Wherever You Go There You Are

by Evan on 2015/01/30


Wherever you go, there you are. And: Wherever you are, is somewhere.

These two aphorisms are the basis of a thriving life. (The first I’ve heard a lot, the second is one I made up – so far as I know.)


1. You
“Wherever you go there you are” is meant to point out that sometimes we are the ‘problem’.

How come this always happens to me? Perhaps because you always do something that makes it likely.
If you don’t know how long something will take (and if it’s a new thing it will be awfully difficult to know), committing to a deadline is a bad idea. If you do this you can end up needing to do too much for the time available.

If (like the person typing this) you don’t like details and you tend to overlook them, get someone (or some program) to check what you’re doing. Or you will likely find yourself despairing about that typo (spellcheckers are a wonderful thing – just sayin’), or wondering how come you didn’t order that thing which you need, or, whatever . . .

If you don’t want to engage in small talk, don’t be surprised if you end up wondering why you don’t have lots of deeper relationships. If you don’t go past small talk, don’t be surprised if you don’t have lots of deeper relationships.

You are a common feature in your experience.

“Wherever you go there you are” – with your own preferences and rhythms and interests and limitations and strengths and needs.

If you want to thrive it is good to know what you need.
Not what some authority – whether a person or a theory – says, but what you have found.

And there really isn’t any other way than to try stuff and see what fits for you.

  • Clothes
  • Exercise
  • Food
  • Sleep
  • Amount of intimacy
  • Kind of work
  • Decor
  • Scheduling and how your time is organised


In all of these areas (and many others) some things will work better for you than others.
Here’s what works for me:

  • Clothes
    Chinos and polo shirts – coloured blue (different blues usually go together so I don’t have to think about if something goes with something).
  • Exercise
    qi gong and walks with my wife. The repetition of qi gong allows me to sink deeper and deeper into the exercise and it can become quite meditative. Walking with my wife is enjoyable for lots of reasons, not just the aerobics.
  • Food
    Mostly vegetarian. I need to not overeat. Coffee in the morning is good but later in the day interferes with my sleep.
  • Sleep
    I need 9 hours
  • Amount of intimacy
    Intense moments with those I know well. Don’t need it from strangers or those I don’t know well (though it can be a nice bonus).
  • Kind of work
    Not focused on details. Like to be in charge of how I organise my time. Enjoy knowing what I’m meant to be doing, if I’m to report to someone.
  • Decor
    Doesn’t affect me as much as others – I’m more focused on having control of my time.
  • Scheduling and how your time is organised
    Like to focus on one thing until I have done a worthwhile chunk. Usually this will mean 1-1.5 hours, and working within this with brief breaks around every 10-15 minutes (just pausing for a few seconds).

What about for you?

In the five dimensions of your life what is required for you to thrive?

  • Physically
  • Emotionally
  • Mentally
  • Spiritually (purpose and values)
  • Socially


Just take a couple of minutes to note quickly one thing you need in each of these five dimensions.

Then see if you are getting what you need or whether there is a way for you to get what you need.

If there is more than one change you want to make; start with the easiest and take a small and easy step toward it (as soon as you can – ideally before you go to sleep tonight. Which might mean it is only a tiny step – this is fine, taking the first step may be more important than how big the step is.).


2. Your Situation
Wherever you are, is somewhere. With its resources and limitations.

We move through lots of different situations and they all offer possibilities and have limits.

  • Paid employment may not offer much room for emotional contact (unless you are in caring work).
  • A small space won’t allow large movements.
  • Some classrooms encourage questioning.
  • Some social groups allow everyone to have input.
  • Chairs placed in a circle encourage some kinds of behaviour. Chairs placed in rows all facing one way will tend to lead to other kinds of behaviour. Another space where people need to walk around will likely lead to different kinds of interaction.


My wife and I have just moved cities. We had visited where we are now living and knew that we loved it. And we already had a few friends living here. And we are still finding out the possibilities and limitations that it offers.

  • I have found a qi gong group that is good enough. They do tai chi as well in the same class but that is OK. There is another group whose class is only qi gong – but their routine includes some isometric exercise moves, which is just plain weird.
  • The weather is different here so we are still adjusting how we go for walks. Perhaps we will need to buy some indoor exercise equipment.
  • It is a smaller city than others we have lived in and we are still getting used to a trip to town taking half a day rather than all day (it is quicker to get there and places are closer together once you do get there).
  • We have found people to be very friendly and welcoming (we thought this would be the case, and we have been delighted to find that it is).


Make a list of the situations in your life, and what they are like.

The components of the situations can include,

  • physical size
  • organisation of physical space
  • styles of relating
  • organisation of time
  • amount of silence
  • amount of movement
  • number of people


What dimensions of you do they encourage to thrive? The five dimensions being,

  • physical
  • emotional
  • mental
  • spiritual (having to do with purpose and values), and
  • social.

Take a minute or two to note how the situations you are in limit or nourish you.

Then decide on the easiest change you can make to your situation so that your thriving is nourished more.

It may mean looking for different employment or it may just mean putting out of sight that ornament you don’t like. If you feel the need for big changes that will take a while, you may want to make small changes in the meantime, so that you feel like things are moving for you.


Thriving is the you and your situation matching well. Which means that understanding your self and knowing your situation will help you to thrive.

This post can only sketch out the plan and give examples. If you have questions about specifics you are very welcome to ask in the comments. Likewise, any and all comments are most welcome.


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