Monday, March 18, 2013

Soul Space

Do y'all read O, The Oprah Magazine?  This weekend we had gorgeous weather and got to head to the pool for the first time this year.

I brought along my O mag and found an article about our homes and how we can help use them to enhance our lives.  The article is based on a book (Soul Space) by Xorin Balebes, an interior designer who says,

We all need a supportive and welcoming space to come home to.  Whether you live in a one-bedroom apartment, rent, or have a huge house to call home, you can make it YOURS and it can be your place of refuge.  Even if your current space is temporary or transitional, you can still employ Balbes eight steps to creating your own Soul Space.

The first step is to take a mental inventory of your home, what you love, what's there "just because".  Are there things in your home that don't reflect who you are or you have outgrown?  I love how he asks, "What's the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning?"  Note how you feel as you walk around your home, room by room.

Let go of dust collectors, things that bring up negative emotions, broken pieces, and uncomfortable things.  It feels so much better and more peaceful to let go of what's not working and also creates space for something new when the time is right. 

Keep what you love, and even mundane things like spatulas and bath towels should make you happy when you use them.  That's an interesting thought, right?  I find I do that with certain objects- for example, I like to write with specific kinds of pens, and I like to use pretty notepads.  Why not have in your home only what is useful, necessary, and beautiful?  It's our choice. 

After you've decided what stays and what goes, it's time for a deep cleaning.  It's great to open your windows and let the fresh air in, and do things like rotate your mattress and tend to necessary repairs.  Balbes also mentions, "spring cleaning for the soul" and recommends an energy-cleansing technique where you burn sage or wheatgrass in rooms where you've experienced pain or loss.  Yep, time to clear out those "emotional cobwebs" too. 

After you've released the past, the next phase is about the future.  "Who are you now and who do you want to become?" It's time to experience new things, like going to new restaurants, trying new foods, and spending time in different places.  Without over-thinking it, letting yourself be inspired by things that make your spirit soar.

When you've identified the dreams you have for your life and home, you can start to bring objects into your home that align with those purposes.  You don't have to be stuck in a particular style if it doesn't suit you any longer.  

Although budget often dictates the scope of our home improvements, minor changes can make a big difference.  Even rearranging furniture or painting a room can make it feel completely new.  Play with your space and keep an open mind. 

These "grace notes" are the finishing touches like bringing in fresh flowers, putting on music, or spritzing the air with an appealing scent.  They take only a minute, are inexpensive, and can change the mood in your home. 

Sometimes a process like this can take a very long time, but if just start, "you're beginning to connect to your true essence."  I love how Balbes says, "It's important to invite people over to share your home's transformation because when you start living in an environment that's more like you, then others can see more of you.  And hopefully, you're inspiring them to become more of who they are too."

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