I have been living beside a bear den, no joke!

I have been living beside a bear den, no joke!

It has been a spring full of surprises already! Hope you are doing well.

Those who know my story of being terrified and chased by the same mama bear TWICE this past few years, you will find it even as crazy to know that this past 3 months a mama bear and her 3 cubs moved in 12 feet from my back deck!

The Universe knew I had some healing to do or has a great sense of humor!

Yes, we have been living beside a bear den.

And it’s not like we live out in the woods. Nope! We live 1/2 mile from downtown Asheville, NC.

See, we thought there were kittens underneath the deck due to the sound our neighbors heard but to my husband’s surprise when he crawled under there with his headlamp, he was face to face with this beautiful mama bear!

She seemed as surprised to see him as he did to see her.

As the days went by, we called all our bear friends and Help Asheville Bears to find out what to do or not to do and little did we know, it would become the most incredible gift to us all.

We were able to attach a camera that looked right into the den and we got to watch this process unfold. And boy did it ever.

Those babies were fussy and hungry! And that mama, who I ended up naming Sierra, was working day and night. She is a GREAT mom!

So patient and present. I never thought I would use the words, “patient like a bear” but it was true. I didn’t see one aggressive act towards anyone, even her persistent cubs. She hunkered down in this tiny space for WEEKS on end and tended to these 3 baby boys!

I was constantly wondering, what is going on in there now? How big are they getting?

When we first found them they were the size of butter sticks!

It was such a miracle to see them grow.

And then one lucky day when they came out from under the den, we got to see them practice their first climbs and play about. (Pics by my dear friend and bear advocate Elaine Bailey)

 Sierra looking out for one of her boys!Sierra looking out for one of her boys!





These babies were amazingly full of CLAWS and cuteness. And I got protective of them and this mama. .

I wanted to make sure these bears had the BEST chance possible to thrive in a world full of dogs, cars, people and having to hunt for food.

I really got attached. Even with all the mindfulness and being in the present moment practices I teach and have practiced, I still wanted time to just freeze as it was so incredible.

And then one day, as the bear biologists said would happened, they were gone.

And there was this empty hole!

Just as in all change, there is a blessing and a sadness or adjustment period.

Living beside a bear den was over.

I had revolved lots of my daily thoughts and attention for 3 months around this bear family.

Sitting on my porch watching this mama and staring into her eyes as she tended to these precious babies. It was incredible.

I just cried not knowing now what they would have to encounter. What kind of obstacles would they have to endure?

To be honest, that first night I knew they were out, I was kind of a wreck. Plus it rained that night!

And I hated they were out in the rain. (silly people projections, I know but it’s how i felt,,,LOL)

But I knew in my heart, that this was as it was supposed to be. It was time.

Confession: I did drive around looking for them and could not find them.

I will admit it was nice not to worry if she was going to be standing in the driveway when we came home or if i would run into her with the dogs.

I had gotten used to them being there though and I felt like she had gotten used to us too. (as well as people and bears can get used to each other…I did talk to her a lot )

Have you had times like that when you have been given a gift and then you had to let it go?

Was the present moment so extraordinary or in hindsight even what seemed like the ordinary so precious that it captured your full attention?

How did you move through it when it changed and what meaning do you find in those amazing moments now?

Email me back. I would love to hear your stories and inspirations.

Here’s to the preciousness of life and all it’s wonderful surprises, changes, and miracles.

May we be open to things surprising us even more than we may have expected.

With all my love and joy,

Dr. Shannon

P.S. Update: My husband called me today and said, I saw Sierra and the cubs! I was thrilled! I jumped in the car and drove a mile away to see them playing and climbing and mom eating grubs. So overjoyed that they are doing OK. They seemed happy, joyous and free like we all deserve to be! YIPEE!