Things I consider integral to life as I like to live it: fresh food, sharing, laughter, music, movement, creativity. Give me these outlets and I am as happy anywhere in Provence or elsewhere.
You may need more than that, or none of it all. Your list, likely, looks quite different, but we all seem to need certain things to feel in love with life, and ourselves in it. We all have ideals that create the perfect circumstances for our existence, and we create them wherever we are living to offer a sense of comfortable familiarity. Some of us need routine and stability, some need to feel productive, challenged, purposeful, others need silence while still others thrive in chaos. We have specific hours that we want to devote to sleep, to work, to play. We have scenarios in which we claim to function at our most fine tuned, and though we can adapt to adventure, excitement, new ness, and change at varying degrees of steadiness, for the most part we keep a short list of essentials that keeps our heads and hearts from spiraling too far outside of how we choose to live.
And it is a choice. What we take in from our surroundings, what we offer back to it, how we live in harmony with our environment and ourselves by how we adapt is a choice. On my very first day in Marseille, I--though seemingly unconsciously--began to create my ideal circumstances; but in time they, again, seemingly unconsciously, began to take new shapes, rearrange themselves, almost became diluted in their specific identity and instead became more sensational. That whole statement seems diluted, stay with me....
But pause with me for a minute too. Because I should note that in the same way that my ideal environment to be my greatest self in shimmied its way around Europe, so has this very piece of writing. I started this bit early on in Marseille, and revisited it after some travelling, some conversations, a couple of tipiffany's and eventually wrote in capslocks FINISH AT HOME. I wanted to test something that I was learning through the writing of this: it is more of an emotional climate in which we flourish, and the physical mediums, the more descript details of our list of essentials has a leniency to it. In other words, not only do we choose what we "need," we choose to see rather, what it is we get from such needs--we see the product of our physical space show up in our emotional well being.
So the list of things I "need" that began this post is notably non-descript. That is because it can be adapted to whatever place I am calling home for however long. Fresh food here looks a lot different than the organic markets on every corner within five minutes walking from my French home. Fresh food itself can sometimes mean to me that it is grown in soil close enough for me to touch, other times, it means an apple without a Washington sticker and coat of wax on it--both ideals create a harmonious reaction in me towards food and my relationship with it; both nourish my body and my moral vote to eat organically and healthily. That said, the same reaction can come from eating a bag of licorice allsorts from a touristy pirate candy shop because in that moment, its soul food. Similarly movement once meant that I needed to run every morning and now it means that I love to practice every day--and that some days practice means a five minute child's pose or a couple of handstands on the beach, or just pausing for a minute to notice and lengthen my breath. And then comes the realization that none of these needs are actually needs at all, but things we have responded well too and have an ingrained desire for that elicits, again, that positive emotional response that in turn allows us to vibrate at our highest frequency; be the raddest us we can be. But if these circumstances are so flexible, and if desires can change as we discover alternative ways of bettering ourselves or realize something doesn't serve us as well as the next thing, then comes the opportunity to really learn that everything you need you already have.
Because everything already exists within you.
Its a lesson, in this material world, where we can, truly have everything we want, and how we throw around the term "I need" as casually as we say "I love you," that we learn and relearn. We know that it does not take escaping from or to another city to get away or start over, earning more money, being able to stand on your head or swim in the sea, its not the eight hours of sleep or coffee in your cup in the morning. You may want these things, but you do not need them. If they make you happy, inspire you, get your ass out of bed, keep that fire burning in your heart then do them. But know that it is you stoking the flames.
Those emotional responses to whatever your ideal situation is are vibrational reminders of how you are in control if, if of anything at all, how you respond to the world around you--what you are willing to see and receive. When we give ourselves the opportunity to notice our reactions, we see that the positive are the same as the negative, that neither is truly related to something not fitting into our ideals, but ourselves not able to move beyond them. That person you hope to be when all the stars are in line and your favourite song is playing and you have time to paint in your dream house while wearing your lucky socks--that person already exists. Tucked right underneath all the attachment to perfect circumstance, place, and time.
Now, finishing off this piece from the floor of my paint splattered goddess lair, thinking of that floral rug in my home sweet Marseille, I'm more sure that our ideal circumstances are created more in full from the very centre of our being than they are the extremities of the world around us, We respond to places. We respond to people. To ideas. To excitement, fear, curiosity, comfort, love. We are malleable beings, and it is only when you are the moulder, listening and believing that you have all that you "need", that you grow in the way that you want within change. You continue to create yourself--or simply be yourself--in response to who you already are. The greatest response then, is self love. Love on.