A wooden birdhouse nailed to a backyard maple tree was home to Eurasian tree sparrows year after year. Eventually the squirrels chewed a bigger hole and took residence. Now the tree does not exist as we made way for a room addition to the house, but the prized songbirds still return to our feeders every winter. The Eurasian tree sparrow finds its citizenship in some select communities in the St. Louis, Missouri vicinity. “Its presence in Missouri dates back to shortly after the Civil War. At that time it was a fad among nature enthusiasts to import nightingales, chaffinches, bullfinches and other songbirds from Europe. This was done in the false hope that new birds might help control insect pests, but was also an excuse among nostalgic immigrants who wanted to see birds ‘from the old country,'” written in a Missouri Conservationist Magazine article. These meek songbirds entertain us humans by making nests in our birdhouses and stay around for winter dining on seeds left in the feeders. Not native to Missouri, but they thrive.
Writers and artists need their own space to allow their creative juices to flow. Writers’ and artists’ retreats can be found around the world. Michael Pollan’s cites in his book, A Place Of My Own, “a room of one’s own … is a space of solitude a few steps off the beaten track of everyday life.” I think we all need that space whether it is a nook in your house, a favorite bench at the park, or trail to walk amongst the trees and wildlife. Creativity is for all people. Historians, sociologists, and National Geographic photography and author, Dan Buettner study people around the world, seek those who thrive and live as centenarians. These century-old people have 9 common threads in the communities they live in what has been now dubbed the “Blue Zones”. These threads are unique to their culture but can be tied together. These threads are: they move naturally, have purpose, consume plant-based foods and stop eating when 80% full, practice moderate wine consumption, have daily down time, their family comes first, live in the right tribe for self, and belong to a like faith community.
As a wellness professional I stand by the concept of “The 7 Dimensions of Wellness”: physical, spiritual, vocational/financial, emotional, social, intellectual, and environmental which I can easily tie into the Blue Zone’s 9 common threads. With all this, what is one dimension that the others surround around? It is the spiritual dimension. It defines our purpose, beliefs, and values. It centers our thoughts, prayers, and meditations. It is big enough that it allows us to accept others. And your spiritual practice, is it integrated in everyday life? Are you thriving? Where do you find your citizenship? Are you here by chance or did the Creator create your place/space for a purpose? And where will you be after the Earth is no more? Your spirit lives forever.