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

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.

Where There Is Rain, There Is Growth.

You know that saying, ‘When it rains, it pours’? Well, I don’t like it and actually never have. Is it supposed to make the person you’re speaking with feel better? I’m officially vetoing that saying. Ever since naming my daughter, I am pretty sensitive to any negative association with rain. Rain is a beautiful part of nature that gets trampled with negativity, because it is inconvenient and slows us humans down. But without rain, we likely wouldn’t be here. So, I have a new saying to share with you: ‘Where there is rain, there is growth.’ This is continuously proven in nature and this is exactly how life feels right now.

I feel like I am caught in an oceans’ wave. As soon as I catch my ground, I get barreled back under. Then I gasp for air and another wave hits me. I cannot keep my head above water for too long. This is just a metaphor of course. No one is physically harming me and I can actually breathe quite fine right now.

Life has just felt particularly challenging lately. I feel physically and emotionally worn down. My heart is aching. My mind has been nonstop in the fast lane. Like a wild fire. Here’s another saying for you: ‘Where there is light, there is also fire.’ This feels very relevant, too. It feels like I cannot put out the flames, no matter how hard I try. So, it just keeps burning and I just keep watching and wishing it would rain again. See what I did there?

But here is the thing: there is no one person or situation to blame for this metaphorical fire. It is so easy to blame, have you noticed? Your partner, your family, your child, your job, your boss, your city, your government, your life. Why is this so easy? Because it requires no internal effort. It requires no internal growth. Well, it is time to take some responsibility. This is exactly where I am at right now. I have been blaming and complaining  and wondering why I feel the way I do. I have been focusing so much on the external that I have completely forgot to look within. To take responsibility. I am choosing what has meaning. Every choice I make creates my reality. If my reality is unfulfilling – that’s because I created it! And that is hard to swallow. At least for me. I am the creator of my happiness, fulfillment, and reality. Damn.

Taking responsibility. That is where I will begin. Maybe that’s where you will begin, too.

Where there is light, there is also fire.

Where there is rain, there is growth.

with so much love,

bg