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Creating a Healing Space speaks with Xorin Balbes, author of SoulSpace and owner of Lumeria Retreat Center in Maui, about how to create an environment that supports your best life.

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Xorin Balbes, author of SoulSpaceand creator of Lumeria yoga retreat center in Maui, spoke with about creating healing spaces.

How can your physical environment affect your life?

The environment in which you grow up in and that you live in affects who you become. Your physical space can either be cluttered, keeping you in a state of disharmony and always looking at what needs to be cleaned up and worked on, or it can be put together in a way that completely supports you, so that when you enter that space you have a feeling of being freer, more calm and at peace.

If your space is more spacious, for example, it’s easier to breathe and to simply “be” in that kind of environment.

Can you walk into someone’s home and have a sense of whether that space is supporting or hindering someone’s happiness?

Yes. I have walked into spaces in which I can see and feel relationship issues, and where people are living in environments that don’t reflect who they currently are. It’s also easy to see the issues and blocks that they have that prevent their life to fully unfold. (The blocks and issues we have inside of ourselves always show up in the environments that we create for ourselves.) Living with a torn and ratty sofa, for example, usually reflects the idea in someone’s consciousness that they can’t afford to repair or replace it. So it’s a scarcity issue. From a SoulSpace perspective, we can afford to at least remove the sofa, so that we can dream in its replacement, which means holding the space of more abundance in the mind, as opposed to a mental state of scarcity. That is how our environment can support or drain us, and how seemingly small things can have big effects.

What are some common things that you see in people’s homes that may be blocking their path to greater happiness?

Tons of clutter. Unclean environments, which equates to not really caring for the self enough. Not cooking, not cleaning, not taking care of plants or animals, which is also a way of not nourishing the self. I have seen many people still living with things from past relationships. These things hold unresolved emotional issues; once recognized, people can begin to deal with the emotions still attached to that particular loss. These objects can indicate healing that needs to occur.

Are there things that people should never have in their homes, things that inherently create bad energy?

All environmentally insensitive cleaning products; anything that was ever stolen, even if in innocence; dead plants or flowers; anything that’s in disrepair.

Many of us would love to buy new furniture, paint the walls, or move into a different space altogether! But if you don’t have the means or ability to make big design changes, how can you create a new energy or feeling in your space?

You start with three steps: Assess, which is taking a deep look at your environment with no judgment; Extract all the things that you are no longer in love with or that are in disrepair or indicate healing that needs to occur; and Cleanse, to infuse that love and the care back into all of the things that you have decided to live with. These three steps do not cost any money.

The SoulSpace process helps you to unhook the issues inside of yourself that are reflected in the environment around you, so that then you can create the environment and life that best supports you to be your most authentic and healthy self.

When you decided to open a yoga retreat center, how did you begin thinking about the design?

I wanted to create an environment that was very inspiring and supportive to people who would come to work on mind, body, and soul. Beauty opens and supports people in a profound way so that they feel safe to explore the deep aspects of their selves. I truly began the design process by being in relationship with the land here on Maui. And then, by being in relationship with the significance of the architecture of the original structures, which are some of the oldest on the island. And then I began to relate to the different colors and textures that I wanted to use, and layered those into the building process.

We all know that yoga is not just about movement, but a way of life where one stays connected and present in each movement. An environment that’s designed the way that Lumeria was designed, assists in focusing us more in the present moment. Be yourself to the fullest, that’s what beauty means to me.