• Brian MacKenzie

Building A Life From Which You Do Not Need To Escape - Part 2: The Architect

This post is a follow up to a previously posted “Building A Life From Which You Do Need To Escape: Part 1 - Laying The Foundation”, so hopefully you have read that.


In Part 1 we focused on building an internal life from which we do not want to escape and suggested that PRACTICING PRESENCE PERSISTENTLY is the foundation upon which the rest is built. In this post we will focus on The Architect and SELF-AWARENESS.


The architect is usually responsible for the vision and creative design process when building. When attempting to build a life from which we do not need to escape, it seems reasonable to assume that the best person for that job is us. So, let’s take an inventory of ourselves and make sure that we at least know who the architect is and what they are capable of. Please take a moment and answer these questions as honestly as you can:

  1. How would you describe yourself?

  2. Is it possible that how you perceive yourself creates limitations on the type of life you might build?

  3. Is it possible that you are not who you think you are?

We tell ourselves stories about who we are and who we are not all the time. This is often referred to as the conceptualized self. If we can practice presence persistently enough, we often begin to see just how much we have identified with the content of those stories. That’s not to say those stories are not likely based on facts about experiences we have had in the past or beliefs about the future. However, are those experiences and beliefs enough to actually define who we are and what we are capable of? When building a life from which we do not want to escape, should our architects be limited by how we have perceived experiences of the past or our beliefs about the future?

While presence lays the foundation for the life that we want, how we perceive ourselves often sets the parameters for what is possible.

So, how did you answer the questions above? How do you currently describe yourself? Are you defined by the content of your thoughts? Are you defined by your emotional experiences? Are you defined by how others perceive you?


Most of us have likely heard the term “Know thyself”, which has been used for centuries in many different contexts. However, in the context of building a life from which you do not need to escape, truly knowing yourself might just be the only way to set your architect free from any stifling limitations, while also honoring any experiences you have had, and any beliefs that you might hold. As important as this is, many have also found it to be quite challenging. In fact, Benjamin Franklin once wrote, "There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self.” *


So, what makes it so hard? It can be difficult to look at ourselves without the cognitive filters of perception that have led to how we already view ourselves. In other words, if how we currently view ourselves is the lens through which we look at ourselves, we will most likely see what we already believe ourselves to be. On the other hand, if we can somehow take a step back or zoom out so to speak on that lens, we will most likely be able to broaden our perspective and see ourselves with more context. Practicing presence has the ability to facilitate such SELF-AWARENESS, and so does counseling. Developing self-awareness and a deeper understanding of your architect, is also key to building a life from which we do not need to escape.


Please feel free to reach out to the team at Solace to learn more about this process.


Stay tuned for Part 3 of Building A Life From Which You Do Not Need To Escape.


*Franklin, Benjamin (January 31, 1904). "Autobiography: Poor Richard. Letters"

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