The bitter and the sweet

I have loved the word bittersweet since I first encountered it. I find that it describes the ebb and flow of life – also known as the flipping roller coaster of life –  perfectly.  So bitter that it bites. So sweet that it is like the first taste of nectar on the tip of your tongue. Life is more often than not a balance of opposites. Laughter through tears is something that I have experienced more times than I can count. So many feelings. Like a friend said to me once: “Brianna, you have feelings about your feelings.”

July started with a beautiful bang. A book tour the length of the Maine Coast with workshops, readings and signings. My husband and I having downtime in between. My beautiful dog in her favorite place. My parents. My healing house. All good things. Delicious things really.

But then life tilted and my ground shifted. In the very midst of all this beauty, joy and gratitude I had to put my beloved Shanti-dog down.  One minute soaring, the next on my knees.

I will write more about my Shanti-girl at a later point. ShIMG_1101e deserves her very own post but, I know you hear me when I say: its all too close right now. My grief is too heavy on me to really do her powerful being justice.

This post is about the choice I had to make about my own behavior. It is always a choice and it is mine alone to make. Two options were clearly in front of me when this drama/trauma started. I could have either gone kicking and screaming through the decision to end her suffering or moved through it from a place of heart centered mindfulness.  I am so grateful that I was able to choose the later.  As always it was my practice that provided me the breathing room to make the choice. It was my practice that afforded me presence. It was my practice that enabled me to be my best self through a terribly difficult time.

Sometimes I wonder who I would be without my practice? I don’t ever plan to find out.

By doing my practice each day I was able to be present with Shanti, with my work, with my feelings, with my feelings’ feelings, with my students, with my family, with myself and ultimately with my grief.

Currently my day looks like this:

Each morning I rise early and stand on the beach to sing in the sunrise, I practice breath work multiple times a day, I stretch, I move through yoga postures, I allow myself space and time to be with my feelings, I walk and sometimes I stomp around. My practice has afforded me the ability to be present with what is – moment to moment. The bitter and the sweet. The heartbreak and the heart-swell.  I say this all the time but its the truth: I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR MY PRACTICE.

I am grateful o so grateful
I am thankful o so thankful
I am healing
I am healing

 Is there a time in your life when your practice helped you? I would love to hear about it!

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