This is How We Say Goodbye.

Via Bryonie Wise
on Aug 23, 2013
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“Warriorship is so tender, without skin, without tissue, naked and raw. It is soft and gentle.

You have renounced putting on a new suit of armor. You have renounced growing a thick, hard skin.

You are willing to expose naked flesh, bone, and marrow to the world.”

~ Chögyam Trungpa


 This is for you, my love. 

I’ve been sitting for days, it feels like—weeks, or years, even.

My mat, freshly powered by the full blue moon sits beside me as I work; every time I walk by, I can feel her whisper, It’s time to move. 

Tonight, I could hear her, loud and clear; despite the heavy of my body and the weight of lungs, full of grief and exhaustion—I knew she was right: now was the time to move. 

And so, this moment that I had been anticipating, this moment that I had been avoiding, down to the tear drops I knew would fall the moment I stepped onto her sacred surface, was happening.

I stripped myself bare, down to my flesh and bones and beating heart, and unrolled my mat, turning up my latest musical love affair.

Here I go, I thought. Here I go, on my own, alone—me and my tears.

But they didn’t—the tears, which have been leaving little puddles everywhere I go, didn’t fall from my eyes and my body didn’t crumble to the ground.

Instead, I felt myself swell with strength—my body moved, my breath took over and I could feel myself shed the layers of grief and sorrow that had begun to weigh me down.

I took myself by surprise, of that, there is no doubt. I moved and moved and played with standing on my hands and standing on my head—I could smell my body and watch my rolls as I moved, my eye at first critical and then softening into my marks.

I took myself through backbend after backbend, spending longer and longer each time, begging my lungs to shake themselves free of the quicksand of grief that was clinging on as if it was the end of the world.

The truth of is this is the end of a chapter; the end of my world as I know it and everything is both an ending and a new beginning; it’s terrifying.

I thought that great love, real love, true love, was the kind that would sustain and hold us through every storm that would pass; I thought that what it meant to be in love was to hold on for dear life and to never let go, no matter how violent the waves.

But what I am learning is that even in the goodbye, we can love like the ocean.

And that maybe, this love, the love that starts the process of unwinding two lives, two beating hearts; the love that slowly starts to separate books that have hugged together for some time on the shelves, a thin layer of dust marrying them together; the love that stacks dishes and cutlery that have become the best of friends—the love that talks about where the four-legged beast that I jokingly-but-very-seriously call our kid is going to live, is the biggest love that there is.

Goodbyes, though full of sad nights relearning how to take a starfish shape in the bed at night, of awkward conversations and the random explosion of tears, are when our love shines through in its purest form.

The day I find a new place to lay my head, I will dream of the creak in the stairs and the dance of light through the windows in this old house; I will remember the weight of you sinking into bed beside me, late at night or early in the morning, our four-legged love carving a space for himself between us.

I will remember each moment, for they are imprinted in my heart, that beating, broken, bloody thing in my chest.

I will dream of you happy and free—of your hands in the dirt and your eyes shaped like a camera, a jungle of garden surrounding your silver-headed self.

I think of this all, as I move, slower now and sink deeper, now.

I settle my body into stillness but for a moment; the grief is not gone but the anxiety has lessened enough for me to stop moving and to feel this vibrate through my heart:

We will recover from this, I know; some day soon, I will laugh out loud at more than animals on trampolines—and light will bounce back into your eyes as we speak. Our story will always be ours, and we have learned, through this surreal, foreign land, what love truly is. 

For now, I will learn how to say goodbye in these sweet and sorrowful days, and continue to love as fiercely as the sea.



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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.


76 Responses to “This is How We Say Goodbye.”

  1. Kit says:

    Fierce and raw and beautiful. I am catching my breath.

  2. Carolyn Riker says:

    Incredible. I felt and breathed each word. Love is bittersweet and you are amazing!

  3. Joy Isaacs says:

    You see ~ so much beauty can come from pain x

  4. Bryonie, this is stellar. Beyond beautiful. Only you could turn such an experience of pure grief and raw emotion into one of the most amazingly haunting pieces of literature that I've ever read. This deserves a million views and shares. Your honesty and vulnerability will touch lives.

  5. Dottie Wagner says:

    Beautiful and powerful!

  6. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you, kind one. (I'm touched by your words and love). xo

  7. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you, thank you. xo

  8. Kim says:

    Beautiful. Helped me in a different way right now…. Thank you xxx

  9. bneal817 says:

    *no words… just holding this in my heart and being ripped open beautifully*

  10. Thank you for this gift. Over the past couple of years, I've experienced so much loss and grief it's become almost comical. I await new death or a limb to drop off each day… Seriously though, this spoke to me in so many ways. I still find myself asking the very question addressed by your title "How do we say goodbye?" I needed this. And I needed it right now. also, you may not remember as I'm sure you read so many submitted articles, but you gave me feedback and possibly edited a couple of pieces I wrote for Elephant. Reading this also helped me as a writer. Thank you:)

  11. snowliongirl says:

    So beautiful, tender, raw, and honest. Thank you. Someday soon you will laugh again.

  12. Lisa says:

    Raw and beautiful. Thank you, thank you!

  13. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you for reading and commenting. xo

  14. elephantjournal says:

    Alistair: I do remember…thank you for reading and commenting (and I hope we have another piece from you soon). xo

  15. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you, Dottie.

  16. Ian says:

    This is beautiful, Bryonie. May your journey begin anew, anew, anew. And Open.

  17. elephantjournal says:


  18. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you, my friend. xo

  19. smallgrl says:

    Bryonie, this is a fantastic piece. You are truly an inspiration as a person and a writer. Thanks for making yourself so vulnerable and for your amazing writing. I wish I could give you a big hug! Hang in there. xo.


  20. Tara says:

    Stunningly profound. The relationship with ourselves is so obvious on our mats, and nowhere else are we nearly as vulnerable. It took me weeks to come back to my mat, and myself, after a devastating breakup. Your words have given a voice to the swirling thoughts and fears that have been collecting in the corners of my mind, and what a beautiful message to be reminded that there is strength in vulnerability. Thank you. Namaste.

  21. elephantjournal says:

    Oh Tara, thank you for your kind words…and for sharing them. xo

  22. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you Renee…I'm sending you a long distance hug! xo

  23. Honey says:

    From the heart. . . So very touching and beyond beautiful. Thank you.

  24. Erica says:

    so lovely.

  25. elephantjournal says:

    Yes. Love to you both. Heartbreak is loss, but it's also renewal. New joys and heartbreaks will come. The quote you begin with says it all: our job is to allow both love and loss to open us, to smile and cry and remain open, not to close and harden.

    Of course, easier said than done. Love to you. ~ Waylon.

  26. Patricia says:

    I hate saying goodbyes. I hate sadness.

  27. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you, Way. xo

  28. This is from the heart magnificent and it reached down and grabbed ahold of MY heart. Grief looks all kinds of ways. Thank you for your raw honesty <3

  29. jessica says:

    Thanks Bryonie! This is just what I needed to read. Similar to what I am going through and experiencing, yet so poignant and full of honesty & grace. Your comment about the animals on trampolines made me laugh out loud- HARD! so thanks for that… i too am lightening up =) namaste and thanks for sharing your beauty!

  30. elephantjournal says:

    Dear Jessica: You are most welcome…and thank you for sharing yours! xo

  31. elephantjournal says:

    Oh, Edie…xoxo b.

  32. Donna Stubbs says:

    That was a truly amazing piece and beautifully written, Bryonie. Thank you for sharing.

  33. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you Donna…for reading and for your kind words. ~ B.

  34. bea says:

    Oh wow. I am so not there yet, but working to be there a little more each day. I really really loved this. Although reading it I wanted to yell "fix it!" and duct tape the two of you together. Or maybe I wanted to yell that at myself. At any rate, your writing moved me and left me sad.

  35. elephantjournal says:

    Oh Bea, thank you for your comment and for sharing your heart. It's a roller coaster and we're not in one place at any one time; I feel like I'm all over the place, much of the time. xo

  36. Gary D says:

    There was no moment in my life that this would resound except for this very moment in time! Thank you for writing this!

  37. elephantjournal says:

    Hi Gary: thank you for reading! ~ b.

  38. dagneyshrugged says:

    absolutely beautiful piece!

  39. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you!

  40. maija says:

    achingly beautiful, especially as I perch on my own precipice of loss. thank you.

  41. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you Maija, for reading. ~ B.

  42. anonymus says:

    my heart was pounding out my chest reading this.

  43. Kirsty_Innes says:

    Bryonie, this is such a raw and beautiful expression of your experience and your graceful response to it. Having gone through a similar experience last year, I can relate to so much of this piece. Thankfully it doesn't take long until the laughs and smiles become more frequent, but there are still times when the grief comes up to the surface, when the mat calls and I refuse, thinking that a yoga practice will rattle the cage protecting my fragile heart. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  44. Lauryn says:

    Bryonie, you are magnificent. The love I have for you is enormous considering how little time we have spent together. Thinking of you everydamnday. xoxoxoxo

  45. elephantjournal says:

    Oh, bless you, bright heart. #everydamnday xoxo

  46. Alex Stone says:

    'even in the goodbye, we can love like the ocean' , such a deep truth and beautifully communicated. You choked me up there. In the darkness the seeds take root, keep the faith and keep sowing your love by lunar light. Summer is coming. X

  47. Guest says:

    Beautiful and inspiring, thank you

  48. Laurie says:

    Simply Breathtaking …amazing

  49. Blu_Ruth says:

    I was not ready to read this. I am still reeling from my first heartbreak- still catching my breath, unable and unwilling to move forward. Like you, we thought it was forever, enough to get us through anything. A truly great love. Redemptive and holy. But here we are. Broken, alone, and still so in love. Still loving each other through our shared grief. Intimately connected through our grief as we simultaneously drift further and further each day. Each day I feel him less near, his spirit, his presence leaves me- and I mourn a death. This is, without contest, the greatest tragedy of my life insofar.

    Aside from the million compliments I have for your exquisite writing, thank you for your intent behind the words. Thank you for encouraging me. I’m not quite sure what to do with it now… this next onset of tears, caught off guard yet again (at least I’m not in the stirrups at my gynecologist’s office this time, though… earlier today!) I’m not quite convinced I will ever heal from such a loss. But I know these words will serve an enormous purpose. I will definitely return to them again and again and again. How beautiful and strange the universe is…

  50. guestinyourheart says:

    Such a lyrical prose that carried me through the piece, sad and resolved and wise, and maybe the most love-filled (for self and other) break up piece I've read. Thank you.