“Take care of your house and your house will take care of you.”
— Kathryn L. Robyn
Good morning and happy Monday! Wishing you a wonderful day and week ahead!
I’m very pleased to share one of my favorite articles with you today, entitled “Emotional * Spiritual * Soulful * House,” by Kathryn L. Robyn, co-author of the best-selling book, “The Emotional House.”
“Emotional * Spiritual * Soulful * House”
by Kathryn L. Robyn
Winter’s coming. It’s the time of year when our ancient brain has us wanting to hunker down, make soup, put up jam, stack cord wood, and cozy up to the fireplace, leaving the cold wind outside to rail against the darkness. It’s the time of year when we pull closer to our friends and families, or start looking for someone new to curl up with.
In the colder climes, you batten down the hatches, put the winter comforter on the bed, and get the wool sweaters out of moth balls. Here in sunny California, we do the same thing, but we have to take the sweaters off when we go outside, it’s still warm out there. Nevertheless, we want to cozy up with steaming drinks and hearty stories the same as everyone else.
As the days get shorter, going inside the house is a natural extension to going inside yourself. It’s a time of introspection and intimacy with one’s heart, mind, and spirit…It’s easy, even comforting, some might say ecstatic when you are safe inside your soulful home.
Soulful Home? Think about all the places you’ve lived — all the way back to childhood. Do you remember a home at any point that greeted you with love every time you came home, as if it were thrilled to see you — even if you lived alone? A cozy place that feels the kind of warm that transcends lifestyle, market value, and design. Have you ever known a house that was so full and soulful that it almost became a spiritual center to everyone who visited? If not, you’ve really missed something.
Realtors have a word for a house like this. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in such a place? Emotional, they call it. “Oh yes,” they’ll declare, “this is a very emotional house.” The first time I heard that, I had to laugh. Emotional? Does that mean dramatic? What’s dramatic about a classic two-bedroom, California ranch with only one-bathroom? Not a thing. So…does it cry at commercials, does it fly off the handle when the heat comes on?
After awhile, you understand, emotional is a code word — a euphemism where such things are not discussed over contracts — for soulful. It describes a house that possesses an energy of love so tangible it’s a selling point. It’s a house with a heartbeat, a soul of its own. Even empty, an emotional house will reach out its arms and wrap you up in them. How does a house get that way? How do you make your home feel soulful enough to let it take you deep inside yourself when the sunshine wanes?
Okay, let’s get the subject of interior design out of the way. Surely, there’s something to be said for it. Indeed, a thematic approach provides an overall atmosphere. A Santa Fe style, for example, gives your home a certain rustic feel, a minimalist style, on the other hand, might give it a kind of modern urban feel. Pictures on the grand piano of your family bring in a sense of legacy, paintings from Paris gives it an artistic air. A loom in the corner hints at a homespun attitude. There. Done. That said, it can help a lot to have someone with a good eye and great ears that hear you to help you figure out how to bring your spirit’s style into a strong furniture arrangement. But it’s really not about the décor, it’s about the way you relate to the décor along with everything else.
The most basic way to relate to your home, and everything in it, is to clean it. You imbue a space with energy by the quality of the effort you put into it. “Spiritual housecleaning” is the way you take four cold walls and make them into a soulful space. You begin with the intention to bring Spirit to emptiness. Then you take little actions (dusting, scrubbing, straightening, etc.) to transfer that intention to the space. Last but not least, you do all this while maintaining complete awareness from start to finish — awareness of the ways you feel as you relate to the stuff of your life, of the things you remember as you connect with the space, awareness of the connections you make as you do the work, and of the ways you respond to the feelings, the memories, and the connections. What this is, is a mindful approach to taking care of the space in which you live.
Each room has a particular reason for being there. The kitchen feeds you, the bathroom cleans you, the living room brings life into your workaday world, the den gives you a place to hunker down, the bedroom offers three kinds of sanctuary (solitude, sleep, and sex), the basement and garage help you compartmentalize — keeping your old stuff as well as your special stuff in storage, while keeping those tools and vehicles handy that you need to keep things in working order. The walls provide boundaries between these functions, the halls help you go from one part to another. And so on.
By the same token, each room meets a corresponding soul need that matches the function like a metaphor. In a nutshell, you build your mindfulness of nurturance in the kitchen, you purify and integrate the divinity of your spirit and flesh by the way you maintain your bathroom, you have an opportunity to visit in meaningful or meaningless ways with yourself and others by your relationships to your living room and den, and manage (or mismanage) your “old stuff” by the way you attend to your basement or garage, which controls the access you have to your survival skills. The more mindfully you approach each part of your house as well as each of your human needs, the more you will invite your soul home, filling your house with your spirit…
Copyright Kathryn L. Robyn. All Rights Reserved.
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Wishing you a soulful day!!