Chapter 12: Closing My Chapter As A Yoga Teacher

January 4th, 2019

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you. Happy new year and welcome to 2019. We are four days into this year and I hope whatever has showed up for you thus far… you are saying hello and welcoming it in with an open mind and heart. Before dropping into the story let’s take a moment to pause and check in. How is your heart today? Close your eyes, ask that question, see what comes up. My heart feels warm, happy, and inspired in this moment.

This morning, I taught my final yoga class. Curious why? I was hoping so. Let’s dive in.

Earlier in 2018, I made a huge change to my teaching schedule. I transitioned from working evenings to working only mornings and early afternoons. This was something I wanted to do for awhile but had to get my ducks in order first. I’ve literally never used that phrase before. Anyways, I wanted my evenings to be open for motherhood and to preserve my energy. Little did I know at the time, I was also subconsciously being guided by my inner wise woman. I went from teaching and subbing a handful of yoga classes every week to teaching just one and turning down most sub requests that would come my way. A few months into my new teaching schedule and I found myself craving to teach my Friday morning yoga class. The space, the students, and the opportunity to speak and teach my truth was such a unique part of my schedule as I was mostly doing 1-on-1 personal training at the time. As many of you know, 2018 was a huge year of growth for me. Through my writings, teachings, dancing, meditation, and
emotional-healing work — I was able to peel off layers and masks that no longer served me; That limited me. You also may know that I made a lot of changes in 2018.

So at the beginning of December, I got the call. The call was from my inner wise woman, my intuition, my heart. The call summed up was
“It is time for your teaching to evolve. Close your chapter teaching yoga and make space for what’s to come.” You can imagine my reaction. “What the actual fuck? Why? What’s coming?”
Perhaps needless to say, I didn’t get an answer at the moment. Instead, I held onto it until one evening I was out walking with a dear friend of mine and yelled “I don’t want to teach yoga anymore!”
We both stopped in our tracks and looked at each other.
Silence. Sensations.
Woah.

From there, I started to act and make moves. I reached out to both studios that I am employed for and shared that in a few weeks time I will be done teaching Hatha Yoga. To my surprise, both owners received the news extremely well and came back with “ So what do you want to teach? Send me a proposal.”
Woah.
Did that just happen?
Did I just say what I desired and in return get rewarded?
Yep. I sure as hell did.

From there, I dropped into content and proposal writing. This is something I have never done before but just like my book, it flowed out of me naturally. Like it was always living inside of me but waiting for the right amount of space to release. I sent off my proposals and patiently waited for responses — fully accepting that this could go both ways. I could get a yes or I could get a no. It didn’t matter the outcome. All that mattered was that I was listening to my heart.

So fast forward to this morning. I taught my final Hatha yoga class and announced that I will be teaching a new style as of next week. So what is this new style?

“This class is inspired by many different movement and healing practices that all encourage the same thing: connection. Bree describes this class as a hybrid of seated meditation, movement, and emotional-healing. She is taking her ten years of experience in the movement and holistic health industry and creating one class. Students can expect to get connected, confronted, and challenged.”

The writer in me doesn’t want to give you much more than that as I love building anticipation. To learn more, you’ll just have to show up and trust the fucking hell out of me.

Movement, meditation, and emotional-healing.
Merging and become one.
What would that be like?
Stay tuned to find out.

With Gratitude,
Bree

Chapter 11: Aggression is not strength

December 31st, 2018

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you. My hope is that wherever you may be in this moment, you are feeling ease. Like allowing the space between your eyebrows to soften, letting your jaw release, and allowing your breath to flow deeply into your belly. Three small reminders that can make a huge difference in our energy field. And for those of you who are navigating something challenging right now and are not at ease, I hope you trust that the challenge will come to a closing; The cycle will end. Just like the cycle that was 2018. We are in the final day of this year and it is about to close out, for good.

For me, this year has been tough. I have recently described it as a never-ending hike up a mountain. I have felt like I have been climbing for 365 days. Some days, I make a lot of progress and get higher. Some days, I misplace my foot and slip back down to a part of the mountain I already navigated but clearly needed to experience again. Some days, I pause and take in the view and marinate in gratitude. But if I am being honest, I have been waiting for a break. A break in the climb. A break in the storm. A break from the intense physical, emotional, and mental work that has been asked of me this year. What is interesting though, is as I type this from a very peaceful state, I wouldn’t have wanted 2018 to look any different. Interesting, right? However, if you asked me a few days ago or even yesterday morning, I would have told you to call in a helicopter because I am fucking done with this climb.
Let me give you some context.

I am a single mother to a 3 year old. That could be enough context but I’ll keep going. Her name is Rayne, for those of you just joining us. Rayne has had cold symptoms for a few weeks now that always seem to be worse when with me. Go figure. Rayne’s father and I are coparents and every week is split up pretty equally. Typically we go 3.5 days on and 3.5 days off. For me, it is the perfect amount of time to recharge. Rayne’s father is originally from Massachusetts and booked a trip home for the holidays for a week. I have known about this trip for awhile and had fully accepted that Rayne and I would be together for 8 days straight, without any break. Now, I have gone much longer without breaks in the past but I was not internally thriving at that time. I was fronting to be a stoic-single-mom-that-didn’t-need-any-support. I don’t play that game anymore. Over the years, I have learned to ask for support, receive support, and prioritize myself…first.

Back to the story.
So not only is Rayne sick (violently coughing, sneezing, congested) but we are with each other all day every day for 8 days. EIGHT DAYS. May as well been an entire fucking year.

I can be really dramatic by the way, I’m not totally convinced my time in theater is done.

Our time together was a bit unusual because of the holidays. Her preschool was closed and my work schedule was light. This meant that we actually spent every moment together. Be it your dog, life partner, or child — we need fucking space. Not only do we NEED space but we deserve space. Giving myself space from my duty as a mother has been a challenge to drop into over the years. I assumed if I was away, I wasn’t being a good mother. But in fact, it has been just the opposite. When I am away (and creating space for myself), I show up as a kick ass-love warrior-mother.

When I show up for myself with love, I can show up for my daughter with love.

Now, we hadn’t gone a week together like this in awhile so I had forgotten what it was like. I had forgotten to make time for myself. I had forgotten to ask for ample support. Instead, I let myself sink. Each day that that went by, I sank a little lower into my victimhood. I woke up frustrated and irritated that I had to tend to a sick child and that would set the tone for the day. I would attempt to change up the energy but nothing seemed to work. Then we had a few consecutive nights of bad sleep. Let me let you in on a little secret of mine: when I don’t sleep, my monster surfaces. I don’t say that as a joke either. My inner-monster, which is essentially made up of my shadows, takes over. The less love I give myself, the more fuel my monster is given. My inner-monster is negative, angry, aggressive, and short-fused. The tiniest trigger can set this side of me off. To be honest, it is scary. It is a side of myself that I met for the first time a few months into motherhood, when I was
sleep-deprived, poorly nourished, and alone. Some use the term “post-partum depression” but I think after almost 4-years of mothering, it is deserves a new title.

So yeah, this side of me came out this past week. Full throttle.

The piece of all of this story that am wanting to focus in on though is: aggression. I remember myself to always have been aggressive. I have met aggression with aggression. I never surrendered to it. I didn’t express aggression through physicality though, I actually expressed it through words. I believe the term is “passive-aggressive” and If I had a dollar for every time someone has labeled me that way in my life, I’d be fucking rich.
I use to harm others with my potent words and body language. I can’t remember the exact timing but I was around the age of 21 when I decided to shift out of this way of being. I had started meeting and working with what I would describe as conscious humans and that inspired me to evolve.

This aggressive way of showing up in the world didn’t stop overnight. It has been a practice to become aware of my aggressive projections to then attempt and rewire them.

So yesterday morning, Rayne went off to her fathers house. I went to dance. I laid down on the dance floor in fetal position as a gentle instrumental piano song played in the background. My eyes were closed and I started some inner dialogue with my inner wise woman.

Where does this aggression come from?
Silence.
WHERE DOES THIS AGGRESSION COME FROM?
Silence.
Take me back to my earliest memory of aggression.
Silence.
PLEASE take me back to my earliest memory of aggression.
A jarring memory then comes through and my entire body reacts.
A memory I didn’t want to see.
A memory I didn’t want to feel.
A memory I didn’t want to be true.
Tears flowed down my face as my body quivered and moved into this memory.

And after a moment I asked:
Why me?
Why did this happen?
Why was she so aggressive to me?
Was I that challenging?

The words that followed were:
To make you strong, Bree.

In that moment I understood. I accepted the answer to the question I have been asking for most of my adulthood. My history and story around aggression ends with me. I am no longer interested in meeting aggression with aggression. I am inspired to keep climbing this fucking mountain if it means Rayne will grow up NEVER having to ask those same questions I asked myself yesterday morning. I am inspired to surrender and soften when my inner-monster wants to act out aggressively. I am inspired to continue to make space for myself and stay connected. I am inspired to be the best version of Bree that I can possibly be.

Aggression is not strength.

With that, I will close this chapter and this year.
Thank you for being here.
I look forward to 2019 and all it brings.

With Gratitude,
BG

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

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