With thanks to my cousin Robert in Massachusetts, this is about sparking joy. He’d read an article in the Wall Street Journal about Japanese author Marie Kondo and emailed about it. Her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, published in October 2014, has been a sensational success. It includes the idea of tokimeku, that clothes should spark joy. All items have energy, as Chinese feng shui and Japanese Reiki remind us. If an item doesn’t spark joy, Kondo suggests letting it go. I would extend that thought to everything. If you don’t love an item, let it go, as its energy isn’t doing you any good. Having trouble saying goodbye to it? Take a picture of it, then add it to a photo album or burn it onto a CD.
I’ve been thinking about mental clutter a lot lately. It comes in many forms. For me, part of it stems from spending too much time in front of the computer. It draws me, as it must be the case for many others, too. At some level, it becomes mental clutter. We spend time on emails and other electronic activities. How might other parts of our lives miss out and/or suffer because of too much screen time? For me, among other concerns, I lose out on time for pleasure reading.
I’ve been reading Helen Nearing’s book Loving and Leaving the Good Life, about her time with husband Scott Nearing. Very much oversimplified, it’s about their decision to leave New York City in 1932, moving to southern Vermont. They hoped that scratching out a Depression-era living would be easier in the country than in a big city. When the valley they dearly loved became too much ski-area-oriented in the early 1950s, they left Vermont, moving to the Penobscot Bay area of Maine.
Reflecting about Scott Nearing, Ronald LaConte wrote, “To sit and talk with Scott, whose life has spanned almost a century, is to be reminded that there are constants, that beyond today’s computer games and television sets are natural rhythms and human values that do endure. A visit with the Nearings is a reminder that there are other things to plug into.”
Indeed. Don’t know about the Nearings? They’re worth your investigation. I first read Living the Good Life, by Helen and Scott Nearing, decades ago. Inspiring. I think you’ll find that to be true, too. Happy reading!