Time for a move? Maybe that geographic fix can wait.
Yesterday my friend and I were talking about geographic locations/fixes. Where do you live? Where do you want to live? Where do you imagine would be the coolest place to live? Does it even frigging matter.
I guess I have a lot to say about this topic because a year a go I relocated my entire life to the west coast. It was a pretty dramatic geographic switch. Would I suggest this sort of move to a fellow? And do I think I will move again someday, maybe even in the relatively near future? Yes.
Does moving really change your life? So many people say that geographic fixes don't work. My mom used to say "There are not any boring places just boring people." If you are not happy in a certain town, apartment, country, etc. - chances are it's YOU and not it. You will pack all of your bags, make the plans, move to your new location with all the hope in the world and guess what you will find? YOU. A big ole sack of you. The same problems will crop up, the same sort of friends, the same wants and complaints, a very similar life will emerge around you and soon you will be looking for the next outside fix.
Life is an inside job. If there is something you don't like about someone else, it's because you don't like something about you. If you are unhappy in a location, it's because you are unhappy inside. A sunny perspective on life will make even Alaska in winter a delightfully light and happy place! The circumstances of life change - they ebb and flow - but our happiness is not dependent on them. Our happiness is congruent with the status of our spiritual health.
That being said. I think that geographic moves CAN work, somewhat. Here is why.
Spiritual pilgrimages are a part of every religious tradition for a reason. The act of preparing, packing your bag, and walking or traveling to a spiritual place, being there, praying there, and traveling home - this is a spiritual experience. This is an act of faith and devotion. And it changes your perspective on life. So you may return home with a renewed connection to your God and a new purpose. You are revived!
Why else would humans go on vacation? They need to feel rejuvenated! There is something powerful about traveling to a new place. You are a stranger in a strange land. All your day to day perceptions of life are turned upside down. Nothing is where it's supposed to be. People don't talk like you do. Everything you see and do is new to you. You are like a child roaming the streets! Guess who are the happiest humans I know? CHILDREN. So of course when we are in a situation where we know nothing, we are in awe, we are exploring our surroundings, we will be happier!
For this reason, geographic fixes can jump start your spiritual life and sunny up your perspective for awhile. The only problem is that this wears off after a bit. Just like the honeymoon period with a new lover dims after awhile, so does the effectiveness of the geographic fix. Pretty soon, you will know the streets, the ins and outs, the weather patterns, and local accents. These things will not seduce you anymore. They will become a part of the blurry scenery behind your inner life which looks a lot like it did before. Pretty soon - everything will be covered with your perspective!!!!!!
So it becomes time for another move. And yet another. See how this works/doesn't work? It's just like people who date and date and date. They are together for a year or so and then find another person to fall in love with. They are really looking for the state of mind - the perspective one has when they are in love - not a person to love.
The art of living must be staying in love with one town or one person for a lifetime. Think of the people who have lived in the same zip code their whole life and never moved - maybe never even travelled. Are they happy? Quite possibly! It's all in how they look at life. Each day is an adventure when you are living in the present moment and connected to a spiritual source of joy! You can fall in love with the mundane over and over and over again when you choose to see God in it.
Now there will always be the outside differences in locations that can attract us or make practical sense for a move. But we should never expect that because one town is warm and sunshiny - we would be happy there, or if another town is full of pollution and traffic - we would be miserable. We are as happy as we make up our minds to be. Wherever we are!
That being said.
I had one of the happiest days of my life here:
I had another awesome day here:
This was a pretty good day:
But I have to say, my joy was created in my mind. I had decided to delight in the smells, the tastes, the sites, and sounds of these places. I set an intention when I was there to make it a sort of spiritual pilgrimage. And that is the experience I had. I experienced PURE JOY. The cool thing I guess is that this joy is available to us now, wherever we are, in whatever moment.
You can escape the hum-drum of everyday by choosing to have a spiritual experience of your life.
Writing this blog has actually made me v. happy. Here I am at my local corner coffeeshop and it might as well be PARIS. :)