Preface of Questing France:
Deepening the Search for My Holy Grail
Preface of Questing France:
Personal Growth Through Travel
By: Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem M.Ed.
Some of our journeys are taken by choice. Some are taken by chance. Others are ones where the choices other people make change our life course.
I am about to tell you a story that covers several years of my life and includes tales of travel. Travelling is a way to experience new and interesting places. Travelling can also present opportunities for personal growth. We can move through physical space and we can move intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. How we are on the outside is a mirror of our inner Self. While looking outward, we can also learn to look inward and discover our true Self.
My purpose in telling you my story is to share the life skills I have learned in my years as a marriage and family therapist, wife, mother and educator. I have included relationship skills that I have learned through my experiences and my professional training as a marriage and family therapist. I have used notes, journal entries, correspondence and photographs to create this story.
I help my readers recognize the characteristics in their relationships - both those they have with others and their relationship with themselves. Readers can learn from exploring their history to make plans to change their ways of relating to those in their lives so the future is one of choice not chance.
Emotional intensity can distort memories and put greater meaning into them for the person most affected, while others who were present may not even recall a specific incident. Some facts are lost. Some may appear exaggerated. This is my story of betrayal, infidelity, separation, reconciliation and celebration.
In order to tell this story, I need to include other people and my version of the relationships I have had with them. This is not about their versions of events. It is about my experiences and my honest interpretations of what happened. It is my truth.
I went to England and Ireland and returned to write Questing Marilyn: In Search Of My Holy Grail. I challenged my conditioning - the beliefs instilled in me as a child. I learned to think for and about my Self. I came to know myself at a deeper level. On my quest I found my Holy Grail - my essence of Self. I share how I gained confidence to trust my Self so readers can use the same skills in their lives.
In Questing France, I write about the process of discovering that while I was away my husband had romanced a woman who had posed as my friend. I reveal the challenges of uncovering a series of lies. I share the devastation of separation then the joys of reconciliation. I explain ways I was working toward creating an honest loving marital relationship.
I wanted to heal the wounds and honestly share my life with my husband, conquer the hurdles and challenges of our past, and create a bond based on mutual respect. I wanted to have an adult/adult relationship as the core of my life, where we each strive for personal fulfillment as loving people.
I share my struggle to decide to accept a reconciliation and to help my children cope with parental conflict. Spending time on vacation was an important part of healing and maintaining our bonds.
A romantic first class tour of France, celebrating twenty five years of marriage, was an important time for working toward healing our relationship. I have chosen the title Questing France: Deepening The Search For My Holy Grail as the vacation was a time of personal and relationship growth. I asked: Can I hold onto my Self when I am with you?
Over the years of this story I worked to grow with my children as a responsible parent. I seek a lifelong relationship with them and to teach by my examples. Even though children grow into adults, there are many areas where they turn to their parents for guidance, support and love. Travel provides opportunities to strengthen parent/child relationships and tales of my travels with my children are included along with parenting skills.
I also believe we grow in depth through loving, both our Self and others. Being able to not only find, but also to hold onto my Self, while in a committed intimate relationships demands that I deepen the search and keep my resolve to be loving. The Holy Grail that is my Self is richer and more varied when I share with love.
Everyone experiences similar life changing events in different ways, depending on who they are and where they've been. There are common threads to human experience. While these threads may not weave their way through your life, I'm sure you will find some experiences that have woven through the life of someone you know.
In my work as a therapist, I have taken many journeys with my clients. Rather than tell stories of other peoples lives, I have chosen to tell my own life story as it is the one I know best.
Discover more about Marilyn's professional experience here.
Read Chapter One: It's Good To Be Home
Read what other readers have to say about Questing France here.