One of my personal goals for the month of November was to focus on the reading of the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.
For me, this is not just about being clean or tidy. It isn’t just about being organized or efficient, either. It’s about being PRESENT.
Gulp, DamnAllaDisBuddhistFlavored growth Wink.
i began reading one small section at a time and quickly ripped through the book. i decided i’d read it again as i implemented it at the cave and that’s where i am now.
i rarely recommend self-help books but i’d pimp this one out any day of the week. Very few of the guidelines were of no use. The whole book was practical and simple. i liked it.
When touching an item, the author suggests asking the simple question: Does it spark Joy? That’s simple enough. She says that we should choose what we want to KEEP in our life rather than focusing on what we want to get rid of. If we aren’t obligated to keep the item and it brings us no joy, she says we should get rid of it. Some things must be kept… example… example… um, well… does my medicine bring me joy? Nope. Gotta have it, though!
If something brings us joy, then the question is “Where do i put it?” It must have a place… it needs to be honored. i cannot keep things if there is no place for them to exist. i recall advice Master gave me nearly three years ago… getting rid of something (in that instance, it was an old van) would make room for something else. Sometimes the things we cling to are more ball and chain than anything else. They do us no good and they keep us from welcoming in better things. Wise words then… yes. Still wise.
Just a moment ago, i saw a receipt poking out of my bag from an earlier errand. Habit kicked in and i started slipping it into a pouch to “deal with later” and caught myself asking (seemingly ridiculous to do so but any habit needs to be developed)…
Q: Does this receipt bring me joy?
Uh… giggle… nope. Silly, eh?
No further question was needed… i did not need the receipt for business purposes and it served no function.
Why would i keep it around in a stack of paper to deal with later? poof… gone. Recycle bin and fini.
This seems simple enough but there are countless times in my day when i stack or store… when i move this or that… and procrastinate on the simple act of discarding an item. Silly silly.
The author began the book by suggesting “when you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too” and i confess, i made a wanking-motion when i read that. Self-help books are full of promises. Still, i was surprised to find that the book touched nerves in all sorts of places. Was it a book on clutter? Sure it was, but i quickly began asking the JOY question when faced with things OTHER than clutter. The author says that when we really look at why we can’t let things go, there are only two basic reasons: We are attached to the past or we are afraid of the future. That attachment and fear has led me to save countless items in case i need them for something or just because.
i began to think of activities that i do and the ones that i don’t. i marveled at the simplicity of the question. Why couldn’t i ask myself (when invited to do something or asked for a favor) these questions about social engagements.
Does the thought of going to____ or visiting ___ or participating in ____ bring me joy?
If not, then why the hell am i putting that on my calendar?
Is it valuable to me? Does it feed me? Will i grow? Will it make my life more joyful?
If not, i should not be adding it to my busy schedule. Further, why the hell am i scheduling things if there is no room on my calendar for them. To honor the activity, it must have place. If i’m double-booking myself and exhausting myself, there is no joy and no enJOYment. Seems simple enough but it is difficult because sometimes the person inviting me is someone i love… or respect. Still, i have to consider my joy.
And what of people… could i ask this same set of questions about the people that i choose to share my time with?
Does this person bring me joy? Do i enjoy their company?
If not… and there is no obligation (i have coworkers that i must spend time with, for instance, even if that interaction is joyless) then why am i keeping that person in my life?
Again… difficult. These are people, after all. They have feelings. Still… i have feelings and i matter as much as they do. i need to begin to look realistically at the here and the now. i recall the old BJ Thomas song about how it ought to be “using things and loving people” rather than “loving things and using people” and if i’m totally honest with myself, the only reason to keep activities or people in my life if they don’t bring me joy is because i am using them in some fashion… or… they are using me. Either way, this is no good. Not for me and not for them.
Processing outside in today, and hell… that’s one of the perks of having a blog! Now, where the hell did i put that receipt? Kidding… just kidding!