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Bridging the Gap
Part 1 of 3: Crossing the Bridge

By Angel Shadow

"We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore." --unknown

How You View Your Bridge
Close your eyes for a moment and picture a bridge. Visualize as many details as possible. Now take that picture and alter it, making this bridge your own. Change as much or as little as you want. This is your bridge to create.

Keep in mind that symbolically, this bridge represents your life and the transition period you are entering. How you view this bridge is an indication of how you envision your transition. Do you view transition as difficult or do you welcome it with open arms? How do you feel about moving from one life experience to the next? How will this change alter your future and the life you want to live? Answering these questions will assist you in creating the bridge best for you at this point in time. You may be asking yourself, "How can this transitional bridge be a positive thing if I'm viewing it with fear and anxiety?" The truth is, you're always where you need to be and you are the one who creates that reality.

So you need to accept responsibility for your life. If you can see your current reality from a "I put myself here" perspective, you are accepting responsibility for your actions. Your life appears fearful when you blame others for your problems. When you do this, you give others control, therefore, you feel out of control. When you feel others are controlling you, keep in mind that you are the one allowing it to occur. So once you accept that and take responsibility for allowing it to happen, you will see things from a different perspective.

If you view your transitional bridge with fear and anxiety, you are afraid the journey will be out of your control, when nothing is further from the truth. When you accept your transition with open arms you are saying, "I welcome this change." You are not afraid of the journey ahead and understand that most events occurring in your life are entirely your responsibility. You accept that all situations will not go your way, but you have control over how you emotionally react and that is where your power lies.

Creating your transitional bridge is one-hundred percent your responsibility. You can dress it up or dress it down. It can high or low, narrow or wide, swinging or stable. The choice is yours. Before stepping onto this bridge, you need to make sure you're ready for the journey. So take a few moments to stop and prepare. No matter what situation you find yourself in, you always have time to stop, take a few deep breaths and prepare for your next step. Take a good look at this bridge. Soak it all in, because you're going to be spending some time there.

Preparing For Your First Step
You've created your bridge, but are unsure about taking that first step. Nothing says you have to run full speed and take a flying leap. You can stand there and prepare all you want. Don't worry that others may be moving onto their bridges before you or that other individuals are half-way across. The better prepared you are for the journey, the more successful the journey will be. So take the time to personally prepare.

Part of emotional preparation is packing because how and what you pack is an important process. You usually have three options: packing light (carry-on luggage), packing heavy (four suitcases, three duffle bags, two carry-on's, and of course, the fanny pack), or not packing at all (flying by the seat of your pants). Each option represents a personality type...

Packing Light
This option is for those who understand what needs to be left behind on the upcoming journey. Think of packing light as carry-on luggage. Only the basic essentials will accompany you because you know anything you require will be supplied along the way. There is no reason to take something along just in case. When you pack light, your load is easy to carry. Your must-do, must-take, must-remember list is short and sweet. Smiling to yourself, you grab your small bag of essentials and head for the door. Emotionally, you are prepared. No matter what lies ahead on this journey, you are in control and ready to handle it. Your first step seems effortless and you walk onto your bridge with confidence.

Packing Heavy
Packing everything in the house is for those who don't know what to take and what to leave behind. You carry as much baggage as you can because you can't leave this behind or that over there. And of course, this has to come along because you're sure you'll need it later. Your must-do, must-take, must-remember list is five pages long and growing by the second, and of course, you started packing a week ahead of time. During this week of prep-time you are stressed, restless and know you will forget something. The day of your departure finally arrives and you double check your must-do/take/remember list, which has somehow grown to ten pages and decide there is nothing more you need. (Probably not, since by this time, the house is empty.) All items are securely packed and you're ready to go. You load up your baggage and head for the door, but find you're exhausted by the time you reach the porch. Emotionally, you are nervous, scared, and leery of leaving your comfort zone. You stand before your bridge feeling unbalanced and weighted down. Your first step is heavy, but you walk onto your bridge knowing exactly what you're doing. You are worried, but know nothing has been left behind.

No Packing Required
You are the individual who flies by the seat of your pants. You've had enough and aren't going to take anymore. The yard sale sign is out and everything goes to the tune of "make me an offer!" There is no way these out-dated, out-lived, used up items are going along on this journey. It's time to start fresh, with nothing but the shirt on your back. Any items surviving the fevered frenzy of the yard sale get left behind. You simply have no use for them anymore. And that must-do/take/remember list? Did you even make one of those? If you did, it was probably sold in the yard sale to the heavy packer next door. Emotionally, you're fed up, stubborn and ready for something new. You feel rushed, but liberated. Restless, but free. You are ready. When the long awaited day to leave arrives, you run out the door, leaving it wide open. There is no hesitation on your first step. You dive onto your bridge head first, skidding to a stop on your belly, arms and legs stretched out in front of you, only to jump back up and take off running again. You are on your way.

Controlling Your Flow
One of the first things you notice on your journey is the water under your bridge. To some it is swift and menacing, creating more fear and anxiety. Others see it as smooth and calming, creating a sense of tranquility and security. The water flowing under your bridge represents your emotional attachments to the baggage you've taken with you. If you view your water as a raging river, ready to wash away your bridge, you need to look at the emotional attachments you're taking along. What are you carrying that creates hostility and anger? Now may be a good time to toss them aside. Not only will this lighten your load, but it will help distance your emotional attachment. This is easier said than done, but eventually, it's a necessary step. The sooner you can smooth the raging water under your bridge, the easier your journey will be. You can do it now, at the beginning of your journey, or wait until later, making the weight more difficult to endure.

Throwing emotional baggage into the raging river can create heart failure, especially to a heavy packer. Once thrown in, it is sept away, never to be seen again. The energy current that sweeps that baggage away is actually beneficial. If you let go and allow the emotional baggage to be removed from your life, you will notice your load becomes lighter and over time you realize you're better off without it. The tricky part is retaining the lesson the emotional experience brought. This leads to a deeper question. If the lesson brings a reminder of the emotional experience, how do you let go of the experience without losing the lesson? Without a reminder, how do you remember? It's like putting your hand against a hot burner. We don't have to repeat the experience of getting burned to retain the lesson that came from it. You already know from past experience that touching the hot burner will cause pain. You remember the experience and the lesson is retained. But without the memory of the incident, you would be clueless and touch the burner again. So the answer lies in your emotional attachment to the past event.

If you can release the emotional attachment, you can retain the experience/lesson connection, but not repeat the pain that was involved. But this can take months or even years to accomplish, so this is where emotional control over events becomes your power point. When you can release your attachment to an issue or situation, you take back control of your life. The choice of who is in control is always yours. Sometimes you don't realize this because a part of you needs the comfort of your own self-created misery. It's easier to blame others for your woes and pains. If so and so wouldn't have done this and such and such wouldn't have happened, you would be happy. When you accept responsibility for your emotions and what's occurring in your life, you regain control. You can say, "You are no longer responsible for how I feel." You can toss that baggage into the raging river and watch it float away. The memory of the experience/lesson connection is still intact, but you view it differently. Emotional control is once again yours and you can release, but keep the lesson. What a liberating moment indeed.

Remaining Focused
You've worked on releasing some emotional baggage, but you still need to stay focused on your goal and destination. This doesn't mean all your emotional issues are being held at bay. Some are still with you, but you're learning to release them and gain control. You don't have to release everything at once. Issues will be cast aside when you're ready. Remember, you're in control of your life.

Although you continue to carry certain emotional issues with you, you can still move forward on your bridge. You understand the water below, in whatever form it takes, is an indication of your emotions, therefore, you can control its flow. It is no longer menacing because you take clues from it. Whenever you need confirmation on the emotional attachments you are carrying, the water under your bridge will always be there to show you. Raging water will indicate an extreme of some sort, while calm, serene water will indicate stability and emotional balance.

It's important to remain focused on each step, not necessarily the overall journey. If you look ahead, the destination at the other end of the bridge may seem overwhelming and you have a tendency to feel rushed. You should keep the big picture in mind, but allow the individual steps to bring you closer. By staying in control emotionally, you know your journey will be successful. If you lose emotional control and forge ahead too quickly, you not only lose your balance, but run the risk of missing important lessons along the way.

To remain focused, you need to remain emotionally aware of what's happening in your life. You need to stay focused on your reactions to all the situations you find yourself in. This is the key to self control. No matter what you encounter on your bridge, if you remain focused and centered, you remain in control of your journey. This is especially true when you encounter a crossroad on your bridge.

A crossroad will appear at certain points on the bridge. This comes as a shock to some because you tend to think of a bridge as a straight line, taking you from point A to point B. So encountering an alternate path can be unsettling. You suddenly realize you have more than one option on this bridge.

You call on these crossroads unconsciously, to bring you the opportunities you need. Sometimes you recognize them, but other times you don't. It's your responsibility to choose if you will accept one of the crossroads being presented or continue on your current path. When you find yourself standing at a crossroads, you are at a very powerful point in your life. It is here that you decide which direction you will go.

There are times you feel you don't have a choice as to which direction you're going to go. But if you look honestly at your situation, you will see you always have a choice. Even if that choice involves going with the flow, it's still a choice. You're taking the road of going with the flow. Every decision you make will lead you into your future. Even during times you feel you have no control, you still make choices and these decisions move you along your path, bringing the crossroads you desire and need for your own personal growth. If you remain alert to these crossroads, you will see that all paths are connected. The crossroads represent veins in the body of humanity. Twisting and turning, crossing and intersecting with others, but all connected to the same source. They may lead in different directions, but eventually they will all connect at one point, for all roads lead to the same destination.

Once you select a bridge (or path), you travel along it until you meet a crossroad. At this time, you make a choice to take the crossroad or continue on the current path. Ultimately, both decisions will take you to your destination, however, different choices will result in different paths. Each bridge contains a number of different crossroads and each crossroad represents a new journey along your path. Keep in mind, your path will be altered by which crossroad is taken. Some crossroads are further along on the journey and each connects to a different bridge at a different point in time. The paths you choose along the way will determine the outcome of your journey.

There are no wrong choices, because eventually, all paths lead to the same place. Some individuals will choose a straight line. They are not interested in altering their course or witnessing different scenery. While others choose many different crossroads, branching out in numerous areas. Some crossroads can represent an entire lifetime to an individual. There are no rules that state all experiences are traveled during one lifetime, but every choice made represents a step toward the road leading to the bridge of Unity. How long it takes to get there is an individual choice. When you slow down and take time to look around, you will learn a lot about the paths of others and have the opportunity to walk in their shoes by choosing that particular crossroad.

If your journey is rushed and you choose a straight line, you are only experiencing one path; only seeing one viewpoint and while you may make it across to the Bridge of Unity quickly, you will have missed out on many soul evolution opportunities. Souls require depth and variety to truly evolve and grow. One path will not provide all the answers and is not the only way to the Bridge of Unity. Variety will teach compassion for others and move your soul along the evolutionary path of eventual Oneness.

Your bridges and crossroads will be shared with others. The path you currently walk has already been walked by many before you. They are there to assist in showing the way if you take time to listen. While your path seems solitary, you are actually joined together by the veins of crossroads interacting with each other. To burn your bridge or refuse to share it with others is the attitude that breeds segregation and God/The Universe (however you choose to label it) doesn't segregate... humanity does. Imagine all the bridges without the crossroads. Now, take that one step further and imagine the bridges being burned as individuals cross them. There would be no bridges (past knowledge) and no crossroads (interaction) to move you forward. This is exactly what happens when you live selfishly. You segregate yourself from others and live the illusion that it's all about you.

You might be asking how this bridge was traveled before when you were the one who created it. You did. You created the illusion of its appearance and the illusion of the water flowing under it. All was your creation based on your emotional projection. Just as the others who walked before you created their's. Remember, this is an individual journey. You could have someone walking directly behind you, but the view may be different for them. It's all about personal perception and individual definition of life and what you (and others) choose to see. You may stop and talk with the person behind you and comment on the beautiful scene playing out before your eyes, only to have that individual comment on a completely different scene; one of fear and insecurity. So, this is your bridge. You created it and you walk its path. Just because you share it with others, doesn't mean you're all viewing the same reality.

There's an irony in the "all about me" statement, because it does begin with "me," but the issue stands firm when it "stays with me." You need to discover who you are individually and then send that out to merge with the consciousness of One. There's a fine line between discovering "me" and merging with the One. What you become as an individual co-creates the One existence. Imagine the power in that mass consciousness. All working together to create the peaceful harmony of the One. When all of humanity is not on the same page, there is conflict in the One. This is another way to view segregation. You can label it many different ways, but it all comes down to the same issue. Discovering who you are as an individual and then incorporating that individual view into the One collective consciousness. Until humanity learns to do this, there will be chaos, selfishness and segregation.

Bridges that are well maintained will stand the test of time. They are not selective of who passes over and who does not. You have the right to choose the bridge of another or create a new one to add to the collection. When you view a bridge as "mine," you are reinforcing the illusion that you are alone and since you have the ability to create that illusion, this is what you will experience. You always get what you ask for. Another irony is that after you do that, you wonder why you're alone. So you run around in circles trying to figure it out.

Summing It Up
You've chose your bridge or created a new one and are off on your individual journey. You understand there will be crossroads and interacting with others along the way. You bring your individuality to the whole and leave a path for others to follow if they choose. You've learned to take what you need on your journey and leave it behind when the time is right. You understand the water flowing under your bridge is an indication of your emotional responses to the situations you find yourself in. These are your own individual issues to master and the outcome is brought to the collective consciousness of all. When you are having difficulty with an individual issue, you will be presented with a crossroad. You may or may not see the opportunity, but chances are someone else will and they will cross over to assist. That is the importance of crossroads and why we should remain aware of them. Crossroads are not always there for us to be the student. They are sometimes presented because we are needed by someone along that particular path.

The journey of crossing your bridge represents acceptance, growth and maturity. The path is not always easy, but once you recognize the experience/lesson connection, you gain control of your emotional responses and emotional control is an asset when dealing with your individual shadows.

Copyright © 2008 Angel Shadow™ All rights reserved.
My ancestry is Irish and Cherokee Indian and I have a gypsy spirit that refuses to be fenced in. I am definitely not a conformist. Much of my life was spent under the control of others. I have now found my own personal freedom, based on my own personal truth and nothing could be more liberating. I'm starting a new blog with my latest articles - find out more...

Part 2: Facing Your Shadows

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