August 24, 2016

Tao of Lego: Discovering our own Inner Master Builder.

Julian Fong/Flickr

Over the last month, I’ve committed the Lego Movie to memory.

My children watch it when we go on road trips and during our drive to the gym a few times each week. I can’t see it, but I listen to it. The marathon got me thinking about the concept of “Master Builders” (versus regular people just following instructions).

I’ve frequently thought about how we construct our lives when the old ones, the ones we meticulously planned, begin to fall apart.

A few years ago, that was my life—built carefully, one block at a time. I’d followed all of life’s instructions:  Graduate high school. Attend college. I’d even gone a step further and attended graduate school. I’d held a job since high school. I found a significant other, got engaged, got married. I worked in my career and waited before having a couple of kids.

And my life was falling apart.

All of the bricks I’d carefully laid in the walls of my life began to crumble. My career. My marriage. Financial stability. The home I’d secured.

I think most of us start out following those instructions. Graduate high school. Attend college and/or get a job. Get a significant other. Get engaged. Get married. Have two kids. Climb the ladder. Host BBQs. Watch reality TV. Listen to popular music. Love the chain restaurants.

Espouse the belief system of our community.

Fit in.

Never stand out unless standing out shows how upwardly mobile we are.

Get a car payment. And designer clothes. The biggest house. A newer car and larger car payment. More, more, more.

We can follow that path diligently until someone or something comes and knocks it all down. And maybe we’re the ones dismantling that life. We begin to look at the instructions and wonder why the hell we’re all following them.

We begin to construct lives based on our own belief systems, our own feelings and experiences. We begin to love what we love for no other reason than that we love it. We begin to distinguish ourselves from the crowd, standing out because we’re no longer following society’s rules. Instead, we’re building real lives from the dust of the old ones.

When I left the career I had worked for, finally realizing that it wasn’t for me, I could feel the world I had built around me shattering. As the dust settled, I could see the cracks in a marriage I had been patching up for years. I had my children and realized that staying inside of that marriage would be best for none of us.

In the end, I only had my children and a vision of what our new life could be. So I left.

I began building a new life from the ashes of the old. In this new life, I don’t chase money or climb the ladder. I don’t follow some kind of life plan or rules without thought to my own conscience. Instead, I choose to balance work and life, to live passionately and authentically the life of my choosing. This is deep soul living, heart choosing, and peace flows from it.

Rebuilding a life is never easy, particularly when everything we planned falls apart in our hands. There will be feelings of grief and loss, and we will have to work to examine our part in how things fell to pieces. But we are able to rise from this when we choose not to be defeated by the change—when we instead embrace the new way forward through our fear and doubt.

And I will never be the one to say that there’s anything wrong with being ordinary or fitting in if the choices we’re making reflect our own deepest desires. If we love chain restaurants and popular music because we love it, that’s wonderful. The problem arises when we make choices because of how other people will view us or how we’ll look in comparison to those around us. While we all adhere to a certain basic level of ethics, the rest of our choices should come from the heart.

When we structure our lives simply to “do one better than our neighbors,” we’re living with a burden—not our truth.

I often remind myself of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich‘s words:

“Well-behaved women rarely make history.”

When our lives no longer follow the instructions, we begin to discover our “Inner Master Builder.” We begin to create the lives that we want without regard to being superior to our fellow human beings. In fact, in this state we are glad for the success and happiness of others—not angry or envious. Competition shifts to the idea of striving to do our best, not better than anyone else.

The Inner Master Builder seeks only to create. To build authentic lives. To live from the heart and follow our bliss. We don’t heed instructions; we create our own.

And maybe we’re happy following the instructions and building those lives.

But when those lives crumble and we cannot shore up those walls any longer, we can choose to keep plodding on, rebuilding those same old walls—or we can take back our personal power and become the Master Builder we never knew we could be.


Author: Crystal Jackson

Image: Julian Fong/Flickr

Editor: Toby Israel


Read 1 Comment and Reply

Read 1 comment and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Crystal Jackson  |  Contribution: 44,440