How to Thrive in a Less Than Ideal Location

Few of us are fortunate enough live in a naturally beautiful, deeply supportive ideal environment, but it is possible to transform any living space into the sanctuary we desire. May imagination, intention, and effort open the portal…


Laura Bruno's Blog

Today’s topic arises so many times in coaching sessions that I thought I’d address it here, since it seems more common than not for people to feel misplaced, isolated or otherwise “stuck” in a location other than their heart’s desire. Having lived in 43 homes throughout my life — including many of the most beautiful, stunning spots in the US — and currently living well in a way less than ideal area, I can share both personal and professional tips for creating your best life wherever you are. This is not a “settle for less” post, but rather a list of ways to ensure you receive the most benefit, growth and satisfaction from any given location until you either realize you do love where you live, or you manage to leverage yourself into something much more compatible and preferred.

Create a Sacred Space

The first, easiest and most important step…

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Light Always Returns

And so it came to pass that the woman, being neither young nor old but in-between the two, became distressed within this place, tormented by the grasping of her vanity. And growing vexed by this false calling—the incessant, prideful murmurs of her clinging and desire—she took herself alone into a high dark cave and swore an oath to there remain, in battle with these voices in her head, until she conquered such temptations and gained sovereignty of body, speech and mind.

And though she feared at times she would be sorely beaten, she was determined to prevail. For 20 days and 20 nights she fiercely fought and argued with philosophy and logic, but the voices did not cease. For 20 further days and 20 further nights she battled on, weeping and imploring them to leave, yet the voices still remained. Again for 20 more days and 20 more nights she continued to fight mightily, this time with piercing screams and cries, beating hard against the echoing walls with rocks, until her throat was sore and her hands were scraped and bleeding.

But even then, although the voices grew less powerful and cunning, their shadowy whispers still remained.

And having fought so hard and long, employing volume, force and wiles for all those 60 days and 60 nights to small avail, the woman grew quite weary—so weary that she could no longer struggle on, and fell instead into a brief and restless slumber.

When she arose, the woman knew defeat. She felt a great remorse for having failed, and in this shame she finally surrendered. So vanquished, she bowed her humbled head and quietly went out of the cave.

And passing through the cave’s wide mouth, the woman saw the night was black as coal. Dawn had not yet spilled across the heavens, and there were only stars by which to see, for the moon, being new, had set at dusk, and the woman held no torch or lantern. So stepping through the rough arch empty-handed, she came out into the open, finding dark and silence all around.

Thereby, guided only by starlight, the woman took twelve steps to the East, whereupon she reached the edge of a steep precipice. From that high point she outward gazed upon the starry firmament, which looked to her like tiny diamonds sprinkled wide across a vast obsidian dome.

And as she stood upon that cliff, the woman saw the pitch-black sky begin to brighten, first to deep blue-black, and then to brighter blue, revealing color all around. And this was the first color the woman had seen for 60 days and 60 nights, having dwelt in naught but dim and gray for all that time before.

And when these rays of color struck her open eyes, she felt a sudden lifting, accompanied by deep and certain understanding that light always returns. And with this understanding, the woman became instantly suffused with joy, and felt forgiveness for herself—forgiveness for her brave but fruitless struggling, and for her weakness, too. Relief flooded her heart and softly spread outward, filling her entire self with calmness and content.

The woman swept her palms out, open to the sky. She gave thanks to the light for always returning, and she gave thanks to the darkness which, in truth, had brought her to this wisdom place.

And as she breathed deeply of the sweet, cool morning air, the rising dawn gained strength, making visible the many forms of branching trees, and velvet moss and stones about her feet, and far below, the river curling like a silver ribbon through the thickly wooded valley of her home.

Mind, Your Food

I believe that thoughts are food. Not the kind of food you put in your mouth, naturally. But the kind of food and nourishment you put into your mind.

While mouth food is something you can chew and taste and swallow, mind food is what you think, and how you think it, every single day from moment to moment.

We feed our minds both when we are awake and when we are asleep. But (lucid dreaming aside) we don’t have much choice over our mind food when we are sleeping. When we are asleep, thoughts and images come and go on their own.

Dreams are messengers, pointing to doorways with keys that unlock the secrets of our unconscious self. You can learn a lot by thinking about your dreams when you are awake, exploring the characters and settings, interpreting the meanings. Dreams are mind food on two levels, conscious and unconscious. Their revelations can be deeply nourishing.

Sleep provides us with surprise mind food that arrives like a gift, without our say. During waking hours, on the other hand, we have a lot of say. If you pay attention, having control over your thoughts is truly an option when you are awake. When you are awake is when you can choose the taste and quality of your mind food.

Understand what mind food is: Everything you look at, see, read, hear and give your attention to. Feeding your mind with positive thoughts—about the universe, the world, your community, self and body—is proven to have a positive effect on your physical and emotional health. On the contrary, feeding your mind with negative thoughts is known to create unease, tension, dissatisfaction and despair.

This is why I frequently go on a News Fast. I enjoy reading the paper and listening to the radio, but seeing and hearing words like war, terror, bombings, killed, abuse, fighting, etc, does not put me into a calm and relaxed state. And there’s no way to avoid words like these when interacting with “the news.” (I put quotation marks around “the news” because many uplifting stories would be deemed newsworthy if we lived within a different societal paradigm that valued cooperation, discovery, peace, health. However, uplifting stories are few and far between within our current paradigm, with its emphasis on maintaining conflict, fear and violence.) So, because I am aware of how important mind food is, I frequently abstain from The News.

Taking a periodic news fast is a choice I make for my own personal well-being, a choice based on my experiential understanding that one’s thoughts create one’s state of mind, mood and general outlook.

When it comes to the care and feeding of your mind, it all comes down to choice: What you choose to think about, and how you talk to yourself about it.

Some of the most positive, healing thoughts with which to feed your mind are thoughts of wonder, appreciation and kindness. The natural world is a joy to behold, ever-changing, always surprising. Take a walk outside and you can’t help but to see something amazing! Once you see it, you can’t help but think about it. Hold that thought and you are walking in beauty.

Other healthy mind food fodder are thoughts of hope, trust, forgiveness and love. These thoughts have the power to modulate your breath and heart rate, alleviate depression and anxiety, calm digestive distress and even reverse disease, according to many (though not all) official and anecdotal reports.

Some of the best food you can offer your mind is positive self-talk. Positive self-talk involves the idea of being your own supportive coach. It means viewing your behavior, actions and commitment to goals generously, in a spirit of praise that encourages you to apply effort, energy and faith. No matter what you do, right or wrong, you can always be gentle with and love yourself through it with a positive, productive attitude.

Studies show that positive self-talk is a powerful tool. It can help people overcome addictions, such as smoking, and it can help people who have lost weight maintain their weight loss. So the next time you “slip up” and fall back into a compulsive habit, eat too much or veer off your healthy nutrition program, don’t beat yourself up about it! Instead, use the experience as a teaching tool. Dig deep to find out what caused the slip, and coach yourself through it like a loving parent or compassionate counselor.

Learning to understand yourself will help you make better choices in the future. So honor your process when you make healthy choices, and honor your process when you don’t. Ask for guidance from god and all the angels, and listen to their response.

There’s nowhere to go. You are here right now. Inhale. Breathe. Allow.

Freedom, peace and healing come.



Reyes NR, et al. Similarities and differences between weight loss maintainers and regainers: a qualitative analysis. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Apr;112(4):499-505.

Merchant G, et al. Coping with the urge to smoke: A real-time analysis. Res Nurs Health. 2013 Feb;36(1):3-15