Chapter 10: Attention Is Not Love

December 23rd, 2018

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you. I hope these words find you in a nourishing space you call home; whether that is a physical house or your body. I hope you are off duty in some way. I hope you can hang up all of the hats you wear and just simply be yourself these next few days. I hope there are people nearby offering support to you, even if those same people have been triggering you your entire life. I hope you are able to stay grounded in who you are, especially in the midst of the holidays, when we come together with people who may expect us to be the same person we were twenty-something years ago. And if you do in fact lose your ground, I hope you allow your triggers to teach you.

The holidays are a really interesting time for me. Don’t worry, I am not going to get all “grinch” and “scrooge” on you. I’m not going to shit all over your sparkly holiday fantasies. I am going to share a super personal story, as per usual, and get fucking real with you.
Shall we?

Twenty-three years ago my parents divorced; I was five years old. I don’t have very much memory of them together as a romantic couple nor do I have memory of us as a family of three. This is sad for me, yes, but let’s keep moving. I have a ton of memory of having two single parents and two places to call home. The memories I have of my parents are separate. This happened with mom and this happened with dad. My memory is like a 5 x 10 storage unit with a fuck ton of files. Within the last year of my life, I have found the key to my storage unit, I have turned the light on, I have cleared out the dust and cobwebs and toxicity, and I have opened, revisited, and organized many files.

Opening up this storage unit was a huge a commitment. I will venture to say that many adults get to a point in their life where they find the key to their storage unit but as soon as that door opens they take off running instead. Being open and ready to take on this commitment will play out differently for everyone. For me, I had done enough running and I was ready, even though I had no fucking clue what would come.

I’m about to get real personal. Buckle up.

One of my core childhood wounds is rooted all the way back to the time when my parents split-up. This wound is linked to my father; to the masculine. It took me a long while, probably a year of working with a coach, to realize this as I have spent most of my life blaming my mother and assuming all of my wounding came from her. And boy was I SHOOK when I realized that a majority of my twenty-eight year old projections actually stemmed from my relationship with my father.

The wound?
Attention is love.
Fuck.

Without getting too complex here, because this inner-work is extremely specific and complex, I will do my best to give you the five year old audience version.

A few years after my parents split-up, my mother remarried and had another child. My father claimed he was done dating and chose to stay single. Therefore, when I was at moms house: I did not receive attention and when I was at dads house: I received ALL the attention.
My sweet inner child unfortunately decided that when I was receiving attention, I was loved, and when I was not receiving attention, I was unloved.

Boom. The wound was created.

This became an unconscious behavioral pattern for me and has guided me for most of my life. When I reflect on every man I have dated or simply been friends with, I can find a similarity across the charts. I stayed if there was attention and I took off if there was not.

It wasn’t until November 2017 that I started to become more conscious of my behaviors and projections based on that wound, and it has been a painfully challenging task to rewire. Every connection I have made in the last year has triggered me in some way which has then guided me back to the root of the wound. My triggers have been my greatest teachers this year. Someone wise said “Never forget the 5 T’s: Trust The Triggers To Teach” and from the moment I heard that, I committed.

This has been my work in 2018. Getting triggered. Allowing myself to be in the trigger. Letting the trigger guide me back to the root; the core wound. Revisiting young Bree. Feeling young Bree. Loving young Bree. Honoring young Bree. And perhaps the hardest task of all, rewriting and living out a new narrative around my relationship with the masculine and the feminine.

So let’s full circle.

Last night I went out dancing. (http://ecstaticdance.org) Inspired by the full moon in cancer (ironically, my dad and brother are both cancers), I chose to set an intention around this wound. My intention was: I want to become even more conscious of my attention wound projections and I want to start embodying and living my new narrative.

Repeat after me.
Attention is not love.
Attention is attention.
Sometimes when I receive attention, I mistake it for unconditional love.
Sometimes when I do not receive attention, I mistake it for being unloved.
I am working with this, dancing rather.
I am aware of my old behavioral patterns around attention and I am writing and living a new narrative.
The old sabotaging narrative ends today.
I will be gentle with myself in this rewiring process.
I will probably slip and fall a few times but I will get back up.
When I receive attention, I know it is not unconditional love.
When I do not receive attention, I know that I am still loved.

Trust the triggers to teach.
Let’s get triggered and conscious together, yeah?
Happy holidays.
Be nice to yourself.
I love you.

With Gratitude,
Bree

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