Staring down at the contents of my closet and drawers made me realize that most of the stuff I’ve been holding on to served little purpose in my life. The catalyst was my mom. She had mentioned the best-seller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. It was a game changer. “I just bought the book and it’s great!” she said. “What’s so great about it?” I asked, skeptical. She briefly explained the concept the book but when she described the method (proper name, the “KonMari Method” as coined by the author) it struck a chord. “For example, start with your clothes. Put every item of clothing you have from every room in your house in the middle of the floor and start sorting what you will keep, donate, and throw away.” That was all I needed to hear. It was 9 pm at night so a run to a local bookstore was out of the question and not having the patience to wait until morning, I thanked my mom, hung up the phone, rolled up my sleeves, and started the process.
As I sorted through the roughage, I began asking myself, How does this serve me? Why do I keep this? And the KonMari Method’s holy grail of questions, Does this spark joy? After a few hours of separating, bagging, hanging, and folding, I began to think what would happen if I brought this idea into other aspects of my life. My food choices, my extracurricular habits, the people I associated with. I was freeing myself from the clutter in my home, so clutter in the mind and heart were next.
I took inventory of the people I’ve spent time with asking myself the same sort of questions: How does this friendship serve me? Why do I maintain this friendship? Does this friendship spark joy? You’ve got to look at it in a compassionate way, as it does not arise out of cruel nature but out of support to your overall being. Take away the felling of obligation and F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) and what do you have left? It could be age that brings this enlightenment but understanding that you don’t have to if it doesn’t serve you in a positive sense is a simple concept that can change your life.
Friendships have phases. Some are lifelong and some are passing through. Because a person may have been significant in your life at one time does not mean they are particularly supportive to your life now. The following excerpt is paraphrased from Kondo’s book regarding the KonMari Method. The words in parenthesis have been added for this dialogue: (After practicing the KonMari Method) You will have clearly identified your values and what you want to do. You will be able to take good care of your possessions (or friends) and will experience, every day, a feeling of contentment… Once you have experienced what your house (or life) feels like when it is completely tidy (free from obligatory friendships) in the true sense of the term, you will never want to return to clutter, and the strength of that feeling will empower you to keep it tidy.
Some say the goal is to discover the best equation for a good quality of life. If so, then to obtain it, we must allow for the opportunity to do so. We’ve got to be brave, block out the noise, and be true to our natural selves with no strings attached. The best part is, you can’t lose. In a way, it’s karmic a cleanse – letting go of the darkness to make room for the light.