The Unexpected Gifts and Letters From the Streets

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My mother left me with many gifts.  Some of which were wonderful some of which I hate myself for inhabiting every single day.  She died 10 years ago on September 13th of this year 2018.

She was gone for about 10-15 years of my life when I was young, living on the streets, homeless shelters, being drunk, not being my mother and snorting cocaine.  What a gift. To her it was, as she said the addiction got the best of her and the gift to me was not seeing her that way.  The hole that left in my soul still feels bigger then not having her physical body in the world.

I would be silly to think for one second that during those 10-15 years I was forgotten.  In fact I was very much present in her mind but I wouldn’t know that until much later when I cleaned out her apartment after she died and put some things away for when I could stomach looking at her handwriting.  She had very distinct handwriting and wrote everything with the emotion as if that day was her last day on the earth.

I found journal upon journals of those years she was homeless, written to me, her daughter.  They all started with Dear Yani, or Yani pear.  She always said when I was little my face looked like a pear because my head was so small but my cheeks were so fat that I looked like a pear. She was obsessed with pears.

She wrote letters to me from the cars she slept in, the tracks she rested on, the cots she relied on and the cold winter air.  Countless letters and stories telling me why she wasn’t at my concerts, how her addiction had won, how she just wasn’t feeling well, again.  Story after story of how much she loved me, wished she could be there for me, told everyone about me and thought about her sweet Yani pear every day.

That was a gift

“Dear Yani, the movie Stella is coming out tomorrow.  We didn’t get to see Beaches together.  I’d really like to see Stella with you, if I can.” Valerie Lake, 1/24/88

She wrote many wishes like this on pages and pages of torn old paper that still smell like smoke.  She smoked three packs of cigarettes a day since she was 10 years old.  It was the emphysema that ultimately killed her in the end.

She was a gift

My mother never met my daughter Blessing who we adopted in November 2017.  The three of us are quite alike despite the years we were never physically around each other.  You could most definitely define the three of us as stubborn, feisty, and brave with laughter that could fill rooms for days.   Every time I look at my daughter it reminds me of the love I longed for with my mother over all those years she was gone.  The warm squeeze of a hand, the gentle brush of a forehead, the intimate touches that only mothers and daughters know.

I didn’t realize those moments were the ones that would eventually lead me to rehab.

That was a gift

I miss my mother every day, despite what a fucking crass bitch she could often be. I respected that about her.  The best thing she ever taught me was to think for myself.  I teach my daughter the same.   She eventually did sober up herself and died a dry drunk with me by her side.  I can’t say she made my life easier or even manageable, but I can say that missing her and being able to name my daughter after her has been the greatest gift of all.

Ayanna is the Owner and Founder of B FREE Coaching and Wellness based on Cape Cod MA.  Find more here: http://www.bfreecoaching.org facebook bfreebualways                IG findrecoverevolvenjoy  bfreecoaching@mail.com 

Becoming FREE Challenge & Change in 30 days by Tammy L. Tansey

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Challenge and change=FREEDOM!  You are invited to hear the beautiful words written by Tammy, a POUND lover and winner of  the Cape Cod 30 day POUND challenge. Be inspired by her words and as always #BFREE
I am a mom of three a step son(28) and two daughters (25 and 22)one to which is very medically involved and complex! So no lack of big stress in my life! I am from Cape Cod Massachusetts. I found pound in the end of January of this year and at first, it looked so very cool, and always thought I’d love to try it. Myself  and two friends of mine were really challenging ourselves to try new things even belly dancing, however SO NOT FOR ME!   To each her own right? We tried, and that was that!

We found poundfit and said “oh yah let’s do this!” Now both of my friends exercise, but me? I had NO time to exercise even though all our kids except for my medically fragile kid were all grown  or on their way to being on their own or entering college. So we tried it and I really liked the concept but wasn’t sure I could do the fast paced moves.   We all loved the first class and said “yah i can do this again”, even though through the classes I’d get a little frazzled not being able to keep up, I wasn’t going to give up! I suddenly got this sense of determination that I was going to get this and I wasn’t ever going to GIVE UP!!! I went each and every Wednesday never missing a one, Ayanna our instructor was sooooooo inspiring to me that I wanted what she had, happiness, a fit body, and the will power to keep going ,no matter what life threw at you!
I am not a pound pro, my instructor is and I’ve learned so much from her it’s crazy! When the 30 day challenge came up on Instagram and Facebook my instructor said let’s do it, so me, my two friends, and the instructor Ayanna, and a few others decided to do it at the same time keeping us close in check and accountable to each other running the same way you did your challenge, we followed everything you did but did it in a smaller Facebook page that had I think about 32 members, we still  commented on your posts following along with the challenge of the week, sharing recipes and choosing kindness, all of it!

It was the best thing ever I could have done for myself, I since have lost 12lbs, and many inches all around my body I’m super energized and I’m now taking 2 pound classes a week! My arms are getting so jacked and I feel so good and proud that I actually have stuck with something longer than a month! I did pound almost everyday during the challenge along with walking, and pounding  with friends at home! I couldn’t or wouldn’t have been able to do this if it weren’t for my dedicated instructor, two friends, and of course this challenge, you made it worth while.   I even go to classes when my friends can’t  which was a big deal for me. In the past I’d never do that, so I’ve also gained confidence. I learned to change my eating habits just by cutting down on portions and choosing better choices for myself!
I met Ayanna and got to learn about her journey with poundfit, how she became an instructor, and how it saved her life. I’ve since met other people in our classes, I always tell them give this a try don’t give up no matter what, keep going it gets easier and we are all here to help encourage, adding a little humor along the way as well!  Ayanna thought it would be fun to have a prize for the loudest and someone who encouraged others and thrived through the whole 30 days! (I was like oh yah baby that’s gonna be me!)  I did it I WON our own little mini challenge, so I wanted to enter into your as well because this has literally changed my life for the better! I wouldn’t change a thing and would love to tell the world how much pound can do for them too! I still go to both my classes posting all the time to Facebook encouraging others to come try it, it may be addicting, and fun while at the same time healing your body and getting fit!! I hope I’m a good contender in your challenge, it’s been the best ride of my life so far and I’m not about to get off this train! Most of all I am taking good care of me, something I haven’t done in a long time.
Thank you for opening up the worlds eyes, and helping me along the way. It truly has changed me for the better!#poundfit #makesomenoise #onbeataroundtheworld #lovinglifeonebeatatatime #poundoutyourstress #changeyourways #stickingtoit #choosekindness #lovingpoundfit

Thanks again,
Tammy Tansey👊🏻💪🏻⚓️

How to Tame That Bitch in Your Brain

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I got myself fired.  For 24 hours I convinced myself I was getting the big ole boot. I was 100% convinced the meeting I had been “invited” to was to tell me my services were no longer needed and I could go on my merry way.  I was ready for it. I did all that self talk shit: everything happens for a reason, something else was just around the corner, one door closes another one opens, blah blah blah.

I currently run my own business and love all that it has to bring; challenges, independence, creativity, abundance, bills, etc.  part of the business is partnering with other programs and creating contracts essentially where they hire me and B FREE to provide our service.  I bring all the energy and healing I have to each of these places as I do treat them as true business partners that I respect.

I got a text message from an executive director of one of them stating something about incomplete paperwork and our continued collaboration together.  My brain immediately went to that dark place- what didn’t I do?  What did I say?  What did I fuck up?  I immediately began to feel guilty about running around too much,  working too many places, spreading myself to thin so that I wasn’t following through on the details of each job.  My brian was tormented with thoughts of how could I let this happen? What was wrong with me?   I even began to figure out how I was going to come up with the money that would now be lost from loosing this contract.

I talked with some friends about this who all had varied opinions.  Some thought I was overreacting, some thought I should have just completed the paperwork and I wouldn’t be in this position.  Some just laughed.  After much stress and craziness in my head I finally just said out loud to the universe:  “okay I embrace whatever this experience is and accept it with open loving arms.”

I get to this meeting greeted by a smiling face and a hug.   I had done nothing wrong.  They wanted to check in with me to see how things were going and how to help expand the program and incorporate it more into the curriculum.  There had been some paperwork that did need follow-up, but was by no means a threat to my business or myself.  The meeting was actually very lovely and I left there laughing my ass off about the crazy story my own mind made up and believed to be so real. HA!

Here is what is so funny about a life coach writing this: 1. I had just posted some motivational post about getting after positivity and to stop over thinking shit 2.  I teach this type of lesson to people every day.  I you had called me freaking out about that text I would have told you to breathe, slow down, read the text again, slowly- and to not make meaning of anything that you didn’t know was true for sure. 3. I just led a two-hour workshops about stepping into your power and not letting your brain be your bitch. 

I made meaning that I was getting canned because the communication came from the executive director,  not the other staff person I usually work with.  I made meaning of the text and combined the two statements of incomplete paperwork being connected to an invitation about a conversation about the continued collaboration together.  I made meaning out of my own anxiety.  Turns out, the staff member I usually work with was out on leave and the executive director was covering and multi tasking by sending a text to basically just touch base and see how we could all work better together and increase my involvement.

WTF?! I believed all those crazy stories in my head!!!  I can’t stop laughing about it now and needed to share with you just in case your brain is your bitch sometimes too.  There is and was no need for me to spend 24 hours so stressed, so tired so in pain about nothing.  The good news is, I do know the universe has my back and I was prepared for the meeting with love and open arms no matter what it was.  Years ago, I would let my brain become such a bitch I would find a reason to drink over getting fired: EVEN BEFORE ANYTHING HAPPENED.  That my friends, is a true story.

What a beautiful lesson I got to learn and remind myself of.  I invite you to do the same.  Stay in the love, forgive yourself, let it all unfold as it supposed to and for fuck sake, tame that bitch!

 

 

 

Stay in the Now and You Will know How Keeping Mindfulness REAL

 

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Let’s be clear.  If we start to think of mindfulness we immediately become overwhelmed by all the information, tools, things we should read and all the ways mindfulness will change our lives if we just do this laundry list of things.  Let’s keep it REAL.  You are not going to do anything that seems cumbersome, long or boring.  Why? Because no one wants to!  We can however, keep it REAL= Right Now Energize Awaken and Love

Right Now!

Don’t get caught up in the bullshit.  The only thing you really have to think about and honor is what’s happening right now.  This exact moment. Reading this. Paying full attention to what you are doing in the moment right now. Don’t even just keep it in the day keep it in the moment right now!

Keep in it the now- and here’s how:

  • Let your breath be your guide. You are breathing in and out- that is happening right now in real time in the moment. It’s that simple.
  • Ground yourself with your feet. What on earth does grounding even mean? People ask me that all the time.  Put both feet on the ground, press them down.  You are grounded.  That’s it.
  • Laugh out loud. Did you wander off and your mind went somewhere else?  That’s pretty funny!!  Laugh out loud about it and see how fast you become present with the sound, movement of your mouth, smile and sensation in your body.  Welcome back.

Energize!

Working out sucks.  That’s why we hate the gym.  Bringing peace to our minds doesn’t just have to do with our minds but our bodies too.  They do really like communicating together, giving feedback to one another and joining together around things that bring us joy. Here is how we can energize and keep ourselves alive:

  • Have fun moving your body. If your mind went directly to the sexy place that’s not a bad thing it is one of the best ways to burn calories however there are lots of other fun creative ways as well.  If you are not having fun moving your body then, well, do not do it!!  That literally is the only point.
  • Drink lemon water. No matter what- this always energizes my mind and body and is so simple. Just do it.
  • Dance naked. Yup I said it. I don’t know that I need to say much about this except for give it a try, maybe even in the mirror and see what happens.  Mindfulness also has everything to do with how we perceive ourselves in the mirror and dancing naked is a sure way to feel free in the moment.

Awaken!

Some of us think of awaken as awakening our spirit in the mindfulness world, but I am going to go ahead and say just wake the fuck up.  Like literally.  Wake up in the morning.  Wake up on your own terms and carry it throughout the day- here are some ideas:

  • Put the two corners of your mouth on the rise. Most mornings you wake up feeling some type of way but why not help your mind and body by pointing it in the direction you want by smiling.  You can always insert a big breath here and smile bigger if you want. Imagine?
  • What do you smell? I know people say this all the time; pay attention to your senses when trying to be mindful. I have to say it’s true. How do I know?  Since my daughter was 4 all she does all day is look at things, tangible things, talk about how they smell, what color they are, what her thoughts are about them, how many of them she sees and how freakin exciting the thing is.  She is bursting with joy from her head to her toes every single time.   Incorporate that into your morning routine and throughout your day and watch the magic happen.
  • What is your first thought of the day? Don’t know? Find out.  Write it down.  Look at the pattern. Write that shit down.  You will either be left with a beautiful love poem or the most depressive eulogy written.  Your brain is already working when you wake up- find out what’s there before you take action. If you don’t like the direction it’s going then change it, BEFORE you get out of bed.

Love!

Life literally can’t operate without it. Neither can you.  Shake it up! Invite love in, in really big different ways.  Let the universe know you are really all about this to an embarrassing degree.   Let there be no question that you love yourself and you are willing to go any length to show it.

  • Define love with sharpness first. Make it crystal clear. Sometimes fear gets in the way of allowing our minds to really become clear.  Since FEAR is really just False Evidence Appearing Real we should just be able to let it go.  However, our bodies and minds often need something to replace something we are letting go to ease the pain at first.  That’s where the love comes in.  Define love so clear for yourself that there is no question and watch it grow in you and all around you.
  • Create the coolest mantra you know how. You will know what this is because your soul will skip a beat.  Make a list of positive mantras (Good shit about who you are) and pick one that resonates with you the most and incorporate it everywhere.  I mean everywhere: say it in the shower, before you eat, after you go to the bathroom, while you yoga, while you dance naked (Obvious) before you put your kid to bed, before you get in the car, while petting your dog- you get the idea.
  • Speak Love. Say I love you all the time!  Communicate it to yourself but then share it!  Love is so simple but powerful and people overthink it all the time.  I say I love you all the time after I teach yoga because saying namaste and honoring the divine light in someone else is well, love in my book.  I say it to strangers.  I say it to the sassy pool ladies I teach aqua to that are all above 70, I said it to the post office guy the other day because he just looked like he really needed it. Kindness is love.  People are communicating love all the time every day, lets honor it and say it out loud.

Lets continue to keep it simple and keep it REAL.   If you do all these things, you will be well on your way to living a happier mindful life, but if you don’t at least just dance naked in the mirror with the mantra you have soul searched for and just have some fun.  How we live after all is what keeps us real.

Ayanna Parrent, LICSW is the Owner and Founder of B FREE Coaching and Consulting Find Recover Evolve and Enjoy, Yoga Instructor, POUND Pro,and  Zumba  Instructor to children and adults.  She can be found at www.bfreecoaching.org , Ayanna.blog and bfreecoaching@mail.com

 

 

 

 

 

Let Me Introduce Myself

You are at a moment of despair, of loss, of grief.  You are empty, in pain, fear is everywhere and you feel like a  little kid with no control.  The expectation is to be everything or something but certainly to be a responsible adult in the world.  You are at the lowest point in your life and you find yourself on the floor with no hope. The ugly is everywhere, inside and outside of  you.  The moment you think you can’t stand it anymore you realize you are breathing.

Suddenly,  nothing else in the world seems to matter-just your breath. You realize you are actually alive.  You begin to notice your breath is connected to you. It’s connected to your body, your mind your soul.  It has incredible power and has the ability to move your thoughts in a good direction and you begin to smile.  Your body begins to move with intention as it is led by the breaths you take. You begin to feel FREE!

Nice to meet you My name is Ayanna Parrent, Owner and Founder of B FREE Coaching and Consulting, Find Recover Evolve and Enjoy.  I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, business owner, dancer, fitness enthusiast, certified yoga teacher, writer, Pound Pro, wife, step mom, foster mom and now adoptive mom and a person in recovery from alcohol addiction.

I was on that floor, on a yoga mat in detox, and treatment centers.  I was trying to heal myself from the abuse of chardonnay on my life any way I could, for years.  There were many things that happened in my life that were horrific and tragic and talk therapy wasn’t helping.  (Hence the Chardonnay)   I could move, I could dance, I could teach I could do my job as a social worker but I couldn’t be silent.  I couldn’t find peace, my mind was a train wreck.  Why would anyone want to be silent with their own thoughts? Every time I tried to do yoga I felt a panick attack coming on.  It was too slow, I walked out of almost every class. I found myself in a rehab facility and there was a mat. What was I so afraid of? Freaking out? I was in rehab, everyone was freaking out! It was just fear:  False Evidence Appearing Real.  So I did yoga. I did it all the time.  I prayed, I moved, I was silent, I visualized myself as who I wanted to be not who I thought I was. I told myself I was loved.  I let go of my past on my god damn yoga mat.

When I got out I was determined to share what I had learned to help others and B FREE came alive.   I was at home stressing about what on earth I was going to do with my life next and started to meditate.  Through the tears once again of fear, I began to see light.  I pictured my office, I could see myself talking to treatment facilities, people in jails, coaching anyone who wanted to heal in a different way and spreading the message of hope that I had finally found for myself.  I knew I wanted people to feel free but in order to do that they needed to FIND themselves, RECOVER from what was hurting them, EVOLVE into who they wanted to become and ENJOY the hell out of it!

I wanted to help people in a different way as we know, the issues that we are trying to heal are in our actual tissues,  the fiber of our bodies.  We need to move our bodies to realease the pain, the trauma, and the tough emotion once and for all.   If you can release the emotion stuck in your body then the intense attachment to the dark plces inside of you begin to loosen and eventually dissolve and go away.   Talk therapy doesn’t work anymore as you just repeat the same  negative story over and over and that’s what ends up becoming you. Everything I do now is based on movement, meditation, mindfulness and action.    I am task oriented.  Power oriented.  Lets face it, we are all recovering from something.   It can be as simple as a transition from a job to a death of a significant other to a debilitating drug addiction.  We can all heal and be free with internal control, external supports and breath.

All of our lives matter.  You matter. Who you are matters.  Truth be told, I am very lucky to be alive today and there is not a day I forget it.  May you move about the world with love, intention and grace.  May you my friends, B FREE.

 

I Wrote a Letter to Myself

When I was in yoga teacher training, I wrote a letter to myself.  I wrote it at the end of the training in May 2017.  I had completed my second time in a treatment center for Alcohol use & abuse.  I think the chardonnay and I were taking turns being the abusers at the time.  I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training while finding my place in recovery and the world.  The letter went like this:

“Dear me,

Hello! Hopefully you are finding this letter at a time when you need it and are smiling.  You have completed your 200 hour yoga teacher training that you never thought you were going to do- so go you! Remember life for you is now like that.  You have been changed forever, nothing is the same. Well, except you.  You really are just now you.  No attachment to the lie that you are unloveable, no attachment to your past, no fear of looking in the mirror at you.

The Universe brought you to this journey and it will keep helping you go wherever you want as long as you stay true and present to your heart.  Your heart now guides you alongside the universe and alongside your husband who is there always for you. He is there to help teach you the lessons you need to know to keep moving in the right directions.

Love the people you are with that are next to you in the room always.  Don’t lose that connection.  Get after those goals! Stay with it. Teach to each and every.  This is not for you- it’s a gift you now get to give to the world, rejoice in that!  Stay in the glow and bliss of it all. You are forever loveable.

Love,

Self xxoooo”

After reading that letter to myself I giggled.  And cried.  Since I wrote that letter, I opened my own business that is geared towards helping others find their truth through mindfulness, movement and yoga, I got certified to teach POUND and teach it Cape wide, I celebrated a year sober, I started a writing coaching program with Anna David and my book proposal of my memoir will be completed by May, I officially adopted my beautiful daughter in November, I co-founded True You Wellness, I was featured for the first time on a recovery podcast (being published soon), I teach 10 different fitness classes a week to children and adults and I freakin love it.

Write yourself a letter and don’t be afraid to say what you know will light your life on fire.  I didn’t hold back in that letter, I wrote to my soul and my heart and they heard it loud and clear.  It really can be a hard thing to no longer look back at your past or to accept that yes- even you are lovable.  The tougher thing is never letting go, so I invite you to as I so eloquently said to myself “Stay in the bliss and glow of it all” . Enjoy the ride my friends.  Enjoy.