With spring fully upon us, many people feel like it is a good time to tackle cleaning out our closets and picking up our desks. Tax season is over. Time to decide what documents to file away, which ones to throw away and which ones to place in the hallowed box waiting for the statute of limitations to run!
A friend of mine recommended a book on a decluttering system by Marie Kondo. Kondo’s book is called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. As with all self-help books, some of the ideas resonate with me and some of them don’t. I always try to see what fits my circumstances and personality. At a minimum, I like to use the knowledge as a catalyst to do something. Any movement in this area is a step forward, for me anyway!
What I like about Kondo’s approach is that the whole idea is to motivate us to determine if the things in our lives are bringing us joy. If they are, make room to keep them. If they aren’t, find a new home for them or throw them out. Kondo suggests that we become more conscious about why we have certain things in our lives. Why do we hang on to the clothing, the books, the paperwork and the mementos? She is not suggesting we have judgment regarding if we do keep it, just asking ourselves consciously why we do. Then, allowing for the conscious self to determine if this item is still a good fit for us.
Kondo has three insights that struck me as particularly wise.
Her first comment is “One of the magical effects of tidying is confidence in your decision-making capacity.” This is definitely not one of the benefits I would have expected from a decluttering philosophy. However, I think she is right. The more we make decisions that help us to feel free and alive, the more we are going to be confident in all our decisions and in all our choices.
Kondo’s second insight is “…when we really delve into the reason for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” Kondo is applying this philosophy to help declutter things, but this statement actually applies to us decluttering events, energies, old patterns and “what ifs” in our lives. We can discard our old belief systems, old resentments and discordant emotions just like we can throw away that holey t-shirt that no longer serves us. Detach from past actions and events. Start to live more consciously, in order to move into the future without fear.
The final insight that really struck me was, “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” Wow, that is really powerful. Again, this is a great principle for determining what things you want in your house, but it is also a guide post for other aspects in your life. What are we willing to own as our belief systems? What are we willing to own in our relationships? What are we willing to own in our relationship with money, with mutual funds, with other investments? What are we willing to own in our energy fields? Do these things and situations bring us Joy? If they do not, should we change how we look at them or throw them out? Maybe we only need to make slight modifications and maybe we need wholesale changes. Asking your inner wisdom if something brings you joy and serves you and your goals well and then acting on that wisdom, will allow you to continue to live more consciously and more joyfully.
Take the opportunity to use the energy of the spring to move forward into a more joyful life.