Do you have a “spirit city,” a place that sets you on fire with the rightness of it, with a feeling of completeness?
I’m writing this from Seattle, my favorite spirit city. So I’m analyzing what makes a place feel as right as this one does for me. Sure there can be favorite restaurants, beautiful vistas, pleasing architectural styles, or epic activities available. But for me, a place is “mine” and hopelessly, magnetically so only if it’s been a place of deep and meaningful transformation or ultra-concentrated emotional impact. So much sunshine to the square inch. Even if it rains. So much intensity to the minute. A place where I was completely attuned to myself and others. Where I was challenged to pay attention. Where I got to show up and try, and fail, and succeed. That’s what makes a place matter to me. That’s why I love Seattle.
We had a recent SPACIOUS event, SPACIOUS Does Ripple Effect, and at it we created postcards to depict places lost. It was not so surprising to find that almost nobody misses a place just because it was brick or pretty or arranged just so. We miss the places where something important happened, where somebody was, somebody we love desperately, miss entirely, were impacted by.
I’ve had the privilege of traveling a great deal, to many of those bucket-list places, to many exotic places too. And I’m thrilled that I have. But to be honest, in some of them I was simply doing a march-step through the tourist spots, trying not to miss anything I was “supposed” to see. And saw it I did, but remember it I don’t.
Instead my heart is pulled back to the places where every last neuron was attuned to what was happening because I was risking (sometimes physically, often emotionally or spiritually), because I was moving out of my comfort zone (or hurled out of it), because I was stretched. And hopefully grew. And knew that the place and what happened there was a gift of an extra inch of me, or the loss of an inch or so that needed to go.
As I sit and watch ferries traverse Elliott Bay from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, I feel grateful for this, one of my spirit places, Seattle. May I go home changed. And remember this place fondly.