They say the best thing you can do to balance work and passion is to merge the two, if possible. A quote attributed to Confucius says, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This is so true! But what if that’s just not possible? Can we find the courage to take a leap and live from our passion? And, what does this look like in our daily life?
I had the absolute pleasure of talking with Christine Spring, author of ‘Liberating Self: A Soul’s Journey’ and ‘Passion in Paris: A Soul’s Prerogative.’ Our conversation touched on work-life balance, the inner journey, courage and living from the heart. In publishing the talk, my wish is that it may serve you on your path in ways beyond what I can conceive of at present. Enjoy, and please feel free to get in touch, leave feedback or share with others.
“Choice is the biggest freedom that we have in life. The choice of attitude, thought, and words are things that rest with us, no matter what our situation.”― Christine Spring
Sina Saffari: Christine, thanks for taking the time to chat. I’m interested to know what’s alive for you at the moment?
Christine Spring: Right now, I’m about breathing and patience. I’m also sort of split. I have one part of me that’s very corporate and I sit on the board of a few companies, one of them is Auckland Airport and as you know that company, like all airport’s globally, has got its COVID challenges. However, I also sit on the board of a new airport that’s currently being built in Australia, Western Sydney Airport, the first new airport to be constructed in Australasia in nearly 60 years!
On the one hand, I’m involved in a company that is being challenged by redundancies, suspending capital development projects and dealing with significant loss in revenue, and on the other hand I’m involved in decisions with a company that is developing new terminal designs, and having construction progress at pace with significant earth-moving works.
Because I’m not flying as much as I normally would, I have a lot more time available and with that time I’m focussing on writing. I’m getting into my third book, and it’s fabulous. I’ve created the storyboard for it and have a working structure so I can see which way I’m going with it. So, that’s really exciting!
S: And are you still doing photography?
C: Yeah, I’ve been using photography mainly to help people. For example, I had a friend who was getting a community group to plant 600 trees and she said, ‘can you come and do some photos for us?’ I did that, and it felt great. I also had my sister wanting some work done, she’s a deputy principal at a school here in Hawke’s Bay, and asked if I could offer a hand. In a way, my camera’s being used at the moment as a means to offer service and to help others, which is lovely and I’m enjoying. It’s winter here in NZ, so I can’t really do my normal Liberating Self: Soul Beauty photos. It’s a bit chilly and I have found it hard to find people to agree to model for me. Maybe we Kiwi’s can be a bit more conservative (laughing)?
S: Christine, I’ve seen your artwork, your books and your photography, and it just seems like such a different track to the work you’ve described around the airport stuff. How does this play out in your life? Are you transitioning in one direction, or are you happy to hold both of these paths in your current life?
C: Corporate is where I started. An engineer, who transitioned to management. It enabled me to grow, until I realised that I wanted to get some balance in my growth. At 45, I stepped away from corporate. I sold the house, sold everything and went and studied photography in Paris. I gave myself permission to have a year off which was really good for me, and much needed. After Paris and a stint working in the Middle East, I could’ve gone down the full corporate route and had another management role, but my preference was to try and create balance in my life. I’m fortunate that moving into governance work has given me that opportunity, and time.
Looking forward, as I move towards ‘retirement’ in my 60’s and 70’s, I have no doubt that the balance will tip away from corporate and I imagine I’ll be doing a lot more photography writing, mentoring and coaching. My dad died at 83 and he was still working, so I don’t see retirement as stopping me from working, rather it will give me the gift of more time to explore other passions.
S: Can you talk about what your vision is around your writing?
C: If you look at the series of books and where they’re going, the first one Liberating Self was all about actually having the courage to live true to yourself and to balance out the ego and soul. Early in our adult life we are often driven by ego, which is all about safety and security, and asking our self the question “have I got enough money?” and it restricts our choices. If we’re focused just on ego fear, and we don’t balance it with intuition, soul’s truth, dreams and where your heart wants to be, we can become completely out of balance.
But sometimes it takes a moment of awakening to realize we’re out of balance, and then, what’s required is the courage to step into our dreams, and to speak our truth and own our space and really commit to ourselves. I have found that a lot of people struggle with making that balance and embracing courage.
Liberating Self: The Soul’s Journey was about, ‘Do I have the courage to live true to me?’ And then Passion and Paris was all about ‘what if I do have the courage?’ ‘How do I find a way to commit to my passion and my inner purpose? If I’m really going to embrace this living true to self then I also need to find the place and the people that will support me.’ So, the first book asked “Do I have the courage?” and the second book queried “Where can I best create an environment to enable me to blossom?” The third book, which I’m currently working on is all about the next phase of the journey, once you’ve started going down the path to living true to self, when the question becomes “How do I find the fortitude to stick to balance and commitment to self with all the challenges that come along with living true to your passion and purpose?” It’s a work in progress!
This time the book will be different. The words will come first, and the imagery will come second. So, it’s going to be different from the last two books, it’s more a story of the journey. Often when we start on a journey, there’s a catalyst to changing direction. This catalyst, for me, was the death of my father. So it was that realization of, yes, life’s long, but life’s also short, so, let’s get cracking. And the change in my journey was that I decided to really embrace my dream to own a property in France. I committed and I bought a building which was really run-down and the past three years have been about the process of bringing it back to life.
The journey has been laden with the joys and challenges that the renovation and cultural differences threw at me! It’s a 300-year-old building, really beautiful, in a quiet village near to the Pyrenees, but nothing is ever straight-forward and there is not a single straight line in the house. I was super excited to finally finish the project on the second of March 2020, just in time for lock-down!
It was a real commitment to a dream journey, hilariously, it has actually not been about the building, it’s been more about the inner journey. As always, right?
S: Totally, wow, that’s fascinating Christine. I guess our inner journey is often reflected in the outer world. I’m looking forward to seeing the new book published and really appreciate your time today. I trust your story will be an inspiration and catalyst for people who are also somewhere along that journey themselves.
Christine Spring is a Non-Executive Director at Western Sydney Airport Company LTD, Auckland International Airport LTD, UNISON Networks LTD, and is also Chair of Isthmus Group Ltd. She’s an Author, Photographer and Lifestyle Blogger.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”– Anais Nin