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The Transformational Act of Tidying Up

As of late, my daily life has become centered around my home. When I was younger, home used to be a place that I would seek to escape from. I lived for most of my life as someone who wanted to go out. To stay out. To go away. To run away. My home functioned as an afterthought, and at times was even a bit neglected. It served as a storage facility, all my life’s evidence stored in boxes.

But at the beginning of this year, I began tidying up my home and life, and all of that has changed. Inspired by Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I have been sweeping out the darkest forgotten corners of my home and heart in search of joy.

Joy. Simple as that.

By this method, you hold the things in your hands with which you have filled your home and your life and ask,

“Does this spark joy?”

Even before a response begins to form in your mind, your gut and your heart will tell you if joy dwells there. It will also tell you if regret does, or heartbreak, or sadness, or apathy, or confusion. If that is the energy in the things that surround you, then all you must do is let them go, and allow your heart to breathe some fresh air.

Your own customized and curated happy life awaits on the other side of all of those meticulous decisions.

Image by Caroline/Flickr, Some Rights Reserved.

The process has taken me nine months. Over these months, I’ve allowed the art of tidying to envelop me. I’ve allowed it to become a part of me. I will always live in this new way, with joy all around. My home now is filled with love. My family is my haven. My home is a sacred place, filled with free space and breathing room.

The process has been utterly transformational, both outwardly and inwardly. With each heavy burden that I have released, a weight has been lifted from my body — a lightening up that has been both physical and mental. I burned journals, I released ashes into rivers and roots, I created art with discarded things. I think less and less of the future and the past, and seek the present moment.

Free time. Slow living. Mindfulness. These have become my focus. I am grateful. I will continue to follow joy where it leads and I will continue to take steps away from all the non-joyful things that take away my free time in the present moment.

By the time I finished my tidying festival, I finally understood that my home had shifted and morphed into a place of comfort, built on my own standards and specifications. The energy can flow once again, and the constant homesickness I used to feel is gone. My home has been created, refined, distilled.

Tidying is a meditative state, a ritual of choosing joy, again and again and again. There is magic in it. I’ve known it in moments where I felt lighter as I made decisions to let go. I’ve felt it in my home, each time I walk in the door to a quiet and serene scene.

The magic dwells in each little choice. The magic dwells in each car load of donated things. The magic dwells in noticing joy.

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