Tidying Up the Mind

I have recently read the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. I wasn’t really wanting to clean my house, but I was intrigued by the title’s offering of “life-changing magic” and wanted to find out more.

Kondo writes simply and passionately about the impact your living environment has on your physical and mental wellbeing. Her trademark rule “discard any object that does not spark joy,” represents a radical shift in how we think. Rather than use rational judgment which more often leads us astray, Kondo demands that we use our feelings as the decision maker.

Without the need for complicated explanations to measure what to keep or throw away, you are simply gauging how happy a thing makes you, using your gut instinct. Combing through all of your possessions that have been taken from their hiding places and placed in front of you on the floor, you leave no object out of the line of scrutiny. Then, one by one, you decide what gets to stay, or go, according to how you feel about it. In the end, you are left with only the things that you enjoy. The important result from this process is that you get to find out what makes you happy, what inspires you, and what you value most right now in your life.

Imagine if you were to tidy up your own mind, using Kondo’s approach. You would ask yourself the question, “what sparks joy in my life?” You would lay out the contents of your mind and examine each one carefully, some you had completely forgotten about. You would carefully uncover the thoughts in your mind that were too shameful or embarrassing to admit were still there after all these years. You would endeavor to take a look at everything with the same amount of attention, even the banal details that don’t seem to matter much, because maybe they are more important to you than you think.

And then comes the hard part, the discarding of the things you don’t need to hold onto anymore: beliefs about yourself that hold you back, your fears of the unknown, and memories of people you have lost. Before discarding the object, Kondo advises us to express gratitude towards it for fulfilling its purpose. Just like clearing out your sock drawer, you have to make space in your mind for inspiration, joy, and new experiences.

“The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is not only a practical guide to cleaning, but a profound lesson in letting go.

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