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Posts tagged ‘Learning from life’

Seasons

The air was crisp and the trees were colorful. I was happy because my favorite season of the year was present. Autumn was present in every form including the warm colors of clothing that I loved so much.
For me autumn is what I like best about the year. The northern California Indian-Summer days, the crispy feel that you get when you are out and about is wonderful. As a child going back to school – which I didn’t like because I had to stop reading what I wanted – was only tolerable because it meant AUTUMN was in the air. For me the world was then, and is now, perfect in the Autumn.
As you age, the seasons melt into the cycles of time. The playfulness of life and a budding Spring and its excitement, gives way to the learning of Summer. Oh, and Summer is filled with exploration and the joys and perils of adventure! The challenges and joys of learning on your own, as you discover that the lessons of young childhood, and early adulthood, must become a basis for your fast-but-seemingly-slow approaching full onset of adulthood. There might be some true “yikes” moments during Summer. Those “yikes” moments; when you catch yourself about to make a life decision that is better re-thought. That can be a good thing. “Yikes” means that you are aware of what is going on!!!!
Summer brings discovery of your real “self” emerging into view. Summer also brings a desire to have it all. You don’t want to see it end. You want to play hard and never see the sun go down. Summer brings a growth that you learn from trial and error. The lessons of Spring and the early Summer, remain with you as you feel the time now fast approaching when Autumn is on the way.
If you’ve had those yikes-type moments and taken the time to repair what needed fixing, you are in good shape now.
Autumn is the season of wisdom. Autumn is the time when the lessons of a young Spring and Summer are played out. Autumn is a time of realization, regrets, new focuses in life, and a time of hopes, as well as sorrows. Before Autumn ends, and the onslaught of winter comes with its powerful resolution to destroy all that you hold dear, you must navigate through the Autumn.
Autumn is, in a sense, “karma collection” or payback. Realizing that I could have made better choices has only come because I made the not-so-good-choices. I took risks in life. The thing about Autumn is that you can’t turn back. But, you can’t avoid it, because everything we do in life has a price attached. You must adapt, accept, let the leaves of autumn fall, and move on.
Autumn still offers me time to change, to learn, and to grow. I love Autumn! Raking up Autumn’s leaves is important, and like a child who jumps in the pile of leaves, (you know the one you are told NOT to jump in) it can be exhilarating. I like to inventory the leaves and really see what is there. I learn from this inventory and that is always good. I love the process of change even though, at times, change is an unwanted aspect of life. Getting through the trials of change still brings me hope. I am better for it.
As I now reflect on my Spring, and the innocence in which I lived it, I’m amazed I did as well as I did. I look at my life and realize that it has had its challenges. Challenge is what it’s about. I’m not always thankful for that which has kicked me from behind or punched me in the front. But, I can honestly say that I’ve knocked down the walls that have sprung up in my path. Tearful days and nights have made me stronger and wiser when it comes to life. It is the mistakes that make you think about the new stuff in a self-confrontational manner.
If my Spring was innocent, my Summer was an adventure in learning. By being able to make both good and bad choices, and dealing with the consequences of those choices, I grew. Summer is a time when the life bank account is in “deposit mode” and what you put in will, in the future, be withdrawn. You will have to pay for your Summer. Some payments will work well, and others will hurt like having a tooth pulled without the Novocain. Life is like that, and you can’t turn from it. Sooner, or later, the crispy days of Autumn roll around and you enter that time when all accounts begin to go into “withdrawal mode.”
I am amazed when I hear someone saying that they really haven’t had any challenging stuff happen in life. I wonder to myself what they haven’t been doing. The fact is, life is a series of challenges. Making mistakes is a good thing because it can mean that you are engaged in the life-process. Learning from your mistakes means that you are progressing and committed to doing better as you move through life. Autumn is that time of the year that one can reflect.
I’ve come to the serious conclusion that few are blessed with all the wisdom they need to make life decisions at 20 or even 25 years old, and yet that is what is demanded of the young. I hear of more and more adults in their 40’s or 50’s who embrace the unknown for what they really want to do. They are happier for it. Autumn is a time to rethink, take a risk, and to change the course of life. “If only I knew” becomes, “Why not?”
Autumn is when you realize that “it isn’t too late or hopeless.” Grab the brass ring and do it!!!
Healing from the Springs and Summers of life makes everything more valuable. Reflection during our Autumns causes us to sober up, to appreciate our youth for what it was, and to anticipate for the future what we can create as vibrant adults. Whether we’ve done it well enough in the past, or are choosing to do it well at this point in life: Autumn is that time of life.
I’ve learned via observation, that those who seem more at peace during their Winters are those who have challenged themselves during their Autumns. They are actively enjoying the lives they’ve built and face, with dignity, the storms that life will still produce. I will always cherish what each Autumn brings to me.
As I look out my window and notice the sun’s changing position, and feel the lowering temperature, I know that once again my favorite season is coming on. Autumn with its crisp days and warmer colors is just around the corner. I can’t wait.

Unending Story


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 who 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 keep all the things that make my head pretty. The problem is that there isn’t the space to place such a table.
So 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 creating, 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 is 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 exists 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 Master Degree at a later age. 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 discussing. 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 in a different 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 and it 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 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 me 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 each of us of what we can 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 in my own time. 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 through 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 willingness to be so open would help someone else 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!!!!