Unending Journey

A place for my heart
Towards the end of my work in Apeldoorn I became aware of my personal space in the house. We moved into this house in March of 2011 and I was busy with the details of settling in and making sure our things had places. The upstairs rooms are small and it was a challenge to really know which space was best for what.

The downstairs is an open room that is “our space” with the kitchen at one end and the other end for general use. We both like to be in the kitchen and we are learning to share the space happily. It is nice to have a guy that wants to cook with me.

The space where I work is a tiny room that has many Gail type things within. Recently this space has seemed a wee bit cramped. Cramped isn’t good for the soul. What can I do?

Slowly over the past month I began to notice the lack of a feminine place for me to exist within. I’ve considered creating a dressing table where I could have all things that make my head pretty. The problem is that there isn’t the space to place such a table.

Hubby will make the table, and when he really gets down to the business of design (which I’ve already done in many ways) and creation the product will be wonderful. It will be nice to have the table when it is completed.

Places of passion
As a beautiful place for me is a must so it a place that sparks life is as essential as breathing. For me, my work is such a place. I find that I become a joyous and happy soul when I think in terms of what I love and do well. I find myself exploring questions that in turn lead to other questions and cause me to wander over vast areas of space. I dip into one space only to find a jumping off point for another. The “what if and what about this or that span into hours of discussion time with another person and cause me to tingle and feel a type of life that exist nowhere else. This type of knowledge energizes me in a way that nothing else does. When I am not able to have this in my life I find life to be dull as if a vital ingredient is missing.

I knew at a young age what I wanted professionally and was not able to reach that goal until I was in my 30’s. At 16 I was fortunate to meet and know someone who had returned to graduate school to pursue her Masters. As we spoke and I discovered what it was she was doing I started asking questions that we could talk about. She would tell me about what she was learning and I discovered that I had valid opinions about what we were talking about. Psychology fit my brain in ways that studying history did not do for me. I was alive. I was also hooked.

I found that one of my early areas of interest was working with people of differing cultures. At first it was those with disabilities. How could the family system be strengthened when disability rears its head within the family walls?
My interests have branched out to those of other nationalities and cultures and exploring the richness within. What was someone’s experience as a Peruvian or Mexican? How do they experience life ina new country?
 
During my graduate period I began to explore other areas as well as the above mentioned ones. Art and creativity and music were a special focus. I became aware of using journals and the power of writing it all down. I also began to understand the traumas that people endure and how they cope with them. Ultimately my love of disability issues has remained firm. There is power in freeing the person who may be told “you can’t because you are…” I believe that many things are possible. It is all about finding a path and making that journey this will take courage. This journey will change everything.

The Journey Within
There is something about the journey, and exploration of a person’s journey that ignites excitement within my heart and soul. An “ah ha” moment within when a light switches on, the click when a missing piece of the puzzle is found, the discovery that what one believes can change or the finding of a new path. I want to know what the next bend in the road brings and where the journey is headed. Change is exciting and challenging.

Respect is also a vital component. Someone is letting me into their inner space. I am allowed to walk with them through hardships and triumphs. If there is a failure I need to respect and honor the process of their recovery and rediscovery. Compassion and respect can be a powerful ally in the healing process. It is sorrow I feel when someone decides to not go further on the path that would lead them to a better place in life BUT at some future time they may resume the journey. Life is full of uncertainty and how we each face the unknown says so much about us. If we each had a crystal ball would we use it? If we saw the challenges ahead would we still choose to go down that path? Life is about learning and meeting the challenge. “If only I had” kills the spirit. If only I had deprives us each of what we learn and gain from the mistake.

Part of my personal journey in life has been my own process of learning to ponder slowly. Learning that I don’t have to get anywhere fast has been a nice consequence of aging. Now I am prone to conclude things for myself slowly. I may sit on something for some time before “grokking” it in proper fashion. My brain and soul are on a quiet and slow path to understanding the needful things. I wasn’t always as slow to conclude as I am now. The time of youth was far different. I cherish where I am and what can come of it. Who I am during my 50’s will be a far cry from what I’ve learned by 75 and who I have become. If I haven’t changed and become a better person what is the use of life? Maybe there will be one younger than myself who gains from the wisdom I’ve gathered. Someone who will say to me “you are so wise” and I will have to say “I’ve come by this by imperfection and making both wise and stupid choices. Maybe I’ll laugh at the thought that I’m thought to be wise. Only time will tell.

Places of mystery
Isn’t that what all this is about? Living our best, leaving a legacy for others? Making the world a better place because we’ve touched it and made a change somewhere in our existence? Isn’t life all about doing good and not even knowing where the good leads? You never know what you can say to reach out and inspire someone along the way. Because of what you say or do someone might be inspired to take the first step towards a new beginning. I heard of such a situation just this afternoon. Something my husband did that has changed someone’s life for the better. He had no way of knowing that his being willing to be so open would cause someone else to reach out and move down the path of life.

I’m excited because someone is headed to a new place of discovery and mystery that will bring change and fulfillment. I’m alive!!!!

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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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One Response to Unending Journey

  1. Monica says:

    Mooie blog weer, Gail! Groetjes!

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