Brie-ann Boal is luminous - there’s really no better word I can muster to describe her. With a big smile, and a joyful giggle, and a mind that mesmerises (just wait until you read her interview responses), she carries a scent of romance around with her.
She’s also been my personal trainer for close to six months now, and she is bah-rilliant at what she does! Intentional, creative and innovative - she's out there transforming the way people approach wellness and movement- myself included.
What I love most about this interview, is that we’ve all been given the privilege of seeing what goes on behind the scenes of all that joyful luminosity. That sometimes, life is messy and uncomfortable and damn near unbearable, and that even when it is, could it be anything other than perfect?
Allow this chica’s word smithery and total charm to carry you somewhere else today. Let her sentences wrap you up and lift you up to some place far, far away.
And if you live in the Brisbane - Gold Coast - Byron region, hire her as your PT, pronto.
Sum up your mission in one sentence.
Inner alchemy - turning dark to light, through movement and meditation.
Can you share with us one of your most vulnerable moments (and in hindsight, what made it so beautiful?).
I had to really stop and think about this one. Not for lack of vulnerable moments, but because a number of pictures flashed through my mind. Scenes from a shamanic de-armouring retreat / running bare-fleshed through the forest / anguish / despair / primal-sounds-I-didn’t-know-
Rather public and (seemingly) dramatic however, if I’m to be truly honest, the most fear-felt moments have always been comparatively private / humble / just me and my ‘hunny’.
Moments between lovers hold that ‘vulnerability potential’ because there’s more at stake than dignity and public image. There’s the fear of losing someone (‘your world’) or irreparably altering the way they see you.
My most vulnerable moment was telling my boyfriend ‘everything’. Peeling back the layers - revealing all the things I’d kept in the shadows, out of view.
Secrets I’d thought to give away but swallowed back, last minute. Feeling them sink, into my throat, where they stayed - conveniently locked equal distance between head and heart.
We were at an outdoor amphitheatre, listening to The XX. Something about that sonic landscape coerced pure heart connection and made the ‘unspoken’ between us intolerable. There was no longer room for my secrets and that burning-background-question: ‘If he knew the truth would he still love me?’
All I could do was breathe, brace and throw it all up at his feet, pray he’d love the mess of me as much as the shadow projection.
What made it so beautiful?
The instant evaporation of fear / shame / secrecy...
The sudden expansion and space created for deeper loving and intimacy...
Realising the fallacy of my fears and beliefs...
Discovering that those that truly love you do, because they truly see you. They see right through the layers of where you’ve been and what you’ve done. They know one thing only. Who you are. Nothing else matters.
What turns you on?
Simple things… a sultry breeze, a balmy night, the smell of sandalwood + nag champa. Sunsets that paint us all golden. Sunrise. Seeing colours in the sky that don’t usually belong. Deep abiding presence. Lyrics. Words. Poetry. A goosebump-kind-of-grammar. The XX. Spanish guitar. Unbridled ecstasy. Dancing. ‘Music that melts the separate parts of the body together’ (Anais). The ocean - it's serene brutality and the electric power of wet, briny air. The humble, honest, authentic and unassuming. The unapologetically eccentric and out-of-place. Smiley-eyes. First-thing-in-the-morning faces. Unkempt hair. Getting tea-tipsy. Long, meandering chats. Existential wisdom. Out-of-the-box thinkers. Silence. Wordless interactions. Contradictions. Distant faraway places. Mysteries.
What makes your blood boil?
These days, not much. You'll be hard pressed getting me to a low simmer.
Things sadden before they enrage - cruelty; deliberate intent to hurt, harm, humiliate. The way we trash our planet.
Ignorant, narrow-minded, profit/power based decisions to tear down forests, rip up the ocean and maim defenseless wildlife. This has been close to my heart since I was really young, the journals of my ten-year-old self are full of heartache for the planet.
On a not-so-heavy note, phone companies have an amazing talent for ruffling feathers (mine included). It’s quite impressive.
How do you define confidence?
Unapologetically embracing your ‘self’ (light, dark and everything in between); radical acceptance; freedom from the anxiety of imperfection; deep peace; unshakable knowing; embodying truth; inner poise + grace.
When was the last time you experienced pure, unadulterated joy? Can you give us the juicy details?
This morning, with him.
Bamboo sheets. Cool skin. Slow rotating fan blades
Looking back, how have you most GROWN?
Looking back, it’s the beautifully fucked up life experiences that have shaped me most. It’s the butterfly effect. Not in the common sense of the word but in the context of this story.
Whilst part of me cringes to reference the oh-so-cliché caterpillar, it stands to reason. The story describes the process of butter-pillar squeezing itself through a pin-size hole. Effectively, forcing fluid from it’s body and wiping mucous from its wings. Without this (divinely designed) struggle, the butterfly remains stunted. It will never be airborne. Heartache, addiction, depression, disorders – they’re why I fly life on free wings today. These experiences guided me to live closer to my heart; taught me empathy and self-expression; gave me a deeper knowing + understanding of myself and a compulsion to help others. To me, these mars are golden.
Combining my passions with a business I love makes me feel ... all shades of amazing!
Few people know this about me, but I ... was kept down in preschool – ‘painfully shy’ and ‘socially maladjusted'.
I secretly wish I could ... be a slow loris.
To me, the words 'Such Different Skies' mean ...
More than this space (or your attention span) could hold. I tend to get lost in interpretations. The two that stand out most…
‘Celebrating shifts in perception’ and ‘embracing transience’.
To me, ‘Skies’ is poetic reference to life (transient and ever-changing). It’s a gentle reminder: ‘Don’t get attached to one set of conditions.’ There is grace in appreciating ‘summer-sun’, ‘winter-grey’ + all seasonal shades between.
'Perception' wise, Anais Nin said it well: 'We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.'
We all gaze up at the same sky, though we see it through different filters. ‘Serene, sentient moon?’ or ‘fear-filled, black?’ Perception is projection - not fixed - it’s interchangeable choice.
In the context of this ever-inspiring site, Such Different Skies is a wake-up call:
Crack open a fresh set of eyes, smile at your new life and then, in the words of Ms Strayed… ‘tackle the mother fucking shit out of it!’
Curious mind. Health hunter-gatherer. Lover of tea, typewriters and pretty words. Brieann holds a degree in Creative Industries and journalism with certifications in yoga, personal training, holistic fitness, massage and Reiki.
Creator of Wabi-sabi Well – movement towards inner-alchemy – her unique workouts offer an infusion of fitness, massage, meditation and healing in harmony with nature. When she’s not helping people with their health and fitness, you’ll find her sipping oolong tea + lying in the green.
Okay. Can we all deep sigh together now? What.a.babe. I don't know about you, but I'm completely in love with Brieann's brain right now. I feel like I've been serenaded :) Let's show her some love in the comments.