I love purging my possessions from time to time. In fact, I’ve made it part of my daily routine to reconsider many items in my path. Do I really want that cookbook I’ve never made one recipe from? What about those mugs I never use? And what even is that thing on the shelf? Yard sale!
A couple of years ago a friend of mine quoted me just one line from Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up. The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. She suggests holding an object and asking, “Does it spark joy?” It’s amazing how just one sentence can resonate so profoundly. It’s now my mantra as I walk through my house.
I’m not the only one who loves purging this way. It’s not surprising that Marie Kondo has become the rock star of decluttering and organizing. It feels so good to clear out the debris of our lives. It’s fun to gather and things do become imbued with meaning and memory, but if we’re honest, we have to realize that most of the stuff that surrounds us has become invisible. Is that really the way we want to live?
When we are in the mode of holding onto stuff for stuff’s sake, it has a counterpart in our consciousness. I believe that’s why it feel so good to unload physical possessions. As we make space in our physical space, we also make space in our mental space. In this way we can make a meditation out of physical purging. As you lovingly remove your college mug from the shelf and place it in the out box, make space in your mind as well. Perhaps there is a feeling or memory associated with this time in your life that you’d like to dispense with. Ask yourself if that memory sparks joy and if it doesn’t, put it in the out box as well. Sometimes just realizing that a memory or feeling no longer serves us is enough to dispense with it instantly, like that college mug. If not, it’s a perfect opportunity to spend some time finding out why you are holding onto that memory. What if you did let it go? What would it mean to you? What would you be afraid would happen?
Just as when we discard objects that no longer spark joy, discarding joyless thoughts, feelings and memories makes space for new insights. It helps us be more present and grounded in the moment. Just because we’re used to the detritus in our minds, doesn’t mean we have to live with it. The very act of purging is an exercise in regenerating our spirit and waking up our happiness. Happy Spring!
For more powerful questions, learn more about the Option Method!