Author Archives: breegwinner

Chapter 21: If it doesn’t feel right, I’m out

April 24th 2019

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening wherever this chapter may be finding you. It is 7:29AM on Wednesday morning for me. The sky is blue. The birds are singing. My coconut milk coffee is lukewarm. My daughter is pretending to be a mom and is playing with the most random items we own: a PVC pipe, a piano stool, and yoga blocks. I told her that I needed some space to write and so she set herself up. Bless her sweet independent heart and imagination.

The work I do in the world tends to continuously shift but one thing has always remained constant: I connect deeply with humans. Whether I am coaching high school basketball or volleyball, selling memberships for a gym, working a front desk, teaching group fitness classes, training clients privately, interning at a strength and conditioning facility, teaching yoga classes, writing a book, teaching meditation, supporting clients around self-sabotage and lifestyle change, I am passionate about connecting with the hearts in front of me.

I’ve never kept a specific work title for more than a few years. I always get to a point, in whatever job I am doing, where I need to make a change, be it big or small. I always get to a point where I slip into comfort and am no longer feeling inspired and challenged. I always get to a point where I don’t feel stoked to get into my car and drive to my place of work.

Lucky for me, I thrive off of change. I adapt really, really well. I am good at being new. It’s not to say I don’t get nervous or shy, because I certainly do, it’s more that I expand from that energy versus contract.

One of my closest girlfriends has said to me on a few different occasions, “Bree, you move fast.” Meaning, that my mind wants change and then I move really quickly to make that change happen. Sometimes it works out in my favor and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve experienced both ends of it and I’ve gotten to a place where I am so aware of my “desire for change” that typically, I sit with it for a few weeks, which for me, may as well be a fucking year.

So as you may already know, something I sat with for awhile was giving up my role as a yoga teacher. A few months of inquiry around that desire, I did in fact give it up and it has felt so right.

I made another decision recently which inevitability is going to change my work flow once again. I will be giving up half of the current classes I am teaching, stacking my schedule to another day, and picking up a new role here in Santa Cruz. A role that I have been wanting for some time now and the stars have finally aligned for me.

And you know what?

It feels right.

And I am trusting that.
With everything inside of me.
With not only work, but with my personal relations as well.

If it doesn’t feel right, if it doesn’t feel good, I’m fuckin’ out.

So my dear reader, I invite you to inquire around the same thing. What are you choosing for yourself in your life? Does it feel good or does it feel icky? Does it feel right or does it feel wrong? Does your entire being scream HELL YES or HELL NO?

And are you listening?

With Gratitude,

BG

Chapter 20: I Am Pure Fucking Fire

April 19th, 2019

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening. Happy full moon to you, my darlings. My go-to astrologer guru, Chani Nicholas, shares:

“This full moon’s impact is longer lasting, and therefore more impactful to work with than usual. Though this month is free from Mercury’s retrograde, it is a month that sees Jupiter, Pluto, and then Saturn, all station retrograde. Very different from Mercury’s relatively quick and dirty retrograde, however, these planets will be helping us to review certain areas of our lives over many months. They pull focus throughout seasons rather than weeks, giving us time to adjust, understand, and work with their specific lessons.”

~

Just a few moments ago, I was sitting on my balcony in silence, drinking a warm beverage, and journaling. If you’ve been here for awhile, you know that this is a favorite of mine. There is something so profoundly beautiful about giving yourself space, to just witness yourself; To just be present with what is. Making space each morning for myself, whether I am alone or with my 4 year old, has been SO important for my wellbeing. It is something I committed to about a year and a half ago because the benefits have been so enriching. I often wonder, what would it be like if every single one of us, regardless of our lifestyles and demanding schedules, had a few hours each morning to be silent and still with our thoughts and emotions?

I had no intention of writing a newsletter this morning but after a full page of journaling, I realized that the words inside of me really wanted to be expressed. I am noticing, in addition to my morning journaling, I am desiring a practice and outlet that supports all of the words and thoughts within my mind. I thought I had this covered already with all of my practices. When my mind is loud and busy and analytical, I have a huge tool box that I reach for. I share, journal, sing, exercise, and meditate. This combination of practices has worked really well for me for awhile now and it has really dropped me into the role of my own healer. But I am noticing that I am getting comfortable with most of these practices. I am falling into a stagnant routine, if you will.

So recently, I started boxing and running. Boxing is something I have always wanted to do but for most of my life, had a negative opinion around it because of the violent/aggressive component. Every time my mind said, “you should try boxing as a new outlet,” I immediately dismissed it because I didn’t want to “feed” my angry side. Ultimately, I wanted to bypass that side of me.

Well, bypassing doesn’t do shit for anyone.

Within the last month, I have begun to accept and embody the part of me that is scary. Scary to me and scary to others. The part of me that holds my: anger, temper, fire, frustrations, and aggression. The part of me that I have been suppressing because I knew it existed and I didn’t want to harm anyone. The part of me that has been perceived as: too strong, too independent, bitchy, passive-aggressive, sassy, conceited, and explosive.

I’ve started to love this part of me because you know what? It is fucking HUMAN. I can’t tell you how many times I have met people, who are naturally “easy-going” and kind and loving, and been so irritated because I wasn’t able to relate. I used to shame myself for not being that way and it took a huge toll on me.

But here’s where I’m at with all this now.

Thank fucking GOODNESS for all of the people who are easy-going (like my sweet and adorable father) because they balance out the fiery-bold-loud-expressive-too-much-fucking-humans like myself. They are the yin to our yang. They are the water to our fire.

We need both.
We need balance.

The yin and the yang.

…or else this life would be fucking boring.

So to all my brothers and sisters out there who are pure fucking fire, like me, I bow to you. I honor you.

And to all my brothers and sisters out there who are fucking watery, unlike me, I bow to you too. I honor the hell out of you.

As Aries season comes to a close, let’s continue to blaze our paths. Let’s continue to stand in our truths, proudly, and maybe even loudly.

Let’s continue to roar and encourage others to do the same.

You aint too much, and never were.

With fire and gratitude,

Bree

Chapter 19: We Are All Doing Our Fucking Best

April 4, 2019

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you. Wherever you may be in the world, whatever you may be navigating and feeling in your heart, know this: you are not alone. Every single one of us, regardless of how we present, front, and show up, are navigating something. Whether we share it publicly with students or 1-on-1 with soul sisters and brothers or whether we keep it 100% private and to ourself, we are all navigating. In addition, we are all doing our fucking best. There’s no manual on how to do life. No one person has got it all figured out. We are all doing our best. Apparently someone needed to read that today; Maybe me.

Last Saturday, I celebrated my birthday and entered my 29th year. Some of you knew this and some of you cannot believe that I am much closer to 30 than you thought.

Pausing for reactions. Sipping my coffee. Kay, let’s move on.

Leading up to my birthday, I was navigating a handful of challenges within my new community here in Santa Cruz. These challenges happened to be with some of the closest friends and connections I have made since beginning my dance practice here, just over a year ago. Each challenge had a very similar theme present.

It is uncomfortable and I don’t want to experience this.

We have all been here. Shit, some of you are “here” right now with someone in your life. A friend, a lover, a family member, a coworker, an acquaintance. And it’s fucking uncomfortable and it would be easier to just run away and avoid the entire situation and maybe just move to a new city and start over, right?
Yeah, it would be easier to avoid the discomfort and confrontation but deep down we all know (though “forget”) that moving into what we resist is where we grow the most.

Despite the ickiness I was feeling, I chose to look at these situations differently this time around. I put on my conscious human goggles and chose to look directly at my discomfort. Instead of fueling my old ways of being, which always involved avoiding and running, I chose to stay. I chose to move into the confrontation versus blame the person in front of me. I chose to own my experience instead of put on my victim costume. I chose to drop into love instead of fear. I chose compassion. And throughout this last month or two, I have constantly reminded myself that this person is doing their fucking best. That I am doing my fucking best. That we are human and fuck up and unintentionally cause other humans discomforts, pain, and heartache. That we are all projecting from our core childhood wounds, even when we are deeply aware of them.

We are all doing our fucking best.

You know what I experienced when I moved bravely into all of the confrontation? I experienced love. compassion. aliveness. weightlessness. relief. growth. rewiring. joy.

It wasn’t easy, you guys, but I did it. I had four relationships erupt all within the same time and I got to see the ruins create an even stronger foundation for what’s to come.

Move into your discomforts.
Move into what you resist.
Move into compassion.
Move into love.
Even when your younger self screams “run,”
stay.

Encourage yourself to be brave for 20 seconds and see what comes from it. Just 20 seconds.
You can definitely do it.

I love you, a lot.
You’ve got this,
and so do I.

With so much gratitude,
Bree

Chapter 18: Listening

March 11, 2019

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you. I am sitting on my balcony listening to birds sing while sun warms my skin. And even though my body is experiencing discomfort right now, this moment is still so good. I am grateful for it all.

I have spent the majority of my life fighting with my body. Avoiding feelings and sensations. Ignoring it’s communication with me. Pushing it so hard that it has had no other choice but to break down. I have severely dislocated a shoulder, to the point of it being unusable for almost an entire year. My jaw has locked up and not opened for multiple days. A lymph node in my neck has gotten so swollen it ruptured and left a literal hole in my neck for weeks.

I didn’t really start to listen to my body, fully, until pregnant with Rayne. I flew to Bali for my yoga teacher training, just a few weeks pregnant, and had an expectation that my yoga practice would progress tremendously. Instead, full blown surrender. I was in child’s pose or hovering over a toilet for an entire month. My pregnancy was physically challenging but so damn awakening.

When my jaw locked and my lymph nodes began to swell (again), I was working 40 hours a week at Facebook HQ as a personal trainer and yoga instructor. I was also a full-time-breast-feeding-single-mom at this time. I was forced to take sick leave for almost two weeks while my jaw and lymph nodes recovered. It was the last time I would ever push myself so hard that I’d break. After leaving Facebook, I promised myself to always prioritize my health and wellbeing, no matter the cost or sacrifices that would come along with it.

This last week has been tough in my body. I have canceled yet another full day of clients and classes, work that nourishes me and brings me joy, to stay home and rest. To do absolutely nothing except honor and make space for what my body is communicating and feeling. I’ve been horizontal more than I’ve been vertical. I’ve been quiet more than I’ve been loud. I’ve been alone more than I’ve been with other. I have surrendered, entirely, to whatever it is my body is navigating. I haven’t felt called to see a doctor yet but trust that my body will tell me if that is what I need next. I am feeling the benefits of taking space for my health even though my mind has felt fixated on the money I am going to lose out on this month which then reminds me of a few lines from a poem in my book:

“…because love over money
has been my mantra
the past few years…”

a
nd I am quickly reminded, validated, and supported in my decision to stay home and honor my body.

I am listening.
I am honoring.
I am loving.

And my darlings, I invite you to do the same.

with Gratitude,
bg

Chapter 17: Emotional Awareness

March 7th, 2019

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you.

Often when I write, I have no expectation of where it is going to take me. I let the words flow out as they wish and sometimes they stay in my journal and other times I choose to share them with others. This is one of those moments where I feel called to share. Perhaps for my own process but also potentially for yours. So here I go.

I have been in a big emotional process over the last few weeks. The process came to life after a triggering situation, two rather. One triggered my relationship to the feminine and the other my relationship to the masculine. So essentially, my whole energy field was triggered up and it felt like the magical grounding carpet that lived underneath my feet was yanked out, aggressively.
The details around each trigger are not important to the story. The triggers just triggered the process to begin within me.

The process started off with a lot of crying. I was getting hit with waves of sadness every single day and sobbing multiple times a day. If I heard a song, If I remembered a painful detail, If I sat in meditation, If I saw a certain person, If I looked at Rayne.
Tears on tears on tears.
I welcomed all of the emotions.

My process then went from emotional to mental.
I spent a few days without much contact with anyone. I stayed quiet. I chose to be alone. I didn’t commit to any plans. I turned my phone off for an entire day. I made a lot of space for my mental process which ended up being a noisy-fucking parade of thoughts, dialogues, and stories which at times felt unbearable to be with.
But I welcomed all of the thoughts.

My process then went from mental to physical. All week, my physical body has felt depleted. Very little energy to do anything outside of survival needs. Yesterday, I experienced a lot of physical discomfort and spent most of my day with Rayne lying on our living room carpet, sniffing peppermint to subside the nausea I was experiencing. I literally felt like I was bobbing up and down in the ocean. In addition, my throat and sinuses have been congested and overall my immunity has felt run down. This irritated me. I felt confused because I had been “resting” so much leading up to these symptoms surfacing. I was resisting the physical sensations in my body because they felt icky. Something I’ve always done. Run from ickiness.

Then last night a dear friend messaged me, “you are so good at letting yourself feel it all and being with yourself in it” after I shared how I was feeling.

I paused. I reread her words. Then I realized, “fuck, this physical discomfort is part of the process. I have got to let myself be in this just as I was with the mental and emotional.”

So, I acknowledged, welcomed, and honored the physical sensations. It went something like this in my mind:
“Hello nausea, thank you, I love you. Hello internal cramping, thank you, I love you. Hello sinus congestion, thank you, I love you. Hello sore tonsils, thank you, I love you. Hello aching muscles, thank you, I love you.”

Seems a bit odd, right? It felt odd to do, but just as emotions want to be felt, so do physical discomforts in the body. Our body is constantly communicating with us and it is up to us to listen.

My emotional process includes feeling the emotions in my heart, observing the thoughts in my mind, and feeling the sensations in my physical body. Should I resist one, the process, or better yet the cycle, will not complete itself.

Feel the sensations in your body.
Observe the thoughts in your mind.
Feel the emotions in your heart.

This is the structure of how I teach AND practice meditation.
This is the structure of how I navigate emotional healing with clients AND myself.
This is the structure my entire being needs to navigate an emotional process/trigger.

This is emotional healing.
This is emotional intelligence.
This is emotional awareness.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

So, what is next for this process that I am in?
Moving with it.
…and that is exactly what I will do this evening at ecstatic dance.

Be gentle with yourself,
I love you.

With Gratitude,
bg

Chapter 16: I Am Home

February 25th 2019

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you my darling. I am hoping that your day is full of love, support, and space to breathe. I am hoping that your heart is being tended to and nourished. I hope you know, that in this moment, you are worthy of love.

I have been quieter than usual. I haven’t sent out a newsletter in a couple of weeks. Instead, I have given myself space from writing and sharing as it felt necessary. After publishing my book, the vulnerability became overwhelming and I felt like I wanted to hide. I felt like everywhere I walked, someone knew something intimate about me and my life and that became uncomfortable. I stripped all of the writing off of my website because I couldn’t handle the idea of a stranger visiting my site and reading about my story, before even meeting me. I felt like my heart was on display. Sharing your heart can really stir up internal discomfort. So, I invited the overwhelm and discomfort into my practices and just observed it over the last few weeks. And you know what? It passed through me and is no longer here.

In addition to that, my daughter and I officially became Santa Cruz residents and the last few weeks have felt a bit chaotic. I moved for the third time in six months but this was the grand finale. This was the move I had been patiently waiting for. This is the home base that I have been dreaming of and trusting would align with me; with us. Six months ago, if you told me I would be living in an apartment in Santa Cruz today, with a path straight to the beach, I don’t think I would have believed you. But I am. I waited. I trusted. I manifested. I am home.

“After a long day
of packing
and moving
I arrived to our new place
fell to my knees
and sobbed
for I knew
I was finally
home.”

For my local students on this newsletter, I have an announcement for you. I will be transitioning out of my Friday morning movement class and March 1st will be my final day teaching. There are many components to this decision and none make the transition any easier. I have been teaching in this time slot for two-ish years and many of you have been with me the entire time, supporting my evolution as a yoga teacher. After many weeks of contemplation, it is time for me to officially transition out. I plan to take the rest of the year off from teaching yoga in hopes to rekindle my own yoga practice; A practice that changed the course of my life years ago. A practice I have been neglecting, because I got so wrapped up in my role as a teacher. If I am not practicing, how can I be genuine? So, I am stepping back into the role of a student.

For everyone in the bay area interested in meditation, I am teaching two public classes a week that I am really excited about:

Monday
3:00-3:45pm
Almaden Yoga (http://almadenyoga.com)
San Jose, CA

Sunday
8:15-8:45am
Breath+Oneness (https://www.breathandoneness.com)
Santa Cruz, CA

And for everyone else on this newsletter, near and far, I just want to say thank you for being here. Thank you for supporting me as a mama, a writer, a teacher, a human. It’s cool to experience this life together and move beyond the surface. Please, please, please, never hesitate to respond to these newsletters. Share something on your mind or in your heart. I’d love to hear from you.

With that, I’ll leave you with some words I have been contemplating and encouraging myself to practice lately.

What would it be like
to love everything
that you are aware of?

With so much fucking gratitude,
bg

Chapter 15: Sadness is a phenomenon

February 3rd 2019

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you. Happy New Moon in Aquarius. For me, the new moon always brings a new, refreshing sort of energy. Kind of like when you wake up in the morning after a night of deep, peaceful sleep. The new moon also reminds us, encourages us to celebrate. Celebrate yourself, celebrate others, celebrate a new beginning. Wherever you are on your life path today, I hope you celebrate it. Celebrate what you have gone through to get to this exact moment. Celebrate your growth, your victories, and maybe even your losses. You got here, having possibly navigated some gnarly storms, and that is worth celebrating.

I spent most of this last week feeling sick. I spent most of my time horizontal while my daughter kept me entertained and in good company. I had moments where I felt frustrated that I had to tend to a demanding tiny human and I had moments where I felt deeply grateful that I was in her presence. Not everyone gets a sweet sparkly companion to share space with when they are feeling low. I do.

Yesterday morning I took myself to dance. Before dancing, I had a sweet session with a private personal training client. My energy was elevated by it/by her. But as I drove to dance, I noticed that something began to shift. My energy started to move, sort of like when you can see a storm coming in as you look out at the ocean. You don’t really know what’s about to happen, but you can feel something shifting. So I arrive at dance and eventually lay out on the floor. Thirty minutes end up going by, and I hardly moved. That is atypical for me. I’m a mover and it generally doesn’t take long for me to get embodied to music. But I didn’t want to move. I actually felt like I couldn’t. The word that came up was: paralyzed. I felt paralyzed by my emotions. The emotion being sadness. I was internally flooding with sadness and unable, maybe even unwilling, to let it move through me. Instead, I was holding onto it like a young child gripping onto their favorite blanket. I laid there and thought,
“sadness wants to move too, bree, let it move” to which my body would then respond, “no, I am not ready to move yet.” So I didn’t move. I just closed my eyes and acknowledged the sadness that was present. At first, I didn’t really understand where it was coming from. But as every minute passed, and I chose stillness instead of movement, more messages came through.

I had seen my mom the night before. For those new here, she has graves disease, which is a dysfunction and imbalance in her thyroid. She had updated me about how she was feeling and about her most recent appointment. She went through something like 12 weeks of steroid infusions towards the end of December, which unfortunately didn’t bring any relief to her discomforts. She is now doing radiation. Radiation, from my understanding, is a stronger treatment. A treatment that quite literally blasts into her eyes, which is where she is currently experiencing most of her discomfort.

Well, I eventually realized where my sadness was coming from. My sadness was for my moms situation. Sadness that each treatment up until this point has not made her feel better and that she is experiencing physical pain and discomfort every single day while working a full time job and showing up as a full time mom. I felt sad that there wasn’t much I could do except love her and support her while she navigates this storm.

A dance friend walked up to me as I was sitting in the corner of the dance space. He took both of his hands and cupped my face. I fucking collapsed. I lost my breath. My heart sunk and my chest dropped. My forehead bowed forward and I began to sob. Tears flowed out of me as soon as I felt his touch. He stayed for just a few big breaths, kissed my forehead, and I think he said “don’t forget to breathe” before walking off.

Release.

My sadness surfaced and it finally felt time to move. So I did. I moved, I growled, I smiled, I laughed.
I embraced the storm.

Sadness, like joy, wants to be felt.
Sadness, like the rain, is its own phenomenon.
Be with that phenomenon.
Love that phenomenon.
New Moon blessings to you.

I love you all, a lot.

With gratitude,
BG