The View From The Bridge

I like a good metaphor and I came across a great one the other day. On my holidays a tour guide was apologising for not being able to drive over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York as commercial vehicles (we were in a bus) are prohibited. But, she said, there is an advantage to taking the adjacent Manhattan Bridge across the East River – from here you get a good view of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Even as a Brit with a sketchy view of New York’s history and geography I can see that this is an important crossing.
The tour guide’s words got me thinking. When we are actually travelling across the bridge we can’t see it very well. The supports are out of sight under our feet (definitely there but difficult to picture…) and the view might be restricted by cables, pillars and the confines of the vehicle we are travelling in. Essentially, it is difficult to see what is going on when we are right on top of it. If, however, we are able to step back from our own bridge we might get a different view of it. This can be even better when we are accompanied by someone who knows about what to look for when observing bridges.
Then I started thinking about those bridge supports. Might these be like the foundations to our lives? Our values and beliefs, our ‘script’? The Brooklyn Bridge is supported by pillars that are half-submerged in the East River. To look at them, manage and maintain them, we might have to go right down into murky waters – definitely a time to be accompanied by someone who knows about underwater exploration!
I’m really getting into this metaphor now. What about the vehicle we are travelling in? Might it correspond to something of the culture, society or family we are living in? These confines are not necessarily of our making and they both restrict our view whilst at the same time allow us to navigate our lives swiftly and safely from one place to another.
Metaphors can be a great way of looking at difficult emotional stuff. They can help us to think about painful experiences from the relative safety of being one step removed from the actual feelings surrounding a situation. In my experience they can help us to get a handle on what is going on and to see things from different perspectives. Being able to see what makes up our own bridge can give us an opportunity to target our efforts to strengthen and develop our lives in the most useful way.
If you live or work within reach of Brighton and Hove and my approach to counselling and psychotherapy interests you, please contact me via email or telephone 07585 910742 for more information and to arrange an initial consultation.

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