Even as a kid, I always knew I wanted to live in different places, not just visit them. I’m not sure where this notion came from since I certainly hadn’t traveled far from my small town in Minnesota.
Eventually, I put down roots in Sun Prairie, WI (where I found the courage to start my first business), Santa Barbara, CA (a gorgeous place that wasn’t a good fit for me), Boulder, CO (another gorgeous misfit), Minneapolis, MN (a hothouse for my dreams), Las Vegas, NV (it was time to shake up my life) and, now, Valencia, CA.
The diversity of these hometowns confirmed my suspicions that the place we call home can make a profound impact on our lives.
When I began traveling around the country teaching my seminars, I was fascinated by the regional differences I found. We don’t just dress differently, attitudes are heavily influenced by the area we inhabit.
It wasn’t until I read Stewart Emery’s Actualizations that I understood how our environment influences us. Here’s his marvelous metaphor:
If you were a willow tree living by a riverside, the environmental conditions of your existence would support your evolution toward becoming a self-actualized willow tree. Your relationship with the environment would result in you developing all the qualities one would expect to see in a self-actualized willow tree.
If, on the other hand, you were a willow tree and you were planted in the desert, the chances of your making it as a self-actualized willow tree would be virtually nil. The environmental conditions of your existence simply wouldn’t allow it.
On a very fundamental level, what is true for the willow tree is true for you and me. If we are in an environment that supports our evolution toward self-actualization, then it will happen, and if we are not, then it won’t happen.
However, you and I have some qualities that the willow tree does not possess. The willow tree does not possess qualities that allow it to select its environment.
In other words, a will tree that finds itself planted in the desert cannot hail a passing yellow cab and ask the driver to take it to the riverside.
You and I, on the other hand, can.
This month we’re going to explore Habitats. Thanks to technology, we have tools for creating the perfect place for ourselves that has nothing to do with geography.
If you feel that you are far removed from your perfect place, you may not need a moving van to get you there. If you feel that a move is in order, we’ll look at some preliminaries that can make it the richest possible experience.
As Stewart Emery reminds us, “You and I have within us the creative intelligence to recognize the conditions that support our growth and we have the wherewithal to place ourselves in such an environment.”
We can plant ourselves where we will bloom.