Do you remember when you were young and people used to ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up?
What did you say?
Recently a friend of mine told me that I was a ‘bridge’.
I have to admit, it is not the lofty profession I had aspired to as a child, or as a dreamy teenager. But when I thought about it, she was right. And here’s why.
I started working with a new client recently. A dynamic, smart, and creative woman, who is on the cusp of change. She knows she has no choice in the matter. She has exhausted herself, physically, emotionally and spiritually, looking after all the other people in her life. But now life is beckoning her to look after herself, and nurture her own dreams.
Her old mantras of “Leap and the bridge will appear” and “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, aren’t working anymore. Her body has dug it’s heels in and said “No way honey, I’m done with bungee jumping. I am tired, and I am sore, it’s time for change but I also need a change pace.”
Except she doesn’t know what a change of pace looks like and for the first time in a very long time, she is scared. Scared of failing, scared of succeeding, scared of stepping out, and scared of staying put, scared of not being able to pay her bills, and scared that she won’t get to be who she truly is in the world. Leaping is hard when you are frozen with fear.
That’s where I come in.
I am the bridge.
The structure providing passage over a chasm.
The bridge between frozen and fluid.
The bridge between fear and freedom.
The bridge between your old and new life.
Crossing the bridge is actually a rite of passage. The hero or heroines journey from one phase of our life to another. But we have forgotten our rites of passage, and as a result we have forgotten how to prepare ourselves emotionally and mentally for the transition. So we will often resist because we are afraid and because we don’t know what to do.
On occasion we might take a run at it and ‘grab the bull by the horns’, but often when we do, we arrive at the other side exhausted. And without having integrated the journey or learned the life lessons that we need to grow and move forward.
Sometimes it helps to take a ‘little and often’ approach. Making several trips across the bridge. Each time bringing a precious item that will support us so that we can lay down the foundation stones of our new life without going into overwhelm.
And sometimes we need a ‘slow and steady’ approach, putting one foot slowly and gently in front of the other and remembering to breathe every step of the way, until we get to the other side.
Whichever approach we take, crossing the bridge like all rites of passage is not without its challenges. There a few old wobbly boards where you might lose your footing. The bridge may sway a little in the wind, unsettling you and triggering those old stories of not being good enough, not being able to do it, ‘better the devil you know’ and all that good stuff. But they are only stories and with each step you take, you can begin to write a new one.
And then there are the trolls. The ones that live underneath the bridge, lurking in the shadows, waiting until you seem to be finding your footing and then out they come to knock you off course. They are very well versed in guilt, shame and knowing your hidden insecurities. I know exactly what to do with trolls. I invite them up onto the bridge for tea and scones so that they can air their grievances and then help you carry a few boxes over to the other side. Trolls like all of us just need a little love and attention, and a task to keep them busy so that they don’t get into mischief.
It is part of the constant unfolding evolution of life and yet we are rarely taught how to navigate those transitions. That is why we need a bridge to help us get to the other side.
I know the bridge well, I have walked it many times in my own life, I still walk it. That’s how I learned to be it for others. And the beautiful thing about crossing the bridge is that every time we do, we blossom. Our roots sink down deeper into the essence of who we are, which allows us to stop trying to be ‘someone’ and be our authentic incandescent self instead. Each time we cross the bridge we become more confident, more relaxed and more joyous. There is nothing more joyous that being yourself, it makes your soul and your heart sing.
So as we step into Samhain, the Celtic New Year, what is the old life that it might be time to leave behind, and how could you start taking those first tentative and gentle steps towards the new?
The older I get the more I understand that we don’t actually grow up, we grow into ourselves, like a puppy grows into its paws. I would love to hear who you are growing into. What is that desire that is smouldering inside of you? Let’s invite the Samhain fires to give it life, so that it can grow.
Much love from the mountain,
Catherine x x x