Why I chose my #onewordONT: Bridge

I follow Julie Balen on Twitter and she posted the #onewordONT challenge last week.

Having to select just one word, just one single, lonely word, to guide me in my work this year was harder than I thought. 

I gave myself a half hour which quickly turned into several hours and several discussions.

But, I eventually decided on “bridge”, and I’ll explain why.

According to my dictionary of symbols, the bridge enables passage from one state to another and is a symbol of transition. Bridges connect places we have been with places we are going. I have often stopped along a bridge to look back, to pause in my journey for a moment of reflection. 

Bridges require creation, they need a strong foundation, a stable structure to traverse.

Bridges unite. 

Bridges span gaps.

I often find myself pondering the strange and wondrous paradox of going back in order to go forward. But this is the nature of reflective practice, and, I suppose, of a reflective life. If I am to grow and change, I must consider where I have been, celebrate the journey, and select the destination. And this is why I decided on the word, “bridge”. I want to physically connect people on their journey, to help them build their creative ideas, to bring pedagogy into practice and provide that stable frame for others to carry forward along their journey.

Bridges are the larger metaphor for connections between lands, languages, and cultures. 

But, perhaps for me, most importantly, bridges are the structural metaphor of understanding. Bridges are “patience, for patience joins time to eternity”.

Poetry reminds me to slow down and none say this as lovely as Wendell Berry and you can hear him reading this poem here.

“How to be a Poet” 

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

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