Goodbye Is Not A Dirty Word

Photo courtesy of Nicole Dunlap

Photo courtesy of Nicole Dunlap

About two weeks ago, I started saying my goodbyes and really, they were not with the people and things I would miss the most. Some involved actually saying the word “goodbye” and some were just moments and places I barely even realized I would never see again. I would mention in conversation how I started this process (just for the record, long and drawn out goodbyes are really weird) and I cannot tell you how many times I was corrected and assured, “It is not a goodbye, but simply a see you later.” After hearing this for the one hundredth time I began to wonder, since when did “goodbye” become such a dirty word?

Last week I wrapped up my last bit of teaching, and needless to say it was rough. As I ended my class on Tuesday, sitting in the front of a full studio of my teachers, friends, and students, tears filled my eyes and I could barely finish my closing remarks. I left the studio that day slightly heartbroken, but I don’t think I have ever been so full of love and gratitude in my whole life. In that moment I realized each goodbye from then until I leave Pittsburgh, my home, would be a little harder than the last. I began to reassure myself that it was not in fact a goodbye, but a see you later until I stopped and remembered that goodbye is not a dirty word.

I have about five days left in Pittsburgh and I will be saying a lot of goodbyes to people, places, and the food. (Yes, I am sad about leaving the food.) Knowing this, I am living in a constant state of nostalgia for things that have yet to end which is a very bizarre feeling. Although, I do not have any haste about saying goodbye. Some goodbyes are temporary, some are permanent, some are just simply saying goodbye to the relationship you had before and opening the door for a new one to form. (This blog is a prime example, teaching yoga to writing yoga.)

Goodbye is not a dirty word. It is O.K., it is healthy, it is how you grow. We live in a world where the urge to stay connected forever and always is constantly looming over us. Our phones, the internet, apps, airplanes, maybe one day teleportation, make it easier than ever to hold onto things that no longer serve us. Saying goodbye is a practice, just like yoga, just like everything else. Some days we are able to let go and some days we hold on for dear life. I am here to remind you by sharing my journey that it’s okay if it’s not a “see you later,” that you have the right to delete 99% of the contacts in your phone, that no matter where you are you can take a big breath in and sigh it out as loud as you need, take a forward fold and shake it out, or even move across the ocean. Our mat is a really good place to start this practice. Yoga is so much more than the shapes we make on our mats, but it is also what we practice off our mats.

Love and light, 


For the next six months or so while I am in Uganda, this is where you will find me. I’ll be sharing my yoga practice and my adventures including all of the really beautiful parts to the really ugly parts and everything in between. I hope show how yoga can be practiced in a studio in Pittsburgh or in your apartment half way across the world. 

Stay tuned!

Katy Thompson1 Comment