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Unfolding, Bridges, and Openings

I want to live life surprised by the ways my life continues to unfold.  I want to delight in the simple offerings of each day.  I want to live in awe of the beauty of the world.

I have been having lots of dreams lately.  One is of a bridge crossing where the road ahead loops upside down like a roller coaster, so you have to drive fast enough and hold on to get across.  I’ve had two others where I am living in a house that is right at the edge of the ocean line, the waves crashing onto the large windows in the living room.  I am aware just as I write this of baptism imagery, of being immersed in a rebirth to a deeper way of being.

I am in a place of transition, of being invited to cross bridges and dwell in border spaces, despite how unsettling it may feel to be turned upside down or be washed over by large columns of water.  I actually don’t feel unsettled at all though, I feel excited about how my path is unfolding.  I am eager to live into this deeper calling that seems to come from deep in the forest, and also calls to me through crafting words and images.  I am ready to embrace my path as monk and mystic, writer and artist in ever deepening ways.  I long to be surprised by God again and again at how limited my own vision can be even when I think I am being as expansive as I can be.  I want my heart to feel like it is going to explode open because I cannot bear any more beauty, any more love, and then be delighted at the discovery my heart has grown even larger than I thought possible.

Tomorrow is a busy day, our monthly Gathering in the morning, then my peer supervision group in the afternoon and women’s group in the evening.  I am leading the afternoon and evening sessions on dreams, so I am eager to see what happens when I bring my night visions to that sacred space.  Those last two are peer groups, so I get to be held in the loving community of wonderful women and enter my own process as well.  The morning will be great too as I get to participate and be led, always a treat.

This is the bridge over Twin Falls near North Bend, about 30 miles east of Seattle where I hiked last week.  The forest on the other side is luminous and inviting.  I am so drawn to this image because I am ready to cross this bridge, putting one foot in front of the other, dancing my way across the gulf in between.

It feels too like looking inside of this hollowed out old tree and catching a glimpse of the sacred opening onto something new. Ancient and embracing, she stands as a gateway to the holy.  Her opening is narrow and inviting.  I ache to reach through into the womb of all creation and wrap myself in sweet green leaves and moss.  I want to lay down on the soft earth and grow roots that are deep and strong, so my branches can stretch far and wide.

Where are the cracks and openings of your life?  What are the bridges you are being invited to cross?  How is your path unfolding before you?  Are you surprised by what holiness is being offered?

-Christine Valters Paintner

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7 Responses

  1. Bette, you never need to apologize for comments! :-) Thanks very much for the “wabi-sabi” links, I will sink into them a bit later. I love the Hermitary website and have explored many of the articles there but never before read at this one. Thanks too for the Orthodox sacred music link at

  2. Thanks Wendy, they do feel very powerful. I had the chance to sit with some of them today in two of the groups I was in and so there is even more stirring within me now that I will share some of in the next few days.

    I love the phrase “wabi-sabi” beauty Bette, what does it mean exactly? And looking up at the mandalas in the sky is a wonderful image too.

    In sitting with my dreams today, the baptism/rebirth image felt strong as well as the image of an ocean of tears, and the ocean within me, moving more deeply into my own power.

    So much moving in me right now. I am tired and long for some Sabbath rest tomorrow. I’ll have more to say on Sunday. . .

    Love to you both, Christine

  3. And to add to Wendy’s comment on your dreams…..I like how you interpreted the columns of water in your dreams as being fully immersed in baptism! An excellent confirmation and vision to your transition.

  4. What beautiful scenery you’re blessed with. I love this bridge and hollow tree and how God speaks to us through Nature’s wabi-sabi beauty. I want to lay against the ancient tree roots and feel the coolness of moss on my face clear to my toes, and peer up high into the heavens until the swaying treetops turn into mandalas.

    The bridges in my life right now are new friendships. The very friendships that I have been asking God to surround me with in order to seek, experience, embrace, and spread the Sacredness and Holyness of God.

  5. I love the image of bridges, because they connect us with our past as well as our future, nothing is “cut off” even as we grow and change.

    Powerful dreams Christine : )