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The Bittersweet Impermanence

Updated: Apr 19

Written by Billy Potocnik in 2020


If there is one word I think of the most when describing life, it would be “bittersweet”. Our lives are filled with so much sweetness and tender moments, but we are always reminded along the way of the impermanence of it all. Time seems to move linearly in some ways and in other ways - circularly. We can reflect back on our lives so far and simply look at the years and the decades that have gone… That straight line that moves from our birth, through childhood, adolescence, and ultimately - adulthood. Time is marked by memories of celebration, loss, rights of passage, and photos that remind us of a more innocent version of ourselves — blowing out candles, dressing up in costumes, and sitting on the laps of people that loved us —some long past and on to the next adventure. We can look at versions of ourselves and it seems like lifetimes ago, or almost another life completely. And, sometimes… flashes of our lives years ago move through us like it was just yesterday. That bittersweet impermanence of being alive right now, in this moment ,with so much life behind us and so much life to look forward to ahead of us. It is always this moment that we are working with: moments filled with memories, moments filled with dreams of the future, and moments filled with the actual life that we are participating in right now. They are simultaneous, interwoven, connected, and distinctly themselves.

IN LUMBINI, NEPAL

Finding gratitude in all of this — regardless of the degree of comfortability or desired outcomes — allows us to expand and grow. It allows us to dwell in the three and four dimensions of our lives where we have the space to breathe, literally and figuratively, and the time to appreciate the process of being alive. In certain parts of our lives, functioning in the two dimensions is necessary, helpful, and even life-saving. But, moving beyond the two dimensions of our lives such as ‘right/wrong’, ‘good/bad’, ’my way/your way’, ‘black/white’, ‘happy/sad’, and ‘all/nothing’ allows us to live in a place of enjoyment, appreciation, and abundance. Getting out of our heads and into our hearts brings us into a deeper place of wisdom that is deeply and distinctly human.

What does that mean? The ability to adapt, evolve, and integrate our human experience. Not transcending our humanness, but transcending the type of thinking and perceptions that trap us in our heads and keep us from our hearts. When we learn the tools that get us out of our heads —breathwork, meditation, mantra, affirmation, and movement —we are able to drop into the wisdom of our heart and belly. In this place we are able to gracefully access our Courage, Power, and Whole Human Intelligence, creating space between action and reaction, and accessing the bravery to be vulnerable, open, compassionate, loving, confident, comfortable in our skin, and self-assured of our place in this world.

When we start to practice and master these skills and engrain ourselves in the new habits and patterns that move us forward, we begin to live each day in an awakened state of creation and inspiration. The bittersweet impermanence of our life urges us forward and deeper adapting to life’s circumstances in a whole and boundless way where our ‘blindspots' and challenges become opportunities for growth. Fully integrating ourselves in our human experience and learning to gracefully not just “cope with life,” but completely FEEL our lives, allows us to wake up each day with authentic gratitude and passion. We find ourselves, literally - “find ourselves”- living with limitless inspiration creating a life of meaning, purpose, and, most importantly, enjoyment! We realize that recognizing our impermanence is our biggest gift and living comfortably in the inherent bittersweet nature of life is our celebration. This is learning to live beyond the two dimensions and into the three and four dimensions of our lives . . . And beyond. . . into compassion, into empathy, into appreciation, into gratitude, into joy, into LOVE.

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