I recently jumped on the KonMari Method bandwagon! Having binge-read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I immediately turned to tidying up my apartment using her simple, yet profound, guidelines. In her book, she outlines a systematic method for decluttering your belongings and the most efficient, space-saving methods for organizing and storing the remaining items. While reading her book, I felt as though I was reading the words of a true yogi, as her method outlines many of the principles that we talk about in yoga – practice, nonattachment, gratitude, and compassion. I learned so many lessons from her book, and as I started to put her principles into practice, I found myself feeling so much lighter, full of energy and joy. Seriously, I felt like I was glowing. That being said, I just absolutely had to share some of her principles and insights with you in this month’s blog!
KonMari’s primary principle to decluttering is “spark joy.” She advises that you hold in your hands every single item in your home, one at a time, and notice how you feel. Does this item spark joy within you? If it does, keep it. If not, donate it. How do you know if an item sparks joy within you? Well, here are some discoveries I made within my own practice. I started with my shirts, as this is what Kondo advises. I pulled out all of my shirts, and was going through them one by one. Even as I looked at some of my shirts, I smiled and said “Yes!” These, I knew, were definite “spark joy” items. But then, there were other shirts that I picked up, looked at closely, and held in my hands as the following thoughts flowed through my mind, “Hmm…maybe this gives me joy. Well, I think it gave me joy a few years ago.” I realized that when I started this type of dialogue that this item clearly does not give me joy anymore; it was not a “heck yeah, must keep!” sort of item. Interestingly, even as I tossed this item in the donate pile, the dialogue continued, “But, it is still in such good condition. Do I really have to give it away? Maybe I can just wear it at home?” Well, Kondo has an answer to these questions as well. First, she says don’t convert your old, non-joy giving clothes into lounge wear. Because even at home, especially at home, you should feel joy in what you wear, so that even your lounge wear sparks joy. Second, with any items that you have to part with, she offers that you express your gratitude for the item before giving it away. Actually verbalize to the item, “Thank you for the joy you have brought to me. Thank you for serving your purpose in my life.” And, then, let it go. Wow! Profound! Now, we are really getting somewhere. This is taking it to another level - a level of complete awesomeness, depth, and beauty. Letting go with complete and utter gratitude; this practice, in and of itself, creates such a sense of lightness and joy within me.
As I continued with the process, I found that I had many tops that didn’t spark joy, but I wear them all the time! I wear them simply because they are in my closet, and because I am saving the items that really spark joy for a special occasion. Well, I realized that is so silly of me. Why am I wearing clothes that don’t spark joy when I have all of these other awesome tops that I feel so beautiful in? What am I really saving them for? So, this was very revealing: When I wear clothes that don’t spark joy, the message I send to myself is that this is just a very ordinary day and I don’t need to express my inner happiness; I am just an ordinary person having a very ordinary day. On the other hand, if I wear something every day that makes me smile, that makes me feel pretty, unique, fun, and funky, then I send myself the message that this is an extraordinary day! Why not express my joy every single day of my life? Why am I holding it back? Am I afraid that I will never come across another beautiful top again, so I need to save all the most lovely shirts I own for a very special occasion? Am I afraid that if I express my joy, it will run out, that I need to save it for something really worthwhile? Well, here’s the epic secret, folks – the more joy we express, the more joy we receive in return. This is the law of karma and abundance. There is always enough; in fact, there is always more than enough!
Now, I realize that I am talking about clothes here; perhaps, something a bit “materialistic” for a “spiritual yogini” to be talking about. But, our external world is simply a reflection of our inner world. When we deal with the external, we deal with the internal; and, when we deal with the internal, we deal with the external. So, if we follow Kondo’s primary principle for decluttering, the result is that we surround ourselves completely with only things that spark complete and utter joy within ourselves. We start with the “simpler” items, such as clothes and then work our way up to the more “difficult” items such as mementos, old greeting cards, photos, and love letters. I dare take it a step further, to work on those really difficult items – career and relationships. So, we practice with the clothes - as we practice, we cultivate greater awareness at recognizing what qualities our “spark joy” items have and how “spark joy” truly feels within us. As we begin to recognize this “spark joy” feeling, we are able to translate it to those more challenging items of career and relationships. The end result – a spark joy life! Now, I like the sound of that!
Wishing you the most spark joy life you could ever imagine!!!
With so much love, my friends,