I didn’t read Marie Kondo’s book when it came out. In fact, I was resistant to the idea of “sparking joy.” I rolled my eyes at the idea. I thought it was just a cute trend that would come and go. I judged it as an unconscious slogan and put it in the category of “not for me.” So, I was surprised at my willingness to watch the new Netflix series – Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I had a flash of awareness that there was something I could learn from her and I needed to give it a chance. I saw her warm smile and contagious, happy energy and in that moment I got the message: keep an open mind. My husband and I watched it for a few evenings until we had finished the series.
I had a strong reaction. There are a lot of things I liked on a concrete level: I enjoyed seeing the organization method applied in different scenarios, and found myself relating to many of the featured stories for different reasons. It looks like a system that actually works, and I was inspired by the idea of keeping only the items that truly bring us joy.
But on a deeper level, and this is vulnerable to share, when she greeted the house in the first episode – I cried. I don’t think I’ve thought twice about greeting our home since we first moved in and did a blessing. I take it for granted, and looking around our little house, it shows.
While watching her process on the show, I kept thinking: we don’t live like this in this country. We don’t take this kind of time to process how a house can contribute to us. We don’t think about whether the items we keep are contributing positive energy to us. Why don’t I do more of this? I say I’m spiritual and that I choose my life, but really I’m not doing it…I haven’t been choosing joy at all!
I’m speaking generally. Perhaps there are people who lived this way before Marie Kondo made it famous, but I don’t hear a lot of people talking about their home and possessions this way. And I certainly have not been living this way. I haven’t been slowing down to cherish the life I’ve created. I feel a little stuck lately, like I know a big shift is coming but I’m not sure what actions I can take to initiate it.
Kondo’s whole idea of “sparking joy” and having sincere gratitude seems like it’s simple and maybe even a little naive or “Pollyanna.” I’m seeing a lot of people make fun of it on the internet, but now that we’ve begun the process, I am experiencing something powerful. I had the realization that for a long time, maybe since I became a mom seven years ago, I have forgotten about JOY. And I’m not so quick to remember to practice gratitude. In my efforts to be responsible and a “good mom,” and a high achiever in all areas of my life, I’ve stopped choosing things that actually make me happy. Please don’t misunderstand – there are joyful things in my life and I am generally a happy person. I have a lot of blessings. But I’ve been choosing things based on intentions that probably create the opposite of a joyful and grateful life. I can see that I’ve been choosing based on people-pleasing, what I “should” do, and so on. Basically – I’ve been living in a way that supports my limiting belief system instead of living in a way in which I can express my inner light. It’s been a challenging discovery to process and it isn’t over yet. But the great news is that now that I’m aware of it, I can change it.
So, basically, we’ve begun the process in our home. We’ve made it through all of the clothes. On a concrete level, opening my drawers and knowing exactly what I can choose is soothing. I didn’t realize how deep decision-making goes in my daily world, and how fatigued by it I have become. On a deeper level, choosing clothes that give me a feeling of true joy has helped me to remember what simple joy feels like. And I’m beginning to have a taste of an inner peace that I think can only come from letting go of things that no longer lift us up. It’s time to slow down a little bit and nurture my life. Our plan is to do the toys next, and after that we’ll tackle the kitchen. If you would like to follow our journey, I’ll document it here on my blog. I hope it helps to read it. It’s helping me to write about it.
In the meantime, here’s to jumping in and choosing more of me…