Tidying Up Our Emotional Baggage
Cheers, dear readers,
I have had a fascinating holiday break for a very unusual reason. While I did find time to share eggnog, laughter, love and hugs with loved ones (including their kiddos!), I also read a book and implemented what it suggested, and it is changing my life. Seriously! My husband (who did have an ulterior motive of addressing that I am a “hoarder”) gave me a book as a holiday gift called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”. I am discovering that tidying up truly is magic when done thoroughly! I never would have expected the wonderful results that not only are now exhibited in my home, but in my mindset and heart as well. It helped me get past a ton of my emotions and just basic thoughts about my things and why I “needed” them or should just “keep” them whether I needed them or not, and gave me the permission I needed to discard them.
LET ME EXPLAIN
The Japanese word “tokimeku” means “to spark joy.” Someone who is carrying out the KonMari method of tidying described so beautifully in the book must take every single possession in hand and ask:
“Does this spark joy for me?”
This uber important question is the sole basis for choosing what things to keep in one’s home and what to discard. But I think you can see pretty easily how you can switch out the word “home” for “life” so it reads “what things to keep in one’s life and what to discard.” Are there negative thoughts in your life that you ought to discard? How about attachment to relationships that no longer support you or even drain you? On the infertility front, there are so many thoughts, feelings and opinions in our lives to keep track of and consider that I often wonder how much happiness we could afford ourselves if we just let some non-joy-sparking items and thoughts go to simplify our lives, especially during stressful times.
Before you start deciding what sparks joy in your life, you must first get a true sense of the problems you face. What we don’t often realize is that the closets and furniture in which we store our possessions have a remarkable way of concealing truths we would rather not see (a pilled sweater, for instance, that does not bring any joy). We also work in much the same way. We often hide our problems inside the closet of our hearts as if they never existed.
CHOOSE WHAT YOU LOVE
The magic is we can apply this notion of sparking joy on a larger scale. We live in a disorganized and chaotic world, much of it outside our control, such as dealing with infertility. Though it sometimes may seem like our physical things and emotional things are threatening to take over our world, we can focus our energy and determination on choosing what makes us happy, and ultimately change our lives! Asking ourselves whether something sparks joy seems like such an elementary process — so simple that many may ponder whether it can really be effective. The strength of the “spark joy” standard (also known as a “joy check”) however lies in its simplicity.
When you tidy, you are dealing with objects. Objects are easy to discard and move around. Clutter = keeping things that one does not need, letting them pile up unnecessarily. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful or shameful. When you come across something that is hard to discard, reassess the role it plays in your life. Has it fulfilled the function of giving you a thrill when you bought it? Has it taught you what doesn’t suit you? If the item has completed its role in your life, you are free to say, “Thank you for giving me joy when I bought you” or “Thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me”, and let it go.
WHAT I LEARNED BY TIDYING UP MY HOME
- Both physical baggage and emotional baggage weigh us down and hinder us from moving forward.
- Sifting through unwanted items to find what we are looking for takes time, energy and is draining, just as sifting through negative, dis-empowering thoughts is draining us of time and energy.
- A calm, peaceful home helps create a calm, peaceful mind.
- Letting go of the emotional attachment to the past is incredibly liberating!
- Sometimes the fear we hold onto is fear for the future (eg. Thinking “I might need that.”). We can be vigilant about noticing this thought pattern to see if it serves us or not.
- Timing is everything. We can’t do a large purge effectively until really ready. In the case of infertility, grief is not linear. Proceed head on only when ready.
- Continually assessing whether the belongings in your life spark joy allows you to hone in on your decision making process. This ability can extend from your home, to your well-being and health, and to your relationships.
- I am in control of the objects in my home, as well as my thoughts. Right, got it!
- Surround yourself with things and people that bring you joy and support you and your life!
- Focus on JOY! And only JOY!
When we honestly confront the things we own, they evoke many emotions within us. Those feelings are real. The same goes for our thought patterns. It is these emotions that give us the energy for living, but note that they can drain our energy as well. Believe what your heart tells you when you ask, “Does this spark joy?” If you act on that intuition, you will be amazed at how things will begin to connect in your life and at the dramatic changes that follow. It is as if your life has been touched by magic. Putting your house in order is the magic that helps create a vibrant and happy life, no matter what comes your way – including the unexpectedness of infertility.
Please join me next week to hear more about my personal journey down the infertility path. I look forward to speaking with you. I wish you the best on your journey.