Home Articles Channels Daily Retreat Inspiration Classroom Boutique Community Singles Resources Contact

SoulfulLiving.com :: Personal Growth, Spiritual Growth, Self Help and Self Improvement

Your #1 Online Resource for Personal and Spiritual Growth Since 2000.
Mandala and Chakra Pendants
New Age Gifts and Products, Buddhist and Tibetan Jewelry, Meditation and Yoga Supplies
Mandala Art Prints



Our Sponsors:

The Mandala Collection :: Buddhist and Conscious Living Gifts
Inspirational Gifts

Energy Muse Jewelry
Energy Muse Jewelry

Body of Grace
Eco-Friendly Gifts

Yoga Download
Yoga Download

The Mandala Collection
Give a Gift with Soul

Kathryn Robyn

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.

Spiritual Housecleaning by Kathryn Robyn

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 is this way in every culture, as the holidays we celebrate demonstrate: Halloween, All Soul’s Eve, All Saint’s Day, the Day of the Dead (Día del Muerte), Succoth. The time of year when according to ancient lore, the "Spirit world" is closer to the "material world" than at any other. The time when the Greek mother goddess Demeter begins her lament against Persephone’s descent into the underworld of the dead and damned, and makes all the green of the earth go yellow, then red, orange, and brown. To the Mother, a mournful time, but to her Daughter, it’s wondrously soulful. And we can choose to follow her blithe spirit, becoming one with the darkness, the shadow within, the void for a few months each year. 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 and sacred Spirit.

Emotional House by Kathryn Robyn

There are a multitude of ways to go about it. You can copy the way your mother kept the house, if that works for you (it may not have even worked for her); you can emulate someone else’s cleaning style, someone whose soul you respect, honor, or admire, someone who’s made "an emotional house." Or you can make it up as you go along, risking bleaching accidents and conflicted emotions, to create a home that supports your life and your journey. Ideally, you’ll do all of the above.

You might be cleaning out your deepest darkest garbage, you can expect some unpleasantries, so get prepared. You’ll need rubber gloves, a quality sponge, a journal, and your favorite music. Facing your cluttered gut this specifically can bring up feelings that you have used your house to avoid, but you will not get your clock cleaned, only your house. That’s the added bonus to this method of connecting with yourself. No matter what else happens, your house gets clean.

Admittedly, spiritual housecleaning can be a lengthy process. And you had hoped to get the place soulful by Thanksgiving? Okay, here’s a shortcut. You can utilize the ways tradition has institutionalized the effort — seasonal decorating rituals. Think about it, you decorate your house for the harvest season, and bring the energy of abundance home. You carve a pumpkin or hang up skeletons and an energy of festivity wards off the dread of the coming darkness. The Jewish holiday, Succoth, lets you know you can survive well no matter what the circumstances. When you decorate for the Christmas season with a lighted tree inside, strings of lights outside, candles in your windows, and so on, or Hanukah with the ritual of lighting the menorah for eight days running — whether you are a religious person, or a secular celebrant — your effort has the intention of putting the energy of Light into the world, illuminating the darkest time of the year, promising hope and wonder to all that pass, and reminding yourself that the brightest light burns inside, if you only ask the eternal fire of Creation to ignite it. These are acts of mindfulness, they are acts of love. Just as you are loving your self and your family when you take care of the small things of daily life.

Obviously, the more love that grows in a home, the more soul flows between its walls. Even if you live alone, but treat yourself like a lover, your house holds the energy of the beloved for you to come home to, offering it fully when you walk back in the door. It greets you and reminds you that your soul is cherished. When you show yourself you matter by keeping a lovely place to come home to, you add soul from floor to ceiling. If soul is spirit, then soulfulness is the energy of that spirit flowing in two directions, in and out. It is sustenance that goes both ways. Take care of your house and your house will take care of you.

When you live in your whole house, crafting each room to address a different part of your inner being, your house reciprocates by providing support and space for all these different parts of your life. When you spread your being into your whole house, your house provides your whole soul with breathing room. How cool to think the energy continues to reside in the house even after you’ve left it. It’s even cooler when you realize that you have given that house a soul, a gift for the next tenant. It bears repeating: it’s not just about the stuff. It’s about the energy.

Why do these things? Why would you want a soulful home as winter looms? Because the dark time of year is a time of questions. It’s when we ask ourselves the deeper questions about meaning and belonging, if we are getting what we want out of life, if we have put into it what we need to. After the Solstice, when the days start getting longer again, we will begin trying out the answers; after the New Year, we will make our resolutions — we will make our commitments to do this or that better, to make an opening to receive this or that benefit. But for now, if we are paying attention to our lives, we are just asking the questions that will help us make things better for next year.

This particular year has been a hard one. The questions we are grappling with extend beyond our personal lives, as our concern for the safety and health of the country and the larger world intensifies, as we watch events around us seem to spin out of control. How do we make ourselves safe? Safe from both random and deliberate violations, safe for now, and safe for the future? How do we make ourselves so safe we can think clearly enough about the dangers before us to figure out what to do about them? Dangers that are physical and otherwise, that encompass moral and political questions. That have to do with balancing our responsibility to ourselves with our accountability toward others, and the ways we hold others accountable. And then there are the future dangers that might result if we don’t come up with more clear and creative solutions than we have in the past.

One thing we must remember is that the more chaos we live with inside our own homes, the more tenuous our individual connections with Spirit, the less able we are to make clear assessments about the outside world, and the more subject we are to the agendas of others. It is more important than ever to bring your soul home, so that you can sit in divine counsel while searching for the truths that have meaning for you. If for no other reason than so we can each make our own decisions and not get swept up into the mob ideologies out there that might want to influence us and capture our loyalties for questionable use. I speak here to all sides of the many equations — and there are many more than two, and we all add up to one. In the realms of soul, there is no us and them.

The truth is we are all responsible for our own house. And we are all responsible for the impact our house’s condition has on the homes of our neighbors. If you want a place this winter that will hold you safely and securely while your soul asks this year’s questions; if you have wondered what you have learned, what you still need to learn, what you can share with the rest of us to help us ask or answer our questions, then this is a good time to start thinking about what kind of space you want around you as darkness falls.

Again, we are each responsible for our own house. Let your home be your sanctuary and temple as this difficult year comes to a close. When you clean your house, take that nanosecond in which you come into contact with a precious object or a pile of clutter, a piece of furniture or a cupboard of ingredients, whether to dust, vacuum, or throw it away, to listen for its message to your soul. Where did it come from, why do you have it? How does it make you feel? What do you want to do about it? Acknowledge either the answer or the absence of an answer, and then move onto the next thing, don’t get stuck in one place. Listen and respond as you would to a friend, or more accurately to your own alter-ego, your projected self, because that’s what all this stuff is, a reflection of us. Make any changes or rearrangements that you are guided to change, and write down anything remarkable that comes up — you can deal with it later. Now, take a hot scented bath and rejoice. Isn’t it grand here in your soulful home?

Here’s a rule of thumb to deal with the soul of any space. The acronym: D.U.S.T.

D — define the dirt to deal with.

U — understand the use of the particular room (basic and soul).

S —Screen the stores that surface off the stuff. Pay attention!

T — Take action with both the Trash and the Treasures.

The short days are here. Still warm, but not for long. The long nights are coming. The fur on my cat tells me they’re going to be cold. The time has come for that yearly extended conversation with self that readies us for next year’s challenges. Be sure as you prepare your soulful home, assessing and reassessing your stuff, that you take note of the ideas and thoughts that arise as well. Do any of these need to be trashed or especially treasured? The personal is still political, you know. Just as the political has always been personal. Are you clear about what you think? Are you current with what you feel? Does your home remind you of your humanity or separate you from it? Do this spirit work for your self and your loved ones. Do it for your country. Do it for your planet. Tend to the home of your soul and bring your soul home. Our future depends on it.

Copyright © 2002 Kathryn L. Robyn.  All Rights Reserved.

Kathryn L. Robyn
Kathryn L. Robyn is an author, healing coach, and Reiki Master in private practice in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Robyn has led transformational workshops and support groups for over fifteen years, working with organizations such as Child Help USA, The Alcoholism Center for Women, The Healing Light Center and Alive and Well.

Working in tandem with physicians, therapists and alternative medicine practitioners, Ms. Robyn has guided hundreds of people through the healing process, helping men and women recover from childhood and adult traumas and substance abuse, leaving them stronger and more connected with themselves.

She is the author of Spiritual Housecleaning: Healing the Space Within by Beautifying the Space Around You (New Harbinger Publications, 2001).



Daily Soul Retreat at SoulfulLiving.com
Soul Retreat Goodies!

Support SoulfulLiving.com
Show Us Your Love ♥


Energy Muse Jewelry
Energy Muse Jewelry

Wild Divine Meditation Software featuring Deepak Chopra
Meditation Software

Energy Muse - Sacred Yoga Jewelry

Copyright © 1999-2014 Soulful Living®.

Soulful Website Design by The Creative Soul®.