I love to travel – leaving the familiar routines, habits, and objects behind and taking only what’s necessary.
When we leave the “stuff” behind and take only what is essential, a kind of alchemy occurs. There is a lightness and simplicity to our choices. We spend less time wading through clothing and adornments and we create more time to walk, swim, breathe and enjoy life. It’s magic.
But for me, as soon as I return home the spell is broken.
Immediately upon opening the door to my apartment, I feel claustrophobic and anxious. My body tightens as my eyes scan the rooms, criticizing the worn out furniture, the broken sink and the dusty windows.
Usually, my tactic is to clean obsessively. I throw out a bunch of old things and buy a few new things to create a sense of peace and temporary transformation. It’s as if the new aquamarine towels will somehow evoke the sense that I am gazing out once more at the Mediterranean Sea, or that the sweetgrass incense will transport me to back to the silent prairies of Minnesota.
I recently was given a copy of the popular book by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She advises only keep the objects that spark joy. It’s not about buying new stuff. It’s about appreciating the beautiful things that already surround us. In doing so, we open ourselves to the possibility of experiencing joy each and every time we come home.
As soon as I started the process of decluttering my apartment, I felt a shift. By stripping down to the most essential and joy-inspiring objects, I carved out more space in my home and began to feel softer, more spacious and relaxed.
It was magic.
We must begin the task of decluttering and letting go of what no longer serves us. It may be as simple as taking a box of clothing to a local shelter. It may mean cutting out a food from your diet that does not nourish you. It might be the difficult job of ending a hurtful relationship. Once we let go of these forces that take up valuable time and energy, we can start to see more clearly and with more appreciation the space that we reside in.
We don’t need to go anywhere to find magic. That which brings us joy is already there.