Architecture of a Balanced Life

The title of writer Rumer Godden's autobiography A House with Four Rooms was taken from an Indian adage that says, "Everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we

go into every room, every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person." Godden wasn't simply waxing poetic. This idea was a framework around which she modelled her life, leading to a successful writing career despite many personal hardships. 

Everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person. - Rumer Godden

But this sentiment is ideologically opposed to modern society's concept of success. We favour the physical and mental over the emotional and spiritual; fitness and career over personal relationships and inner contentment. We spend a disproportionate amount of time on tasks we feel we "must" do and end up pushing self-care onto our "if I have time" list. We compartmentalise our lives, shutting off our four rooms, determined to clean every corner of the rooms others see [physical and mental] whilst the more intimate rooms [emotional and spiritual] gather dust.

When on autopilot, I am guilty of this unbalanced approach. I often find during stressful times that I am giving more weight to one area of my life and neglecting others. Obviously this isn't healthy for me. Judging by the abundance of self-help books and psychological theories promoting mindfulness as a coping strategy, many others have the same issue. (Incidentally, mindfulness even offers many benefits to physical and mental health too.) 

Luckily, I've been graced with the "gift" of a life-balance meter (aka Major Depression). I am acutely aware when something in my life is out of balance; when I've neglected airing out a room. So I've made some difficult adjustments, arranging my life in a way that encourages and supports a natural balance. At times this has meant taking poorly paid, though more fulfilling jobs, or being extremely selective in who I let influence me. Most recently I have decided to once again enter student life, move to the UK and embark on a PhD journey. It will mean years of hard work, stress, poor eating habits, and not being settled. But I have deliberately made a decision to pursue a career path in historic building conservation: a subject that challenges me mentally, makes me happy, and I that am passionate about. I hope that during the trying times I have the insight to remember that within the life I have created, are four well-balanced rooms.

It is important to remember that visiting each room doesn't necessarily require spending an equal amount of time in each. Balance is as individual as we are. What steps do you take to maintain balance in your life? What does your "house" look like?


  1. I spend most of my days pacing back and forth between my Physical and Mental rooms. They are quite close together you see. Sometimes, I think I'm in one but i'm really in the other.

    I wish the other rooms were like that. Seamless.

    A long time ago, I locked the door to my spiritual room, and I have subsequently lost the key…

    As for that other one, there is a strange, long, winding maze of hallways that leads to it. Every time I think i'm about to round the corner to the Emotional room… just another dead end.

    Cool post.


    1. I applaud your desire for wanting a seamless transition between rooms. Sometimes just realising what we want is enough to start us off on a journey!

  2. Thanks for the reminder that I need to visit my spiritual room more often.

    1. I'm so glad you were able to find something relevant to your own life in this post. Thank you for reading it!

  3. This is beautiful, Aimee, and something I have thus far paid very little attention to in my life. I think it's time to take the first small baby step toward acknowledging and thinking about furnishing my rooms. :) Thank you!

    1. Anytime Sarah - you've provided me with a lot of encouragement and support so I'm happy to have been able to repay that in even a tiny way. x