Mark Albert


Putting Both Oars in the Water and following the Stream of Consciousness

23 January 2019
Mark Albert

Putting Both Oars in the Water

And Following the Stream of Consciousness


Recently, I came across a blessing in a Jewish Prayer book where we thank G’d for maintaining - רוקע (roka) : actual translation – stamping; the balance between land and water (or sea).  Another translation has it as “spreads out the land upon the water. I found this to be a most profound metaphoric statement.

That balance between the very ground beneath our feet and the ever changing water in motion that surrounds or imposes itself in the midst of the land – can be seen as a life choice.

This earth we traverse, where we dig the foundations for our homes, is what is most tangible, durable and dependable.  We can build on it.   Improve upon it. Seed its soil with food and flowers. We plant trees for oxygen and shade, trees from which we pick fruit and use to build houses, furniture…caskets.  This we balance with our need for water and its essential ability to hydrate us, cleanse us, enrich the soil of our earth, to even be the source of our electrical power. It is that liquid that we cannot grasp with our hands.  It can diminish, flow through the cracks or evaporate, even without our participation.

Nature’s water, its precipitation - can nourish those seeds we plant or sweep the produce of those seeds away. It can feed the soil or drown what lies beneath. 

Life has us constantly making choices between what is fluid, changing, translucent and transparent and what is solid, constant and enduring. We need both but we need to strike a balance.

This is a real estate blog so let’s extend this to another kind of lot in life - real estate.  I told you this would be stream of consciousness; well let’s follow that stream around the bend. Yes, there are storm winds of change and those may disrupt and dampen what we have put upon this ground and the paved streets in front; but the investment, the land, is solid and what’s more – it’s finite.  We can change what structures we put in these spaces in the city, but more and more we need to build what we can live in.  People, both natives and immigrants, blue collar workers and white collar business people, individuals and families come into this city and they need to stay, to live somewhere.  That is why the demographics have changed drastically in the last decade or so, and the population of the Greater Toronto Area has swelled.  That is why these condo buildings with a larger than single family home footprints on the ground space can accommodate more people living literally on top of one another and in smaller spaces, continue to be built, sold and, to a very large extent, leased.

That is why Toronto has an irrefutable history of appreciating real estate values. Does that mean you can buy any home today and witness its rise in realty value tomorrow?  Well, there have been those times too; but for the most part, real appreciation, in this province and city, usually can be realized in five to seven years.  This lot of land, or condominium space built up from it, has the reverse positive side of the car dealer’s parking lot you drive your new car off.  Once you drive that car down the road, it will most likely start to lose value.  In most cases, it will depreciate before the first tank of fuel is consumed. The real estate lot will appreciate once improved upon or being given that potential.  Biding time and tide (that’s the water part) is what is required to realize that reward.


Real estate or life- balance is key.  Your world is in your hands. What you do with your hands (your action) is guided by your head and heart.  We all need to take stock of what ground we need to stand on and what stream of consciousness we need to follow.