and long-term) ‘news’ gulping, but finding transformation in her pilot project’s effects – on herself, and on those whom it inspires & empowers.
I practice discovering more human beings more deeply… I practice discovering more & more of my own humanity… and also… I practice discovering, again & again, something more profound – something that would have been impossible to discover in my medical research: a kind of preventative medicine, accessible to all.”