November 17th, 2018
Chapter 5: Embody your truth
Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you. I hope these words find you and feel like a really good hug. One of those hugs where the other person fits perfectly into your nooks and nuzzles in for a few big breaths. Where you don’t need to be anywhere else in that moment except in that hug. I hope you are allowing yourself the rest you deserve in this transition to winter. And above all things, I hope you are at peace.
When my daughter and I moved to Santa Cruz at the end of August, our lives inevitably shifted. One thing I knew I wanted to find for her was a gymnastics program, as she had been in one for a couple years prior to our move. To my luck, I found a small local gymnastics school just a few doors down from where I participate in ecstatic dancing each week. Upon signing her up, I learned that there was also weekly adult classes. This is something I had been wanting to do for years, as I have a background in gymnastics, and have always dreamed to get back into it. I signed us both up. About two months into my classes, I was trying a new movement out, and triggered my right shoulder*.
*My right shoulder has a lot of history with injury and discomfort. I was a volleyball player growing up, naturally quite mobile, and dislocated it a handful of times. The last time I dislocated my shoulder playing volleyball was in college. I remember laying on the floor thinking, “this is it, I’ve got to stop playing.” That injury changed the course of my life because for the first time, perhaps in my entire existence, I had to slow down. I had to change my lifestyle. How I was moving my body. How I was eating. How I was recovering. How I was thinking. I had to prioritize my wellbeing before anything else. This was all happening around the age of 20 or 21. I worked with a holistic exercise coach three times a week and spent thousands of dollars on that injury. Priorities. It took me two years to fully heal my shoulder.
Ever since healing my shoulder, I have chosen to keep my movement simple, clean, and safe. I have also carried that into how I train private clients and teach my classes. So when I triggered my shoulder a few weeks back, I instantly shifted and began to prioritize once again. I am taking a break from my weekly gymnastics classes and to my luck, the instructor of that class has offered to work 1-on-1 with me during Rayne’s classes to help me with my stability. This past Wednesday we were working together and I shared that I have been training and coaching for ten years. She then shared that was something she’d like to get into and asked, “what is one piece of advice you would give to me based on your experience as a coach and trainer?” I paused. I let the question marinate for a moment. Then responded with something like, “Stay true to who you are. Keep showing up as Sybil and ALLOW your past, everything you have ever experienced, to inspire you. When you attend a new course, certification,
or workshop, remember who you are. Even if what you are learning sounds like the secret to life, remember who you are. There will be people who tell you to be a certain way. To feel a certain way. To move this like this. To breathe like this. Try not to attach to what anyone says. Let it inspire you while staying rooted in who you are. The most success I have ever found as a coach is when I have showed up as myself and embodied what I was teaching.”
It felt really sweet to answer her question. It felt really sweet to reflect on the last ten years. I appreciate questions like that; The ones that really ask you to check in with self and answer honestly. I gave her the advice that I wish I received when I started exploring the movement industry. This leads to my next story: when I interned out in Massachusetts.
I think I say this a lot, but, that internship ALSO changed the course of my life. I say that because when unexpected life events happen, our life path inevitably changes. I have had many ideas of how I thought my life would unravel. I thought I would go out to Boston, intern at the best strength and conditioning facility in the united states, and then get offered a job to work with professional athletes. Instead? I went out to Boston. I had an icky experience as an intern. I was treated like shit by the underpaid, poorly-rested, deeply unhappy employees. I met a man that would later become my daughters’ father. I left my internship early because of the toxic environment. I drove from Boston to San Francisco, alone. A month later after arriving back in San Francisco, I flew out to Bali, newly pregnant, to begin a month immersion in a yoga teacher training. You see? Life unraveled differently. Much differently that I thought. The reason I share this is because when I told Sybil to “stay
true to who you are,” I had wished that someone constantly reminded me of that over these last ten years.
It took me a long time to unapologetically accept who I am. It took me a long time to show up as Bree, without any shame. It took me years of faking to show up authentically.
We have got to stay true to who we are, even when it threatens someone else.
We have got to show up as ourself, even if we stand alone.
We have got to speak our truth, even when it is uncomfortable.
We have got to embody what we feel, even if it is scary.
We have got to let our light shine, even if it is too bright for others.
My dearest reader,
We need you, to be you.
No other light exists in this world and,
we need your light.
Please keep shining,
even when the world screams for you to dim.
You were not meant to be dim.
You were meant
to fucking glow.
Bree Irene Gwinner