“If I have your ear & your heart is so inclined, I would ask you to lie in the grass under a canopy of trees with me, side by each.”
From the first sentence, Heart Roar: A Book of Tiny Prayers, by Bryonie Wise, speaks to the reader as if it were an old friend sitting next to us having coffee or curled up in bed or sprawled out on the grass beneath the trees.
The book is a series of short “prayers”—intentions for our day, words of courage we didn’t know we needed to hear, questions that inspire us to explore ourselves—all but one able to fit on a single page. Their brevity makes them the perfect side to a cup of coffee in the morning or for a moment of quiet and mindfulness in the middle of our always-too-busy days.
Without feeling invasive or unnerving, Bryonie’s book is one of the one of the most intimate I’ve been a part of—and in the experience of reading Heart Roar, we do become a part of it.
She doesn’t give us the luxury of ignoring our fears or doubts or self-criticisms. (And, notably, she doesn’t ignore her own either; this isn’t a book of advice from someone who knows better.)
Quite the opposite, the book encourages us to sit with these fears, really feel them, and find that space within our hearts that carries the power to overcome.
And yet, it never feels demanding or with expectation—her words have the gentlest strength about them, and all come with a healthy serving of inspiration and the faith that we can make it happen:
“We have moments as children too, if we are lucky, that connects us with the magic that keeps the fabric of all-that-is-&-all-that-can-be together & sometimes, because we are smart when we’re little, we find a tiny cavity in that thing beating in our chests to store it in.
One day, much later on, when we are old & have fine lines etched into our spaces, when we have pulled back each layer to peer at the strength & integrity of our foundation, when magic is almost (but not quite!) zapped out of us, we will uncork this holding place & a well of heart-wisdom will release herself into our systems.”
And, for the reader who can’t quite stand the look of a perfectly clean, I-can’t-tell-if-anyone-actually-read-this book, the single-page prayers offer an added bonus:
So much space for marginalia.
Already stained with coffee rings and sometimes sideways and upside-down inks of fleeting thoughts, my copy of Heart Roar has started to become a physical manifestation of the exploration of our selves it seeks to inspire:
“What makes your heart race?
Do you have a favorite sound?
What does the ocean mean to you?
If you close your eyes and move your body, does the unknowing of what it looks like drive you mad?”
At the end of Heart Roar: A Book of Tiny Prayers, I had so many dog-eared pages that it kind of defeats the purpose of dog-earing, and found a way of looking at the world that, frankly, I had lost touch with: the world as a reflection of our hearts, of our self-worth, of our creative spirit.
We get what we put into this life, and this book will leave you wanting to put in every ounce of soul you’ve got.
Let it ask you questions you’d never thought needed answering.
Let it encourage you to peer into your darkness, as well as your light.
Let it be your muse.
Let it crack your heart open, and then listen to it roar.
Author: Emily Bartran
Photo: Courtesy of Bryonie Wise