Aiming for Balance



I am a balancing act.

Last year, I reached a tipping point.

I had been working for 7 years as an executive assistant in various industries, but an uneasy feeling had been growing within me. The sound of the clock would drive me mad. A frequent repetitive pattern. Waking up in the morning and chugging my coffee, going to work and punching in, ordering papers and answering phone calls and organizing all sorts of things over and over and over... Rhythmic consistency, empty. Boring. I felt soulless. I hated my work routine, which sucked up all my energy.

During my free time, I'd read about quantum physics, particle entanglement and biocentrism and I ask myself what am I doing? What is the purpose of all of this? I certainly didn't feel like I was accomplishing anything in my current job. I wasn't helping advance meaningful things. It flared up anger within me. I felt like my soul had caught fire and was raging. My mind tried to rationalize it, like it does so well. This too shall pass, and all that jazz. But my spirit wouldn't hear of it. It was a literal cry of the soul, something impossible to attenuate. And so I quit.

I booked a flight - 20 days vacation to get back in touch with myself and figure out what it was I wanted to do. Paradise Island in the Caribbean, where an old friend would host me. My dream job had gone out the window and I didn't know what the future held. I thought perhaps what happens to us isn't 'destined' per se, but perhaps our consciousness is in fact destined to some extent. Perhaps a character like myself could never have found satisfaction in the corporate environments I had previously frequented. Perhaps I was supposed to go on this trip. Perhaps I was going to get my illumination as to what I wanted to give all my attention to. Those were some of my musings as I gaged the possibility that during this trip, I'd figure out 'My Contribution to Humanity'. Couldn't be that complicated, right?

Already I felt more alive. I was on an adventure. I was on a quest. What I wanted was meaning. Passion. Something that gave me the impression that it could benefit, in one way or another, this place we call home.

I fell in love almost immediately with the Dominican Republic. I was fascinated with the balmy temperature, the thriving flora and incredible sceneries. When there is no winter, you calculate seasons with fruits. It was the end of avocado season when I arrived. Huge, creamy, ripened on the tree and packed with flavor avocados. Nothing like what I was used to coming from the Canadian import market. Quite effortlessly, I started interesting myself more in the novel landscape around me... especially when it involved food.

My host, Ben Yam, had just completed a very successful Kickstarter campaign for home aquaponics systems, self-sustainable structure made with two tanks, one for raising fish and one for home-grown organic plants of your choice. The fish would feed the plants who in return fed the fish with nutrients in their tank bellow. The concept was a great success online. Ben Yam let his partners take care of that project in New York while he focused on setting up larger scale aquaponics for gardens and hotels, which were easily adaptable to the tropical climate of the Dominican Republic. I particularly liked the one in his parents' garden, where all sorts of veggies were thriving.

He presented me to Pablo, who owned lands in the mountains of Bonao, in the center of the island. We walked for a whole afternoon through a part of his lands and I tasted fresh passion fruits, cacao, limoncillos and many other flavorful novelties. He explained me his vision of turning the place into a permaculture domain. He wanted to expand the diverse flora already present and grow organic food, build eco-friendly habitations, and teach sustainable processes on site, among all sorts of other wonderful projects. It's when I visited this little paradise in the mountains of Bonao that I changed my return flight to three months later. I started detoxing from the societal constraints of the north. I reconnected to my creativity. The tropics brought forth new ways of seeing the world and I decided to nourish this close symbiosis to nature.

I found a bit of balance during that vacation. I adopted many aspects of life in the tropics. I've travelled a handful of times back and forth between Montreal and the Dominican Republic since then, juggling with different projects. Down south, I've met many incredible people with amazing dreams and ideas regarding shaping a better future. The Dominican Republic remains a third world country stricken by poverty, class struggle being apparent in many parts of life. However, its fantastic temperature and diverse flora and fauna makes it an ideal place to reconnect people with their surroundings and present them with sustainable methods to better their connection to the world around them. I haven't exactly figured out what I want to focus on in my life, having so many centers of interest, but I've developed a passion for permaculture, sustainable food production and energy-efficient systems. In the following months, I will share insights into new ways of thinking regarding sustainable lifestyles. Changing the way we look at things can help us transform our environments for the better.

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