Mind Matters: Thresholds, between past and future

Some talk of thresholds as being sacred, a liminal space between worlds: a time of transition where you’re neither here nor there. Certainly in the past month or two, I have been ironically feeling homeless and caught between worlds not really having landed anywhere yet. This is absurdly ironic because we are dealing, at present, with two houses with mortgages, the one we’re leaving in Chadds Ford and the one we have bought in Massachusetts. Save for a queen-size Aerobed, computers and a chair and food and beer in the refrigerator, our home of 30 years is empty. Meanwhile, the attempt to downsize into one floor of a two-family home in Massachusetts has had the ludicrous outcome of having had boxes piled to the dining room ceiling there.

Transitions are generally not easy and they entail loss even when there is a gain.

But this move, while it is a beginning of new life with daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, also marks an end. When we moved to Chadds Ford, it was difficult too, but I was forty-one years old, creating a future filled with plans, building my practice, raising two wonderful children, caring for aging, then dying, parents. We also envisioned an addition to our house that was a dream come true, with a kitchen any chef could love and views that made it feel like a very comfortable tree house. Those walls witnessed joyful times and sad times, from illness and dying to weddings and babies and baptisms.

Never have I ever lived in a house where light beams in such miraculous ways. Is it the Brandywine River light that the Wyeths and others are drawn to (pun not intended) that also comes into our house and touches on a painting or a corner and dazzles the eye? Once, another person and I witnessed the Wyeth print of the Kuerner Farm come alive when a ray of sun beamed in straight to a window in the print. Another time, at one of our many Easter Sunday feasts, light struck a Gorman print on the wall above our fireplace. A friend called me to come “look, quick!” The light was such that the entire picture of a desert moonrise came alive.

Some may go “tsk, tsk” at these stories, but these startling events of light never happened anywhere else for me. The artist Jacqueline Beam has painted our house in perspectives that show it bathed in light. It is a special place and as such it is hard to leave—hard to leave its spiritual light.

Right now I sit writing at the Brandywine River Museum of Art, peering out the windows down at Miss Gratz, the cow sculpture, that resides by the water. I will miss her and this museum where our children played and my daughter had her wedding. There is so much to love here: the beauty of the river, of Longwood, of Winterthur. In the past week, I have been trying to bathe all my pores with Brandywine light—the trees, the hills; ah, the shadows, the shadows that counterpoint the light.

I never missed my childhood row home. In fact, I always wanted to escape it, but then so did my parents. They finally did build their little dream house with trees, but not until I was almost out of high school.

So our Chadds Ford home of 30 years is the longest I have lived anywhere and I did fulfill my dreams here — of both a solid career, while raising children, and bringing to fruition a beautiful addition.

It would mean my living to one hundred and one to have 30 years in our next home. Whether 101 or not, even at 71, I need to envision a larger life that allows me to continue to grow. Until I die, I refuse to stop living. So what does that mean? Where will I next find meaning to life and beauty in life? Certainly our grandchild (grandchildren?) will be a large part of that.

Yet, I will also continue working and writing and discovering natural beauty wherever I am.

So, to thresholds I say, I let go of the past, and say, “Here I am” to the unknown that is the future.

* Kayta Curzie Gajdos holds a doctorate in counseling psychology and is in private practice in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. She welcomes comments at MindMatters@DrGajdos.com or 610-388-2888. Past columns are posted to www.drgajdos.com. See book.quietwisdom-loudtimes.com for information about her book,” Quiet Wisdom in Loud Times: The Rise of the Wounded Feminine.”

** The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of Chadds Ford Live. We welcome opposing viewpoints. Readers may comment in the comments section or they may submit a Letter to the Editor to: editor@chaddsfordlive.com

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About Kayta Gajdos

Dr. Kathleen Curzie Gajdos ("Kayta") is a licensed psychologist (Pennsylvania and Delaware) who has worked with individuals, couples, and families with a spectrum of problems. She has experience and training in the fields of alcohol and drug addictions, hypnosis, family therapy, Jungian theory, Gestalt therapy, EMDR, and bereavement. Dr. Gajdos developed a private practice in the Pittsburgh area, and was affiliated with the Family Therapy Institute of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, having written numerous articles for the Family Therapy Newsletter there. She has published in the American Psychological Association Bulletin, the Family Psychologist, and in the Swedenborgian publications, Chrysalis and The Messenger. Dr. Gajdos has taught at the college level, most recently for West Chester University and Wilmington College, and has served as field faculty for Vermont College of Norwich University the Union Institute's Center for Distance Learning, Cincinnati, Ohio. She has also served as consulting psychologist to the Irene Stacy Community MH/MR Center in Western Pennsylvania where she supervised psychologists in training. Currently active in disaster relief, Dr. Gajdos serves with the American Red Cross and participated in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as a member of teams from the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Now living in Chadds Ford, in the Brandywine Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Gajdos combines her private practice working with individuals, couples and families, with leading workshops on such topics as grief and healing, the impact of multigenerational grief and trauma shame, the shadow and self, Women Who Run with the Wolves, motherless daughters, and mediation and relaxation. Each year at Temenos Retreat Center in West Chester, PA she leads a griefs of birthing ritual for those who have suffered losses of procreation (abortions, miscarriages, infertility, etc.); she also holds yearly A Day of Re-Collection at Temenos.Dr. Gajdos holds Master's degrees in both philosophy and clinical psychology and received her Ph.D. in counseling at the University of Pittsburgh. Among her professional affiliations, she includes having been a founding member and board member of the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Pittsburgh, as well as being listed in Who's Who of American Women. Currently, she is a member of the American Psychological Association, The Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Delaware Psychological Association, the American Family Therapy Academy, The Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the Delaware County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board. Woven into her professional career are Dr. Gajdos' pursuits of dancing, singing, and writing poetry.

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