Motivation from a Walk Through the Neighborhood

Take a leisurely walk down your street the next time you feel bored, tired, or not even sure how you feel. With just a sprinkle of gratitude in your heart, you will be amazed at the motivational ideas you receive from some neighborhood fixtures you have been taking for granted.

Seven such objects are listed here in alphabetical order, not in order of importance because their messages are equal in significance. You will find yourself adding to the list after you consider these.

(1) Cul-de-Sac

Build cul-de-sacs where . . . more people may watch out for each other, and feel less alone or alienated. - Thomas R. Hochschild Jr. (Sociologist)

A cul-de-sac in Sacramento, CA. Photo by Henry W. Schmitt
A cul-de-sac in Sacramento, CA. Photo by Henry W. Schmitt | Source

The literal translation of the French term is bottom of the bag; and in the English language it translates as dead end. However, in the neighborhood there is a live benefit to the dead end. Because families on the cul-de-sac can go nowhere else, they go to each other.

Thomas R. Hochschild Jr. who studies and promotes cul-de-sacs found “families who watched each others' children and took in each others' mail, who barbequed and orchestrated the removal of snow together, and who considered each other close friends. In cul-de-sacs, these families had a stronger sense of shared social space and territoriality. An outsider stood out.”1

Idea #1: What seems like a dead end to onlookers is actually a bonding place for those who live there.

(2) Empty House

An empty house is like a stray dog or a body from which life has departed. – Samuel Butler

That house used to be occupied until circumstances—good or bad, caused the previous residents to vacate. Now, it is an unwelcome sight, partly because of the fears and insecurities of those who are wondering:

  • Will its appearance be maintained or will it become dilapidated and decrease the value of the neighborhood?
  • What if the next person who moves in is a criminal?
  • If I have to vacate my house, will I be moving on up or down?

The house is oblivious to your fears, your judgments of your predictions; if you wait long enough, you will see it become a residence for new life.

Idea #2: Circumstances come and go; they do not change potential.


(3) Fence

Love your neighbor as yourself; but don't take down the fence. – Carl Sandburg

Black Pearl Neighborhood in New Orleans, LA  Photo by Infrogmation
Black Pearl Neighborhood in New Orleans, LA Photo by Infrogmation | Source

No matter how loving neighbors are, they crave respect for themselves and their belongings. The fence reminds everyone to observe the boundaries around their property; and it also gives them a sense of privacy. It is the responsibility of homeowners to maintain their own boundaries.

Idea #3: Just so, it is the responsibility of individual to maintain the boundaries around their hearts--their most private property.


(4) Intersection

Every intersection has a story. – Katherine Dunn

If you walk far enough, you will come to an intersection where two or more streets meet. Whether you make a turn, or cross over the adjoining street, depends on the direction you want to pursue; but having options may rouse your curiosity.

If there are other people at the intersection, you may consult with them; if not, you still have to move. You know that after you cross over or make your turn, you can always change your mind and retrace your steps. You’re sure to see something new.

Idea #4: Serendipity finds opportunity at the crossroads; don't sweat it if you can't make a quick turn.


(5) Playground

The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Playground in the San Angel neighborhood of Mexico City. Photo by Thelmadatter
Playground in the San Angel neighborhood of Mexico City. Photo by Thelmadatter | Source

The playground is accessible to all neighborhood residents. No private fences. Children and accompanying adults gather for social interaction. Cursed be those human-demons who go there looking for prey! Security will increase and play will continue, because it is a necessary part of life.

In some neighborhoods, the playground is just a clearing on an empty lot. It is more than the presence or absence of equipment. It is about playing together and fostering community spirit. You feel joy just by watching the children play.

Idea #5: Play, playground and playmates are for all ages; the harder you work, the more you deserve them.


(6) Rosebush

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. – Abraham Lincoln

The "Coluche" rosebush.   Photo by Sémhur
The "Coluche" rosebush. Photo by Sémhur | Source

Can you imagine a neighborhood without flowers? When it comes to the rosebush, an Alice Walker adaptation from the color purple seems in order: “I think it pisses God off if you walk by a rosebush in a neighborhood and don't notice it.”

The rose on the rosebush is so fragile and minute, yet its beauty quickly draws your attention to the details of its form and color. You cannot help but admire the rosebush—and the neighbor who plants it.

However, if you think you can grab it and run, think again. Those thorns will get you!

Idea #6: Those who get scratched by your thorns, are those who do not touch you carefully.


(7) Sidewalk

There is a place where the sidewalk ends. - Shel Silverstein

Bywater neighborhood in New Orleans, LA.  Photo by Infrogmation
Bywater neighborhood in New Orleans, LA. Photo by Infrogmation | Source

What do you think of your neighborhood?

See results without voting

This sidewalk quote is from the poem, Where the Sidewalk Ends2 by Shel Silverstein. The first two lines are:

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And where the street begins.

The sidewalk is your safe place. You can be more relaxed than if walking on the street. When the sidewalk ends, you have to compete with vehicles for space.

The last two lines of Silverstein’s poem reads:

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.

The poet points us to the wisdom of the children who are sidewalk-smart. They consider it an extension of the play area in their private yards. But what do they do at the place where it ends? The smart ones retreat to their safe place.

Idea #7: Leaving life’s sidewalk for life’s thoroughfare can be dangerous without preparation. It is your right to say, "I'm not ready," but don't be a child forever.


Conclusion

Have you already thought of neighborhood objects you can add to this list? Take your time. Let your next walk through your neighborhood be motivational!


References

1. Badger, Emily: CityLab, The Case for Cul-de-Sacs (10/17/2013)

2. Silverstein, Shel: Poetry Genius, Where the Sidewalk Ends (© 2014 Genius Media Group Inc.)

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Comments 62 comments

word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Hi MsDora, You surely know how to find some interesting topics to write about. I appreciate this one because it's right up my alley. I'm now a full-time real estate agent. I love looking at and showing lovely homes. Thank you for the research :-)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Only a writer could see what you have seen in this lovely piece of writing. Excellent imagination, to see all of that during a walk, and to find the words to make it meaningful for all. Bravo, Dora. This might be your best work.


RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

MsDora, what a nice sojourn and a reminder to appreciate what is right outside our doors. :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Word, thanks. You know you helped me with that cul-de-sac information. I appreciate your support.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Bill, thanks for your encouragement. You rock!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Rachel, you speak the truth. Hope we grow to appreciate our neighborhoods.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

What a unique and fantastic article; you had me smiling from the beginning. You drew out so many good points and I can't imagine there could be more but I will take a hard look the next walk I take! ^+


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Jackie, I'm smiling too. You never know. I'll keep looking too; we might surprise ourselves. Thanks for your comment.


DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

Great ideas and fantastic ways of looking at the familiar to find the unexpected.


drmiddlebrook profile image

drmiddlebrook 2 years ago from Texas, USA

Good one, MsDora. I was feeling a bit down this afternoon, and then I saw that you had published another Hub, so I decided to check it out. I'm so glad that I did. Loved the analogies. The one about "play" reminded me of a quote attributed to Bill Cosby. It says: "The essence of childhood, of course, is play, which my friends and I did endlessly on streets that we reluctantly shared with traffic." I think of this quote sometimes because it reminds me of how, as children, we owned our worlds and our experiences, and we squeezed as much enjoyment from life as we possibly could. Thank you "reconnecting" me with thoughts using neighborhoods and streets as metaphors and analogies to help us see our way a bit better as we "walk the road of life."


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Meg, I like the way you put it. That's something I always liked about Andy Rooney. Thank you.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Doc, so pleased to know that the article cheered you up. You lifted my spirits, too. Thank you.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 2 years ago from Brazil

Yes, I definitely have thought of some. Just on our short sandy lane there is much inspiration.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Blond Logic. Pleased with your feedback.


mts1098 profile image

mts1098 2 years ago from InsideTheManCave

Interesting perspective on the everyday things we see in our own "backyards"...I will take a look and let you know what I see...cheers


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Inspirational indeed. I love all the quotes, this is exceptional. Up and sharing.


Frienderal profile image

Frienderal 2 years ago from Singapore

Interesting Hub and great ideas, MsDora! :)

A place I like to check out for motivational ideas is always outside the school. After school, throngs of children would always rush out to play with their friends or meet their parents. Children's laughter and their conversations of day-to-day happenings are certainly great motivational ideas!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Hi MsDora,

I love the way you feed us information and at the same time give us so much practicality - stuff to go and grow on. Thank you so much for the effort you obviously put into your hubs.


ARUN KANTI profile image

ARUN KANTI 2 years ago from KOLKATA

MsDora,-Your excellent piece reminds me of a poem of the great poet and noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore. To simply put it what he meant is that we have not found a particle of dew on the grass outside our house even though we have visited several places. Actually one needs poetic imagination and great observation power to find beauty in what appears to be otherwise insignificant. Thank you for sharing interesting motivational ideas.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Mts, I appreciate your feedback. Thanks for your input.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Jo. I appreciate your support.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Freinderal, that would be a great subject matter. I would not want to rob you of the idea. Thank you for sharing.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Lifegate, I appreciate your comment. Long time ago, somebody taught me that people like to learn while they're having fun. I really want to include learning and fun in my articles. Grateful for your support.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This inspirational piece is beautiful, MsDora. I like the idea of scouting the neighborhood for ideas. Lately, I'm never without my camera, ready for an opportunity to take a picture and something always avails itself. There is so much beauty, even in an area where one place is well kept and the next is a piling zone. We have both out here within walking distance.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Arun, I get what the poet was saying. The ability to enjoy the familiar is a blessing. Thanks for your input.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Peg, thank you. Great idea to be camera ready. There is so much to see.


marieloves profile image

marieloves 2 years ago from Canada

This is such a unique and interesting hub! Going on walks around the neighbourhood, I always notice the amount of care people put into their lawns - one house would have weeds and tall grass everywhere while the one next door would have a beautiful garden with a cut lawn. It makes me wonder if it is a reflection of the people that live there.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Marie, there's a topic to explore. Would be interesting. Thank you for your input.


Ann1Az2 profile image

Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

MsDora, next time I walk through my neighborhood, I will see it with different eyes - thank you. I love the one about the rose. I have roses and caught a 10 year old picking them one day - we've been friends ever since, even though I asked her not to pick them without permission from then on, which she hasn't.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

This is awesome! The lessons to be learned from simple objects and observation abound. We just need to open our hearts and minds.

This is a wonderful piece of writing, Dora!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ann, thank you for commenting. Happy that you can have both your friend and your rose. Hope you enjoy your neighborhood on your next walk through, more than ever.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you, Shauna. I appreciate your kind comment.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

This is thoughtful, insightful and very well written, Ms. Dora. I have learned from this to be more mindful of even the smallest things around me, because everyone's neighborhood is precious and there are hidden jewels here and there that have a story behind them. Wonderful hub.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

You've given me some things to think about. I live in the country, so we don't have sidewalks; however, I think I can find similar motivations while driving around my area.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Mona, thanks for your kind comment. I agree that hidden jewels are everywhere. Hope you find some.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Shiela, I bet there are many ideas in a country setting. Thanks for your input.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States

This is a very fascinating article and to see so much in a walk, then apply it to your life is brilliant. I enjoyed this hub very much. Voted up!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Pamela. I am so pleased that you enjoyed the article. Thank you for your kind comment.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I know my neighborhood fairly well and lots of interesting events goes on here. A simple way to know more about life.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Devika, surely we learn much about life in our neighborhood. Thanks for your comment.


stricktlydating profile image

stricktlydating 2 years ago from Australia

I love walking my neighborhood and this Hub made me smile :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

StrictlyDating, so pleased that we made you smile. Thanks for letting me know.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

Your metaphors are beautiful and you see the good in your neighborhood. It certainly is a motivational walk. All's right with the world.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Suzette. It seems that when we are willing to be motivated, motivation find us.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

What a beautiful article, MsDora! I always love the topics you come up with to write about and you always make them so interesting and they are always excellent and thought-provoking.

I really loved this one. I always try to take note of all that is around me while taking a walk, and I always find something new to appreciate.

Voted up ++++ and away

God bless.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Faith, you're a positive spirit and I'm sure that the neighborhood notices you as much you notice the neighborhood. Thanks for your input.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

What a creative look at how to live well. Thanks for the walk and the talk.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Flourish, nice to see you. Thank you for dropping by and commenting.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

positive feeling hub Msdora feels good when reading voted awesome :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Frank, positive is good. Always happy to hear from you.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I enjoyed walking the neighborhood with you. Excellent inspiration and views of life within a community. I miss the days when neighbors were part of one's family.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Thank you, Teaches! Perhaps it has to do with our age; I miss those days too.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Lessons to be learnt everywhere from MsDora. Very motivational work here. Thanks.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Hi Rajan Jolly, thanks for the feedback on this piece. You're right. Interesting lessons everywhere.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 2 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

This is an inspirational hub on a subject that I wouldn't have thought could bring such thoughts and reflections to.

Great job with this hub. I enjoy the quotes and your own ideas and thoughts about neighborhoods.

Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a fantastic weekend!

~ Kathryn


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

A pleasant weekend to you too, Kathryn. The neighborhood topic was in my mind for a while before I manage to put it together. Happy that you found some inspiration, and thanks for leaving a valuable comment.


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

This is inspirational, for those times when ideas of what to write about just aren't coming.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Ologsinquito, you've got the right idea. Sometimes there are objects we don't see because we take them for granted.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for sharing these great object lessons "from the neighborhood!"


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

You're Welcome, RT. Perhaps, you'll also find some in your neck of the woods.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 13 months ago from South Africa

What an interesting hub! I love what you see in your neighbourhood, MsDora!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 13 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks, Martie. So far everyone who answered the poll think that they can find some motivation in their neighborhood. We probably can more if we had the time to look.

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    Dora Isaac Weithers (MsDora)946 Followers
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    MsDora, former teacher and Certified Christian Counselor explores attitudes and actions which can help us maintain our mental well-being.



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