Libby: To start, I want to bring up that we just passed the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination and Maya Angelou’s 90th birthday were she alive today. That really connects with the work you do through BREATHEBro and your empowerment work.
Trina: Wow, that is so powerful. It’s ironic and divinely ordered because I recently posted about my Maya Angelou experience on Instagram. I met her when I first got to New York, maybe fourteen years ago. Thank you for saying that. It means a lot.
Libby: You’re welcome. History puts perspective on the work you’re doing with BREATHEBro. Even 50 years later, we’re still dealing with racial injustices. Black men are still being killed in various capacities and wrongfully arrested. Can you share more about how your work started with Breathe Bro? Where did the big push come from?
Trina: It was the death of Eric Garner. There were several deaths of black men by police – they just kept happening. But it was Eric Garner’s that had me ask, “What am I supposed to do?” I sat, meditated and prayed to get clear. When you’re hurting you can’t think. Getting through the muck to arrive at a place where I could take action was the work – it was more Spirit work – and that was the message.
I want to give more black men the same opportunity to work through the muck. We all have to do that work but don’t all have people, who are supposed to protect us, wanting to kill us. It adds a completely different layer. They have families and they look like me. That’s really what drives it home. I know this practice is helping me get through life. Being able to share that with them in such a critical time is part of why I’m here.
Libby: It’s interesting how you’re doing this work for black men. Many women are doing self care work for other women. Did you have a thought about that when you were starting?
Trina: It’s interesting you say that because many women could disagree with me, black women in particular. Hopefully I can be heard in a way you understand and if not we can agree to disagree.
I love Michelle Obama. I love the #blackgirlmagic hashtag. I love all of the amazing acknowledgments, accolades and inspiration coming from black women being accepted by mainstream culture. That is amazing. It is well deserved and it’s always been. Now it’s becoming more of a positive and consistent message. It’s wonderful. But I also think much of it is perpetuating separation when our black men are being treated in the exact opposite way.
I cannot be this fabulous, dope black woman while my black man is getting killed in the street. That doesn’t make any sense. How can I be so amazing when my brother, my counterpart is dying and suffering? I believe I can comfortably turn the volume down on the black female identity because we understand how awesome we are. We can turn it down and support these brothers because they need it. When these black men do open up, it’s typically to their mother, sister, girlfriend, wife or child’s mother – it’s a black woman.
We can turn down the narrative of black women, not disrespectfully, but to find balance. If we’re honest, black men are not celebrated unless its sports or entertainment. Sports and entertainment are a commodity; it’s about capitalism. Genuine admiration and support for a black man does not happen. It is mostly intimidation. Imagine the energy they must live with and think is normal. That doesn’t have to be their existence and I want to participate in changing that.
Libby: You make a bold statement. There’s so much history around gender and race as well as their interconnection. As time passes and we start to understand gender better as we see fluidity within our formerly prescribed social roles. Being able to think about how we can support black men as women or how we can see beyond our womanhood and find interconnectedness of genders is important for the wellness of our community. People could ask me like, “You’re a white woman who seemingly fits the norm. Why are you doing Setu?” But I find a connection between parts of me – being non-binary – and the yoga community. While I’m working on being strong in who I am, I want to uplift others too. We each have a personal connection to the work we’re doing.
We’re on the journey of finding wholeness within ourselves and our communities. We are individually important but where do we go once we’re grounded in our truth? How can we support others? How do we give? That’s where I see BREATHEBro coming from – a place of abundance.
Trina: That’s really powerful because it’s about empowerment, compassion, abundance and even understanding privilege. Right now women and female energy is going through a rebirth. Whether that’s feminine energy, womanhood, female spirit or just humanity. Fluidity and what that looks like is a place of exploration. It’s a break out of the convention and that’s what we need. Yes, we’re reclaiming our power but we can’t be afraid of it either. We can’t be afraid to pick up heavy things and hold on.
The supportive role/relationship is definitely hard though, I’m balancing a lot. I’ve reorganized my company, Style Root, and there’s so much happening this Summer. I also know that I’ve been given the capacity for whatever reason by the Creator to do this service work- be it overwhelming, exhilarating, or both. We all have our capacity and this is mine – I’m humbled by it.
Libby: I’m excited to see what’s ahead with Style Root, too! Let’s talk about it. On your about page you say, “In a pivotal season, survival of the fittest, it occurred to me that success was not just achieving what I want to do, but also balancing how I want to live.” You exude balance. Even speaking with you now that comes across. What practices and tools do you use to support it?
Trina: Growing up, I always wanted to be the kid who moved. It seemed exciting to run into a new room, new house and have your friends and family running with you. It sounds amazing but my parents never moved. They always were in the same house. Today the sense of home and comfort is very strong and important to me. As much as I found that annoying as a kid, there’s a sense of security now. It’s the root chakra.
The rituals, the groundedness, the rooted idea is about how we wake up everyday, what we do, what we know and how we feel the world. On a practical level my rituals are….
I also maintain my ROOTED Well Plan. A Well Plan is different than a to-do list. A well plan gives you the how to do things. It helps you understand how to balance your time. The words I use to describe it are: plant, cultivate and harvest. It’s about reorganizing our efforts and how we see our efforts. A Well Plan is not an everyday list. You create it and revise it, complete somethings and revise it more. It’s a new way of looking at productivity – the rooted system. It’s in line with nature, which helps you live productively and peacefully, season to season. It allows you to track how well you’ve done, but also enjoy the process of the journey.
Libby: I like that you say it’s not a to-do list because I think our society is trained to focus on a checklist. We create busy work and we get caught up, and then when something stops working we feel the disconnect. How do you incorporate this into your coaching?
Trina: I do brand and life coaching. It’s life direction, career direction, brand direction, it could be any of those or a combination but I get people ROOTED. I find out what they think is important at the root of them. I take the information they share and present it back to them in an organized way, so they can move forward with it. It gives people what they need, since they are their own answer. I’m just a vessel. They end up with a way to accomplish their goal in a way that feels right to them while being in alignment with nature.
Libby: That’s really wonderful. I feel like I’m starting to learn how to focus more on the individual, through teaching yoga, because so much of my other work is the internet, and “What is everyone out there going to think about this one thing that I did?” When you’re in the yoga studio, or when you’re working with people individually, it’s very much, “Where is this person at?” It’s a totally different perspective than “What’s the internet thinking?”
Trina: Oh, for sure, and it’s immediate. It’s truth and the Internet isn’t. At the root of it all, you’ve got to have the thought that what you’re doing is awesome and amazing. How do you think that it’s awesome and amazing – that’s what we get to. How are you able to do that and do your internet work – that’s where I would work. There’s a middle ground because it doesn’t have to be all one way or the other. It never is. We can exist on this plane and still be in our truth, stand in that and find out what that means.
One thing about my coaching – it could be a gift and a curse – is I’ll slow you down. The slow down makes it sustainable. You will slow down for a minute to get yourself where you need to be but man after that you take off. Did you lose time? No, because that’s what the seasons are about. The seasons are never afraid of being late. You see, we’re out here reacting to Spring; we want it so bad. Mother Nature is like, “Baby I’ll be here when I be here, and y’all gonna wait.” We’re gonna be okay. You’ll forget that you waited extra but you’re gonna wait because this is what it is. That is honestly how we can be with our goals. We don’t have to rush and say “SPRING! TODAY!” For what? For who? That’s ego, and we work through it. It’s impactful because it is a daily practice. Something I’ll never say is, “I’m cured, come get the solution from Trina.” I’m practicing with you. That’s the beauty of it.
Libby: That’s is so true. Thank you for everything you’ve shared Trina.