Embracing My Whole Self

I haven’t been showing up in the authentic way I truly want to. In order to honour my whole self, I realize I need to share something that I haven’t been sharing for almost 6 years. It is a big part of my life that truly led me to who I am today.

In my classes and coaching sessions, I repeatedly say connect with all of you and honour your whole self. If I am to model what I teach, I feel it is time to embrace my whole self by sharing this part of my experience which I’ve left out for too long.

It was never my intention to disregard this part of myself and my life. When I chose to become a life coach, I had the full intention of sharing this aspect of myself. I’ve never been ashamed of my past, I am proud for how I’ve learned and grown from it over the years. I never meant to it leave it out for this long, and would have shared this years ago, but I was sensitive to my partners challenging custody case. We didn’t know how it may affect his court case, as he fought to have an equal part of his children’s lives, so I chose to stay quiet.

In the four years it took for the custody case to complete, my lack of talking about and sharing this part of myself, caused me to put it out of my mind. It became something I felt I couldn’t talk about and I eventually I believed it wasn’t something I was meant to share anymore. Not realizing that overtime these thoughts and actions were making me feel this was an unwanted part of myself. As I reflect on this now, I realize I have been feeling something was missing in my heart, but couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I had been experiencing deep sadness and frustration in my mind and body for a while. Today, as I reconnect with my full past, with myself, I feel my wholeness and a new vibrancy returning.

I feel shifts mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually by opening myself back up to this truth, I know this is the path I am meant to walk.

I’m grateful for a few amazing friends who have recently welcomed conversations and asked about my past that slowly brought me to this renewed awareness. A dear friend encouraged me to share because she feels my experiences are so important to express. I have to agree. Thank you all for your love and support.

It has been 2 years now since we got 50/50 custody of Matt’s children and it is time. I want and need to show up fully to honour my whole self.

Allow me to tell you about my journey…

At the age of 33, I reached a pivotal point of my life and finally fully acknowledged I had to change.

It may surprise you to know that at 33, half of my life had been spent cycling in and out of addiction and harmful behaviours. From a high school life of alcohol, marijuana and parties, to ending grade 12 addicted to heroin, I was lost and confused. Yet I had drive, I worked and went to school, I graduated from college, even taking on my first role at the bank; I was a functioning addict. All awhile, believing deep in my heart that this couldn’t be the path I was meant to live. I was constantly trying to quit. And at 21, I finally broke free from heroin, which brought a liberating sense of empowerment to my life. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I’d spend the next 12 years in addictive life cycles with moments of sobriety to binge drinking and dabbling in other drugs.

On that pivotal June day in 2011, at the age of 33, a dear friend kindly reflected to me that I had been cycling through these addictions and unhealthy behaviours for half of my life. She asked me where I thought I’d be in 5 years if I didn’t change my ways. Feeling the terror of this question…that day I woke up. By the time I drove home from Edmonton to Calgary, I had new resolve to finally stop and change my life, and I did.

I had known for years that I wanted change (my journals ruminating with inner truths and frustrations). I didn’t love my life, nor the decisions I found myself making, but I didn’t know how to change or why it was so hard to do so. Now, after years of self-work and deeper self-awareness, I realize my needs of belonging, acceptance and love kept me entangled in that cyclical life of self-destruction.

Throughout those years I tried so many times to heal my habitual ways, I’d change social circles, I moved cities, but it wasn’t only an external change I needed, it was an internal shift of self-acceptance, self-love and courage. My journey into truth, uncovering my authenticity, and taking my life back took a lot of effort and time. I worked with a therapist and shaman/life coach and found profound change as I worked through the challenges that kept me stuck.

What is important for me in sharing this now, is how vital it is to honour your whole self in your life, not only in creating meaningful change, but also for being your true self. By not sharing and acknowledging this part of me since moving to the east coast, I feel like I was missing a part of myself. Just like how the true part of me was missing in all those years of cycles and addiction. Even giving myself permission now to talk about it, and writing this blog, I feel a sense of liberation, a renewed sense of self-love, and appreciation for all I have overcome in my life.

If we push away parts of ourselves, it’s like saying you’re not valuable and I don’t love you. We need to love and honour all parts of ourselves to show up fully as our true self.

Over time I imagine myself sharing more of this part of my life, the journey, the lessons, and the transformation into who I am today. But for now, I’d like to say…

“Hi, I’m Brenda, good to meet you… again.”

Me today...

If my story resonates with you, or you feel you’d like to connect for any reason, please do.

I’d love to hear from you.❤️

26 Comments on “Embracing My Whole Self

  1. Brenda, that was so brave of you to share your story with everyone. I have been honoured to attend your classes either through yoga or chakra dance. It has opened up a small part of me and my journey through the next part of my life. You are a very warm and giving person continue doing what you do, it is helping so many people.

    • Thank you Anita! I am glad to hear you feel more connected to yourself through our classes together. I know this will continue to support you as you walk your path.

  2. So proud of u Brenda to stop your addiction and also the courage to tell it . You should b very proud of who and what you have accomplished

    • Thanks Auntie! I am proud and I hope these words will help others have faith in themselves that there is light at the end of the tunnel. xo

  3. First goosebumps then tears as I read this. Brenda, you are a remarkable woman and I am so happy to know you. My love to you

  4. What a life affirming message my friend! As a recovered alcoholic in my 13th year of sobriety, your message resonates so deeply. Yoga and Recovery go hand in hand, and I am blessed share this journey with you.

    • Thank you David! We are all in this together, and yes, yoga played a very important role in my journey. Hense why we share it! Grateful for you and our soulful connection!

  5. Thank you for sharing, Brenda. The numerical portion of my email address is my sobriety date. You are not alone!

    • You’re welcome Jimmy! Congrats on 30 years! You are an inspiration my friend!

  6. Wow, Brenda, That was so inspiring to me that you shared this part of you and that you are working so beautifully with honoring your whole self. It is not always and easy thing to do and we all have our reasons for not sharing at times and will often share when we feel it is right and safe to do so. I am glad that you felt it was time to do so, feel safe in doing so and are continuing to grow and learn, which is all our paths in this life we live. I look forward to learning and growing more via your classes and wisdom when I can. Hugs and Hello Brenda, it is lovely to meet you, again.

    • Thank you for your message Cheri! I feel such release in finally sharing this. Life is a journey and I find the more I can embrace my truth, the happier I am. My energy has been wild since I made the decision to share this. Definitely trusting my intuition and my heart. Now, I’m excited to see how I grow from sharing, and I hope this message serves others in their quest to love and trust themselves. Hope to spend time with you again soon! Much love ❤️

  7. I am so honoured it was you, a brave,caring,honest warrior that brought me back to my mat. You gave me back strength,peace and love to my body every day.
    Thank you for sharing your story, I have so much respect for you.
    Huge hug,
    Linda Douglas

    • Hi Linda!
      Thank you for your loving words. I am so grateful to be a part of your journey!
      Much love and big hugs to you! ❤️Brenda

  8. In sharing that shadow part of yourself, you have also found new courage for what’s next in your life. Very moving, Very honest. Very courageous. It’s a great reminder that we all have shadows that can keep us in a constant state of feeling something isn’t quite right. It also affirms how much we truly rely on the love of others to help us through the rough patches of life. Thanks for be so open.

    • Hi Dianne, Thank you for your comment. Your insights are so true, sharing this and receiving the love and support of others has been so moving and encouraging. I am truly grateful, and also open to what’s next. Coming home to myself is liberating and I look forward to my continued journey. Hope to see you again soon! Much love, Brenda

  9. For me, reading this makes you eminently more qualified as a coach; someone who has been through such a journey, has travelled and experienced so much more than a person who just breezes through life doing ‘all the right things’…thanks for sharing this.
    I have 27 years of sobriety under my belt and I wouldn’t trade it for anything…it has definitely made me who I am today.

    • Thank you Tamar for your comments. It was from this journey that truly led me to desire a career in helping others find their way in life. I’m grateful for where I am today, and how I can look at the world. Congratulations on 27 years! That is amazing. ❤️

  10. Life is good/bad; dark/light; hate/love; beautiful/ugly; positive/negative; helpful/hurtful and so on. We are neither one nor the other but both. You have the wisdom to see this duality in your life and honour it. It’s a hard truth to learn. It’s a hard truth to share. I’m so glad you did it. Your courage lights the way for all of us. You are a warrior teacher. Much love Halina

    • Thank you Halina! ❤️ This life has taught me about this darkness and the light, and what is possible when we realize both are there. I feel it is my work to help others realize there is light, even in the darkness. Thank you for being a part of my journey. I love spending time with you weekly!
      Much love to you!

  11. Well done Brenda. Words are just sounds until we hear them. thank you for sharing yours.

    • You’re welcome, and thank you for hearing mine ❤️ Love and light my friend!

  12. Brenda, what a powerful message! Your demonstrated strength both in overcoming addiction and sharing your story is exceptional. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.

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