In 2019, Netflix popularized the tidying up principals taught by Marie Kondo, in her book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying‘ with a show that borrows a lot from the name. In the book and in the show, she encourages people to de-clutter and only keep things that bring them joy, which is also used metaphorically to encourage us all to choose spaces and people that bring us joy.
I took up her teaching and am half-way cleaning up my house, which has been a very emotional process. In a lot of spiritual teaching, there is emphasis on the importance we place on material thing and the effects that can have on our spirituality and our emotions. I grew up in a poor family; often time we had to choose what we ‘needed’ over what we ‘wanted’ because we could only afford one, and even then, it was a matter of sacrifice. I grew up desiring and envying things; I wanted a big house full of thing and I spent a lot of my time day dreaming about all the things I would own.
The past few months have challenged this idea and forced me to re-examine my relationship with things. It’s been a spiritual journey over the years; once I realized I could afford and own thing I wanted as a child, I started discovering other thing that were now beyond me. It’s a vicious and dangerous cycle, yet it goes beyond nice furniture, a big house and a head-turning car. In many cases, our self-esteem is attached to the thing others can see, often limiting us from doing the deep digging we truly owe ourselves.
Sometime last year I started a journey, I would only do and buy thing I enjoy and need, even when ‘looking better and cooler’ would require something different. This included thing such as only wearing make up when I felt like it instead of making it a ‘compulsory’ part of looking pretty; and like all changes, I started examining what and how this would look like for my spiritual life.
The long and short of it, I’m gradually learning mindfulness and I no longer attach emotion to things. Admittedly, thing are good and they serve us well yet they are still things. Instead of holding on to the old, worn out duvets my mother gave me, I’ve purposed to call her more often and have conversations that nourish my life. Instead of holding on to broken gift, I’ve stored them in my memory, grateful for the love that inspired it. Instead of worrying about loosing something, I enjoy it in the moment knowing that it’s service is only in the now, and my life is and will only be in the now.