The Architecture of Your Soul comes as an idea of taking a closer look at the creating the life we desire through the symbolic metaphorical approach of the Soul as a House. Building a house starts from a solid foundation. From the cellar then goes up a set of walls and a roof with an attic is the last one to come up to crown the building. If a foundation is strong enough the walls and the roof can withstand any weather.
I find that a lot of time we forget about this premise in the understanding, experiencing and creating of our soul. We are constantly bombarded by information, news and societal rules, and influenced by the beliefs of others since the time we were babies.
When we grow up those beliefs and often complicated systems of symbols continue to rule our lives. We experience ourselves as part of those rules, emotions, and behaviors that were instilled in us many years ago, in the midst of the mythology of that life that is expected of us. We begin to live into the story we heard many times of ourselves, and sometimes way into our 40s or 50s, only leaving us to wish for something more, better, deeper and more profoundly complete, that we wish we could have created by ourselves.
Well, that is no wonder!
Have you even been in a house that has no walls? Or no windows? Or let alone, no foundation? How does it feel for you to be and imagine, live and operate in a house like this?
Not desirable, I can suppose. Without the walls the ceiling collapses to the floor, there is no place to insert doors, and without the windows it is hard to know the time of day. Without the foundation, the house will be blown away with the next winter blizzard, or a hurricane wind. And…. We are not in Kansas anymore. Blown to pieces, the house is a ruin and there need to be a lot of rebuilding, remodeling and healing, before we can begin again, and our life has to start over. I think , it is too complicated and much too expensive!
Yet, many buildings in modern architecture are built in a way that changed the outlook of modern architecture, changing the way we perceive our life, and ourselves. Many people I meet are ill-informed, have unfounded beliefs and risk the heart of their home every day. They feel, talk and live like they lost their soul and are looking to find it, along with the meaning of their life.
As an architect, I pay attention to the way buildings are built and decorated. Even though it has been over 20 years since I worked on a blueprint with a pencil in my hand, in my world, everything is architecture. Structural foundation of the person who is well-formed is not unlike a well-conceived and well-executed building.
So let’s start from the start. How does it work to create a building as a metaphor for a fulfilling life and a balanced behavior?
As a start, consider the floor plan. on the floor plan the first thing to be considered is the situating the building on the property. The main road leads to the main entrance (not to the garage door through which many American families welcome their guests.) In many American houses the main entrance is a decoration, and is not used, or utilized in any way. Not quite believing this information when I came to the United States and still worked as an architect, I often wondered about the way function overtook the design and how convoluted the pathways we in a house where traditional architectural design could not adapt to new functions. When we arrive in a car, in most suburbian houses, we find ourselves in the garage and carry bags straight into the kitchen, where it is most convenient, to bring the groceries to the refrigerator and the pantry. In one of the houses I have visited, the front door in permanently closed and doesn’t even have a footpath leading to it, instead, the main entrance begins from the car lot in the back yard through a terrace, leading to the kitchen where the family (and guests) spend most of their time.
What happened to the beauty, appearance and style? All is changed, and in a confusing way. The front of the house, called the facade, is carefully planned by architects and executed with most care, is the one to be shown to a buyer of the house, but quickly forgotten as the use of the house begins.
What we forget is when we grow up the ways for us to be are “designed” by our parents, care-givers, family, school, peers, church and government. They plan for us with their expectations and instilling their beliefs in us. Some of them come handy, as we learn how to behave in public, or who won the war. Often beliefs are of little help when it comes to actually using the capacity of our own mind and body. We find our creative flow interrupted with inertia to follow the footsteps of those who tread before us. Sometimes we rebel against the known breaking the rules and living on the edge. Neither one way is well-designed without a solid foundation.
And most of the time we are confused by unprecedented situations arising in the work place or at home, and revert to repeating unconsciously the patterns of behavior our caregivers modeled for us. Sometimes those patterns carry us through to a safe place on the other end of the situation. Most of the time it is just pure luck. Without a solid foundation, and careful “planning” we might end up as a house without a front door.
I’d like to talk about the way we life in this house of our soul. When there is a soul and the energy of the house is a living, vibrant excited and transforming flow, we find that we have a place for every activity, feeling, emotion in every moment. We properly nourish ourselves, in the kitchen, and dining room, exercise our body and mind via daily activity of choice in our living room, spending time with those whom we love and who love us, and have place to rejuvenate, cleanse and replenish our energy, in the bathroom, and of course, most importantly, have a comfortable and safe place to rest, in the bedroom.
Solid foundation is important. And with this, why don’t we plan for a little cellar, where we can play, store, and retreat. The foundation can carry the building through a storm or a tornado, blizzard and drought, and any kind of temperature change, on the outside, keeping it safe and consistent, calm and quiet on the inside.
Inside the cellar, it does not matter, whether the walls are circular of collapsable, as long as the foundation is well-formed. So often I find that we forget that inside us there is this foundation that can keep us safe and secure. When the storm hits, and the situation changes, we forget about the cellar, we see ourselves on the roof as the only place to be in a weather like this. The roof may not be strong, or worse yet, we loose control of holding on and fall down, to find ourselves in damage after the weather passes. Instead remembering about the foundation and the safe-keeping cellar is the better way of experiencing the weather. That is at least until we build a roof to be able to sustain through the tough weather sitting on the top. Instead of identifying with emotions and situations, why not separate ourselves for a time-being and let ourselves regain the composure in a safe place in the cellar.
Of course, I am also pointing out the importance of properly run kitchen is important and perhaps just as important a well ventilated bedroom with a comfortable bed. Learning to rest before sleep brings profound results, and is the beginning of creating a safe and secure ability to enjoy the foundation, as well as the rest of the building. In a healthy building there is a healthy life. A healthy life leads to a bloom of a beautiful soul.
I hope you enjoyed the little excursion to the architecture of the soul, and no doubt we’ll continue to explore it further as a house of life.