NOTE: This interview with Saij Miller-Wildsmith [SMW] was conducted by The Only Love Project’s Bill Murphy [BM] on April 20, 2015. Original artwork from Saij. Enjoy the interview!
BM: Briefly tell us your background. What would you like us to know about you?
SMW: What I would most like people to know about me is that I am a mother, and I say that because I try to think of my legacy a lot with my children and how I want them to view me when I am gone, what they will sit around when they are older with their children and talk about “mom” and how they will refer to me and the memories that they talk about. So a lot of my decisions and a lot of the things that I do and the way I move forward in my life is based on my two boys and how they view me and how they look at me and how they look up to me and me being their role model. So that is the biggest part of my identity that I would want people to know about me.
Other than that I am a lot of different things. My background is – I think about me – currently my faith, my Buddhist faith. I am a vegan. I am a partner. I have been in a long-term relationship for almost nine years. I am an artist. I am a writer, and a big part of my background has to do with my evolution through my spirituality and my views of the world, just the growing up of Saij and the way I have changed as an adult from a Catholic girl growing up in Nebraska to a Zen Buddhist priest in East Tennessee who is gay and vegan. That is not something you see a lot of in East Tennessee. [Both laugh.]
BM: That’s quite a jump from a Catholic girl in Nebraska to a Zen Buddhist priest in Tennessee. That’s a huge transition.
SMW: That’s a huge transition. It absolutely is. It’s quite a story. It’s quite a story.
BM: Well, it’s a good story. I like that. Anything else you would like to add to that?
SMW: Well, I guess my background being a girl from Nebraska — I have a sister. We grew up in a very strict Catholic home, and I think that a lot of the basis for how I view life and how I changed so much was based a lot in that little Catholic church I grew up in and the dogma and things that were – and the ritual attached to Catholicism and the strictness of my home life I think formed in me anyway this need to break free. I think I have spent the majority of my adult life leaving home at 18 seeking for what that looks like, leading to where I am now. The evolution from that to going to every different kind of church known to man trying to find where I fit led me on a direction that has spanned some 30 years, and it’s evolved from Catholicism to herbalism, Reiki, martial arts, yoga, atheism, just a gamut of different belief structures and systems that eventually found its way to Continue reading