On Living with Intention and The Sense of Place
It’s no secret that the amount of inspirational posts on the internet reach a staggering number. I suppose, of late, my musings fall somewhere in the spectrum of a inspiration blog and a half-hashed attempt at a buzzfeed-like list. I have not forgotten that I promised to write out recipes, but my photo capabilities are currently shelved. But there is something that I am currently experiencing that is an intriguing little tidbit of life that I don’t think is often approached, or rather, the combination of two different ideas. Living with intention and creating a sense of place.
Okay, you might be thinking that I just spouted out some random new-age sounding phrases and I’m going to don some beads and crystals to tell you how it is. But really...think about it for a moment. Are you living with intention? When you wake up in the morning, do you have a clear purpose as to why you are where you are? Or even just where you are? Some hard hitting truths have made me ask myself these questions lately and, like always, I want to share my thoughts.
Leaning on your own shoulder
Let’s start off with a double-edged sword. Family and friends are vitally important to our lives. It goes without saying that these very people can give us a reason to live in someplace. But there is a limit to the influence that they have. I love my family and I cherish my friends yet at the end of the day, they can really only give so much support. It’s up to me to provide the rest and there have been many moments that I’ve been horridly unhappy with a situation, but too afraid to enact the change that I need.
Nowadays, I will drop unhappiness on a dime and start walking towards where I want to go. It’s not always easy and I’ve struggled, stumbled and had the hard lessons of leaning on my own strength to get me through. In fact, I still fall flat on my face. However, I’ve discovered that the uprooting of life is necessary to find a bigger place in which to grow, even when that means leaving a comfortable nest behind. Which leads me to my next point...
Leave home to appreciate home
We all have homes. Places where we grew up, we explored and intimately know. For many of us, after 20 odd years we’re itching for change. Yet, like I mentioned above, it takes courage to make that happen. Even moving away for a university can be a terrifying concept for some people. But it is that very act that will cause us to appreciate the people and places that we left behind. You need to see new places and meet new people to truly remember what came before.
In my case, when I think of home I think of friends, family, autumn covered mountains, hot apple cider, campfires and coursing rivers surrounded by forests.Yet when I lived there, in the heart of it, I tended to take all of that for granted and never really saw what I had. Sure, I visited all those places and deeply enjoyed time spent with friends, but I didn’t appreciate the area it’s uniqueness. It took leaving the nest to remember how wonderful it was.
Stick your head in a bush, change your perspective
When I lived in the redwoods of California, I had a lot of arguments/discussions with my beloved friends about how California doesn’t really have seasons. Obviously that’s not a true fact, there are indeed seasons but they are very subtle and hard to notice unless you open your eyes and see them. I often complained that autumn just didn’t exist. But my perspective of autumn was a massive explosion of crimson, gold and brilliant oranges, it’s hard not to take notice of that in the Laurel Highlands. I refused to notice the smells, sights and sounds all around me of the changing season and in retrospect, it highly took away from my experience. I needed to stick my head in a bush and see the branches for the tree.
Just because it is not thrust at your eyes doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. This can be expressed in love, nature, food and an onslaught of other things. The point of the matter is that it’s very easy to close our eyes to the world and people around us and envelope ourselves what we know. It’s comfortable, safe and quite easy. You’re probably doing it without even realizing it. Stop, open your eyes and see what is happening all around you. You won’t see things the same way again.
Have a cup of coffee and talk
Just like you can refuse to acknowledge and change your own perspective, it’s pretty easy to refuse to acknowledge the perspective of someone else. Let’s take my example above in California. I made it no hidden fact about how I felt at that time and almost a daily basis my friends pointed to changing trees and said, “Look Zephyr, Autumn!”. Nope. I was just not having it. I steadfastly did not want to see things through their perspective. It was not that I shut off to my surrounds, but rather that I had an image in my head that I didn’t want to let go.
We all have different points of view. Sometimes they match, sometimes they don’t. But you’ll never understand what a person’s perspective is unless you actually ask them..or they simply tell you. Putting out your thoughts to the world is an intimidating thing and leaves you pretty vulnerable to get burned. But so too does prejudice and stubbornness make you look the fool later. Have intent to realize your differences and work towards understanding. Whether is about the changing of autumn leaves or something more meaningful like relationships or walks of life.
Better yet, stick your head in a bush at a place you’ve never been. Hold a cup of coffee in your hands while you contemplate viewpoints. Then stand back up on your own two feet and go appreciate where you are.