The following is an excerpt from "SoulSpace: Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life" by Xorin Balbes (New World Library, 2011). The excerpt is from the Introduction.
Where do you live?
This is one of the most common questions we hear, and we always have a ready answer: “I live on this street, in that neighborhood, in this town or city or country.”
I invite you to consider the question in a new way.
Where do you live? Where do you feel alive? Where do you feel safe, peaceful, hopeful, and supported? Where can you explore your hobbies, think, learn, and love? If your home is just a temporary holding pen where you leave your things during the day instead of a beautiful space that makes you feel safe and calm every time you walk in the door, something is wrong. Your home is more than a place where your possessions are — it is a place where your body can recharge, where your passions can be fulfilled, where you can safely explore yourself and your desires, and where your soul can rest, be inspired, and soar. Home is about satisfying our basic animal needs: eating, sleeping, seeking shelter. But it is also about achieving transcendence on earth through our other needs, the ones that are the basis of our humanity: beauty, love, and creativity.
For the past ten years, I have been redesigning homes with one purpose: to assist the people who live within to create the kind of space where they can flourish instead of just exist. My mission is to weave my wish for peace, beauty, justice, passion, and rejuvenation into all my projects with the intention of inspiring others to live a more soulful, compassionate, and beautiful life.
Consider the following scenarios.
1. As you open the front door, the glow of warm light beckons you inside. You set your bag on a handmade table near the door and slip off your shoes, placing them and your coat in the neatly organized hall closet. The serene, beautifully appointed living room draws you in. You sink deeply in to a soft, comfortable chair and drape a finely knit, cozy throw over your legs. The sky, visible through a large, clear window, is soothing. A feeling of calm and revitalization washes over you. You close your eyes and enjoy the quiet luxury of a catnap before preparing a light supper. You’re home.
2. As you open the front door, the knob rattles. It’s loose again. The door sticks, and you have to force it open with your shoulder. You make a mental note to call the super. You stumble into the dark hallway as you grope for the light switch. The bulb blows out, leaving you in a gray wash of dim light. The hall closet is crammed to capacity with coats, sweaters, and things you haven’t seen in years. You throw your coat on a living room chair instead. The seat cushion is faded and worn. The air in the room is stale. A feeling of stress and irritation washes over you. You’re home. You look around at the clutter and decide to put your coat back on and grab a bite to eat at the local diner.
Where you live and what you live with are an extension of who you are: your living quarters are a physical manifestation of your emotional wants and needs, a mirror of your thoughts, dreams, hopes, wishes, and issues. And it isn’t just about the four walls that surround you: it’s about the energy with which you fill your space. I want you to consider the possibility that your home is an extension and a physical representation of who you are — and who you have been. Your space holds all your unfinished emotional business and baggage; the interior design of your home is a mirror of the interior design of you.
Thoughts have power. Whether you create your home intentionally or unintentionally, your thoughts and desires have been projected onto the objects that you have purchased, inherited, and collected, and when you see those things, you are consciously or unconsciously reminded of the situations in which they were acquired.
Objects acquired via love make us feel loved. Objects acquired via greed make us feel ashamed. By ridding ourselves of the physical manifestation of negative patterns and surrounding ourselves with positive manifestations of our best selves, we can move forward in an environment designed to help us be our very best.
Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life
Think about an apartment building full of identically shaped apartments that are all the same size, with the same number of rooms and windows. If you were to walk into every one of the identical units in the building, no two would look the same. Each would be colored by its inhabitants. 10A’s residents are a forty-something power couple; their apartment has bright red walls and smells of takeout Thai. 10B’s young parents have a place full of toys, games, and dust. 10C has only one tenant, an artist in her sixties who listens to Beethoven to drown out the sound of the children next door and has decorated her apartment with plush white carpets and a baby grand piano.
Even though the bare bones of the apartments looked identical when the Realtor sold the units, each unit has been transformed radically by the lives and spirits of the people who live there. Each one has different sights, sounds, smells, and feelings, and each one makes you feel different upon entering. 10A is lively. 10B is chaotic. 10C is serene. The colors, the smells, the sounds, and the entire energy of each space have been transformed by each inhabitant. If you have ever gotten a new roommate, moved in with someone, or had a child — even gotten a pet! — you know that living creatures carry with them a set of habits that color their environments. Every home tells its own story.
Your home also has an original story — yours. What messages is your home sending out into the world? This book will help you see what is happening around you right now, really and truly — and it will challenge you to ask yourself if this is who you want to be or if it’s time to let go and become a more fully evolved you.
Over the course of my career as a home designer, I have discovered that the process of exploring the interior design of your home can lead to a new and enriched understanding of your real “interior design”: the way you think, dream, live, love, and perceive the world.
SoulSpace is the process that I use to transform my home and my life, and the homes and lives of my clients. I came up with the word SoulSpace before I had consciously created the eight stages of the SoulSpace process. I had just moved into a new house, which I created very consciously. This conscious design focused on creating a temple instead of just a beautiful show house. I wanted a beautiful home, but more than that, I wanted a sanctuary, a place that would continually remind me and inspire me to be the most amazing example of myself that I could be. When I was finished with the redesign, I didn’t have just a space that I could live in. I had a SoulSpace that I could grow, learn, live, love, and achieve in, a place where I could truly feel inspired and at peace.
Why must we go to spas to feel relaxed? To hotels or restaurants to feel inspired? We all deserve SoulSpaces — within our own living quarters — that make our senses feel nourished, that make our lives feel fuller and more enriched.
The idea of a SoulSpace stuck with me, and the next time I moved, I paid very close attention to how I was approaching the redesign. I started to break down the process and use it with my clients. It assisted me, it assisted them, and now I pray that it will inspire you to create a home that empowers you to go out into the world and accomplish your dreams, no matter what they are.
From the book "SoulSpace." Copyright 2011 by Xorin Balbes. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. 800/972-6657 ext. 52.