Who’s Who: Andrew Haight and Dawn Higgins of Floating Bridge
By Mike Butler
Breathe. Relax. Sit back and take this special article in.
Through much praise, Andrew Haight and Dawn Higgins found their way to me recently and I’m very excited to tell you about them. Andrew and his partner, Dawn Higgins, came to Nova Scotia 25 years ago from Toronto and they’ve been serial entrepreneurs since their arrival. According to Andrew, “Dawn is very good at creating successful small businesses with a lot of soul. Dawn and I have travelled extensively over the years honing our skills, absorbing new ideas and learning from some pretty amazing people.”
Andrew is a military kid from all over. He spent a good deal of his life in Nova Scotia though, in Greenwood and Truro, and he feels that Nova Scotia is home. “I went to Saint FX University, and it’s actually where I started my aikido career,” he says, “which I’ve been dedicated to for 28 years now. From Saint FX, aikido took me to California where I spent five years in a very traditional live-in-student apprenticeship with my aikido teacher.”
For those not in the know, aikido is a modern Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as “the way of unifying with life energy or as the way of harmonious spirit.”
Andrew and Dawn are now the proud owners of Floating Bridge, a centre for learning that was created for people interested in holistic growth and healing. Floating Bridge uses aikido and tai chi (along with sound and meditation) to help transform people’s regular experience of themselves and to move beyond their limited ideas of who they think they are. Andrews says “it’s wonderful to see kids grow into their bodies and gain confidence inside the principles of non-violence. It’s great to see older people developing centre and balance as well. It’s rewarding for all involved.” Andrew and Dawn feel they are aligning with a larger transformation they feel happening in society as a whole. “There is a great need right now for humans to re-imagine the warrior archetype & to mature the ways we deal with stress and conflict,” Andrew says. “I feel we need to honour the past but not be limited by that history. We have a few students not interested in traditional martial arts at all. They are simply enjoying, and benefiting from, the transformative process of interactive movement.” Floating Bridge hold adult and kids aikido classes at the Canning Legion (Mon/Wed/Sat), and tai chi classes in Canning at The Landing Spa (Thursdays 10:00-11:00am) and in Wolfville at Lahara Yoga (Wednesdays 1:00-2:00pm), but keep an eye on the website for updates and changes.
For the future , Andrew says, “our immediate goal is to find a permanent home for Floating Bridge so that all of the activities & programs can inhabit a single, vibrant space (perhaps with an in-house cafe & gallery as well). We are about to launch Thriving Beyond Trauma, our first program specifically developed for sufferers of PTSD. We are also working towards the first traditional live-in-student program in eastern Canada, for aikido students who are very committed to their path and looking for an immersive experience. Dawn and myself are both plugging away writing books, and we’re also working with local media guru Kimberly Smith making a short promotional video so that people can see what we do. Things are really busy and exciting right now with no signs of stopping!”
You can find Floating Bridge at floatingbridgecfl.com for more information. Best of luck to Andrew, Dawn and Floating Bridge!