Chapter 4: Leaning into discomfort

November 10th, 2018

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you. I hope these words find you exactly where you need to be in this moment. I hope wherever you are right now, you have a roof over your head, you are warm, and you have reason to be grateful.

It is 7:09AM and I am sitting on my bed, in my cozy bedroom, with a warm cup of coffee at my side. The sky is ashy and hazy from the current California wildfire, and though there are devastating things happening in the world right now, all feels calm in this moment and I am grateful to experience that. And to each and every person who has been impacted by wildfires this year, I send my breath. I close my eyes, I breathe into my heart and feel it expand, and I exhale my love outwardly. It’s not much; It certainly won’t repair the damage that’s been done, but it is something. And I hope that when you and I experience our next suffering, there are others somewhere in the world breathing into their hearts and sending us love. We are in this together, right? Even when our sufferings make us believe we are alone. We are not.

Just over a year ago I began writing. It is as if twenty-seven years of words stored in my mind, my body, and my heart, really needed to evacuate. I never thought of myself as a writer because in school I was terrible at “writing.” My essays were total crap, mostly because I had no interest in the given topic. I remember thinking that the structure of an essay was such a waste of time. The formatting, the references, the weird-neutral narrator without any personality. Then I’d turn it in, knowing how little effort I spent on it, just to receive it back with a bunch of negative unhelpful feedback. “Hey, you aren’t interested in this? Great, let me rip you a new one and not offer any support.” Perhaps needless to say, It felt like such a waste of time and I’m not sure I transferred those skills over to adulthood. You know what I wish I learned more about? Finances. How to budget. How to have a harmonious relationship with money. How to follow your hearts calling in life and also make money.
How to take care of your self when financials stress you out. How getting a credit card has pros and cons. How to navigate debt from educational institutions. How to live the life you desire to live without finances shitting all over you. How to be a balanced, kind, humble human, with financial abundance. How to navigate the finances of unexpected life events, such as single parenting or life-threatening disease, on a single-income.
You know, stuff like that. That is what we should have talked about. Could you imagine? You have two options in college. Financial education and mindfulness education. You learn how to navigate the system and then you learn how to navigate your self. Boom.

For most of my adulthood, I have had an inharmonious relationship with money. It didn’t cross my mind in college, because I was receiving financial aid and grants. It never occurred to me that I would have to look at all of that financial aid five years later and pay it back as if I had been quietly stashing thousands of dollars away between the ages of 18 and 22*.

*It took me 5 years to graduate college. I used to say it was because of budget cuts and limited classes at that time, which isn’t totally false, but it was also very much because I had to take Human Anatomy twice. The first time around, I essentially failed because I didn’t participate in the cutting of cadavers in lab. (They give you a choice to opt in or out, but essentially shame you for opting out) and lecture was boring for this fireball, so I was pretty much doomed. And in the spirit of being transparent, I also failed my political science class, because I live-streamed the Warriors game each time. I’m laughing now. Being honest is funny.

Okay, lets get back to the point here.

I was really lucky when it came to starting my career. I was freshly twenty-one and had just gotten hired to coach at a private high school in San Francisco. That opportunity really opened some beautiful doors for me. I ended up coaching at two private high schools over the course of five years. I even got the opportunity to create and implement a strength and conditioning program that I ran by my self. In addition to athletic coaching, I was also running a private personal training business out of a martial arts studio. At twenty-four, I found out I was pregnant. Path changer. A few weeks after I had my daughter Rayne, I was offered a full-time physical education job at a private school in San Francisco. A dream job, really.
I turned it down to move back to my hometown.
I chose to leave a career I had spent years manifesting and creating. I chose to shut down my private coaching business that was finally doing so-fucking-well.
I chose to start over because being closer to my mom and dad, as a new single mom, was the only thing that made sense.

This was three and a half years ago.

Financially, it’s been fucking rough.
I didn’t have a paid-maternity leave because I was self-employed nor did I have a partners’ income to rely on. I began motherhood with a few hundred dollars in my bank account that disappeared, very quickly. I opened a credit card because I had to. I maxed it out in the first year of motherhood on: diapers, wipes, gas, and groceries. I ate oatmeal for dinner more nights than I can count because I guilted myself for being broke. I believed I didn’t deserve anything more than that. I didn’t talk about my finances because it felt easier to avoid instead. I eventually accepted a full-time job at Facebook HQ that ran me into the fucking ground. I worked 40+ hours a week and would then race home to my breast-feeding infant. I hired a full-time nanny that essentially cost me just as much as I was making at Facebook. I racked up even more debt because again, I needed gas and groceries.
It was a brutal cycle. A cycle I felt stuck in for a long time. But, I eventually broke that cycle because my health was deteriorating. Literally, my jaw locked up and I couldn’t speak. This cycle led me to change my priorities. After leaving Facebook, my intention and priority moving forward was my wellbeing. I had to take care of myself, in order to genuinely take care of my daughter. I couldn’t let the fear of not-having-enough-money guide me any longer.

Today, my wellbeing, my immunity, my connection to self is stronger than it has ever been. Today, I still face financial sufferings. I am still paying off debt. I am still burdened by bay area rentals. I am still navigating self-employment as a single parent. But the difference? My innerverse is at peace. My mind, my heart, and my physical body are in harmony. And when they fall out of harmony, I know exactly how to respond. When my mind drops into the fear of finances, my inner wise woman always guides me back home; To my heart.

In the last week I have been really asked to look at my financial situation. I have experienced so much internal discomfort. Exhaustion. Anger. Sadness. Frustration. Hopelessness. Confusion.
But, my inner wise woman, she is loud at times like this. She doesn’t let this haziness take over anymore. She reminds me to come back to self. She reminds me to breathe. She reminds me to trust-the-fuck out of my lifes purpose. She reminds me that I don’t have to work jobs just to make money, rather, that I can do the work I know I am meant to do AND get compensated for it.

So, that’s where I’m at today, friends.
Acknowledging my sufferings but staying rooted in who I am.
Feeling the discomfort but not allowing it to guide me.
Meditating but also ACTING and getting shit done.
We can’t just meditate.
We can’t just do.
We’ve also go to ask for support.

So my dearest reader, I need help. I am asking for support around my finances. Someone to help me navigate the numbers. Someone who enjoys this sort of work. If you feel called, please respond directly to this newsletter. In return, I would love to offer you a private service of mine.*
*In case you didn’t know, I offer a few different private services. This is something I have always felt uncomfortable to share and promote but that sabotaging story ends here.
I offer Personal training, Yoga, Meditation, and Emotional Healing/Self-Sabotage Coaching. I currently have space to take on TWO new clients. If you feel curious, please reach out.

In the meantime, let’s lean into one another. Let’s ask one another for what we need. What we want. What we desire. What we long for. What works. What does not work.
Let us be in this together.
Let us get uncomfortable.
Let us fucking LEAN IN to one another.
You with me?

With so much gratitude,
Bree Irene Gwinner

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