The architecture of your life

Certainly master-planned communities and, in some cases, a master-planned life, hold relevance in our brief visit to this planet.

by Marlene Buffa — 

In today’s society of cookie-cutter houses and manufactured homes, the concept of custom-designed residences faces extinction. We are complacently losing ourselves in the rhythmic waves of repetition amid a sea of conformity. In the face of our esteem’s wishful hunger, we thirst for personal expression that only individualism can quench. With uniformity’s increasing encroachment on our psyches, and our struggle with the demands of expediency, writing our own life story eludes us.

Certainly master-planned communities and, in some cases, a master-planned life, hold relevance in our brief visit to this planet. Equally as certain have been the rare characters who not only walked the earth, but lived according to their own plans. They exemplified the unique qualities of divine design.

Like houses, the many different rooms of our personalities form a complete entity. When we plan our dream home, we carefully map out the doorways and hallways, assigning specific purposes to each room. Sometimes we even plan empty rooms or open spaces, looking ahead to a need for flexibility in later years. However, the floor plan of our own life rarely commands such compartmentalization or identification of purpose.

Our lives, however simple or complicated, consist of three primary components: work, personal and social. You can think of these three components as equal portions of a pie. In order for one slice to grow larger, the other two must shrink to maintain the 100 percent of the pie. When a third of our persona overflows or overlaps into one of the other thirds, the result can be imbalance. We strive for that delicate balance between these three areas, and can experience peace when the whole equalizes.

Work — Almost any biography relates a story that details the person’s lifework or occupation. Most biographies revolve around an accomplishment derived through vocation (or war), and this perspective provides the label by which future generations recognize that person. Life stories run the gamut of:

• Happenstance. “I never dreamed in a million years I’d be doing this type of work.”

• Vocation. “I knew from a very young age. It’s like I was called to do this.”

• External influences. “One thing led to another and here I am, a radio show host.”

• Determination. “I wanted to be a doctor and would let nothing get in my way.”

We unearth insight by understanding a person’s patterns — the approaches he or she took. The fascination lies not entirely with the person’s shining career, but rather in the architecture of their human spirit which drew them from one room of life to another, eventually creating a notable landmark on our world.

Social — Like the second slice of the well-lived pie, the biographer examines how the subject fits into society. As readers, we relate to the individual’s integration into their social circle and identify with how their friends, family and colleagues held them in regard. Somewhat quantifiable in a reader’s mind, the painted picture of the individual gives us more than a glimpse from behind the museum ropes — it offers us an insight and understanding of the person as a human being, separate from his or her noteworthy life. In addition, the biographer dutifully presents the subject’s worldly struggles and pitfalls, mostly because those stories depict humanity and a point of common ground for us. And finally, the biography reaches resolution by demonstrating the impact the person made on the world around them.

Personal — The old adage, “You can choose your friends, not your relatives,” is evident in the pages of many biographies. In this slice of life, we learn that remarkable lives rarely, if ever, rise to distinction on a solo path. Either buoyed or anchored by family or friends, we read how personal relationships contributed to charting the course of the subject’s life. From colleagues to business partners, the role of those we choose to include on our path can be equally as important as the family into which we were born. We absorb a biographical story not for the subject’s literal relationships, but rather for how he or she overcame the objections and stumbling blocks put in their path by family and friends. We also learn how they rose to success in their field by virtue of their own abilities and determination supported by the sturdy foundation provided by those closest to them. When we read about these models of achievement, we can begin to design and build our own lives utilizing the transoms of supportive, empowering minds.

If you visualize your life as a building, what sort of structure are you? Are you the tallest and proudest high-rise among your peers? By being the most outstanding, your purpose may be to assist the less significant around you so that they may grow and prosper, as well. Do you blend in with the others in close proximity, distinguishable only by your address? By quietly incorporating yourself into the herd of your local culture, you may support a need that is best filled by the greater whole. Does your life serve a unique purpose irrespective of those around you? You could be the shoe repair shop in the middle of a bustling downtown center — small and demure in stature, but necessary and prosperous.

One brick at a time, we build our lives according to the blueprint we set forth. Aware of our plans or not, we construct a life for ourselves using the tools and abilities we possess. When we balance our work, social and personal experiences as we move through the hallways of life, we find that these areas complement one another rather than work at odds. Just as all the rooms in a home connect and interrelate, the events and people in our lives serve a purpose as they work together for our greater good. You are the architect of your own life — build a good foundation, fortify and insulate your walls, and fill your rooms with love.


Marlene Buffa has degrees in communications and psychology. A student of new-thought teachings, she seeks wisdom through her observation of interrelationships in our daily lives. or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 5, October/November 2007.

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