For the Love of it.
There are more than seven billion people in the world.
Google tells me that there were 7.442 billion in 2016 to be exact. To give you a sense of population size, If you counted from one to one billion it would take you 95 years to complete the task. There are over 195 different countries. And, there are 250 births each minute and 105 people die each minute.
Even though there are so many of us, our lives are often quite small.
Think about it. How many people do you actually know from different regions of the world? Are the people you know from one country, one continent? Or across many continents? The more adventurous of us might live in two or three countries in their lifetime. Others of us stay close to home. We live and die within a two hour radius of where were born. We may have some travel adventures and tales of friends we made in a foreign land or we may only know our neighbors.
Can we live a full life staying close to home?
Does the human experience require us to explore outside of our birth circle? Can our soul truly get the most growth, the most happiness staying close to home?
There are many advantages to staying close to home. One can build a strong community presence and support local programs. Family bonds are strong because siblings, parents, children, elders all see each other on a regular basis. We also have a sense of well being, we feel safe and secure traveling around in our familiar stomping grounds.
Exploring the world, on the other hand, is fraught with uncertainty. Each trip to a new land introduces new food, new beliefs, new norms all requiring us to be alert and attentive. People get creative to stay connected with loved ones. The scenery may be changing all of the time and requires a little assistance getting from destination to destination. We may find a strong sense of well being, feeling open and adaptable traveling to different places.
Recently our family lost a cherished loved one. As we expressed our love and watched her take her last breath I thought about her life. She passed away within 30 miles of where she grew up. She spent the bulk of her life in the areas surrounding her childhood home. She gave birth to five children and loved each and everyone without abandon.
She was an artist. She sketched and painted what she loved. Beautiful pictures, many of which were of her family and the animals they loved. Dogs, ducks, horses parents, friends, children and grandchildren and so much more. She shared these works of art with us to decorate our home with her artistic love.
She lived through the loss of a husband, the loss of her parents, the loss of her brother, and the loss of two children. Through all the loss, she still loved. She supported her growing family with time, special gifts, evenings out and focused attention. She knew our quirks, laughed with us on the good days and listened to our hearts on the sad days. She was always on our side, always encouraging us to go after what we wanted. When I couldn’t find my happy, she encouraged me to go after it fearlessly. She truly loved us, and we truly loved her.
So can we live a full life without ever leaving home?
I think so. For some of us the world may be big and open to explore. For others, small and close knit. It’s not so much whether we choose to stay close or travel far and wide, as much as it is about how much love we put into our lives. We loved a woman who put love into every day.
We will experience ups and downs, births and losses, successes and failures no matter where we are in the world. Our soul is meant to grow, we are in a constant state of evolution. We grow when we are both near and far. We grow every time we choose love over suffering. Whether you are a world traveler or a homebody, you are exactly where you need to be for your soul’s growth. Remember to express your heart without abandon, express your creativity, and live each day for the love of it.