Devin Ryan

Devin Ryan

| Adinawa Adjagbodjou

I would love it if you could just start by introducing yourself for me and just telling me who you are and what you're all about. 

Well, my name is Devin Marie. I am a wellness advocate and practitioner as well as a brand architect, as I like to call myself. I like helping people build relationships, healthier ones, happier ones.

How would you say you define wellness?

Wellness for me is mindfulness and being mindful of self as well as having that be its core value. However, a result of being mindful of what your needs are and acknowledging those and meeting those needs directly corresponds to how we're able to show up for our community. So tending to self for the hope of bettering oneself will translate naturally to those that we care about and the communities that we are involved in. 

 

Could you speak more to your journey of becoming a wellness advocate?

You know, wellness, advocacy and health coaching, if I'm being completely honest, it was motivated by the lack that was in my own personal life. I find that when we deal with traumas and when we're faced with real life situations that challenge us beyond our capacity to support ourselves, we are constantly looking for ways of surviving. And I have been through this journey of healing in my own personal life from trauma that I don't want to survive anymore. I want to really enjoy life.

I don't want it to constantly be like putting out fires and like, “Oh there's another trigger, there's another trigger.” I need some context behind why I respond the way that I do. So I ended up going to an  integrative nutrition school and took courses to understand why certain things show up in my life the way that they do, why certain habits exist, why certain patterns are the way that they are and how I could potentially challenge those and improve myself. As a result, I was filled up, and when there's an overflow it's natural to just want to share it.

How would you say your identity plays a role in how you show up in the world?

I'm very mindful of a quote by this incredible force of nature. Toni Morrison. She says you are not the work you do. You are the person that you are. So when I'm, when I am thinking about how I want to lend my time and my perspective to different rooms and with different people, I am constantly going back and asking myself, is this what I believe in? Is this true to me? And is this aligning with my core values?  

And when it's a yes, I know that regardless of what it is I'm doing, uh, it's going to be authentic. So that really matters to me and is something that I'm constantly reflecting on. 

I’m wondering if there’s ways that you'd like to express yourself, vocally or through your clothing?

I've learned to simplify my life quite a bit. In terms of acquiring things, if we're talking about fashion, for example, I've worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years being a model. And I'm used to people putting things on me, decorating me and I'm on the canvas and I am the person's muse.

And I'm being manipulated and shifted, and formed into a character and it's fun and it's exciting and sometimes challenging. On a personal level, I realized that I live my life much more simply, and when it comes to acquiring fashion, my  taste and preference is always that less is more because life is already chaotic. A lot of the worlds that I work in are very chaotic and very demanding, so my sense of style is rather understated. But I express myself or where I feel my soul really is resting in the most grounded way through simple modes of style. 

So, simple statement pieces, not too overwhelming. I think that reflects where my core values stand: quality versus quantity.

How you work on achieving balance when you are in these roles where you are able to pour so much into others, to make sure you're continuing to feel poured into.

I always get kind of frustrated by the notion of finding balance. I think balance is not always that easy to acquire in life. Sometimes life demands you to prioritize things, responsibilities that you just have to take care of.

My finding balance is being much more intentional about boundaries. We speak about this a lot in the wellness community, but that's been an ongoing practice for me. Yes, I want to care for my community, but no I don't want to take that phone call right now because I don't have the emotional capacity to have a conversation. Sometimes we don't have the luxury or the privilege of being able to say no to certain things because of set responsibilities. You have to show up for those things and for those people. But I'm a constant lever in showing up for yourself. If that means I need time to myself at some point in the day, sometimes that means waking up an hour earlier than I would like, just so I can have some silence, which feeds me and simulates me.

So my last question is why you chose the “Break The Rules” necklace, and what that means to you.

This one is my new statement piece and I'm absolutely in love with it. I remember actually asking a friend of mine, “which one do you feel like speaks to me the most?” And they didn't give me an answer, but this was my first choice and they immediately said this one and it's kind of ironic because I'm a very Type A personality. I live by structure. I'm a time manager for myself as well as multiple people. I thrive in that space, but my spirit is asking for the complete opposite most of the time, and there's a freedom and there's even a grounding in being less restrictive. 

I've been limiting myself too often in my life. And I think in this season in particular, “Breaking the rules” doesn't mean I'm being careless, but I'm being conscientious of the fact that there is more abundance for me. And I would hate to limit myself with being so structured or too practical. In certain regards I value structure, but I also value space for spontaneity which I'm inviting more of.

So it's a bit of a challenge, but this is a reminder for me to challenge myself more and remember that just because I can thrive in structure doesn't mean I can't thrive in freedom and I want to learn to do both. And this is the perfect testament to breaking the rules. Don't always stick to comfort. There's something beautiful that happens in the unknown. So I'm trying to lend myself more and more to that every day.