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Bonnie Wallace: A Force For Good

Bonnie Wallace: A Force For Good

We are creators, creating the creation—ourselves. Our creative nature is given to tune into any vibrational potential we want to experience in physicality. We are the life force expressing itself through thought, which is the essence of the continual becoming of our physical realm. When we are aware of it, everything we create can serve as an inspiring example to others.

Entrepreneur, podcaster, and author Bonnie Wallace says, “I’m a creative. And I’m driven to be a force for good in the world. These two defining aspects have taken various forms at different stages of my life, but they run like a sacred thread throughout my nearly sixty years.”

The overwhelming amount of information we perceive daily can overstimulate our thinking mechanism. Taking the time throughout the day to use tools that soften our minds from too much focus will help us stay in balance. Prioritizing our state of being is key to showing up and offering our fullest potential.

“Self-care for me means taking the time to do what keeps me feeling balanced and grounded, which can be challenging when it never feels like there are enough hours in the day. Writing in my journal first thing in the morning—something like Julia Cameron’s ‘morning pages’ from The Artist’s Way—has always helped me clear my mind and create focus. That’s probably my biggest tool, and I’ve used it for decades. I also notice I feel better when I stay away from sugar and processed foods. I’ve never been great at exercise but am incorporating some light yoga and walks in nature with my husband, which always leaves me feeling happy and energized,” shares Bonnie.

Asking for help does not mean weakness. On the contrary, it means we can recognize that life is not a one-way road where we only give; also, allowing ourselves to receive is equally valuable to both the giver and receiver, and then vice versa­. Serving others is fulfilling, but what can we offer amid exhaustion or stress? Give from the heart, receive with appreciation.

About her experience of asking for help, Bonnie says, “This is a big one for me. I’ve spent most of my life feeling I must figure out and do everything on my own, and only in the last few years have I learned to see and trust that this just isn’t true… and that things work out better when I ask for help, and let others contribute. People like to contribute! And by insisting on doing everything independently, we deny them that joy. My husband Simon has made this breakthrough possible. I look back and wish I had been able to model this earlier for my daughters, who have no doubt internalized my old beliefs in that regard. Hopefully, they will learn sooner than I did that it’s OK to ask for help and know they are not the only person looking out for tigers. Life is not only less exhausting and lonely, but it’s also more joyful!”

Reading is one of the many activities that set humans apart from the animal kingdom. Aside from making us more knowledgeable and helping us expand our vocabulary, imagination, and sense of compassion, among other benefits, we can become aware of our current perspective about ourselves and the world around us through reading. From our unique perspective, this sentence is simply the messenger; you create the interpretation of the message you are currently reading (wink). But reading does not come naturally to us like the speaking skills obtained by hearing and observing our environment when we are children. Instead, we must learn how to read.

Bonnie’s latest project is We Can Books, “a new book-building app that combines phonics with family photos and makes learning to read intuitive and fun.” About why kids’ emotional and social development needs to learn to read, Bonnie says, “It’s HUGELY important. It’s possibly the most important part of a young child’s education. This is because reading is literally the key that unlocks success in school, and in turn, in modern life.

How a child does in school is inevitably linked to their self-esteem, and how they think of themselves. If you can read well and early, then school is fun and interesting, and you feel you are capable and smart. If reading is difficult and you are behind the curve, you will begin to feel something is wrong with you and resist school. This one difference is a pivotal crossroads in a child’s life. If a child isn’t reading at grade level by the time they hit 4th grade, they rarely catch up, and their life prospects are significantly diminished. It’s hard to imagine a more critical skill.”

Children bonding with parents and family members is essential in developing their relationships. Reading as an activity between children and their families includes learning, communication, interaction, play, and practicing one of the most precious skills, listening to their emotional guidance system. Exploring and discovering how children naturally feel and the meaning of each emotion can empower them to feel their way through life with more ease, joy, and satisfaction.

“The process of creating a We Can Book is inherently fun and creative. You can make a special activity by creating the books with your young reader, hunting for and staging images that go with the phonics word sets for each of the pages, as well as uploading them from your phone’s photo gallery. This can be a treasured memory in and of itself.

Sitting with a loved one and learning to read is one of the most special experiences for children and adults. That extraordinary time when the child is putting together the relationship between letters and sounds, and those letters and sounds with words—the entire universe opens. Sharing that experience is intimate and precious. Sharing it with books that contain cherished familiar images that engage the child emotionally as they learn to read is magical. By the time a child can make their way through all three books in the series, they have the tools to be independent readers.

Ultimately, the We Can Books become family heirlooms. They contain family photos infused with special memories, in quality hardback, full color books. They’re one of a kind. My kids still love looking at their original We Can Books! They’re on our bookshelves, 30 years later, filled with love and meaning.” Bonnie pauses and then continues, “We hope very much to be able to create We Can Books in several different languages, and we have some other ideas as well. Right now, the books are only available in English and in the US, but we will be rolling out availability to other countries later in the year,” expresses Bonnie.

Photography // Dawn Bowery

Weola, channeled by Kosta Trifunovic, says, “To be selfless, first you have to be selfish.” However, the act of being selfish has a negative connotation in our society. But as individuals, we can’t pretend to put our desires and dreams aside forever, only to fulfill the desires and dreams of others. As parents, we aim to encourage and inspire our children to follow their dreams, but we are not doing it for ourselves. As such, we start to live our dreams through our children because it is our nature to desire, which summons life into being. We can only offer to others that which we become. To give, first, we have to prioritize our own becoming.

Bonnie says, “I think many parents feel that there is literally not enough they can do to be the parent they want to be—often while also working, and balancing everything they must do to keep a house running, etc. That perhaps investing time and energy in their own passions is selfish.

I have to say that I think I did a decent job of showing my kids that you can be a parent and still pursue your passions. Most of the time they were growing up, I was writing and publishing poetry, and very involved in local theatre. They saw me reading, writing, and performing, which is probably why they both felt so comfortable in that world.

I believe it’s important to model being a fully expressed human to your kids, and not convey the idea that being a parent is a sacrifice. Being a parent is a gift. It’s been the greatest gift of my life, without question. Did I set aside the full pursuit of some passions while I focused my energy and attention primarily on getting them raised? Of course. Especially during the years that I was a single parent. But now that they are fully launched, I feel like I can breathe a little more freely and turn my focus to my own projects.”

Bonnie, mom to two beautiful daughters, Claire and Dove, recognized their unique expressions and supported their creative journey in Hollywood: “Both girls showed highly creative gifts early on. Like many parents, I felt it was important to expose them to different things, to give them a chance to try and see what they might love. Claire’s interests were a little broader, and she wanted to travel and attend college. It wasn’t until she graduated that she decided to teach voice, and she has become an extraordinary voice teacher, combining techniques she learned over many years of training with techniques she has created intuitively. She’s now one of the most sought-after voice coaches in the country.

Dove was focused on acting and singing from a very young age, and it became apparent when she was about fourteen that she needed to be in Los Angeles to have a chance to fulfill her gifts. It’s all she wanted to do; her mentors were all nudging me to take her passion and drive seriously. So, we moved to LA from our little island in Washington State and gave it a shot. It’s been a wild ride, but a very gratifying one. She’s now an extremely successful actor and singer, with multiple awards (including an Emmy and Best New Artist from the AMAs and VMAs) and is a recording artist with Sony/Columbia. She’s made the difficult transition from Disney to the broader TV/film/music world, which is no small feat.

Even though they are sisters and clearly successful creatives, Claire and Dove are very different people. I think my role in supporting their creative journeys has been largely to infuse them with my love, my deep belief in them as human beings, and my belief that they could succeed. And to be there whenever they need support or advice. Their journey is their own, but they know I am always there for them.”

Not only do parents lead by their own example, but children also teach adults about lightheartedness, reminding us that life, essentially, can be fun. Seeing the world from the eyes of a child is re-discovering who we are­ and what we are here to be. Bonnie reveals, “I would never say that my children parent me, but I would honestly say that I learn so much from them. They are my greatest teachers and inspiration. And I aspire to be theirs. That’s the real combination.”

We are all born with a clear connection to our intuition. As we grow up, we often clutter our inner voice by focusing on external tasks, goals, and achievements. Our intuition, as well as our connection to the Divine, is always present. It takes a moment of awareness to turn and look toward our inner self, which always tells us what’s for our highest good. Then, we can recognize the resonance of our inner voice, listen, and make deliberate choices.

“I’ve always thought of intuition as ‘deep listening’ and regularly drop down into that still, quiet place where I can simply know. You must be very present to do this and let the world’s noise fall away so you can hear it. I’ve intentionally cultivated this in myself and make my most important decisions from this place. I trust it.

Kids are more in tune with their intuition because the noise of the world hasn’t drowned it out yet. They’re more in touch with their feelings, which often have an intuitive source.

I think many adults live more in their heads than in their feelings/bodies, which blocks their intuition. Whatever helps you get grounded back in your feelings and your body can help reconnect you with your intuition, whether that’s being in nature, meditation, or something else. How does your body feel when you consider one direction or course of action? How does it feel when you consider another? Your body knows,” says Bonnie.

About the most outrageous desire at this moment, Bonnie recognizes, “I feel overwhelmed just considering this question! This is probably the bleeding edge of my own personal journey right now: believing that I can genuinely ask for and have anything I want. At this moment, my most outrageous desire would be for some kind of lasting breakthrough in humanity where we stop ‘othering’ those who seem different. In an instant, so many ills would be gone—racism and sexism and xenophobia among them– and replaced with connection and empathy. That’s a worthy desire.”

And then Bonnie continues, “What I love the most about myself is my good heart. I’m not perfect, but I always come from a place of wanting the best for everyone. And I try to leverage my gifts to make the world better. Right now, that means getting the word out about We Can Books, because these unique books truly make learning to read a fun and intuitive experience for kids, leading to a better outcome for their lives. What’s more rewarding and exciting than that?

What I love most about other people is the same thing: their good hearts. The kindness and tenderness in people eternally move me. By both the ordinary and extraordinary ways they show up in the world. The beauty and generosity of the human heart inspires me.”

Like Bonnie, are you allowing yourself to create and express yourself from your heart? How is life when you are genuinely inspired by seeing the beauty and kindness within you and all around you?

Photography // Dawn Bowery

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