One of the first things to imagine as one seeks to build a bridge is one’s intention. Intention, and our awareness of it, shapes the bridges we may seek to create.
Tomorrow, I will be beginning part time employment at a retirement residence across a bridge from where I live. As I prepare to cross that literal bridge, I also imagine the metaphorical bridges that I will be creating with residents, residents’ families, and staff. I have been employed at such facilities in the past and know the depth of these encounters. These encounters begin with a willingness to be present with what is, the drama, the loss, choosing to be present to men and women who are aged, fragile, and thoroughly human. My intention for this first day, as well as my last, is to be present to what is unfolding in my midst and the meeting places along the way.
I am sure that you as well have metaphorical bridges which you travel daily, or may be imagining in the future. As you travel these bridges, how do you feel? What is your intention?
Create a image of a bridge by drawing a bridge shape on a piece of paper. Alternatively, you may wish to stack some books or other objects with a piece of paper or cardboard linking one stack to another. As you do this, reflect on your intention with this process. Why are you doing this? Where do you imagine this bridge going? What do you hope to accomplish? What are you bringing to your side of the bridge? Record any thoughts and feelings in your journal.
I am not an engineer, but I love bridges. From a non-engineering viewpoint, a bridge can seem quite simple. I believe that there needs to be a foundation, structure of some sort on one side of what ever needs crossing, and something of equal size and strength on the opposite side. And then something in-between, perhaps a road or a sidewalk to facilitate travel from one side to the other. I KNOW that literal bridges are more complicated than this, and larger bridges perhaps even more so. My apologies to engineers for glossing over so many important details, but metaphorical bridges also have complications.
Frequently in the news we hear of issues of physical infrastructure with bridges needing repair. More often we hear a cry that metaphorical bridges have been broken and there also is no easy repair. There is an assumption perhaps that there are fewer bridges between people exacerbating the issues that may divide them. I am not entirely sure of that because I understand metaphorical bridge building as an inherent human activity both within one’s self and with others. However, the bridges created may indeed be different, sometimes ineffective, and hazardous. But, that is my opinion.
During this second full week of March, let’s continue to reflect on building bridges as a Spiritual Practice and reflect upon what bridges may mean. Specifically, I will be inviting you to reflect on intention, privilege, partnership and play. We will end the month with love, and being a bridge.
I received many excellent comments to my previous posts on this topic. Please keep them coming. I read each of them.
With much love,
What is your favorite way to build bridges?
Today is Saturday,
the first post of the month of March,
and a new topic.
We have let go of paying attention as a spiritual practice in order to move into another topic for reflection. However, I hope that you will continue to pay attention as we begin to reflect upon a new topic for the month of March: building bridges.
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and similarly to other major cities built near water, navigating bridges occurs frequently, if not daily. There is the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge and the San Mateo Bridge among others. Each bridge enables movement from one location to another for business or pleasure.
But, what does a bridge mean?
The experience of these particular bridges, this month of March, daily news, the Christian Season of Lent and Jewish Passover provide grist for reflecting on what a bridge may mean, and what happens if there isn’t a bridge between things. Also, what does the metaphor of bridge have to do with spiritual practice? Hmmmm…Let’s reflect on this topic together.
The practice I suggest for this Saturday is to reflect upon the metaphor of “bridge”. What does it mean to you? Use your journal to write down any thoughts or images that come to mind. If you have time, please go outside and photograph a bridge or possibly walk or bike across one. I will do the same.
(This image is of the Park Street Bridge between Oakland, California and Alameda, California, a well traveled bridge)
The month has come to a close. We will be leaving the topic of paying attention, but hopefully not the art, the practice or the process.
As I have prepared the previous blog posts for this month, I have attempted to move attention from being primarily a cognitive and visual experience, toward a heart-filled listening experience, and finally to paying attention to creativity as both spiritual response and practice. The process of paying attention is more than all of these.
In our busy world with its complexity and many distractions, I invite you to continue to be aware of paying attention, to observe what captures your attention, and the quality of that attention.
Further, I invite you to take your attention out into the world. What do you see? What is attention calling you to be? What is attention calling you to do?
This is an on-going practice and process. It is not always an easy one. So, let’s practice this together. To what do you pay attention?
With much love,