Understanding The Architecture And Environment Of Your Life

TMIC 2 | Architecture And Environment

Are you aware of the current architecture and environment of your life? If you do not understand where you are right now and how it impacts your experiences, you could get stuck and cease growing. Chad Lefevre and September Dohrmann discuss jumping into your creative space and becoming the architect of the life you truly want to live. They also talk about letting go of your unhealthy attachments to physical things, the right way to treat your emotions as an indicator system, and how to listen to the voice of the environment you are in right now.

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Understanding The Architecture And Environment Of Your Life

We’re so happy to have you here, September. How are you doing?

Fantastic. I shared that this is patio weather here in Florida and it’s been perfect getting into nature and to be able to sit out there comfortably and enjoy all of that. It’s very charging, I would say. I feel very charged.

I know exactly what you’re talking about. I remember when I lived in Las Vegas. This was the time of year when everyone was sitting outside on the patio. It’s very different from my years living in Canada because this is not patio season in the northern part of the country.

Absolutely not. I feel charged. I feel good. How are you feeling?

I’m pretty good. I feel like I’m coming down with a bit of a cold, but I’m pressing through it and I’m not going to let it take me out, so maybe I need a little bit of rest. All in all, I feel good. I’m very excited about life and about where we’re headed with everything that we’re working on right now. I’m excited to be, as always, working with you and sharing in these very informative conversations that hopefully will help elevate and open some possibilities for people. I’m curious what you’ve got on your mind.

I have an architectural environment heavily on my mind.

I don’t think that’s a song Billy Joel would’ve sung, but nevertheless.

Yes. It’s come up in conversation with you several times. I’m having my own personal environment experience of being more aware of my environment. That obviously takes self-awareness to be aware of your environment. Is it supporting you? It leads me to what you’ve been talking about that you’re actually thinking about moving because your current environment is not supporting you any longer.

That happens probably to most people throughout life. You get into one environment and it serves you or you think it serves you at that moment in time, then the longer you’re there, you’re growing and you’re evolving. Spiritual or religious people will appreciate this. You can read the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, or any of these books that have been around for thousands of years and haven’t changed, or any text, it doesn’t have to be a religious text.

Anytime you read a text that is rich, vibrant, and has a lot of meaning for you, if you read it one time, and then a year later you reread it again, somehow it occurs to you as totally different. The experience of it is totally different. That’s because you’ve changed. Your experiences have changed. Your worldview may have changed. Your perceptual filter through which you are interpreting the information has changed. It’s always fresh. You get something new out of it. Our environment or the environment we live in, we also have that same experience.

One year, we might be living in an environment or living in a house and it totally aligns with who we are. It checks all of the boxes. It fits exactly what it is that fills us up and makes us feel content, peaceful, empowered, or whatever the experience is. A year goes by or two years go by, suddenly, maybe it’s not doing that for you anymore. It actually is becoming a detractor of your energy. It becomes cumbersome and baggage.

When we talk about architecture and the environment, it’s not just your house. It could be the car that you drive, the clothes that you wear, the people that you hang out with. When we talk about architecture and environment in the TMIC work, we’re talking about four different architectures. There’s the physical architecture, the emotional architecture, the cognitive architecture, the life of our mind as Hannah Arendt said, our thoughts, and then the spiritual or the metaphysical architecture.

These four architectures all constitute who we end up becoming as human beings. They constitute our beingness. Paying attention to these architectures is critical. As you said, it requires a certain amount of awareness because oftentimes, we feel like we have the architecture we have. We live where we live. We have our car. We wear the clothes that we wear. We hang out with the people we hang out with. We think the thoughts that we think. We feel the emotions we feel. We can’t do anything about it, but that’s not true. We have all the power in the world to be the creators of our experience and our existence. To re-architect our lives by design, we’re not living a life by default.

We have all the power in the world to be the creators of our experience in our existence. We can re-architect our lives by design and avoid living a life by default.

I’m thinking that the architecture, the physical space in which I’m currently living is no longer of service to me. I’m already redirecting my intention and my attention to what architecture I want to create, where is it, and who will be a part of it and participate in it. I’m in that creative space right now.

I can see how that space isn’t serving you any longer. You’re very different. Your beingness has shifted so much in the three years that you and I have been working this closely together. It’s been magical to watch that being on the outside of it. As you’re talking, it’s reminding me of when my husband passed away. I thought, “Let me join some widow groups to talk to people who understand the journey of losing a spouse.” It was fine for the first week maybe, but then I started noticing some things about how people weren’t grieving their spouse that they just lost. They’re grieving their spouse that they lost ten years ago. The items that their husband or wife had sitting on the table like their shoes or clothes are still in the same space after ten years.

They’re stuck in this loop of, “My spouse has left me. I’m so alone,” and replaying that trauma. That’s when I knew I had to exit the group. That’s not how I navigate through grief. When Berny was here, he would say to me, “I don’t want you to leave my things where I left them because that’s not where I’m at. I want you to release those things immediately after I die so that you are not stuck there because you’re not going to find me in those things.”

It was very tough. It was so hard to release your spouse’s items the same week they passed away, but that’s what he instructed me to do. I didn’t get it until I was on the other side of it. For that week that his clothes were still hanging in the closet, I would find myself there smelling them to get that scent of him back and to get that feeling of connectedness, but it was keeping me stuck.

Did you clean the house within the first week?

I cleaned the house. This is going to sound a little crazy to you, but everybody in my family has an agreement with it. When you die or when you cross over, you’ve got to communicate with me somehow to let me know that you’ve made it there okay. My grandmother did, my father did, and my husband did. In that line of communication, it was one sentence that I would hear. It was the third day, I woke up, and he said, “You need to clean out my nightstand.” That’s all I heard. I got this gut push to clean out the nightstand knowing the conversations that we had. That was easy to do, the nightstand. I cleared all that out. The next day was to clean out the bathroom vanity. The next day was to clean out a dresser. On the fourth day, which was exactly one week after his passing, on a Thursday, I had to clean out his closet.

I felt that intuitive push, whether he was communicating regardless of what you believe, I felt that he was communicating to me. Given the previous conversations that we had, he was setting me up to make sure that I could grow in this huge shift in my life. My whole world is flipped upside down. He didn’t want me stuck in that. I didn’t get it. Through the work of doing with TMIC and understanding architecture and environment, I’m like, “That is so powerful to be aware of your environment. What are the things that are keeping you stuck in a loop of trauma, pain, grief, or whatever that is?” Including office spaces as well. Everything has to change when you change. Having that self-awareness is the foundation of it all.

TMIC 2 | Architecture And Environment

One of our TMIC partners, Rob Evans, says this thing all the time, which I like. He says, “Everything speaks.” Everything is speaking all the time. We just have to be able to listen to it. What comes up for me when I listen to your story is that the physical space that we inhabit and surround ourselves with is a choice of where we live. It’s a choice to buy the things that you buy and the clothes you wear. You’re making choices. No one is forcing you to buy those things or to spend time in those environments. You’re choosing it.

The outer world that we experience is we’re not victims of it. We are the choice makers and the creators of it. We create that context for ourselves. The outer world is a reflection of the state of our inner world. For people who get attached to their things and have difficulty letting these things go, whether it’s in the context of in your case a death and a grievance process that you have to go through, or whether there’s no one who’s died. It’s an attachment because I’ve always had that thing or it reminds me of this memory. If you think about that, you are keeping yourself stuck in the past, meaning you are not allowing yourself to grow.

We are the choice makers and the creators of life. We create that context for ourselves. The outer world is a reflection of the state of our inner world.

The thing is that as human beings, we’re meaning-making machines and we love our stories. We love the attachments and the stories. We wrap around our attachments. We feel as though our very identity is wrapped up in the attachments we have to our things. Yet, the thing is that that holds you back from creating a new future. It keeps you trapped and stuck in the past. There’s no way that you’re going to be able to move forward. We then find ourselves as human beings in this weird conundrum. The conundrum is, “I wish this would happen. I want to do this in my life.”

However, you’ve got all this attachment over here to the people, places, and things of your past. I love Marshall Goldsmith’s classic saying, “What got you here won’t get you there.” The here of this moment, where you live, who you hang out with, what you think about, and your emotional state are all architectures that have constructed this very moment that you find yourself in. It worked to get you here, but now, if you’re imagining a different future, result, or outcome, you are going to have to transform yourself. The, “What got you here won’t get you there,” what do you transform? The architecture of your life.

You transform the physical architecture, the emotional architecture, the cognitive architecture, the spiritual or the metaphysical architecture. You transform your being. Since you transform your being, that new being will produce a different outer world experience. The being that you are produces the experience you have. The being that you need to become will produce the experience that you desire. The only thing that’s in your way of that is your attachment to the old stuff that got you to this moment. That’s probably why your husband knew this because he was a very forward-thinking person and didn’t want you to be trapped in the past because it’s not going to forward anything for you.

I wholeheartedly believe that. Going back to what you were saying about everything speaks, what would you say that your environment is speaking to you right now? What do you want your environment to speak when you move to that new environment?

My environment is speaking to me right now, I guess, feels small to me. It feels constricting. It feels like I want to grow much bigger and have much more impact than this environment will allow me to. To grow into the environment that I’m seeking to create is one that is tied to our vision of everything that we’re doing with the recreation centers, design shops, design labs, and getting out into the world. Another way to look at it is the environment I have served me well during these last few years with COVID.

We were all insular. We were all stuck inside and isolated, but I have this real desire and sense to expand and grow. It’s almost like COVID was this compressed moment where it was like a seed that was being germinated and born. Now that seed wants to expand out of the ground with its leaves and the flowers and show itself. I feel this environment is speaking of smallness, confinement, and safety. Keeping a small life is safe. There’s no risk in it but that doesn’t fill me up. I’m all about the risk. Putting yourself out there, challenging yourself, pushing right to the edge of what you think is possible, and then realizing there’s way more possible than you even thought so you can keep going.

TMIC 2 | Architecture And Environment

This ties into a conversation I was having with a friend where she says, “Know your season.” You were in a season of inhaling for the exhale. You were in a season of having your head down and focusing on creation. Now that that creation is starting to take root, that environment can’t contain the thing that you’re creating now. Knowing your season is critical, but it’s all about self-awareness. You have to know what season you’re in.

You’ve got to and you’ve got to be honest with yourself. You’ve got to listen to yourself. This is where the emotional sobriety piece comes in. It always comes back to that because of listening to our emotions. I have emotions of discontent. Sometimes I have emotions of impatience. Sometimes I have emotions of overcoming fear. It’s like I’m not even seeing the fear. It’s like, “Let’s go.” I don’t know what you would call that emotion. There are these emotions that we all have, and you’ve got to listen to them. If we’re experiencing what we call negative emotions, it means there’s something out of alignment. They’re not actually negative incidentally. There’s no such thing as a negative or a positive emotion.

Our emotions provide wise insights into how aligned or unaligned our life is. When our life is not aligned, we have to look at the architecture of our life of what’s not working and what’s unaligned with who we are. My emotions are telling me my physical environment is not aligned with what I’m creating and where I’m going in the world. There are things that are aligned. The people I’m hanging out with right now are very aligned with me. They’re calling me to a bigger existence. The physical environment in which I’m living is not that. We’ve got to have the awareness.

To clarify, it doesn’t have the energetic support, not necessarily the structure support. You’re not saying, “I need to live in a mansion.” You’re saying, “I needed to live in a space that I feel expansive in.”

You know what’s a funny little inside joke? My wife always says all the time, “Wherever you walk around, there’s at least a 10 to 20-foot energy radius around you. You take up so much space, so I might need a mansion.” I’m not saying I need it. I’m just saying the energy I’m putting off right now is too big for the space I’m currently in. We’re going to be solving that problem in 2024.

The last thing I want to say here is that when you’re talking about our emotions and how they’re an indicator system, it’s not just the indicator system of our external environments and what’s aligned with the relationship and that sort of thing. It’s also an indicator of what you believe is out of alignment. If you’re triggered by something, that’s because you have a belief system that needs to adjust, evolve, and grow into who you are and how you show up in the world, not how you learned how to survive back when you were twelve. It’s also the indicator of the alignment of what our belief systems are. I think that’s powerful as well.

We’ve got to have some insights and some self-awareness about what our belief systems are. That’s the work that we do inside of the TMIC workshops. We challenge everyone who goes through those workshops to press on this. You can have the life that you want. You can experience and create anything you want. We are all our own limiting factors or growth factors. We get to determine who we’re going to be. None of us are victims unless we choose to be a victim. That too is also a choice.

You can experience and create anything you want. We are all our own limiting factors or all our own growth factors. We get to determine who we’re going to be.

I totally agree. This has been a great conversation.

With that, I know we’ve got to wrap it up here. This was a great episode of The Most Important Conversations. Stay with us as we have more of these in the coming days and weeks. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of value out of this. We hope to see you in some of our workshops and other courses and programs along the way. Until then, any final words, September?

No final words. This was rich.

Awesome. Thanks everyone for joining. We’ll see you again next time. Bye.


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