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Crossing Bridges


Our journey through life takes us down many roads and pathways occasionally augmented with bridges. Bridges take us from here to there. Usually they traverse an otherwise un-crossable chasm of some description. It’s a short cut in many ways. A high and lofty path. Yes – every once in a while we are lucky enough to come across a bridge. Bridges, metaphorically speaking, are mystical things. They are neither here nor there. They are ‘in between’ places. They take us from one reality, one expression of life, or one understanding to another. Anything or anybody can present a bridge to us. They can also appear anywhere and anytime; in fact, in the most unpredictable places and in the most unexpected moments.

Standing in the middle of a bridge is similar to sitting on a fence. It can be really nice to stand on a bridge for a while. We get to witness the whole scene as it unfolds around us and see both sides of the proverbial coin without being attached to either outcome. They are usually peaceful places where we can take some time to build our confidence in our ultimate right to choose the direction of our next step. We can take all the time we need crossing the bridge. We can daydream, zone out and just rest for a bit but eventually to get anywhere we have to get off the bridge and go to either one side or the other. We can either go back the way we came or we take a chance and move on to the other side. Unlike a fork in the road where both paths may lead us to equally unpredictable paths a bridge presents us with a kind of parallel reality. It will take us to the other side of something that is eerily similar to the side we just left but somehow clearer.

These days my work is about building bridges and guiding people over them. I have earned my stripes as a bridge tour guide. I have stood on many and sat on either side of many too. I have also missed many bridges, failed to recognize them or not trusted in their safety. I have found that the worst thing to do when a bridge is offered up is to ignore it no matter how risky it looks. You can end up literally miles out of your way, confused and lost and then when you finally resolve to go back and try to find the crossing over spot again it seems to have disappeared. Bridges will rarely be found again in the same place twice. They seem to be more connected to right time and not necessarily place. When the bridge you didn’t take has disappeared you have to wait for another one to appear. This waiting may take a significant amount of time and we are an impatient species.  But the magical appearance of a bridge isn’t determined by our desire or impulses. Bridges seem to appear when we surrender, when we let go a goal of an outcome. They appear when we have sufficient faith that there must surely be another way.

Bridges are Personal Things

A bridge that appears to one person may be completely invisible to another. The opportunity to cross to another reality depends largely on our personal preparedness to change. Not everyone you care about may be ready to cross at the same time with you – not even the people you love the most. It’s a difficult conundrum to have to face going it alone for a time, leaving family and friends to explore something new that may seem undeniably important to you but ridiculous to them. Crossing a bridge may seem the fools journey or the hero’s journey in the same breath, and the truth may not be known until after you have crossed but the pull to cross is irresistible.

The main thing to remember when standing before a bridge is that you are being offered a two-fold opportunity. It offers you an opportunity to address a new potential of yourself and simultaneously that you are being allowed to cross over an obstacle that has appeared before you. The obstacle could be emotional or physical, psychological or spiritual, but which ever it is you will feel saved from a foreboding fearful outcome. A bridge may appear as a one time win fall, an unexpected influx of money for example that can safely carry us to a reprieve before financial ruin. Or it may show up as a new job or project that saves your brain from terminal boredom allowing you to grab hold of a new lease on the same life you already had. A bridge can be simply a helping hand that restores a lost faith in humanity. Whatever the case, whenever you choose to cross a bridge you will experience a deep sense of relief and gratitude for the path taken. A bridge gives us a chance to take a different road with potentially different outcomes.

I have crossed many bridges in my career, in my personal life, and in all my relationships. I am grateful for those bridges. In moments I have crossed from times that felt as barren as a desert to as rich as a rainforest. I have felt the pressure and fear of ominous, unspeakable danger and have crossed to places of radiant, loving peace in the space of a breath. I have been given spontaneous insight into right action when I’ve been hopelessly mired down in quicksand thinking. Suddenly a bridge appeared that allowed me to climb up and over safely to a new way. I know now that when I am in need of a bridge it appears. I am never left stranded. My faith in my universe, in omnipotent love, and in our inherent shared oneness ensures that a bridge will be spontaneously built when I need it – all I need to do is have the eyes to see it and the brave heart needed to cross it.

see also: https://andreathielconnell.com/2010/05/05/the-perils-of-fence-sitting/

The Restoration of Gratitude – It’ll just take a moment!


I woke this morning with a feeling of being blessed. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the temperature with my bedroom window wide open was perfect. I had spent a great evening sitting outside until almost midnight chatting with a dear friend that I hadn’t connected with in quite some time. All felt right in my world. I ruminated on our various discussions from the night before.

At one point we talked about gratitude. My friend has experienced so much turmoil and pain in her life and yet that’s not what she wears on her face. Her face shows the world her hope, her acceptance, and her belief in herself and in others. She is remarkably grateful. She is grateful for every kindness, every opportunity, every experience that crosses her path. She takes nothing for granted. Every small thing is a meaningful blessing. Her life is not charmed, things don’t come easy to her. She has worked harder than almost anyone I know at everything she does, she never hides from a challenge and always tackles anything put before her. Every so often life overwhelms her and her edges crumble a little bit, but in the end she is like the stone in the river bed that millions of tons of water has washed over and made smooth. She is willing to be tumbled around a little bit if it enhances her perspective of life. She is willing to hit some other rocks in the river if it means that she will learn something new about herself. And just because she is willing to engage with life, life engages back. She had always stood apart in her innocence.

But something  had changed. She was worried and sad. Fearful of pending changes. Feeling the need to protect herself. I don’t know her this way. She has always lived in the moment, looking for the opportunity, and seeing the good in it. It usually works; but it wasn’t working now. She didn’t know why not. It took me a good long while in the morning light to understand and identify what was different.  Often epiphany comes when we are doing the mundane, when the mind can aimlessly drift about without clinging to intentional pieces. While washing dishes this morning I realized what it was.

In the same moment I realized what had changed, I also knew why it had changed and why I didn’t see it.  In short what had happened was my friend wasn’t being herself, she had become the way the world typically functions. Her language reflected the way the world talks, she was listening to things the way the world listens to things, she was behaving the way the world normally behaves. And because she wasn’t living intuitively as she normally does, she became lost. I didn’t catch it because she was being normal, as in the same as everyone else. She wasn’t standing alone in her light, she had mentally, emotionally joined the common way of a world immersed in fear.

She had begun to worry about the future. She was fearing the potential loss of her great love. She had become attached to potential failure. She began to anticipate the worst and was looking for the clues in the moment, in order to protect herself for the future. She stopped living in the moment and started living for the future. She was living suspiciously, second guessing, doubting her senses, listening to the onslaught of negativity that spews so abundantly from the minds and mouths of mass population, media and government. She was a like fish out of water.

I see so many people afraid of engaging with life fully because they are afraid of the pain that seems imminent. We are so preoccupied with living the promised fairy tale happy ever afters that we end up judging our lives negatively in comparison. We worry, we anger, we shrink and shirk and blame, we judge, anything to try to separate us from the world around us that we see causing so much pain and failure. Unfortunately by doing so we become part of that darkness that squelches out the possibility of a better way.  My friend had stepped out of her light filled innocence into the shadowy norm and it didn’t fit well. Trying to squeeze all that light and hope into a limited, typical, too small dark box was hurting her. Her compass became disoriented, she didn’t know where or who she was anymore. And worse still she couldn’t find the way out, her re-course became to isolate. That alone broke her heart.

In the end she re-committed herself to seeing the good, looking for the silver lining, and counting her blessings in every moment. In the end she went home grateful for the life she is blessed to have. She’s the bravest soul I know! Are you brave enough to stand in your light? Alone if need be?

Keeping Perspective


Driving down the road early this morning I was able to witness the most incredible sky. The sky was completely overcast, not a shred of blue sky to be seen anywhere.The sky was rich with texture, movement and a vast palette of colours – mostly shades of gray. Dark, heavy rain clouds, light white drifty clouds, and an amazing giant chunk of rainbow sitting right in the middle. As I drove along through the drizzle I tried to keep my eye on that bit of rainbow but gradually it become covered up and disappeared from my view. I then noticed how heavy and ominous the clouds had become. All around me the clouds were moving in different directions. Layers of clouds appeared to be spinning, some clockwise and some counter-clockwise. It felt surreal and left me feeling uneasy. I determined to remember the rainbow hiding somewhere out there beyond my current scope of vision. Now, only a few hours later, the clouds are almost gone and a clear blue sunny sky promises a great spring day.

This is how life goes, as much as we need to stay present in the now moment we can’t dwell on it. Everything is transient, everything shifts and moves all the time, everything changes. To invest your emotion with the weather will set you up for a disappointment every time. Nothing can change as quickly and often nothing can affect us as easily. We need to keep perspective.

Seeing this rainbow this morning reminded me of several things:

i) you never know what’s hidden behind the clouds

ii) even in tumultuous situations there is beauty, order and creative power

iii) nothing lasts forever, seize the moment and move on

iv) we as people are just a tiny bit of the vast manifestation that is our universe, so get a grip

And, after I found this picture on the internet when I got home I realized an even greater thing –

v) the opportunities are endless to witness a wondrous experience. Open your eyes! (this photo was posted last fall) I’m sure there have been many other such sightings just as I am sure that many people did not see what I saw even though they may have traveled the same stretch of road during the same time frame.

SPECIAL NOTE: I unfortunately didn’t have a camera this morning but found this photo on a WordPress blog “Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl” which is almost identical to what I saw – less the blue ridge mountain range. She has absolutely stunning photos of sky shots from her front porch! Check them out if you want to be inspired by the great beauty that surrounds us. Thank you Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl!