Bridges to the Unknown

Footbridge into sunset

Footbridge over the Tyne – East Lothian

Japanese Bridge in Snow

Japanese Footbridge in Snow

Stone bridge to ancient Nunnery

Stone footbridge to ancient Nunnery

Skye Bridge in Clouds

Skye Bridge in Clouds

Bridge over the Seinne

Paris after the rain

The Bridge

Walk with me, onto the bridge
If you dare.
Leave the firm ground of your knowing, built methodically and carefully over your lifetime
Leave the certainty of your soul pressed into the earth through your feet
Leave everything you thought you knew and follow me.
Pass into the wild mysterious uncertainty, the space between the worlds.

Everything and nothing is true on the bridge
And even as your heart yearns for what it knew
The far side beckons freedom
As mysterious and powerful as the moon
And moth like
We are pulled from a secret place in our hearts
Step by fearful step, deeper and further into the glittering universe.

So walk with me over the bridge
If you dare
Untie the aged ropes of faith, binding belief to the old
Trust only in the visceral core which pulses through your soft body like a burning star
Trust in the deep wisdom buried in your bones
By long forgotten ancestors
Trust that you are enough,
And with reckless abandon walk now towards your star filled horizon.

Bridges are really magical places, existing neither here nor there. They are liminal spaces where two things can be true at once, although they may oppose each other. They are spaces which open up the hard and fast rules of life, allowing the possibility of change to find its feet.

Change is hard because it involves moving from one known space, into an as yet unknown space. As we all know, the unknown is very hard for our human brains to feel comfortable and relaxed with, so bridges can make us feel a bit nervous, a bit unsure or unsettled. As we step off the known shore into the transition space of a bridge, we need a degree of trust to keep walking forwards, towards the unknown shore.

When I find change has burst unexpectedly into my life, mindful awareness of the new and unusual reality really helps. By getting curious, rather than anxious about the changes, I can ground myself in the reality of the present. I walk fully aware onto the bridge, with as few expectations as possible. Of course my mind usually gets in the way again, but even pockets of grounding myself in the real moment, brings more of a sense of control in the midst of change. Being present to the changes happening both within and around me, I gain a sense of calm presence.

As spaces of transition, bridges have always been viewed as holding special powers, linking together what would otherwise remain separate. They also allow us to cross what would be impenetrable barriers, shortening journeys, making movement easier…. we really should build more bridges, and cross them when we can.

To see more posts aboutBridges follow the link to Ailsa’s beautiful Weekly Photo Challenge

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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
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63 Responses to Bridges to the Unknown

  1. beluga53 says:

    You have a remarkable eye. I love your photos and look forward to seeing more of them.

    • You’re very kind with your compliments….so glad you enjoy my photos, and I’ll look forward to hearing what you think of the ones which will follow. I take photos with my painters eye, so the composition is what usually comes first 🙂

  2. Gaye Abbott says:

    Greatly appreciate your thoughts, reflections and metaphors for bridges Seonaid. Wise counsel to decrease anxiety….. shifting to curiosity of the inevitable changes that life consistently brings. So love Nungate Bridge and hope to walk its worn path in my lifetime….

    • Thanks Gaye 🙂 You should stop by Haddington while you’re over in Scotland this year. There’s lots of beautiful old sites to visit. There’s a present day nunnery in East Lothian which offers retreat space and B&B….it’s beautiful.

  3. Oh yes bridges are magical places…

    Lovely photos….

  4. This is a lovely post with exquisite images!

  5. frizztext says:

    Vikings didn’t need bridges, they had their boats …
    greetings by
    http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/vikings/

  6. frizztext says:

    sky bridge in clouds: great!

  7. Paula says:

    Gorgeous images :). I guess your favourite colour is green :D, as is mine 😉

  8. ladyfi says:

    Change is often hard – but easier with beautiful bridges like these. Your photography is stunning!

  9. What a lovely post, I really enjoyed it.

  10. mmtread says:

    Stunning photographs and lovely prose. Thanks for this.

  11. Angie says:

    Wonderful photos! 🙂

    • Thanks, they’re just a wee sample, gathered mostly over the past 5 years….except the first and third ones, which were taken on the first walk I want on after The New Year, with my new camera 🙂

      • Angie says:

        That’s great! I’d love to know how to edit some of my photos. Yours gave me ideas to explore more about how to present a different view/angle.

      • How wonderful that my pictures can teach something! I started taking photos to use as ref for paintings, so I always look for the picture in the frame, and angles can really help to add feelings of motion and depth. Now I just photograph for photography’s sake. So glad you liked them 🙂

      • Angie says:

        Yes, they’re really wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing and I’ll try to keep that in mind when taking my photos.:-)

  12. To Know Beauty says:

    Oh what a beautiful poem! Thank you!

  13. Just read in your short bio that you are a therapist – Jungian inclincation by any chance? Really like the way you view the bridge as a symbol of transition. I used to do sandplay therapy with clients and bridges always indicated that people were moving from one state of being to another, often on the verge of leaving the past behind and venturing into a new and still unknown future. Thanks for sharing your deep thoughts and beautiful photographs with the world.

    • Oh yes….strong Jungian leanings (you?)…..I just love the collective unconscious 🙂 I wrote my dissertation on how symbols help us heal!
      Love what you describe about using sandplay, and it sounds like we’re thinking along the same lines when it comes to bridges 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, and feel flattered that you find my thoughts deep 🙂

      • kindred spirits appear to be drawn together, even through the blogosphere. I have been amazed about the quality of people that have responded and whose blogs i have visited. You certainly are one of them. Yes, I trained in the Jungian perspective through my sandplay studies and have always been amazed how archetypes show up in people’s work even if they didn’t know what an archetype is. This was true for children also.

      • Archetypes are like that…they don’t wait for an invitation 🙂 It’s lovely to have found you, and your blog…I’ll look forward to reading more.

      • Yes, I would like to stay in touch as well. I think I am following your blog, so all is well….

  14. Amy says:

    WoW! Great gallery. Love all of them.

  15. Your photos continue to captivate – they are inspired! D

  16. Wonderfully beautiful and serene and a post to return to. Well done!

    • You are always so encouraging, thank you 🙂 It was your post on bridges yesterday which got my creative wheels turning before I dropped off to sleep…so you are quite a bit responsible for this post!

  17. restlessjo says:

    Beautiful post. I’ve used the gallery style but I do think there’s a lot to be said for posting the photos in the body of the text. Love the one of Skye and the Japanese footbridge.

    • Thanks! That shot of Skye is a real favourite, the sun broke through the clouds just as we were approaching and the layers in the mountains came alive 🙂 its a road we travel several times a year, but this moment was special!
      I know what you mean about gallery versus embodied pictures. I switch around depending on the mix of photos I’m using. I find the gallery works best if I have a mix of close ups and landscapes. I think your gallery works really well here.

  18. frizztext says:

    you’ve created a wonderful tribute to BRIDGES!

  19. Carl Milner says:

    Hi Seonaid, That is a beautiful and truly inspiring post which I’ll be returning to frequently now it’s bookmarked, each of your three elements could stand alone in their own right, from the glorious photography, the exquisite poem and the creatively crafted heartfelt words that really stroke a cord with me…what a perfect combination

    I’m in awe
    Carl

    • Wow Carl, I’m blown away by your comments. It’s a wonderful feeling when somebody really gets what I’ve written, and connects with it. It makes blogging so worthwhile. As for the photos I’m always so in awe of yours that it feels like high praise indeed 🙂 Thanks so much!!

  20. bevchen says:

    What a great post. I love what you wrote about change and getting curious rather than anxious. Great advice!

    Excellent photos, too. I adore the second with the Japanese gootbridge – it looks almost magical!

    • Yeah, that Japanese footbridge is set in a beautiful waterfall garden, and the whole place does have a magical feel.
      I’m really glad you connected with my writing too. Now if only I can remember my own advice more often!!

  21. i like reading this, had never thought of bridges in a spiritual way before 🙂 its obvious now lol

  22. dapplegrey says:

    This was apt timing – it really spoke to my condition. The last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about trust, and about crossing over or stepping out into the unknown. I’ve been reading a book called ‘Dying To Be Me’ by Anita Moorjani (about her near death experience and spontaneous healing from cancer) and wondered if you had read it. Thanks for a lovely post.

    • Yes, I read her book a couple of months ago, after someone told me about it. I think she has written well about her experiences of healing and spiritual growth. Everyone is so different, but we can all hear things which will resonate with at least part of our own stories and experiences. The thing I remember from the book was the idea that self love is the most healing energy in the universe. I would agree wholeheartedly with this. It’s not until we can accept and love ourselves as we are ( rather than how we wish we were) that we can truly reach out and love others. Everything about feeling more comfortable in our own skins, and in our own lives, has to start from where we are….living in ourselves. It sounds so easy, but its incredibly difficult. I try and remind myself everyday….I am enough, just as I am 🙂

  23. ♡eM says:

    Your poetic prose is a metaphorical and mindful delight. I will read it again and again, thank you.

    I sometimes cross a bridge and think of the multitudes, the masses that have crossed before me. Were their journeys safe, happy? Did the cross regularly, scarcely noticing the transition? Was drudgery awaiting them, or adventure, or escape?

    Thank you for this post, with its beautiful photos and poetic prose, and its message and meaning.

    • Oh I’m so glad you like the prose, I’m always a bit uncertain of posting things like this, so it’s great to hear you like it 🙂
      I love what you say about thinking of all those who have crossed the bridge before you…as though echoes of their footsteps ring forever in the bridge’s structure.

  24. SELAHbrate says:

    Man built bridges to cross from here to where; These bridges stood still through wear and tear. Life changes and so bridges too; Even time moves, bridges go on and so life for me and you.

    • Indeed…..everything is in a process of change and decay 🙂 the oldest bridge in my post is the Nungate Bridge. It’s Medieval, so around 500 years old, and still standing. So many feet crossing its stone back over the centuries…..and now it’s a little worn and crumbled looking, but still holding firm 🙂

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