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

Chapter 14: Vulnerable AF

January 27th, 2019

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you my dear reader, my friend. I hope your heart is warm. I hope your belly is full. I hope your body is rested. I hope that you experience peace today.

It’s been about two weeks since I last sent out a newsletter and I knew I wanted to sit down and write at some point this weekend but had no clue what I would end up sharing. Since publishing my book last week, I have felt…a lot. Excitement, happy, vibrant, proud. But also very much: anxious, doubtful, and vulnerable. Leading up to the release of my book, I was also feeling all of those feelings. I had days where I felt brave and certain. I also had days where I felt scared and uncertain. I had days where my self talk was positive and days where my self talk was negative. In addition to all of that, I also chose to change how I was showing up in my place of work. I chose to let go of a costume/a style/a format, that many have taken to love over the years. I chose to create my own unique class because that is what felt genuine to my heart. But with this change, came vulnerability. With the release of my book, came vulnerability.

My vulnerability has been shaking things up big time.

So much so, that I questioned publishing my book after I did it.
So much so, that I questioned going back to teaching a style of yoga I felt I had outgrown.
And why?
To maintain my popularity.
To maintain my following.
To maintain attention.
To maintain comfort.
To please others.

Maybe I shouldn’t have written a book that was so confronting.
Maybe I should have left out the extremely personal, heart-breaking, stories.
Maybe I should just teach Hatha Yoga because I’m good at it.
Maybe I shouldn’t write weekly newsletters because my words aren’t impacting anyone.

Sabotage.
Sabotage.
Sabotage.

Where do all of these sabotaging thoughts and stories come from? I believe they come from a place of fear. A place we all know well. A place we have all dropped into and have stayed for awhile.
Fear of being different.
Fear of being unliked.
Fear of being too much.
Fear of being alone.

What we fear most can transform our lives depending on how we dance with it. We can lead with fear or we can lead with courage. We can stay comfortable or we can take risks. We can lead with ego or we can lead with love.

I am choosing vulnerability. I am choosing authenticity. I am choosing risk. I am choosing imperfection. I am choosing love.

“True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.” ~ from Braving The Wilderness, by Brene Brown.

I sometimes may feel like I am standing alone in the wilderness as I move deeper into my authentic self, and as I keep choosing vulnerability, but fuck…I am living.

Thank you for being here.
I love you.

With gratitude,
bg

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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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