Everyone Needs a Go To place.

This weekend was a much looked forward to break following a very busy few months. It meant that I could retreat and visit my personal ‘go to’ place – the Northern Lake District. It’s a place where I can relax, rejuvenate and get back in touch with myself, and as such it has an important place in my heart. Honestly, you can hear my soul give a deep sigh as soon as we get in sight of Skiddaw, or Borrowdale, or Cat Bells – I’m sure you get the gist.  It feels like home, but a home filled with magic and bliss where I’m surrounded by Mother Nature and her wonders. I can walk for miles if I choose or sit by a lakeshore and do absolutely nothing other than let my thoughts wander.

You can do anything in your ‘go to’ place as long as you let go and let the true you emerge. It has to be somewhere that you can totally and utterly be yourself; no masks, no agenda, no expectations. Just you. Being there this weekend got me thinking. We should all have a ‘go to’ place, somewhere we go to retreat, to unwind, to think, to simply just be.

Ideally it should be somewhere you can reach easily in a decent amount of time. It takes me around two hours at the most to reach mine so a weekend is easily achievable, and if necessary, I can go just for the day. I imagine if money is no object then distance isn’t either. Personally, I need to be able to jump in the car and go.

For me, it has to be in nature, preferably near water and mountains; a place where I can be in touch with the pulse of the planet, with the heartbeat of Mother Nature but in reality, it could be anywhere.

You can find your ‘go to’ place even in the middle of cities; look for areas of serenity, parks, riverbanks, quiet places – if, of course, that’s your thing. Or maybe your place needs to be filled with energy with people, action and buzz.

I know of at least one person who has New York as her ‘go to’ place because she receives inspiration and clarity from the buzz and the busy-ness. She needs the energy of people and the bustle of action to feel her soul emerge and creativity to flow.

Honestly the where doesn’t matter, the release does.

Even if something is happening in your life that stops you from physically getting there, if it’s somewhere you visit regularly your heart remembers and you can visit it energetically, even when you can’t physically.

Laid up last year, unable to get to the Lakes, I found comfort in some of the worst times just by remembering, by revisiting in my heart and by knowing that once this was over I’d be back there again, walking my favourite walks, breathing in the air, connecting in with the energy of my place. It was one of the things that kept me going through a really bad period.

It helped that we have artwork from the Lakes in our home; photographs and paintings on the wall, and some quartz that I stumbled on near Derwent Water that I could see and touch. If you can include momentos of your ‘go to’ place in your home, or near you at work, it keeps the connection with the energy of the place alive within you.

Even without that you can still ‘connect’ with the memories and the feelings. You carry that within you deep in your soul.

Have you ever stopped to think about whether you have, or should have a ‘go to’ place?

If you do have one, do you recognise that it is your ‘go to’ place and just how special it is?

Where is it and how often do you need to go there?

Do you need culture, art, theatre, seashore, mountains, forests, towns or cities – what makes your soul sing?

My ‘go to’ place has wonderful memories attached to it, memories from my teenage years visiting with family and friends to my first visit (camping no less!) with my now husband. Memories of meditating on the lakeshore, resting under a beech tree, the sense of achievement of climbing Helvellyn and other mountains, the bliss of a cold drink after a long climb or walk; abseiling and learning a lesson in trust (by learning to believe that my partner wouldn’t let go), bivouacking, building rafts, canoeing (one of my more comical experiences and never to be forgotten), meandering along the lakeshore, waking at 3am to go out and look for the Northern Lights, ruminating on the meaning of life, walking my dogs, wading through rivers with my oldest friend, getting soaked, getting a suntan, loving life or grieving for a lost one. Learning who I was when there were no distractions around.

No matter what, it seems that when I need to retreat, to lick my wounds, to rejuvenate my soul, my ‘go to’ place is where I can be found. So, whilst we all have much in life that demands our attention, that needs our time and care, that deserves our love, we should also all have our place, our heart’s home, our ‘go to’ place, and, if you’re really lucky, maybe it’s actually the place you call home.

Article by Heather Booker

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