to Out on a Limb,
a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine
is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in
Identify Your Bridges
I first heard Simon and Garfunkel’s iconic “Bridge Over Troubled Water” when I was in eighth grade. The song, penned hastily by Paul Simon and sung by Art Garfunkel, spent six weeks at number one on Billboard’s Top 100 in the Spring of 1970. Simon’s lyrics that promised protection and succor both soothed and mesmerized me.
“When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all”
Compared to what is happening around the globe these days, the world seemed so much simpler and safer back then. We need this song even more, now. A bridge that helps us cross over troubled waters and trying times is imperative. Who or what serves as your bridge in daily life?
“Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind”
The song’s lyrics suggest it is a person who acts as our bridge. I bet most of us can name folks who have helped us navigate through a rough patch. Thank goodness, right? No need to wait until Thanksgiving time to express our gratitude to those who have “bridged” us.
But here is the rub: sometimes our most reliable bridge is unavailable due to any number of legitimate reasons. As a result, why not collect an assortment of bridges? Why not consider other types of bridges? Pets provide some mighty fine comfort and yet they, too, have limitations.
What activities or places could you rely on to help you handle a hardship? Long before adult coloring books were so popular, I knew someone who bought kid’s coloring books and crayons to comfort and quiet an addled state. My Mom used to say that her solo walks on the beach were her equivalent of a chill pill when she was staring down the likelihood that she would outlive her son. I know other activities such as knitting, crosswords, and gardening provide excellent bridges for others. What would you put on your list?
Is there a place you can travel to, even if only in your imagination, that would instantaneously alter your mindset or help you replace sorrow with joy? People refer to this as their “happy place” and oh, how terrific that they have one. But even if you lack a happy place, why not add to your stash of bankable bridges by thinking of places that just make you feel more hopeful or expansive? Much like my Mom, I find the sight of salt water to be an extremely reliable bridge.
The possibilities are endless. I do not mean to discourage you from identifying people who can help you over troubled water. Rather, I send wishes for you to have as many bridges as possible. That way, if one bridge is absent, you do not have to flail. You just have to access another bridge so you can “Sail on silver girl. Sail on by” as Paul Simon wrote.
The Creative Bridge
As stated above, pets make wonderful bridges, and the feline on the left reminds me of so many cats who have provided comfort over the years. But my other reason for sharing this collage to the left is to make a pitch for creative expression as a very reliable bridge.
Prior to drafting the Out on a Limb you are reading right now, I was out-of-sorts. I took some time to cut some pictures out of magazines for a future creation and even though I did not complete a collage (yet), this activity helped me lift out of, or bridge over, a troubled time. TRY IT! It works if you work it.
Prompts for Joy
Click here to see how a brother used his creativity to express grief. Folks, this is 17 minutes long but WELL worth your time.
(Thank you to one of my bridges, Michael Sally, for this gem.)
Click here because music is such a reliable, mood-altering bridge.
(Patrice Catanio, thanks so much!)
All previous Prompts for Joy (PFJs) can be found at my website, unless the video url is no longer functional.
A portion of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in our inimitable summer fog.
By no means
do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume
that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for
myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this
pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience
of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!
Martha Clark Scala, MFT · 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 ·