It seems like something out of a fairytale. As you walk west down Cornwall Avenue toward the Center for Mindful Use, you can make out the delicately painted rainbow bridge from blocks away. Will there be a leprechaun at the end? Not quite, but what lies beyond is just as spectacular. It’s the entrance to the Forum de Freedom where the Center for Mindful Use stages a plethora of activities focused on community, humanism, relationships and authentic connections.

Joy Love, hoop dance instructor at the Center for Mindful Use, helped paint the rainbow bridge and created the tree portal mirror that graces CMU’s door. Photo courtesy: Joy Love.

Established as a place to bring people together for thoughtful conversation, mediation, yoga, hoop dancing and drum circles; the Center for Mindful Use’s Forum de Freedom is appropriately  connected to the normal world by a rainbow bridge.

The rainbow bridge has a varied history with two particularly compelling stories. The first reference to the rainbow bridge appears in a story which some speculate could have Native American origins, says Mike Hiestand, co-founder and director of the Center for Mindful use.

The tale tells of when the rainbow people came back to Earth via a Rainbow Bridge. In the story, the rainbow bridge symbolizes connecting the new world with the old. According to Hiestand, this correlates to CMU’s mission to provide educational information on cannabis to a diverse audience. Hiestand says CMU aims to connect the “just say no” train of thought with “just say know.” They want cannabis to be understood, instead of shut out of the conversation, as it has been in the past.

The Center for Mindful Use is located at 100 Maple Street, Suite B, in Bellingham. Photo credit: Mike Hiestand.

The second and perhaps more well-known reference to the rainbow bridge appears in a poem believed to be written in the 1980s/1990s by an unknown author. This work of prose discusses the place pets journey to upon finishing their time on Earth. It features phrases of happiness, acceptance and comfort such as, “When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge,” and, “There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.”

The rainbow bridge is the connective tissue welcoming the outside world into the Forum de Freedom, where a journey to the authentic self awaits. If you’re interested in finding out more about the Center for Mindful Use and their donation-based free events, visit them at 100 Maple Street, Suite B in Bellingham or on their website.

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