What is the single best thing you've ever done in your whole life that benefitted you most of all? (Feel free to share your answer in the comments).
For me, it was deciding to move to the country. Salem, Missouri is about two hours from the Gateway to the West, St. Louis, where I was born and raised. It is known as the Gateway to the Ozarks. I'd wanted to move here as early as 1993, but could not find work after turning in a few applications. However, in 2002, I decided to move the family. I still had to commute to St. Louis for work for the next 13 years. That 2-hour (each way) drive helped me immensely with centering my mind and thinking deeply about many things. It became a practice, which Walter Russell calls "waking meditation." The ability to center and quiet your thoughts in an instant (letting the knowing in).
I eventually got divorced within a few months of moving here, then 6 months later met the love of my life, the most challenging person I'd ever known to date, my Lori. Our story could fill a few podcasts, but suffice it to say, it was one of really "growing in love" rather than "falling in love." That is the difference between a common relationship and a relationship with a soul mate.
For many years, as a transplant, I didn't quite get these country boys and their politics, their attitudes toward life, and what they held to be important (God, Country, Family, Faith, etc.). Certainly I was out of my element being a bonified city boy. But the bountifulness of Nature began to grow (reflecting) in me, the traditions of the area and its people, gardening, raising livestock, canning, quite more a self-sufficient way of living, trucks and dirt roads, hard working fathers, men and faithful, loyal women and moms. Of course, there were problems like with any place. People are people. But what Salem was to me, was a saving grace though I never understood and often heard people say it was a vortex, one that once you live here you'll never escape. I couldn't be happier living here. A place of peace where I could collect my thoughts and harness my creative powers. I wrote more music in the first few years of being here than all my previous years combined. All my best work was seeded in the naturalness of the Ozark Mountains, which some say are the oldest mountain range on Earth with their karst topography, caves, limestone bluffs and crystal-clear streams.
Small towns aren't immune to drama however. In fact, it is more dramatic because it is small. Nothing gets by anyone. Everyone knows everyone's business. You could say this is both good and bad—depending on your character. But none the less, you don't have to wonder about someone's character. You'll hear soon enough about them. My first year here, I was known as a philanderer. Lori's friends warned her of me, even on our first date! She says "I saw something good in you" so it was worth the risk. That stigma I made for myself. And it took many years to change it through right action and character building. Character is like a tail after all, it will follow you around always (good or bad). The good thing about it, you can change it. With my intense "self" study came the tools I needed to heal my traumas via pattern recognition going back to my childhood. I literally, rebuilt my “self” brick by brick. It was then I became an implant.
After a decade of hard work, I began to hear a different opinion about myself from other people and via Lori. They respected me, knew I was a good hardworking and upstanding individual, honest, integral, faithful, and I too respected them. I found the "good ones" and grew friendships that have lasted. I've had the best mentors, learned to fix and repair things on my own, to build and construct toward a more self-sufficient life. Farmers and country folk are some of the most incredibly self-sufficient people I know. Many have traits of genius and that comes I believe, from working closely with the land. That real-time relationship with Nature is priceless 🙌🏻.
And that is why the best decision I ever made was moving to the country. In other words, living in Nature brought me my "self," the "love of my life," the best job(s) I've ever had, the most creative projects I've ever done and I'm only getting started! It saved the "real" me from the concrete and steel (city) me.
Inside each of us is an organic "self." It may cost a little more to invest in, but the end result is worth every bit of blood, sweat and tears. And it only keeps getting better.
Former City | Now Country | Satisfied
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