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Bringing back Balance

I remember the feelings of not having balance in my life. It’s what I’ve been seeking my whole life: peace, balance and harmony.  Now that I have a sense of it I want those closest to me to understand the significance that balance has on ALL aspects of our precious lives.

I need to take you back in time to a younger, grey-less version of myself. I was working towards an architectural degree while working for a large firm. I was blessed with a young family. I was working endless hours in a demanding office. If the partners had their way I would have slept there. After spending a few precious hours with my family I descended to my basement studio to work on my final thesis … a journey that took two years to complete. I won’t sugar coat it. The journey took its toll on me and my family.

We had decided to move to London to start a new life. It was a rare opportunity to help manage an expanding architectural firm that recently won a major hospital restructuring project.  Add to the chaos in my life that I didn’t know all that much about hospital design and construction. The learning curve was steep. We didn’t have any family around us. They were a couple of hours away. I was doing my best at burning the candle at both ends. I was unhealthy, underpaid and overworked physically, emotionally and spiritually.

As I sit in our cozy cabin in the heart of the Laurentians in Quebec . . . ‘the place’ I find myself experiencing peace, balance and harmony. It’s the life that Angela and I longed to create and experience: 

- a LIFE where we exist in harmony with nature. 

- a LIFE where we create meaningful work in the world.

- a LIFE free of the chase.

It’s a simple life - a delicious life - a life where we continually develop the capacity to savor less. 

Ironically, I transitioned away from architecture around twenty five years ago. As a professional writer, speaker and inspired publisher I exist to creatively inspire people and their ideas to action. My journey is one of building buildings to ‘building up people’. I had a glimpse of this life years ago. The seed of an idea. It was as if my current self reached through time with the intent to help me conceive it, believe it, and take inspired action toward its attainment. I now feel a bit like a case study in the recent documentary Blue Zones.

We chose to design and build a Scandinavian-style cabin set upon a hilltop overlooking a majestic forest. It’s our first spring. The snow is finally beginning its slow arduous melt. Along with its descent the truth of what we built a few short months ago has come to light. For the past month I’ve been working outdoors preparing and repairing the land. It’s hard work, laying and spreading crushed stone, digging trenches to allow the mountainous water to flow safely and freely around the perimeter of our acre and half property. I’m reminded of my grandfather and his ancestors building and cultivating their topographical terrain in Italy. It takes time, perseverance, patience and a really good pair of hiking boots.  As a former architect I like things finished well.  I don’t do well living in mud. It’s the end result that keeps me focused: a lovely cabin nestled amongst a field of lush and wispy wild flowers, scented lavender and towering tall grasses. It’s laborious work but it’s rewarding work. I feel a new strength coursing through my body. I feel a deeper sense of pride and arrival for what we have accomplished, the courage and belief it took to get here.

What I have humbly learned along this journey is that balance is achieved through intention and action. My morning practice begins at 5:30am with yoga followed by a deep meditation and visualization exercise. I slow things down by grinding my coffee beans all the while grinning at the frothy contrast of my younger self blazing through a Tim Hortons drive through in the dark … the feeling of cattle in line at the trough. I sit in my oversized ‘Mondo’ reading chair savoring my freshly-brewed latte while reading to Angela. We linger deliciously in the present moment. We smile at one another as an oversized hare hops joyfully along a fallen tree at the rear of our property. Two majestic blue jays have returned with a peaceful serenade. I feel the presence of my Italian grandparents as they soar and flutter by. A whisper of the changing of seasons feathers in the spring-scented air. 

For the first time in my life I can actually ‘FEEL’ my life. I delight in anticipation for the day ahead. A delivery of 150 bags of triple mix soil just arrived. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and begin planting our new gardens.  

- This is my balance. 

- This is my peace. 

- This is my harmony.

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