Soul Space

Out of sight, out of mind. We all do it, we hold onto something regardless if it brings forth negative thoughts and feelings. We may hide it so we’re not aware of it or tuck it away for a later time, but wouldn’t the logical thing be to get rid of it for good? Most people disagree, but not author Xorin Balbes, award-winning architectural conservator.

Soul Space is an eight-stage transformation process on how to “transform your home and transform your life to create a home that is free of clutter, full of beauty and inspired by you.”

Starting off the school year, dealing with midterms or even wrapping up for final exams, we could all use that pick-me-up to take our minds off of school and help us focus on ourselves. What better way than to revamp your space?

 Stage 1: Assess

“Take a fresh look at what you’ve become immune to seeing; appraise what is there on a physical and emotional level, learn to appreciate the best of what exists, and begin to recognize what no longer serves you in your life.” (Attribution SoulSpace)

It’s simple, really. You take a look around and associate your feelings with the objects around you. If there are bad memories linked to them, get rid of them. Positive memories, treasure them. Although we may wish it was that easy to throw something out, it isn’t always.

Over the years a part of our lives – a part of us – gets linked to these things and it’s near impossible to let go.

“Honestly I really don’t know, there’s just something about them,” said Heather Murray, 19. “I just hold onto them and don’t feel like throwing them away.”

Stage 2: Release

“Letting go can be hard. It can be really hard. It takes a lot of courage, all our residual hope, and all the good feelings and positive spirits we can muster.”

Parting ways with something you’ve grown attached to isn’t an easy task, but it is a fulfilling and insightful one. You discover a new part of yourself in the process, a part that is still shaped by the past but can move on without fear of being held back.

“It doesn’t make me too happy when I see them but I still hold onto them,” said Murray.

Stage 3: Cleanse

“If we make our surroundings pure, our minds become pure in the process, and that which was obscured from view can be held up to the light to shine.”

We all need those treatments to purify our bodies and minds, whether it’s going for a massage, getting a pedicure or just taking a bath, we all have our rituals.

With our days filled with busy schedules and errands to run, we sometimes forget to take a breather.

“My big thing is writing, I usually can’t get over it unless I write for a few hours,” said Katie Cunningham, 20, cook at the Royal Oak.

Stage 4: Dream

“Everything starts with a dream. Every tree starts with a seed.”

Dream a little dream. Or in this case as big as you’d like. We all wish for our perfect house, perfect job, perfect family, but we don’t always get what we want. However, our living space is something that should be how we want it.

Each day we spend a great amount of time there, so why not let the imagination flow and create your perfect space.

“I would really like some sort of mural that someone I know paints, that would be really cool and a lot of picture frames. I have one but I want a bunch,” said Samantha Côté Hennigar, 19, community and justice services student at Algonquin College.

 Stage 5: Discover

“Discovery is about finding the pieces out there in the world that will complement and nourish the underused parts of ourselves that we want to encourage and bring into the light.”

We can all use an adventure once in a while. Whether it’s following your gut instinct to a certain part of town or going to the hole-in -the-wall boutique your friends rave about, there is always the opportunity to stumble across what you thought could exist only in your imagination.

“I had no idea that I needed some crystals in my life until I reached out and touched truly amazing pieces of amethyst and quartz,” said Balbes.

 Stage 6: Create

“What is beautiful to you? I’m not just talking about wall coverings or furnishings. I mean what moves you the way a gleaming kitchen excites the eye of a home chef. The way an empty room, full of usable space, sparks the soul of a dancer. The way a row of guitars makes the hand of a musician itch.”

It’s time to let that creativity shine and not follow the status quo. We hear about feng shui, a Chinese system of geomancy based on receiving positive energy, and other strategies that are supposed to guarantee us happiness.

There’s also the aspect of what WE believe will give us joy.

“[I’m] thinking about getting a bunch of graphic artists to put some sort of mural on all the walls,” said Cunningham.

Stage 7: Elevate

“Elevate is packable, transportable, an ideal way to bring your SoulSpace with you on your next vacation or business trip as well as to turn your home into your temple, your sanctuary, your place of rest and renewal.”

Each individual has their unique pet peeves when it comes to their space: making your bed, having the speaker on a certain volume or placing your childhood stuffed animals in a specific order.

With these tasks you can make yourself feel at peace no matter the location in which you’re currently residing.

“I would probably get a lot of candles, lots of incense, and nice, calming Zen imagery,” said Murray.

Stage 8: Celebrate

“We remember to complain, and we remember to pick up the dry cleaning, but we forget to celebrate life, our work, our family, our friends, ourselves. Celebrating is a way of giving thanks and being grateful for the life we have.”

Birthdays, graduations, promotions, anniversaries and everything else that is an accomplishment is celebrated so why not do the same for the lengthy process of making your space your own?

Introducing friends and family to your abode will help flourish the sense of completion and pride.

With school and work, most of us are too strapped down to think about coming up with our ideal soul space.

We think “It’ll take too long, it’ll cost too much money,” and that might be true in certain cases.

It might take weeks, months, even years, but wouldn’t it all be worth it to finally have what you truly need and want?

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