Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Favourite Places ©

By Bill Longworth
October 15, 2008

Everyone has a favorite place in the world…a place where they really feel at home…a place that seems to meld with their most basic self: their thoughts, their interests, their values, and their beliefs.

That favourite place is often a quiet and meditative place that absorbs the mind. It is a peaceful place that dissipates the problems and concerns of life. It’s a place where you can collect your thoughts. It is an escape. It is a reward. It is a place that blocks out all distractions no matter the humdrum and clamour around. It’s a place that we often enter through unthinking habits and routines. It is a lodestone that entices us in. Above all else, it is a place of comfort.

The place may be something simple: the bar stool where the sights and sounds are ever so familiar; the park bench where the bountiful landscape is alive with the colours and sounds of nature; the cliff overlooking the sea where the blasts of water against the rocky shore are accented by birds waffling in the breeze; a sailing yacht where the rhythmic jostling of the boat in the wind and waves gives primal comfort to the bones and to the spirit.

It may be a museum or an art gallery where one can savor in the genius of man. It may be a lecture hall where you can soak up knowledge or a workplace where you are doing your part for the betterment of mankind or simply helping to churn the wheels of commerce. It may be in stimulating young minds in the classroom. Whatever and wherever it is, everyone has that favorite place that is central to their being.

For many, the favourite place may be the hockey rink, the sports field, or the golf course which defines a significant part of their identity and gives rise to fantasizing about their wondrous plays and visualizing competition with Gretzky, Michael Jordan, or Tiger Woods.

That favorite place may be a real place or, for many, a fanciful imaginary place. But wherever it is, for them, it is real.

Your favourite place may be the setting and plot of a story you are reading or a movie you are watching or even the action in a computer game. All have the power to launch you into a fanciful fictional world populated by exciting characters which become your enemies or friends and trigger your emotions all the while they are taking you along on a journey of exciting events and situations beyond your real world experience. By so doing, they free you for too brief a time from the confines of the prison of the real world you’re in.

Often times this place becomes so habitual occupying most of your time and your thoughts and your dreams, the bulk of your efforts, and often an unhealthy proportion of your financial resources. Time spent in your favourite place can drastically limit your global perspective in plugging into the larger world. Time spent in your favourite place may give rise to the incessant questioning of those around who cannot understand the comfort you derive from that place.

For me, I indulge myself in my remote five bedroom cottage on a large lake bordering Ontario’s Algonquin Park. It’s a structure I designed and built myself. It houses collections of things that I’ve gathered locally but also from my work assignments around the world. My cottage defines who I am, and the skills and interests that I have. My cottage is the “real” me…alone, unshaven, self-reliant, resourceful, independent, creative and creating, thinking, busy in my solitude--devoid of the dress suits and ties I wore every working day.


Whatever that favorite place in the world, it transforms your state of mind and its worldly location is any place or activity that is conducive to helping you reach that sublime mental state. Reality starts with the mind and you can have anything in there you want…no matter the size. Your mind is really your limitless “wide open spaces.”

Your world is in your head. “Close your eyes,” I’d often say to my children. “Do you see the elephant in your head? What is your elephant doing?” I’d ask. “You can have anything in there that you want! And you can do anything if you get it into your head that you can!”

No matter the place, that favourite place is the one place that creates a satisfying state of self actualization in the spirit, in the bones, and in the mind. It defines you as you define it. It is truly a place for you that has no limits on what you can think and do.

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