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Harris Murray

Harris Murray

Marie Kondo burst onto the scene in 2014 with her best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” I bought it. I’ve never read it. 

Now, however, Kondo has a show on Netflix and YouTube videos that folks interested in decluttering their lives can watch and from which they can draw inspiration and motivation. While on vacation, I watched two episodes, which gave me the gist of what Kondo teaches. The first things she asks is that you pile all … and she means ALL … of your clothes on your bed. One woman’s mountain of clothing almost reached her ceiling.

The next step is to hold each piece of clothing to determine its meaning to you at the present time. If it has some type of meaning associated with an event or an emotion, keep it. If there is no longer an attachment, tell the item “thank you,” then put it in the give-away pile. Warning, one couple had over 50 bags of give-away clothing.

Although I don’t use the Kondo style, I declutter on a regular basis … well, mostly. Don’t talk to my daughter about this. Recently, I have decided that if I purchase one or two new pieces of clothing, I rid my closet or drawers of the same number of items. Another method I use is that at the end of a season, if I have not worn an item during that season, I discard it for donation as well.

Decluttering things is something that can help us feel cleansed, less constrained by the material possessions we accumulate. Decluttering our spirits and our hearts is an entirely different matter, and I would suggest it is a far deeper endeavor than most of us want to embrace.

Why, it’s easy to hold on to grudges, avoid people who have shunned us, deny the anger that has built up in our hearts over trivial matters or dislike someone for no understandable reason. Just like the possessions that build up, however, the heart issues that lay siege to our purest emotions rob us of a life of peace and contentment. Both obsessive materialism and heart-damaging fixations lead us to an unfulfilled life of self-absorption. We find ourselves intricately choked by vines that suffocate the life and the life-giving abilities we have been given.

Tidying up the heart is one of the most consistent tasks we must undertake if we are to live a life of meaning and purpose. Few of us take or make the time to examine our hearts, open ourselves to testing what motivates us. Some hurts run deep, and it may take extraordinary time and effort to come to peace with forgiveness. Some losses plague us with a loss of purpose, energy or commitment.

Still, like Marie Kondo and letting go of clothes and other items that we have hoarded too long, we need to learn to let go of negativity that have amassed in our hearts. Many of Kondo’s clients speak to how much freer they feel after ridding themselves of “stuff.” They sense a calmer, more peaceful and more manageable lifestyle and commit to regularly owning up to their tendency to hold on to unnecessary items.

Our hearts also need that calm and peace as well. My quandaries of heart-hoarding negatives are mine and mine alone; I have to recognize them and work through evaluation and prayer to eliminate them. Perhaps you are in the same spot. Isn’t it time to confront what is overwhelming your ability to love and serve others? It is for me. I can think of no better time than today to start “Marie Kondo-ing” my heart.

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Contact the writer: writeharris55@gmail.com.

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