Monday, September 28, 2009

The Power of Place

I began to understand the "power of place" as a young child. Of course I didn't think of it in those terms as a child. But I understood that I felt better in some places as opposed to others. I really understood this when at about 13 years old we went to western North Carolina for the first time.

Being from Louisiana I had only seen flat terrain. I had traveled to Arkansas and that was the largest hills I had seen. I can remember all these years later just how I felt the first time I saw the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. I felt different while there than I did in Louisiana.

This was something that I also noticed when we would travel along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. I knew I loved the ocean, loved the sounds of the waves crashing onto the beach. Loved to look out across that vastness of the water. I loved looking for shells and playing in the sand. Add to that the fact that I could live on seafood, you can see how being at the coast would make me happy.

As I got older, I begin to really notice how differently I felt, depending on what part of the country I was in at the time. I love to travel and as I do, I notice what really affects my moods, and how I feel according to the environment.

When I was in college I found this book:

As I read the book, I connected what I had felt all those years with what the author was saying. And I begin to understand the power that geography has on our well being. Due to the type of job and the lifestyle that we have chosen to live, we don't necessarily have the ability to choose where we live...we go where the job is, but in that moving around I have had the opportunity to experience this incredible "power of place" and now understand why I feel awesome and feel like life is full of potential and possibilities, while in other places, I feel down and depressed unable to awaken my creative side. I feel stagnated and stuck, as though life is a chore instead of an adventure.

I am sure that each person has their own "place" where they love and feel connected to, a place they want to be. For the lucky ones, they get to live there, for others of us, we only get to visit those places where we feel our best.

As I said earlier, the mountains and the ocean are my places. But it wasn't until I visited the northwest part of our country, did I feel like I had found "my place". I love the Pacific Northwest and think I would do well there. I felt alive and energetic, full of creative energy...I loved most every aspect of the time I was there. However, the chances of moving there at this point in our lives is really slim. Although I know anything is possible, I don't see our moving out there anytime soon. So where does that leave me? Well I am trying to remember the saying, "Bloom where your planted!" And I spend as much time as possible surrounding myself with the things that I love, things connected with those areas of the country that I love. For now, that will have to do.

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