Today my little boy turns 11 years old. I have a tradition that on each birthday before school, he stands outside in our front yard, in the same place each year, in front of an old tree, and I take his photo.
Today we celebrate him because he’s growing stronger, taller, and bigger. He soon will graduate fifth grade. We celebrate him because he’s growing into who he truly is.
But after he left for school, I sat and stared at his photo, and I started to cry. Because even though today is a celebration, it is also a loss, and there is a sense of grief. Each day that my boy grows older, the baby that I once knew gets further and further away. I feel a sense of loss for the little one I once knew—for the baby that snuggled with me during naptime, and the boy that asked for a bedtime story. That little one is gone, and now, standing in his place in front of that same old tree, is a striking, smart, 11-year-old boy, who we are celebrating.
What I have come to know is that celebration and grief walk hand in hand. We can’t celebrate truly and deeply without also feeling a sense of loss. We can’t grow into who we truly are without shedding who we once were.
Today I also taught my last class at Bloom Retreat. I cried the whole way through—tears of celebration and tears of grief.
I looked out at the circle of women resting on the floor with their eyes closed, hands on their bellies, feeling their deep belly breaths, and I suddenly felt the presence of all the women that have come through that same room, and did the same thing, over the past six years. I felt how much healing has happened in that space, and suddenly everything that Bloom has ever meant to me filled my body and my heart. It was as if in a short moment I remembered and felt all the gifts that Bloom has given me and our community.
Bloom brought me back to myself after my mom died. The space and Bloom’s mission gave me purpose, and a way to transmute her loss.
Bloom gave me a place to play and deepen into my truth and my passion. I learned to teach yoga in a way that breaks all the rules. Bloom held me and showed me how to live a fully expressed life.
Bloom gave me friendships and a sisterhood that I will keep forever. The women that came through our doors showed me the power of connection and how much we women need each other.
Bloom showed me what women truly need to heal: Connection. Sisterhood. And permission to live unapologetically.
Bloom gave me a safe place to use my voice and to show up as my true self. This community gave me courage to let my rebel spirit soar.
And I have seen woman after woman transform. I have seen passions come to life, broken hearts sewn back together, and women speak their true voices for the first time ever. I have had a front row seat to watch women come home to themselves day after day.
And because of all of this, I grieve. I will miss Bloom deeply. I will miss this dream and the women who made it come true.
But today is also a celebration, because, through all those gifts, The Practice was born, and this work will continue to help women wake up and reclaim who they are. It’s now time for me to take all the wisdom, and everything I have learned at Bloom, and just my like son, grow into who I truly am.
Celebration and grief walk hand in hand. Without loss we cannot grow. Life is a cycle of endings and beginnings.
Saturday is our last day as Bloom Retreat.
On April 1st we celebrate the birth of The Practice for Women.
More connection, more sisterhood, more stories of grace and grit to come.
Thank you for being a part of this dream.
I invite you to be a part of this new beginning.
Sending you love.