How to Thrive in a Less Than Ideal Location

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 you need to do is to reclaim your environment by creating a sacred space. Sacred means “made or declared holy” and includes the idea of “set apart.” Even if you live in a hovel with Messy McMess, find a corner, mantle, bathroom, nightstand, chair, closet, or room that you can clean, clear, decorate and dedicate to you. Size doesn’t matter. Even a corner of a bookshelf, consciously cleaned and intentionally claimed begins the sympathetic magic process of exerting more of your own energy over an incompatible location.

Once you choose a spot, you’ll attract opportunities to charm and enhance other areas. Instead of feeling oppressed by your environment, your field of influence grows and transmutes your surroundings. “As Within, So Without” very often begins with one tiny external shift.


Above, you can see an Element Altar, hidden in plain view, right in the center of our home. This little spot has featured different objects over the years, but I created it from Day One in order to honor the Elements — Earth, Air, Fire, and Water — in our home, celebrating and respecting Nature front and center in a region of the country that defiantly does not.

I’m an artist, so I know the power of color and symbols to shape space (and reality). Our home is filled with painted portal doors, crystals, plants, handcrafted furniture and loads of books, which I find both grounding and uplifting. Orgonite also radically heals, grounds and changes the energy of a sick, depressed or EMF filled location. I’m fortunate that David and I have similar tastes, and he indulges my penchant for feng shui. I’ve lived with people who did not appreciate such things, though, and that situation makes it even more important to claim some small spot as your very own sacred space.

If you really have no room for an altar or sitting room and no money for crystals and orgonite, then say a prayer, go outside and look for some kind of talisman to trigger your imagination’s flight to a secret, sacred space. It might be a twig that symbolically connects you to the roots and branches of a tree — or to the Faery Realm. It might be a rock you keep in your pocket, which transports you as a literal Touchstone to an alternate reality. If you have relics from a journey to somewhere you dearly love, you can also use these pieces as tactile objects that open sacred space within your memory and imagination.

Whatever you find, receive it with gratitude. Even a few moments in sacred space can begin to recharge you and provide ideas for creating even more sacredness in your home. In my case, that little Element Altar has expanded throughout most of our house, across two abundantly beautiful and productive yards, and into a second house next door that eventually presented itself for a writing office, classroom, gathering space and guesthouse. Everyone who enters that house feels the power of color and a womb-like nurturing and peace, and this “public” house has also had the effect of making our own home much more private.

Many people around town know our yards, because they stand out so much from their surroundings. Others have great difficulty finding the yards and houses, because the vibration of our sacred space has now diverged so much from our surroundings that we exist in an alternate Universe. No exaggeration. This shift happened by desire, design and action, which in turn fueled greater desire, visions and creation.

Put Down Roots to Open Pathways

It sounds counterintuitive to put down roots somewhere you do not wish to stay; however, we live in a vibrational Universe. If you wish to align with somewhere that does feel like home, then metaphorical or literal roots anchor you to the vibration of feeling grounded and rooted.


This yard used to be the most depressing, uninviting mess of forlorn stumps, invasive species, bald “lawn,” and discarded junk. Again, no exaggeration. The neatly lined pathways utilized a pile of busted up concrete from the apartment next door, and they now house perennial flowers, shrubs and edibles, creating curves and swirls in an otherwise angular region.

If your location fails to reflect your inner being, then accept the challenge to express yourself in bigger, deeper ways. Make friends with locals, especially if you want to leave. You don’t need a lot of friends in your area, but become friendlier with at least a token one or two people so that you honor the vibrations of hospitality and harmony. I’ve encountered some of the most amazing people hidden away in the least likely spots on the planet. Deprivation can enhance appreciation, just like a meal with nutrients you need tastes unbelievably delicious.

Another term for medicinal weeds like dandelion, plantain, dock, comfrey and thistles is “pioneer species.” In permaculture, we recognize how their deep taproots heal disturbed, compacted, unhealthy land. Living in an inhospitable location forces you to shrivel up and die, or to grow long, strong roots. (I recommend the latter.) When you can’t find soul nourishment on the surface, your deep taproot extends far beyond your comfort zone, resulting in extreme depth, strength and resilience. Most people who live somewhere they wish they could leave try to avoid taking root, but forging your way into the Underworld helps you develop skills and power you never knew you needed. Once reclaimed, those skills and powers open pathways to worlds you never knew existed.

If You Don’t Like the View, Then Change Your Perspective

You need to “adjust your attitude.” Easier said than done, right? Yeah, but here’s the key, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Cover as many signs of ugliness as you possibly can. Below, you can see the morning glories and decorative trellises that extend our inside outward, providing even stronger shifts between sacred and profane. Lucky jade and a collection of gorgeous, air purifying indoor plants line the window sill and act as a further privacy shield and room divider with indoor blooms and attractive natural lines.


You can use this principle to shift ANYTHING. If you don’t like the sounds, then play music you love — in earbuds if you can’t play it out loud. If you don’t like smells, then break out the HEPA filters and essential oils. If you can’t stand your old couch but can’t afford a new one, check out or throw a colorful blanket or slipcover over it. If your local restaurants don’t cater to your own dietary needs and preferences, then take this opportunity to become the most amazing cook.

By shifting the focus and energy from deprivation to abundant preference, you reassert yourself as a vibrational match for those preferences. Having and experiencing more joy and compatibility open doors to having and experiencing even more joy and compatibility. Don’t get stuck on the idea that these are only “surface changes.” We create as we observe. If you want something, then it really helps to bring at least a token of that something into your daily experience.

Find Your Why

We live in a vibrational Universe, but also in a world of contrasts. Sometimes creative, loving, and high vibe people get “strategically placed” in areas that need huge energetic help. People who carry the vibration of beautiful, amenities-rich, resort-like places often arrive like “seed bombs” in areas of extreme deprivation. When a population has experienced generational poverty of money, spirit and/or imagination, unspecified longings for something more often magnetize cultural creatives to that location. These people feel mysteriously led to live in these locations, or external forces seem to trap them there. Many clients in this situation ask me — in all seriousness — if they’re cursed or doomed to live somewhere they despise.

Recognizing a greater purpose and balance to your situation allows for faster embracing of it, which decreases resistance to moving along to something better. It seems easy to rail against contrast; however, that disharmony only makes you more of a match for a disharmonious location. Remembering the beauty within you and offering it from a place of service lifts your environment into your own vibration, rather than dragging your vibration into the pain or poverty of your environment.


Before leaving beautiful Sonoma County, California, I had six months of dreams explicitly telling me to “move to Northern Indiana with my true love.” Those dreams haunted me enough to get divorced and move halfway across the country, but not enough to jump into flyover territory. I dodged the dreams for three years by living on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago and then in lovely Madison, Wisconsin.

But Fate caught up with me in the form of love, when housemate turned partner (and now husband) David cautiously announced he might “need to move to Indiana to help [his] aging parents.” Given my list of previous locations, he expected me to say no, but those dreams had prepared me with a sense of purpose. Without having set foot in Goshen, I agreed to move there: “That’s fine. I knew I’d end up there somehow. You don’t have six months of recurring dreams like that for no reason.” On the surface, it appeared I needed to support David as he supported his parents, but upon moving here, it also became clear this plot of land and really the entire area needed a giant infusion of faery magic.

We came here for service, and we did not expect the vast returns we have received. We’ve nearly completed our mission here, and no, we haven’t always liked it. But we both remain aware and grateful for the massive shedding and growth we’ve experienced in Goshen. Dozens of posts could not fully describe the layers of benefits, enhancements and deep capacity for appreciation we’ve developed in this crucible. The pressure and shredding of old beliefs and self conceptions (11:11 as I type this) have alchemized into things we could not previously imagine. We’ve each earned and learned volumes of knowledge we would not have even known to research. We have honed awareness of what we do and do not want, and we continue to explore and clarify new and forgotten aspects of ourselves as we shift our energies towards our intended new life together.

If Earth Feels Like the Wrong Location …

Given the challenges we face as a nation, culture and planet, I know that many people feel that Earth Herself is “the wrong location.” If you find yourself longing for a vastly different world or experience, all these same tips apply. We live in a multi-dimensional world of incredible variety and opportunity. Watch for unexpected openings. This portal within a portal — sunlight through a lemon tree whose blossoms synchronously participated in a phone session — appeared for just a few moments, as a client and I discussed Sufism, swirling dances and the incredible quantum entanglement of our reality:


It was a quiet yet stunning illustration of that very connection we were then discussing. A lemon blossom fell off the tree and exploded in fragrant midair just as I suggested my client could pull apart the building blocks of a health issue and recreate them as something new by using skills she had learned as a Sufi. Right after I mentioned this moment as a portal and snapped a photo, the light changed, and that particular portal disappeared. Someone who walked into that room at any other moment would not have seen or felt the portal, and I know I’m not doing it justice here.

My point is: portals exist. Touchstones, vibrational shifts, sympathetic magic, true Love and real Light shine through in the strangest moments. When you feel stuck, lighten up. Give the Universe a chance to light YOU up. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite montages from two who “got” it:

34 responses to this post.

  1. Great post! Thanks for the reminder Laura. Sometimes I feel like I’ve outgrown this world and you show me I still have a few things to learn. 😊


  2. And teach! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. love seeing the tapestry portal working its magick….home is where the heart is, as they say. once peace is found there, then anywhere can be whatever you want to make it ❤ the inner sanctum of the heart is our solace…sometimes all we have and all that matters

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Posted by Eliza Ayres on January 19, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    Beautiful. Thanks, Laura.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Posted by Mitch on January 19, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Wonderful post Laura! I didn’t know you had dreams about moving to Indiana with your future husband, wow! So wonderful! The chalice looks lovely on the ‘happy’ shelf!
    Big hugs ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Posted by CindyW on January 19, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    yes, great post – I met a massage therapist here a couple of years ago and we said to each other, “what are we doing here?” (we’d lived elsewhere seemingly more compatible) and we both decided it was some version of us being those “seed pods”. The portal is gorgeous! Reminds me of a woman in a similar print I saw in a moment at the Metropolitan Museum 2 years ago, and I flashed in idea she was “Persian”. And of course, the Rumi quote is lovely (one of my favourites of his is “One Altar” or “One Song”).

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Reblogged this on unity2013.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you, Tania! Yes, the tapestry from you continues to wow, especially in winter when the garden outside has much less color. One thing I’ve learned being here is that I carry the magic and natural connection within. I’ve been surprised by how much continues to pour out, but it also helps making so many trips to Michigan to refill the cup! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Thank you, Eliza!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you, Mitch! Oh, yes … dreams of me painting portal doors and moving to Indiana plagued me so much in California that for many months I woke up confused where I was. I told my friend and she found two doors in her garage. She and her dad brought them to me to paint. Once I did that, I reallllly felt like I was in the wrong reality. In my sleep, I already lived in the house where David and I now live, which was not yet even built then, and I had never met nor heard of David. It was a very odd time. When my dreams started telling me if I did not leave California I would die, I manifested a way out of there … but yeah, lots of dreams.

    And the chalice is so lovely, thank you again! My friend Linette and I used it during our tree blessing here on the 17th. It held some tart cherry juice to pour on the sour cherry tree who volunteered to stand in for all the fruit and nut trees here. Big hugs ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you, Cindy. Yes, you are another seed pod in Indiana, no doubt! Tania gave me the tapestry as a house warming gift for the blue house. It’s in my writing office, but I sometimes do sessions in there on the rocker in front of my fire place/electric space heater.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Posted by Cheryl on January 19, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    What an absolutely wonderful, enlightening and inspiring post……so delightful…..

    One morning I was sitting in a little chair in the living room of my cabin. I looked up, and on the ledge to the loft sat a very large rock I had acquired that had crystal points all over it’s surface. This one and only time since I have had it, the Sun coming through the upstairs window was striking the crystals and setting them ablaze in a magical moment. I could hardly believe what I was seeing, and was so amazed I called Tom over to see it as well. We were both in aw…. We have never seen it since….. What a beautiful portal and blessing to participate in…..Thank you Dear Heart….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Posted by Nikkoale on January 20, 2017 at 12:10 am

    A couple of months ago, I met a beautiful Holly Tree in my neighbors’ yard, and I told it that I would love to someday have a Holly for the Garden. On my walkabout near the pond today, guess what I found… yes! a Holly! 🙂 And it is not too far from The Bench. I have been wondering since then whether I should transplant the tree. I saw the title to this post as I was surfing looking up to see if Holly thrives in moist soil. Hmm… How to Thrive in Less Than Ideal Locations… There’s your sign, Nikkoale. The Holly stays where it is.

    My own sacred space there with the Bench has really changed things. There is a Great Blue Heron that visits the pond, and it was resting right next to the Bench the other day. And TWO Bald Eagles, an adult and a juvenile that is just beginning to get some white on it, are spending a lot of time at the pond. And, of course, the Fae are always around.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Reblogged this on Illuminations Now!!.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Posted by Linette on January 20, 2017 at 9:19 am

    This is among the most powerful lessons you have taught me in person ❤ I feel we have a few more years here in Goshen, and this lesson will prove life-and sanity-saving! Thanks for the reminder about portals, too. That feels important today.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Posted by Linette on January 20, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I have to comment again after watching the video…wow! I love that! I’ll be reblogging this and sharing on FB.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Posted by Linette on January 20, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Even if your less than ideal location is this planet at this time, Laura Bruno has some exceedingly wise advice on how to cope, and thrive. Be sure to watch the video, The Big Electron!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you, Cheryl! That is a powerful experience you’ve shared here. I love hearing stories like that. 🙂 Continued blessings …

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Nikkoale, you do live in a magical place! I would agree that if you wished for a Holly, and the Holly appeared right by your special spot, then it stays there. I have found that Holly like more water than their reputation indicates. I moved two small Holly to the front of the blue house, and they are so much happier there with both more sun and more water. The florist who did our wedding flowers also swears by deeply and regularly watering her Holly. So! I would say the magic continues. How wonderful to have bald eagles and heron there, too. 🙂 And Fae!


  20. Thanks for sharing the post and your comments, Linette. I do hope that when we move it works for you to move in here, but we shall see how it all unfolds! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Posted by Linette on January 20, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I hope so, too, but if not, I will apply your advice with redoubled vigilance! ::raises painted stick with pine cone affixed to the end of it::

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Posted by Kieron on January 21, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Clearly, you touched a nerve with this post. I recognize myself having done a lot of what you have recommended, indoors and out, but there’s always room for so much more to manifest! 🙂

    “… but forging your way into the Underworld helps you develop skills and power you never knew you needed. Once reclaimed, those skills and powers open pathways to worlds you never knew existed.”

    Very true and so nicely phrased. Those of us who have gone to the Underworld and lived to tell the tale will recognize the truth of this one! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thanks for chiming in, Kieron! You’ve done some amazing transformation from the photos I’ve seen! Very happy faeries. 🙂


  24. Posted by C Wells on January 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    I love this post Laura!!!!!!!!! And you for posting it!! All so so true and what I believe deep inside and how I live my life (when awake!). Many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thanks and you’re welcome, C Wells!


  26. Fab post
    Can relate to it so well as I am currently stuck in a city I do not enjoy or relate to in any way, interesting how you said to make roots – I currently live out of a suitcase and do not make an effort to know locals because I think it keeps me in a temporary mindset.
    The idea of laying down roots does not appeal at all least I stay stuck in this hell hole longer than I am required to be.
    But thank you for the incite and opening my mind to possibilities x

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Thank you! I know it seems very counterintuitive to put down roots, but it does seem to open doors big time, especially if you have been strategically placed somewhere. The quicker you do whatever you came there to do, the sooner things open for you to leave. Sometimes, that is knowing people. Sometimes, it’s healing the land. Sometimes, it’s connecting with a particular book via a bookshop, etc. … but do whatever works for you! Best of luck! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:

    So many clients have specifically mentioned this article during recent sessions, and so many others have requested I send it to them, that this post obviously wants to go up again. It seems timely, too, as David and I gain momentum mid-process of a big shift ourselves, TBA once the rest of the pieces fall into place. 😉


  29. Posted by Dawn Vierra on March 18, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Reblogged this on Deer Heart Reiki Blog and commented:
    Such a supportive and timely post for many. Thank you dear Laura and look forward to your new news!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Reblogged this on eat • to • evolve and commented:
    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…


  31. Thanks for sharing this, Diana. It’s really been “up” in sessions lately!

    Liked by 1 person

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