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Want Motivation? Walk Through Your Neighborhood

Updated on November 6, 2018
MsDora profile image

MsDora, former teacher and Certified Christian Counselor, explores attitudes and actions that can help us maintain our mental well-being.

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.

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

(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)

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

(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.

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

(3) Fence

Good fences make good neighbors. - Robert Frost

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.

(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.

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

(5) Playground

The true object of all human life is play. – Gilbert K. Chesterton

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.

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

(6) Rosebush

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

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!

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

(7) Sidewalk

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

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.

What do you think of your neighborhood?

See results

Conclusion

Have you already thought of neighborhood objects you can add to this list? Take your time. Be motivated the next time you walk through your neighborhood!


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.)

Comments

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    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      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.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      3 years ago from South Africa

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      4 years ago from the short journey

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 

      4 years ago from USA

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      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.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 years ago from USA

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      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.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • stricktlydating profile image

      StricktlyDating 

      4 years ago from Australia

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 years ago from Sunny Florida

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 

      4 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.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 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.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you, Shauna. I appreciate your kind comment.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      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.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 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!

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 

      4 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.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • marieloves profile image

      Marie 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      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.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Jo. I appreciate your support.

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • ARUN KANTI profile image

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 

      4 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.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      4 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.

    • Frienderal profile image

      Frienderal 

      4 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!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      4 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

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

    • profile image

      mts1098 

      4 years ago

      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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Blond Logic. Pleased with your feedback.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 years ago from Brazil

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • drmiddlebrook profile image

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 

      4 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."

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      4 years ago from Northern Ireland

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, thanks for your encouragement. You rock!

    • MsDora profile imageAUTHOR

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

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

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 

      4 years ago from United States

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

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 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.

    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      4 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 :-)

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