BBC, you did not say what model/type you have 21 bar? it can make a difference to the typr of advice you get....and do note...the playing style Byran Bowers uses is spectacular and amazing--once mastered, but it it is NOT for everyone, and is NOT the only way to make nice music!
There are much simpler ways to strum, even with it held up to the body. I use 'mostly' one thumb pick and one finger pick (on my middle finger) and use a pick that does not catch, so I can strum both ways..(much like Kilby Snow used to do), I do add picks on 2 more fingers for certain things. I made brass picks that fit my fingers and bend OVER the fingertips, and also bought Mizrabs (Sitar picks) that look like a wire frame and have no hooks to catch on the strings.
As to learning chord positions, it simply takes time to get your brain and muscles used to them...play the heck out of what you DO know, and add songs with and extra chord gradually..