Whatever’s good for your soul, do that.
Definition of Soulful
I looked up the meaning of soulful after a friend recently asked me, “How do you make a home feel soulful?” Webster’s definition of soulful: full of or expressing feeling or emotion. In thinking about her question, one of my mantras came to mind – it’s not just the way a home looks, it’s the way it feels.
I suppose the feeling of soulfulness is different for everyone. But I think it has something to do with what’s in your heart – what you treasure in life and what gives your life meaning. Creating a feeling of soulfulness in a home is very personal. But I do believe there are universal threads of soulfulness that unite us, that we all share or relate to.
Layers of Soulfulness
Nature, art, animals, handmade objects and ancient hand worn objects, things that hold memories, books, photos of friends and family, and sacred objects are the layers I feel add soulfulness to wherever you live. A dear friend who lost her home in the Northern California fires last fall defined a soulful home as one that doesn’t look temporary. A home that shows the beauty of the passage of time where people live out their lives surrounding themselves with the essence of who they are and what calls to them on a deep level.
There’s something about sacred objects that represent a bigger picture to life that hold a special place in my heart. I have filled my home in Northern New Mexico and Northern California with objects I’ve collected over the years from both areas as well as from my travels. I do not regard these as religious objects but rather as spiritual icons that serve to comfort and inspire me by what they represent.
The entry to my casita in Santa Fe, where the spiral staircase curves to meet the second floor, had a nicho in the wall when I bought the adobe. I hung a light over it and placed an antique statue of Saint Francis of Assisi, who is the patron saint of Santa Fe and animals, both of which I greatly revere.
The small family room fireplace is adorned with an antique hand carved angel from Mexico. In my home, I love the presence of angels who have intrigued artists, writers, and ordinary people of every age and culture for centuries. I found the unusual contemporary bronze cross adjacent to the fireplace in a Santa Fe gallery crafted by a local artist. Its unexpected lighthearted shape surprises me.
The antique brass Hindu god Ganesh, who is the Remover of Obstacles and Lord of Good Fortune, sits on an altar at the top of my stairway in California. He reminds me to be grateful every day for the good fortune in my life.
Spiritual Symbols of Mindfulness and Compassion
The ancient black and white marble Buddha originated in Burma (now Myanmar). It occupies a place of honor in my dining room in California encouraging mindfulness of the present moment.
In Chinese Buddhism, Kuan Yin is the bodhisattva or goddess of compassion, mercy, kindness and love. Who would not be served to be reminded of these high-minded virtues to aspire to in everyday life?
A porcelain statue of Mary, a gold-leafed Russian icon of Jesus and a small wooden Buddha from Laos stand beside a primitive wooden cross with a rusted metal heart from New Mexico. A handmade African mud cloth covers this Tibetan Buddhist High Llama altar adorned with bittersweet, candles, angels and sacred icons below a painting by renowned watercolor artist Tom Noble of Taos, who passed in February last year.
A Soulful Home
A soulful home can be filled with layers of objects that represent what has heart and meaning to you, whether it’s a book, a cat, a painting, a view, a spiritual icon or all of these. Look deep inside yourself to find what you treasure in life and then live in it authentically. Fill your home with objects that touch your soul, inspiring and reminding you to stop just for a moment to appreciate and revere the sacredness of life both inside and outside of where you call home.
Yours in Soulfulness,