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Remember when we were kids? You know, when you and your friends were out playing and you always ended up at so-and-so’s house, or in your best friend’s back yard, or maybe a simple place out in the trees behind where you lived.
These places we gravitated toward not only hold some of our fondest memories, but when you look closer, they served as sanctuaries or feel-good spots that made us happier about being alive. Day after day, year after year, you could find “you” in that exact place. Can you remember your special place?
Mine was a half mile of brick wall that framed the mobile home park I grew up in. The community was called “Friendly Village of Lancaster” and I lived there for nearly all my childhood and the entirety of my teenage years. This brick wall was something my friends and I would walk along nearly every day. We would use it to walk to the store, to sit on to watch the Fourth of July fireworks, and even stand atop to witness the Challenger space shuttle roll by on its way to nearby Edwards Air Force Base. That wall was my childhood. There everything was alright, even when it wasn’t.
As we grow older, many of our childhood “things” vanish, along with many of the places where we once found peace. As the mounting pressure of adulthood builds, we begin to discard the things of childhood and venture out to find ourselves.
The problem is, we always knew who we were when we were on that “wall.”
Chris and the Shamans
I have studied dozens of spiritual systems. I love anything and everything to do with spirit. One of the systems I previously explored was a shamanic group called the Makers. In a course I took with them, we studied an aspect of our personal energy that can be left or trapped in a place.
Think of, for example, your second-grade classroom. Get a picture of your desk and where your teacher stood and who was sitting next to you. If you can get yourself there without hesitation, it’s likely that you left a part of you, energetically speaking, in that space. It’s so readily available to you for recall because there is an aspect of you still there.
Even though the work I did with the Makers was to reclaim that energy and reinstate it into my constitution, I like the idea that there is a piece of us that still lives in those places we once loved.
Good or bad, there is something to be said for a location where we invest so much of ourselves and our time that even when we physically step away from that place, our energetic signature still exists. It’s haunting and wonderful all at the same time.
Nature and Rhythm of Life
Part of this proposed phenomenon has to do with our dropping into the flow of nature — the congruency and harmonizing of our being with the vibration of that space. Think of this state as beautiful music where every cord seamlessly flows into the next until you have a song you can’t help but love.
These places feel good because you were meant to be in them. And in many situations, the opposite is as tangible. You walk into a house and immediately want to leave. Or you step into a hospital or doctor’s office where many of the patients are terrified. We can feel it in our souls and, therefore, want to leave as soon as we can.
I have friends from all walks of life who insist on spending as much time outside as possible. I’m sure you have them, too. That one friend who isn’t at home if he isn’t out in the ocean sitting on his board. Or that friend who would rather be on a hike than anywhere else in her life. These people have taken the time to feel, to listen, and to invest time in finding that space meant for them.
It’s not something we can force. It’s a natural flow that feels like home without trying. Once you find it, you know it.
Peace, the Best Prescription
I’ve written a lot about finding yourself, getting in touch with your spirit, and the power of silence. The intention of everything I have written for WLC is to help anyone who finds value in my words to find their way home.
When I say “home,” I am referring to a state of mind that can only be described as peace. The idea of reaching that still point. The moment of calm just after your inhalation and right before you begin to exhale. We Daoists refer to that as the Wuji or the space between the space.
Because our lives tend to swing more toward stress and being frantic, we need ways of calming the system. Stress is one of the major contributors to nearly all the diseases we face. We must find ways to counter it.
Many of the people we love find themselves in states of complete stress and have little to no solution for their situations. Because of that, our doctors prescribe countless prescription drugs that are turning many of us into zombies.
What their script should read is, “Find peace.”
Shell Beach, California
I am one of the lucky ones. I live in one of the most beautiful places in all of America — the Central Coast of California. A small community of a half dozen towns tucked away on the shores of the Pacific, where wine vineyards and rolling mountains are as far as the eye can see.
I live in the town of Grover Beach, one of the more southern in the stretch of communities. Just north of me is a place called Shell Beach. It’s butted up against one of the more well-known towns of Pismo and they both share some of the most spectacular views money can buy.
The community of Shell Beach is a very small stretch of streets that parallel one another and end on a cliff that overlooks the shore. The houses are some of the most breathtaking structures you can imagine and I would give my right hand to own one. The community is awesome. I take my kids every Halloween to Shell and we walk the streets until they want to drop. It’s safe, it’s friendly, and the people are warm. Every night at sunset, dozens of residents stroll down to the cliffs with a glass of wine in their hands to marvel at where they live and the beauty of this space as they watch the sun disappear into the water.
I spent years searching for a spot where I could do my Qigong work. Every day I spend fifteen to twenty minutes dropping in and getting quiet. I needed the perfect place to get quiet, a spot where I could escape and focus on my practice. I found it at Shell Beach.
As I drive home from work, I jump off the freeway into Shell, even though it takes me over five miles from my house. I make a stop at Dipaolo and Son’s, a small market off the freeway, buy two peanut butter cookies, and drive down to the cliffs. I’m probably breaking the law, but I jump a fence and lower myself down onto the rocks to get as close to the water as possible for my meditation.
That spot, right there, is the most amazing place in the world, and as I’m shaking off the nonsense from the day, the water washes all of it out to sea.
Find Your Shell Beach
You have no idea the power of a couple of peanut butter cookies from Dipaolo’s, jumping a fence, and meditating on the rocks by the ocean. Just writing this I can feel my emotions well because I know when I go there that I am in a place meant for me. It was intended to heal me, and me alone. And when I am in that spot, I know I am closer to the throne of God than I am anywhere else in the world.
If you are struggling, if you feel lost and need a place to escape, find your spot.
Find that place where you feel the most connected to nature. A spot where you feel steady, calm, and at home. These locations were intended for us and if you can get out of your own way, you might find the medicine your soul needs.