Ode to Motherhood.

Motherhood
is being asked ten questions
before your eyes open in the morning
it is being interrupted
from making your coffee
because your toddler needs 
to wear a dress and a crown
right now
it is sweeping up crumbs
from the night before 
because a dirty kitchen
feels suffocating
and there is already enough of that
it is taking a sip
of your coffee or tea
like you have finally found
your soulmate
it is learning how to
cultivate peace
while both the dishwasher
and your toddler sing and hum 
it is getting triggered
by your needy toddler
but dropping to your knees
in forgiveness 
moments later 
it is forgetting
who you were
outside of being a mother
but also meeting your new self
who you actually
really like 
it is saying ‘no’ before
hearing the next question
because they truthfully
only get more ridiculous
as the day goes on
it is waking up
in the middle of the night
to make sure she is covered and warm
and then likely not falling
back asleep for another hour or three
it is wondering
where you would be
right now
if there wasn’t a toddler
performing a scene
from a movie that doesn’t exist
but also deeply grateful
that this is your reality
and you know that
even in the ugliest of moments
you wouldn’t change
a fucking thing
because this life
was totally meant for you. 

~bg

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Dancing With The Mystery Of Life.

Today is August 1st, 2018 and I feel like I have been patiently waiting for this day for quite some time. As of today, I have paid my final rent check and given my 30-day notice to move out of my apartment, where my daughter and I have lived for the last 2.5 years. I will be moving all of our belongings into a storage unit and the rest is pretty much unknown at this point.

Earlier this year, say January, I had a couple of somewhat clear messages come through via my meditations. The messages went something like this: “when your lease is up, you will move” and “write that fucking book.” Initially, those felt intense to receive. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Where the fuck am I supposed to move and what the fuck will this book be about!?” I was perplexed. But I did what any good student of life would do, I wrote them down in my journal and invited them into my meditations and dances.

Fast forward to the present moment, the now, and my first book (yes, there are two alive within me) is almost complete and I will begin the manuscript process soon. Fucking wild. Next, I have two wonderful friends who have opened up their homes to my daughter and I and we will be floating around the bay area come August 30th.

What is still a bit unclear? Where we will root; where we will create our next home. For some reason, I feel entirely okay with this too. Yes, some days I am in the shower and think about the unknown and I sob uncontrollably. Most days though, I feel extremely excited for this new adventure. This opportunity to dance with the mystery of life.

This year has consistently presented a reoccurring theme for me. It has showed up in so many situations and contexts and people. The theme is this: Attach To Nothing & No One. Seems simple, right? Well, it fucking hasn’t been. It has tested me unlike ever before. I could give endless examples of this but instead I’ll just keep you curious.

Each and every emotional experience this year has led and prepared me for this next phase of my life.

I am
entering the unknown,
letting go of control,
trusting deeply,
staying curious,
remaining patient, 
maintaining individuality,
and loving fiercely.

I have no answers. I desire no answers.

I am being asked to dance with the mystery of my life and let my heart lead the way.

As Jack Kornfield so poetically phrases it, “are we going to let fear set the agenda for our hearts?”

I’m not and I hope you won’t either.

With Gratitude,
Bg

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Loving My Home; My Body.

For as long as I can remember I have mostly been seen for my body. My first memories were somewhere in between 6th-12th grade. Girlfriends would throw around comments such as, “ugh, you’re just so lucky, I hate you” and dude-friends would say something with either “ass” or “booty.” This was an every day ordeal for me. It didn’t matter what I wore, people were always feeling triggered and/or stimulated by my physical shell. At some point in high school, I began to hide my body. I wore sweatshirts around my waist (and got to deal with “grandma” comments from that point on), bras that kept my chest flat and contained, and loosely-fit shirts and dresses. When I received attention for my body moving forward, I eventually decided on a dialogue that made me reclaim my power which went something like this, “go fuck yourself.” If it was a dude, it was verbal, and if it was a chick, it was an internal thought. I also owned the identity of a “prude” because no way in hell was I letting a little horny boy touch this kingdom. I was shamed for having a dope body but I was also shamed for not letting men inside of it. High school is kind of like a bunch of toddlers running around in teenager bodies, projectile vomiting insecurities all over everyone else, based on their mommy-daddy-caretaker wounds. 

That was an impressionable time for me and I carried that attitude for years to come. My first boyfriend, who I first explored intimacy with, was in college. I was a “late-bloomer.” I don’t remember many details of our intimate time together, but I remember trusting the fucking hell out of him, and that was pretty incredible. Towards the end of our relationship, I had “little” sex drive and for the first time began to hear, “are you not attracted to me or something?” That was something I would hear for the next ten years. So naturally, I assumed I wasn’t a sexual-being, perhaps I was broken, questioned my sexuality, and then decided to keep distance from intimacy for awhile.

Day after day, week after week, year after year, I continued to be seen for my body. At this point, I was now working in the fitness industry and that shit is kind of unavoidable. But I kept doing my thing: wearing loose tanks, avoiding bikinis, and dressing-down whenever possible. It sort of worked but people still found a way to objectify me. It was rare to meet anyone, and I mean anyone close to my age, that would acknowledge that I had depth of any kind. I was so bored of my day to day exchanges and I desperately wanted connection. I remember always wanting to shout, “just talk to me about something that is REAL!”

Shortly before becoming a mother in 2015, I decided to take dramatic action and practice self-love in a new way. I cut off all of my hair and stopped wearing make-up. This was dramatic, yes, but holy hell did it help me begin to connect with my internal self and start the self-love relationship I had been dying to create my entire existence.

Fast forward to present day, and I am still finding myself rewiring this dialogue, narrative, pattern. Though I am mostly surrounding myself with people who want depth and connection, I still am constantly seen for my body. A recent exchange that I care to share was after an ecstatic dance. For those that don’t know, ecstatic dance is a mostly-conscious community of movers, dancers, and self-expressionists. It is the most wonderful movement community I have been a part of thus far. However, a recent exchange left me feeling frustrated as fuck. A woman, who I had just started dancing with, trusting, and opening up to, objectified me. She walked over to me and I immediately asked, “who are youuuu?” as I pulled her in for a hug. We exchanged names. She then said, “so what do you do?” and naive me said, “in life? well, I am a mother, I like to –” and she abruptly cut me off and said, “no, no, like for movement. you are so athletic, your body is so strong.”

I stopped. I stared. I thought, “are you FUCKING kidding me?” Nope. She wasn’t kidding. That’s truly all she wanted to know about me. How my physical shell was strong and athletic. At this point, I’m feeling triggered and sassy and say, “oh well I was a gymnast growing up.” Boom. That was it. That is all she wanted, and I knew that is all she wanted, because I have had thousands of exchanges just like that one. Both men and women just want to hear a few words about how I “so easily” got this body, and then they are gone with the wind.

I was so disappointed. I was disappointed in this new female friend, who I assumed was living consciously, to be so shallow. I was disappointed that I answered her shallow question with the words she wanted to hear, just so she could validate her motives.

It has been so exhausting to be seen for a body, and nothing more, for so many years. My shoulders and ass have gotten so much attention my entire life, that I have basically become immune to it all. I shut myself down from receiving at an early age. I carried a narrative that was something like, “if I receive, I’ll probably offend someone, so it’s best I don’t receive at all, to keep others cozy.” But this is a problem. This is an imbalance. This is avoidance.

When I shifted my career from fitness to heart-based work (yoga, meditation, emotional-healing), I noticed a big shift in my life. I noticed that more than not, students were seeing me for my heart. They were feeling my energy. They were connecting with my words. They didn’t give a damn about my body.

A few days ago a student who takes my class regularly came up to me after and said, “you look so joyful. You look so happy. I feel it. This makes me so happy. I am so happy for you.” I received it. I just stood there and received it. I hugged her. She hugged me. It was the exchange of a fucking lifetime. The exchange I always knew existed within me; Within this universe. The connection and depth I had been longing for my entire childhood.

You know what I call these types of humans? Light in human form. The light within her, saw the light within me. This is the meaning of “namaste” should you never have known.

Today, I am rewriting this narrative, still. I am practicing hiding my body less. I am practicing receiving, in all forms, superficial or deep. I am reminding myself that my physical shell is for me, and others may like what they see, but it is ultimately mine. I move for me, not for anyone else. I please me, for me. I am in a committed relationship with me.

Some still only see me for my shoulders and ass and others see me for my heart and my soul. My new narrative goes like this: my body is an extension of my heart and my hearts main function is to love. I am falling in love with my home; My body.

with gratitude,
bg

My Relationship With The Masculine.

In January of 2017 I reached out to an old coach and dear friend of mine to set up a phone call and discuss options for working together. I was struggling in my then partnership and was looking for some type of non-bias outlet and support. We quickly decided that ‘coaching calls’ would be the best fit as we live several hundred miles apart and have always had a hard time syncing up in person. This was about a year and a half ago and since then I have learned much about myself, where I operate from, and the childhood wounds that I have carried with me for twenty-eight years.

Emotional healing of any kind requires patience and a lot of fucking honor. Though I have been fully committed to healing old wounds for the last year and a half, I don’t really have any control over when I will actually be healed. Only time does. It can sometimes feel like you are constantly discovering new information about yourself, you are then unsure if you will ever truly be able to piece it all together and fully heal. This work pushes you to your edge, then a bit further than your edge, then asks you to be patient and honor the fuck out of your edge. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t until my former partnership officially ended in November of 2017 did I start to piece together my true relationship with the masculine. When I say “the masculine” I am referring to: my relationship with my father, my romantic relationships with men, and my embodiment of masculine energy (I am a fiery-aries female).

There was a defining moment a few months ago that stopped me in my tracks. Literally. The entire world went quiet and it was as if two missing puzzle pieces connected and the picture was so clear, for the first time. It was a sunny day, I had just finished dancing in Oakland, and was walking back to my car after a really delicious lunch. This was the moment I had been patiently waiting for; patiently honoring: total clarity on a wound I had been dissecting for a year and a HALF.

I seek validation through men.
I seek validation through masculine energy.
If I don’t receive validation through men, I am empty.
If I do receive validation through men, I am whole.

Fuck. Right?

Let me take you back in time and paint you a pretty little picture.

My parents were divorced by the time I was 5 and I have no memory of us being a family nor do I remember them being in love. My mom remarried within the next few years and that was the defining moment that led me to believe that I was no longer loved by her. So naturally, I became a daddy’s girl, because daddy never got remarried and I was his only girl (well, besides my older sister who was off living on her own at this point). My dad spoiled me rotten. Not with money, because we never really had much of that, but with his consistency, his capacity to always give me attention regardless of what was happening internally, and the fact that he always said “yes.” This began at age 5 and continued until, well I suppose it never really stopped. I just became aware. He was the dad that was at every single one of my volleyball games and tournaments. He bought tickets to every theatrical production I was in and attended every SINGLE show. He played catch with me after his 8-hour work day. He “hid” his cigarettes because he knew how much they disappointed me. He bought me my first dream car: a used 1997 automatic red jeep wrangler. Then a used 2003 black mustang. Then a used 1998 white jeep wrangler when I got sick of the fast bat mobile. He cooked all of our meals based on my naive ass palette. I wanted a kitten? We got a kitten. Do you get it yet? This man was amazing. He still is. He is the most giving human I have ever met and I would be a selfish-narcissistic-aries-asshole without his beautiful character.

However, with all of these beautiful selfless acts that my father provided come a lot of engraved bullshit within me. The child me and the adult me.

So, I have this full-body realization a few months back on the sunny streets of Oakland. I freeze. I lose my breath. I see the fully painted picture. Within the next few days, I will share this with my coach, learn to fully accept this realization, and then commit to healing this wound. Healing my relationship with the masculine.

One of my favorite teachers of meditation, Carlos Pomeda, was asked what the “point” of all this spiritual work was. His answer? Awareness. I have learned this to be true over the years of this conscious expansive internal work. Awareness is everything. Being aware of the self, how you operate, what patterns you default with, how you choose to hold yourself in this life, is absolutely everything. The reason I share this is because It took me a year and a half to discover that I seek validation through masculine energy. Since then, I have been actively working on rewriting this narrative. I am aware of my default behavior patterns. However, I am not done. Like, no where near being done. This work is actually never-ending. I believe you get to a point of being so aware, that eventually you shift your defaulting behaviors, and your narrative shifts, and so does your life.

It’s been a few months since that realization and I am doing the very best that I can. I am extremely mindful when I interact with all men, regardless if I have romantic interest or not. I am extremely aware of my exchanges with my father, especially when I am seeking for him to be “proud of me” for something I have done. I am having transparent and honest conversations with anyone who is willing to listen and relate. I am setting intentions in my meditation, yoga, and dance practices that are keeping me focused on ME. I am carrying around mantras with me that remind me that I am loved, I am worthy, I am smart, I am beautiful, I am proud, I am sexy, and I am whole. There are days where I feel like this piece of me will never be healed and there are days where I give myself a high-five because I am so proud of the baby steps I am taking. I am enjoying men and masculine energy with a new perspective: I am whole and everything in addition is a blessing.

Emotional healing is a fucking whirlwind but it is the greatest work I have ever committed fully to, right after motherhood.

Keep going you.
Don’t give up.

With Gratitude,

bg

Dancing With The Feminine, Dancing With My Fears.

About seven months ago I was in a yoga class with one of favorite local teachers. We were in some posture when she said something about “ecstatic dance” which was a term I hadn’t heard in a long time. The first time I experienced ecstatic dance was in Bali, Indonesia. I figured it was an “Only in Bali” thing and it never even occurred to me to look into finding a local dance in the Bay Area. Immediately after that yoga class ended, I started to search. I quickly found out that there were dances all over the world, including multiple options in my vicinity. The next morning, I drove myself up to Oakland, and attended my first ecstatic dance in almost 4-years.
Well, it has been seven months since that first dance and I now attend dances weekly, both in Oakland and Santa Cruz. Something I noticed pretty quickly was my natural avoidance of dancing with women. Initially, I didn’t know why. Now, I have a better understanding and will briefly take you back in time.
In January of 2017, I had my first official coaching call with my life coach. Essentially, this is someone I pay to help me expand my consciousness and support me while I move through emotional healing. Very quickly I learned that I had some tension around my relationship with my mother, I had an extremely hard time embodying yin-feminine energy, and that I tend to avoid female energy in many different contexts. “Healing The Feminine” has been the hardest internal work I have YET to navigate through. I am no where being done, frankly, there is no such thing as BEING done with such work. It took me about a year to just acknowledge these major themes and feel the discomfort of them. I am now in a place of feeling ready to slowly and gently start to change this behavioral pattern that I have carried with me my entire life.
Within the last few months, I have started to move into the discomfort of healing the feminine. This includes: allowing myself to embody yin qualities, allowing others to hold me physically and metaphorically, making eye-contact with females everywhere I go when I naturally want to look away, introducing myself to females and initiating friendship, and perhaps the most uncomfortable of all: initiating intimate and contact dance with females.
At this point, I have had quite a few intimate contact dances all of which I have awkwardly and uncomfortably initiated. Each of these women have extremely powerful energy that has felt really intense and intimidating leading up to these dances; It is precisely why I “chose” them, if you will. I wanted to dive in, whole-hearted and vulnerable, holding nothing back. I was truly intrigued by dancing with my fears.
The dance I care to share with you is the one that happened most recently. This woman has a strong yet petite build. Her hair is blue. She is beautiful. I had only ever seen her dance with men or dance solo. I was intimidated by her the moment I saw her. So what did I do? I avoided eye-contact. I avoided my fear. Typical behavioral pattern. Well, something was different last night. I still felt afraid, but I wanted to face the fear. I wanted to get closer to her to see what the FUCK could actually happen. She initiated contact. For those that are having a hard time picturing, it is contact improv in the form of dance. It is consensual. It is respectful. It is nonverbal. It is a conversation between two bodies, two souls. She initiated, I surrendered. We danced for what felt like a lifetime. I had so many moments where I wanted to run but instead just moved deeper into our dance; our conversation. She led me places, and I trusted her. I led her places, and she trusted me. She giggled a few times when our limbs didn’t sync up. That laugh was everything. It was human. It reminded me to soften. Our dance was beautiful, sensual, intimate. The song came to an end and she pulled me in for a hug. It was one of those tight hugs at first that eventually turned into a soft gooey hug. I started to cry. She gently pulled away to see my face, noticed my tears, and pulled me back in. I was breathless. I was in shock. I was ripped wide open and she fucking HELD me. She held me until I stopped weeping on her shoulder. She smiled and thanked me and that was it. I walked outside for some fresh air and couldn’t help but continue to cry. All I could really gather in that moment was: I danced with my fears. I danced with my fears. I danced with my fears.
I am still digesting that entire experience and don’t have many answers. But there is one thing that I am certain of: being vulnerable is the only way I want to live this life. It is the only fucking way.
Look your fears directly in the eye,
Surrender,
And dance.
With so much fucking gratitude,
BG

Fear.

I don’t remember ever being a fearful person. I actually remember trusting, a lot. I trusted friends, family, lovers, strangers, and mother nature. Then I became pregnant and trusted my way through pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Fear crept in often, as I was growing and protecting another life, but I always slipped out of fear eventually. But then something shifted as I entered motherhood. All of the sudden my heart was living and beating outside of my body, in front of my eyes. Often, I would drop into fear. “What if something happens?” was constantly controlling my life. I no longer trusted right away. I guarded my self and my daughter whenever I felt vulnerable. It is as if I built a shield in front of my heart, and hers. Then, tragedies began to rapidly present themselves. Even if you don’t watch the news, there were ways to find out without even trying. You couldn’t hide from it if you tried. Fear was and is everywhere. There are news anchors, journalists, coworkers, family members, etc. who are constantly reminding us to be afraid of something. To stay afraid. To live in fear. This past week, I have slipped deeply into fearful living. I have cried EVERY time I’ve been apart from my child. I have checked in incessantly with my babysitter. I have cried singing and listening to music. I have envisioned ‘worst-case-scenarios’ everywhere I have gone. I even installed a deadbolt lock on my front door. I slipped into fear and have had an extremely hard time picking myself back up.

I recently finished Brené Browns’ newest book: Braving the Wilderness. It is about how humans long for a true belonging which in short requires you to be exactly who you are. She uses the term “foreboding joy” that really hit home with me, especially this week after receiving tragic news. She says that it is human nature, especially as parents, to think of the worst-case-scenarios when we are away from our children. For example, if you are a single parent and have a night off, you should be able to enjoy your alone time and the joy that comes with recharging. Foreboding joy in that scenario would mean you worry about your child the entire time because you don’t feel like you deserve to be joyful by yourself. We do this ALL of the time. I do this ALL of the time. I deny myself peace because there is and always will be some type of suffering in the world. She says that the only way to combat foreboding joy is: Gratitude. Practicing gratitude. Spreading gratitude. Teaching gratitude. A grateful heart is a grateful life. She closes her book with a quote that I will forever remember: “I am aware of what’s happening, the part I play, and I can make it better, and that doesn’t mean I have to deny the joy in my life.”

Joy requires vulnerability. Vulnerability requires bravery; It requires courage. It requires you to be exactly who you are. Fear separates us from being vulnerable. “When we let people take our vulnerability or fill us with their hate, we turn over our entire life to them.” So today, I was vulnerable. I cried in front of twenty-two yoga students. I shared my fears. I put my shield down and softened my heart. I trusted my community. I let them hold me. I felt a deep belonging and I think I may understand what ‘Braving the Wilderness’ is all about.

Allow yourself joy. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Allow your community and loved ones to hold you close. Keep stepping forward.