Stick Magic

“Freedom is the ability to do what you want to do and take the responsibility for the consequences of doing it!  Freedom comes in many forms and scenariFreedom always demands consequences and therefore fresh outcomes.  Freedom with my stick is no different.”

As a child I have memories of having to be carefully led down steep dirt paths to get to water and the fun that was to be had there.  The problem was that I couldn’t make sense of where I was going due to a lack of depth perception.  Someone would have to stay behind to help: my mother.  Independence, even at a young age, was prized.  The ability to walk where I wanted and when I wanted was something I didn’t have.  I would learn an area and know I could be safe in that space but I was always careful and scared of not being safe, and I felt trapped.  I had more sight then but it was limited sight.

My native curiosity was stifled.  I couldn’t go exploring on a whim.  How I longed to know where paths led to!!!!  My first concern was always safety.  Getting stuck someplace where you can’t help yourself is a situation I’ve been in one too many times.  The horrors of being alone and knowing that I could hurt myself were all too real.  So I played it safe.  I’ve lived my life in this state of  panic and fear until recently.   Coming into possession of “Myrtle Mae” has changed many things.

Myrtle Mae is my stick and “she” is a true friend.  She gives in all situations.  In return for her undying loyalty and services I need to keep her clean and well maintained.  That is something I can do for her.  Myrtle Mae asks of me is to take her out and let her accompany me whenever I need her.  She doesn’t want to live in the closet, the drawer, the purse or the coat pocket.  Myrtle Mae wants to see the world on her terms.  They are good terms and I am more than glad to oblige her.  Myrtle Mae has my best interest at heart.  She wants to see me happy and free.

OK I’ll stop the personification but it is true that Myrtle Mae is a friend in an odd sort of way.  Giving “it” a name helped to make it seem part of who I am.  Myrtle Mae is something that has changed my life in many ways.

Myrtle Mae helps me find curbs and slopes.  I find steps and stairs and can walk up and down easily.  What I can’t see “she” can help me feel.  When I listen with my hand she communicates many things to me.  Puddles and dirt, grass and pavement can be felt and avoided. I don’t have to trip over stuff or bump into polls.   All I need to do is use her.  If I listen to Myrtle Mae, and feel her messages I am happier and I can thrive in my adventures.

Myrtles magic lies in her ability to let me explore new places and to be free.  I can be seen by others.  Now I can get to the water and I can do it myself.  Myrtle Mae is a good feeling.

Magic comes in many forms.  For me creation is a prized possession.  I have felt that it was a place I could not go in my life.  The ability to create and design something beautiful was beyond me.  This belief hindered me.  It caused me to not think as I should: OUTSIDE rather than INSIDE.  There are things I realistically can’t do but there are multiple things that I can create.  There are places I can go.  I choose to go to the areas of my mind that will inspire me to produce beautiful things.  The most beautiful color to me is blue and that is where I chose to begin.

Once a week for one hour I enter a place that sets me free.  I am free from all work and free to just sit and create.  I let the music wash over me.  I follow my heart.

When I began the project I’m working on I began by intuition.  It wasn’t until two weeks ago that I knew in my mind what I had begun to design: WATER.  When I gegan the project I knew that it had to be blue because it meant something to me and this was a statement of hope.  I was hopeful that the gift of creation would return to my life.  I explore with both my fingers and my eyes.  I use my eyes because I love to see the color.  I use my fingers to feel where the tiles go.  It is a slow process but I am enjoying it.  The power to create is power to let the mind run free to places it might not go otherwise.  The Myrtle Mae of the creative process?  My 10 fingers!!!!!

While my fingers create and design for me Myrtle Mae walks with me.  The magic, something that I have worked for, is that I can now have a level of freedom that I didn’t have before.  The magic is that I have gone from fear to excitement.  I want to explore high places, see the birds, the people, the water and the land.  The magic in freedom is that I am able to bring to my creative self a new vision.  New ideas and places enable me to see the world more fully.  My mind is alive and I am free!!!!  For the first time I can see the water in many ways.  I look down and see a grand design.  I walk down and feel the cool, the rocks and I feel its rhythm against my feet.

Freedom has consequences.  If I fail to use Myrtle Mae I might as well have stayed trapped up on top of the slope that takes me down to the beautiful blue.

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About Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff

I am an American who is living in The Netherlands. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist with a license to practice in California. Music has been a huge part of my life. Singing is something you can find me doing at any time and anywhere. I have to admit that I try to not sing while out in public though. You can also find me in the kitchen cooking up wonderful things. cooking is something that I have just recently (in the last ten years) discovered that I'm talented at doing, and it is really fun. The best way to know me is to read my blog.
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5 Responses to Stick Magic

  1. Kathleen says:

    Love the name! For some reason it made me think of your stuffed cat, Penelope… Random connection.

  2. Hi Gail,
    I forgot, are you doing music as well or just handvaardigheid?
    I am extremely interested how you will experience working with the guidedog, it will be a much more freeing experience then using the cane. You will be able to much more enjoy just walking and being with the dog instead of having to concentrate hard first of all so that you dont bump into stuff and second of all so that you know when you need to cross that street. As you know you can give the dog search commandos and he will actively avoid obstacles for you. If you have many constant routes that you walk often the dog will learn to know these routes and you will have to concentrate less on them because a dog, like us is a creature of habits. Tell me all about your kngf experience once i return from holiday. Greetings, Anouk,

    • Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff says:

      Anouk, I am doing both. I’ll fill you in after you get back. See you soon.

    • Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff says:

      You know I wish you had not bugged out of HV but I get why you did it. Priorities really must be held to but a wee bit of fun is also needed.


  3. Gail, Your writing is beautiful. You invoke clear images and powerful feelings. It really helps me to understand what you experience in training and getting the aids that you are getting is doing for you and that it’s more than just practical everyday things but that it opens up the world for you to explore

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