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

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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