“SoulSpace: Transform Your Home, Transform Your Life” by Xorin Balbes (New World Library), ISBN 978-1-60868-037-5
Xorin Balbes is an award-winning architecture conservator, designer, and co-owner of the interior and architectural firm SoulSpace Home. He created the eight-stage SoulSpace process to help clients create homes that reflect and celebrate their inhabitants. The writing is down-to-earth and his examples range from his own homes in Los Angeles and Maui to much more modest dwellings owned or rented by clients.
Part I, Knowing the Past, consists of three stages. Stage One, ASSESS, is an examination of the home you have. A series of questions helps you assess the objects and furnishings in a room as well as your emotional connection to the contents of your home environment.
Stage Two, RELEASE, teaches how to let go of “literal and figurative baggage.” As the author says: “We close our eyes to possibilities, drowning out the whispers of hope in favor of hanging on to what is old and familiar.”
Clearing the pathways helps to make room for the future. Some guidelines help make decisions and this stage emphasizes displaying what you love.
Xorin suggests writing a “post-assessment love letter” to an item that you absolutely love, telling it “how you feel, why you appreciate it, and why you couldn’t live without it.” In an interview he said: “Everyone should have at least one object that holds their deepest dream and vision for themselves and who they want to be.”
Stage Three, CLEANSE, is a way to connect to your gratefulness through cleaning and caring.
Part II, Manifesting the Future, has three parts. This is where the fun begins. Stage Four, DREAM, is to imagine the ways in which your space can support your dreams. Making a list of your passions along with creating a “dream board” full of images that inspire you are among the suggestions here.
Stage Five, DISCOVER, is about finding the things that inspire you to live a more soulful life.
Stage Six, CREATE, allows your dreams to become a reality with creative solutions to deal with any problems you have with your current space.
Part III is Living the Present with Stage Seven ELEVATE and Eight CELEBRATE. To elevate is to nourish all the senses, and have the four elements of fire, earth, water and air in balance. Celebrate is a time to celebrate yourself and your community.
It makes such good sense to create a spiritual centre that supports your passion and helps you to honour yourself and others. As Xorin Balbes advises: “The more peace we feel at home the more peace we can offer to the world.”
Mary Ann Moore is a poet, writer and creator of Writing Home: A Whole Life Practice.