The Unbearable Heaviness of Being Human.

Via Bryonie Wise
on Feb 11, 2013
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Source: Michele via Dan H. on Pinterest
Source: Michele via Dan H. on Pinterest

The past few days, the weight of my heavy heart has brought me to my knees.

I bring my forehead to touch the ground, with gratitude, with grief, with sorrow, with joy. For all of these emotions are me, in any given moment…in every given moment.

Through our practice we strive to find our breath, heart, body, spirit; we search for bliss and glee and happiness. And I, in my own practice, also work to nurture and hold the darkness that at times drops down like a veil of the blackest night sky.

The moon sometimes glows above me, but there are moments when not even the most powerful stars can penetrate the hard thoughts in my mind.

As I continue to practice, as I dive deeper into this human being that is me, I am consistently confronted with the many faces of myself.

I try, most days, to meet myself where I am, with a warm heart and kind eyes; when I am in integrity, this is easy, so easy. But when I stray outside of my authentic self, it gets harder to meet my demons with softness.

I strive to be the fawn in the woods, who meets the monster before her with so much compassion that the power of her love melts him away.

I strive to listen to my heart and speak truth and love and do everything I can to live well in this world.

This works, sometimes.

Other times, I am a harder version of me; I am my ice queen, sad martyr, or engaged enabler. All traits that grew to protect my heart; all traits that must be leashed if I am to live life to the fullest.

In the past few days, I’ve been disappointed with the waves of anger I can feel raging inside; instead of sitting and listening and breathing and holding, I hear my thoughts and my fears rush up and immediately, my sharp edge pushes back.

My ability to speak clearly is stunted, as a traffic jam of words piles up in my throat; a knot, a road block of sorts, is keeping it all in.

I should be better at this, I think. I shouldn’t feel so angry. I should practice my practice, so that I can continue to be kind. 

Angry at what? Anything and everything and everyone.

I can say:

Oh, damn that thick snow that doubles (and triples) my travel time from class-to-class; the weight of my boots on my feet, the weariness of the cold in my bones.


It’s the passing of my love, like strangers in the night, as we live disconnected and disjointed, he in night, and I in the day. Miscommunication and the challenges that all love holds. 


It was that wild man, the other day, who stopped dead in the middle of the sidewalk, making gestures at me in the falling snow and yelled: I have children who are way more fucking attractive than you, you ugly bitch; to which I responded (to my surprise) with a raging Go fuck yourself!

There are also these moments:

Where I feel that everyone needs something all of the time and how I wish I had a door that I could shut, in a room of my own, so that not even the furry beasts that love me unconditionally could get in.

I can make all manner of excuses, and as thoughts and feelings full of judgements of others arise, as I my talkback to myself becomes more heated and more frustrated, I think I might actually explode, my head busting into a thousand—no—a million pieces.

There is so much hurt in this world, I think. So many hearts I know, in pain and sorrow; so many people that I love are suffering. And so many people, that I’ve never met, are suffering too.

Really, if I keep digging, I can keep coming up with reasons; perhaps, even, creating ones where they simply do not exist.

This is the unbearable heaviness of being human.

Sometimes, I feel so sad that I can barely stand, and other times, happiness radiates from every pore, and I can feel myself float a few inches from the ground.

This too, is my practice; this too, is life.





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About Bryonie Wise

Bryonie’s life is rooted in the belief that when we come from a place of love, anything is possible. When not teaching yoga or writing her heart to the bone, she can be found frolicking in the sunshine with her camera & her dog, Winston, living her yoga. Stay in the loop of all her magical happenings, connect with her on Facebook, TwitterInstagram—& maybe even add her first book, HEART ROAR: A Book of Tiny Prayers to your collection.


54 Responses to “The Unbearable Heaviness of Being Human.”

  1. "There is so much hurt in this world, I think. So many hearts I know, in pain and sorrow; so many people that I love are suffering. And so many people, that I’ve never met, are suffering too."

    I wrestle with this too. How can I be "happy" when so many are suffering? Big hugs, Bry & I love you and your tender heart. xo

  2. brianna says:

    Love the Milan Kundera reference. I think you've got it the right way though.

  3. says:

    this so deeply reflects my internal workings the last few weeks. maybe it is the air…but i long daily to reconnect to the bhav…to find the flow…thank you.

  4. Carolyn Riker says:

    I love the feeling in this….even the despair. It doesn't gloss over and it's being in the moment. I feel it too. Thanks for opening your heart and sharing.

  5. Amy says:


  6. Farrah says:

    Beautifully written.

  7. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Oh, thank you Kate. Big hugs and love to you. xo

  8. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thank you, thank you. It felt right….

  9. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    oh, thank you Sarah, for your comment. Maybe it's the moon, maybe it's everything. Take a deep breath. xo

  10. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thanks, beauty. xo

  11. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thank you. xo

  12. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thank you, much. xo

  13. @SammyCaplan says:

    "I strive to be the fawn in the woods, who meets the monster before her with so much compassion that the power of her love melts him away."

    Sometimes I wish this place was somewhere I could stay, where I believe this is all I need, compassion and love. I wonder if the monsters would come at all, or if they'd be something else?

    You so beautifully describe it all here, the full 360 of emotion. Well said.

  14. Amy says:

    These words are so beautiful! Life is hard sometimes, but what always comes out of these hard times is beauty and surely these beautiful words would not have been possible without a real understanding, not just of personal suffering, but of the suffering of all beings. It is a blessing in disguise because whose soul ever wakes up if it is continually lulled into complacency by an easy life that provides many veils to shield a person from their own suffering and the suffering of others? It's not easy this way, but it should nevertheless be counted as a blessing. Much love and peace to you on your journey! <3

  15. allison says:

    It feels good to know someone feels the same way as I do. Thank you for your honesty and sharing this.

  16. Jennifer White says:

    Beautiful! I think that writing during these phases of grief and anger are so important, but connecting with that authenticity, as you did, is not always easy. Thank you so much for not shying away from this piece, and for letting it flow out of you the way you instead. It's truly beautiful (as are you, I might add!)

  17. […] mourn and be wrecked for awhile. Be real. Keep your feet on the […]

  18. Beautifully written, Bryonie. I'm blown away! ((hugs))

  19. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Maybe they'd be something else. But if we could train our compassion and love well, I think we could clear them away to make room for everything else. Maybe they would just come back, smaller and smaller.

    Thank you for your kind words.

  20. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Agreed. Thank you, Amy—and much peace and love to your on yours!

  21. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thank you Allison, for reading and sharing as well.

  22. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Oh, (blush)!

    The practice of authenticity is challenging—who wants to show everyone how vulnerable they can be? Who wants to show you the dark corners of themselves? I'm beginning to understand that I'm cheating myself (and the people in my life) out of knowing the real me, by not diving into the uncomfortable depths.

    Thank you for your loving words. xo

  23. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Oh, thank you Lynn! xoxo

  24. Jennifer White says:

    Man, that was really well said. During the past couple years I've suffered from post traumatic stress and grief, and I think it really helped me be honest with myself about the "ugly" side of life and suffering. A lot of my positively themed blogs stem from this desire to be that phoenix that rises up, but sometimes it's best—and healthiest—to own and share that darkness. Everyone has shadows, and sometimes I think that those of us that have the sunniest, most optimistic personalities also experience the most enveloping shadows as well.

  25. Mom says:

    Lynn, you wrote that so beautifully but it scares me to death. I love you,

  26. Sybil says:

    Are you in my head?

  27. Charlie says:

    "Other times, I am a harder version of me; I am my ice queen, sad martyr, or engaged enabler."

    Couldn't have put it better myself. Beautiful piece. You are not alone in your feelings…and sometimes just having that knowledge can soften the anger and sorrow, just a little bit (which is what reading your article has done for me – thank you)

    Thank you.

  28. Hi Bryonnie: Beautifully, poetically nuanced.

    I think we lose touch with the okay-ness of things as they are, as we are. THAT is the heavyness of being human. The desire for things to be other than they are…..

    The self that tries so hard to be good, to be kind, to be at peace and then judges the selves( ice queen, sad martyr, or engaged enabler) that are not these noble states, is well, just another layer of the unreal. True nature, allows.

    I was a seeker for years–my seeker self chased the mystical like a heroin junkie. My seeker self needed to be high on my own divinity, and to be wise and noble. That meant of course, for every dizzying state of bliss or ecstasy, there came the crash to anger or fear.

    The seesaw more or less stopped one day, a year and a half ago. If you are curious, take a peek at my blog,

    I leave you with a poem, from one poet to another.


    It happens. When the molting season
    flays and tugs and pulls, asking me:
    What are you Becoming?

    When the layers fall away
    from what was there
    all along. And reveal
    that the center cannot hold
    because the center that was real
    in the dream
    is unreal
    in the waking.

    And I wonder: What is truth?

    Do we ever really know
    ourselves, when the knower
    is unreal?

    And the yearning?
    Is that insatiable quest,
    to be seen, heard, known,
    Is it real?

    Do we imagine only
    the unknowing
    is possible
    Do we imagine it
    because we have

    Feb 2009
    Lori Lothian

  29. […] Suddenly, you crave every addiction you think you have let go of—a drink, a cigarette, a pill, sex. Something. Just something to give you some relief from feeling this […]

  30. Gabriela says:

    "but sometimes it's best—and healthiest—to own and share that darkness." Thanks for the addition. It takes strenght not to drown in your own sorrow.

  31. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Thank you for reading and for sharing part of you here. xo

  32. laydowninthetallgrass says:

    Oh la la…maybe you are in mine!

  33. laydowninthetallgrass says:


    Thank you for your beautiful, honest words…I am touched, deeply, and rather without them at the moment.
    I shall dive into your blog….with love and a heart full of gratitude. xo

  34. […] The Unbearable Heaviness of Being Human. ( […]

  35. […] sat with grief, as I would with an old friend; it was familiar and almost comforting in a way. Grief was not a stranger and without my resistance […]

  36. […] didn’t die down or go away. The more I pretended I was okay, the less okay I was. I watched, heart broken, as the gaps and gaping holes in my heart started to take me […]

  37. AndrewPaciocco says:

    Glad to see this re-posted since I missed it the first time around. Beautifully written. Thank you (:

  38. […] by Bryonie Wise Click here for the original posting on Elephant […]

  39. Christina Burns says:

    Honest…Raw and so beautiful !!!!! Thank you for Sharing your self with the world.

  40. tim says:

    i missed this the first time round, and back it comes with such great timing.
    thank you for sharing this beautiful piece Bry.

  41. Leah says:

    That. Was. The Best. Thank you…

  42. You are such a gem. This reminds me of what we were talking about the other day: about letting yourself feel whatever it is that you're feeling without wishing it away/waiting for it to pass. That's so much more difficult when what we are feeling is ugly and angry. You are too much of a beautiful being


  43. elephantjournal says:

    I know it is…that's where our practice and our love gets a chance to shine (through all that gross stuff). Oh, bless you, sunshine. xoxo

  44. elephantjournal says:

    Oh, thank you Leah.

  45. Judi says:

    I've been sinking in this heaviness myself the last couple of weeks…funny because that's how I've been describing it too – HEAVY…so this immediately caught my eye and I'm SO glad that it did because the hardest part of feeling this way, is the loneliness. That only YOU feel this way, judge this much, struggle to be kind and loving, to break your patterns, to juggle your demons…so this helped me SOOOOO much to not feel alone today and also, shifted my perspective, moved me. You're a beautiful, beautiful writer…and soul. 🙂

  46. I love this. All of it, especially the last three lines – yes! It’s been a theme for me of late, becoming aware of embracing my human-ness. All of it. Thank you!

  47. Anne says:

    Blessings, for your bare truth, your honesty. Thank you for sharing your gift of words … hugs.

  48. elephantjournal says: