This week, our Five Questions interview is with a talented author and yoga teacher, my dear friend, Bryonie Wise
1. Your new book, Heart Roars, is subtitled “a book of tiny prayers”, and they truly are inspirational. Do you find that writing plays a part in your spiritual practices?
BW: Thank you, love!
Well, what I’ve discovered along the way is that for me, writing IS a spiritual practice.
It goes hand in heart with my other practices (yoga, stillness, prayer & shamanism)—but the daily ritual of writing something—anything—is as necessary as breath.
Creative expression helps me to interpret & transmit the messages my body, heart, mind & spirit have either discovered or are working on through movement practices; once the energy surfaces, it needs to be released & this is where the words come in.
It’s how I make sense of my inner world & the outer world, too; I connect to something bigger then me, as well as the power of my own heart.
2. One of my favorite pieces from Heart Roars is “For the Wild Unicorns” and especially the line: “You are a fucking unicorn & all this time, you’ve been trying to be a horse.” This feeling of empowerment is an undercurrent in much of your work. What advice would you give to writers and artists just starting out about owning who they are?
BW: That’s one of mine, too!
My advice, so far:
1. The only person you can be is you—& that’s the only person the world needs you to be.
2. Find practices that help support you getting out of your own way—move, sing, dance, sit, pray, get outside—whatever it is, find something that gives you respite from your over-active ego.
3. Read; spend time in nature; travel near & far; read some more; seek out all kinds of art. Do all of these things as much as humanely possible.
4. Your voice is there, hidden in your heart centre—as you learn your craft, it is natural & normal to take on the voice of your teachers or the people that you are inspired by. This shadowing will pass, when it’s time—& what isn’t yours will burn off as the light of who you are comes shining through.
5. Be humble, give thanks, say please & thank you & ask for help when you need it.
3. On a more technical front, you self-published Heart Roars through the company Blurb. Did you enjoy the process? Would you self-publish again, or take a different path next time?
I started putting Heart Roars together at the end of last Summer, oh-so-quietly, on the side—it was my secret project & there was a kind of sacredness in the preparation.
After feeling a little too open & vulnerable in the world, it was nice to hunker down behind closed doors & be intimate with my own creativity—I was already familiar with Blurb (& also have a background in making books) so that helped my confidence in the creation of the book, too.
Self-publishing isn’t easy & it means taking a risk on yourself in all ways (financial, as well)—I discovered that I have an immense amount of trust in myself (& in the Universe)—& it’s been nothing short of remarkable to watch Heart Roars grow wings.
And even though for the most part I am on my own, thankfully, oh-so thankfully, I have the support of a diverse, connected, global network that has been sharing up—so that, more then anything, helps, too.
4. In addition to your writing and photography, you are a yoga teacher. Do you find that there are parallels or synchronicities between your yoga practice and your creative projects?
BW: I am at a point in my life & practice that I feel deeply that all of it—teaching, practicing, creating—it’s all yoga, it’s all an expression of love—there is no separation for me.
5. What’s next for you—on the mat and on the page?
BW: Well, next month (June 13+14) I’m co-hosting a two day workshop called Howl. Write. Yoga. in New York City with two amazingly talented collaborators.
In August, I’ll be facilitating a solo weekend workshop at the twisted fish in Port Dover—details to follow soon!
I’m hoping to spend the summer finalizing the details of a creative mentorship program I’ve been covertly working on that weaves together all of these magical & mysterious pieces—&, I’m dreaming of spending some time on the open road with Winston, traveling around & making new kinds of art.