Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Sense Of Place

Over the weekend, we enjoyed a lovely afternoon, relaxing and catching up with a cousin visiting from overseas while soaking up sunshine, margaritas and lunch on the outdoor deck of a favorite restaurant.  Our conversation turned to the topic of homesickness and how we can experience an underlying restlessness or melancholy when we don’t feel a deep connection to the area where we live, when it doesn’t feel like our true home.  Since then, I’ve been thinking further about how vital a sense of place is to our well-being and feeling grateful that we’re currently living in a location to which I am strongly connected.  As mentioned in an older post, we love the Monterey Peninsula similarly to loving a person.  I’ve had to move away from here twice and felt extremely homesick until I returned each time.  I’ve lived in many other locations where I felt a sense of nagging transience.  Undoubtedly, this is home.  A sense of place, a sense of belonging, comfort and centeredness.
How wonderful it is to also enjoy experiences eliciting a similar sense of place when visiting or vacationing in other areas that “speak” to us, visualizing a peaceful environment in our mind, being drawn into an image of a spot that beckons to us, even admiring or creating an artistic rendition of a real or imaginary place that calms and centers us.  In a past post, I mentioned how our homes can be transformed into havens by surrounding ourselves with souvenirs and items reminding us of positive memories and associations.  Photographs, prints and paintings that evoke a sense of place can also enhance our surroundings and perhaps soothe our homesickness if we happen to be somewhere that isn’t truly home to us.  When I was frequently away from home on business travel, I often tucked local beach and scenic vacation photos in my daily planner and took a peek at them when I needed to feel grounded. 
Where I feel a sense of place and peace…

At home on the Monterey Peninsula...on the beach

Spending time amidst the magnificent beauty of Big Sur

On the magical island of Kauai

In the coastal area and small town of Pescadero between Half Moon Bay & Santa Cruz

In the desert at Joshua Tree (yes, I can find a sense of place inland, too!)

Where do you most feel your sense of place?  I hope you're spending time there.