Lately, I’ve had this feeling of drowning. Not in a dramatic, I can’t breathe kind of way, but in the way where you have so much around you, and so much to do, and so much to keep track of that you’re paralyzed with possibility, frozen in the face of so much.
And so, in this quest to return to basics, I’ve begun opening drawers, swinging wide cabinets, and clutching garbage bins. I sneak into my kids rooms while they’re playing trains or riding bikes somewhere else, and I pick up papers that were kept for who knows why. A shoe box with Princess Ariel on the outside for shoes she wore on the first day of school last year. The simple, branded bag that a kid’s meal came in that flops in a deflated way over the back of a chair.
I’m donating, cleaning, recycling these things.
As I dig deeper into the excess and things I were once wanted, I’m searching, looking for something important. I looking for what I need. Because what I need is very different from from I have. And it’s different from the things I’ve wanted. What I need is simple, and yes, it is basic. What I need is the roof above me. And I need my family close. I need warm clothes and healthy food. And joy. But what I’ve wanted–a new pair of shoes or another book for my shelves–isn’t necessary.
I know there’s buzz all over the Internet lately about the KonMari method. And I read the reviews on Amazon, wondering if I should slip the book into my shopping cart. But I think I get the gist. Rather, I feel the gist. If it doesn’t bring you joy, then it doesn’t belong in your home. If it’s not something that make my heart sing, then I don’t need it. And I don’t.
That baby stroller that I used when my children were weeks old: sold. The inconsistent coffee maker that only works sometimes. On the curb. The clothes in my closet I’ve been keeping because they were well-intentioned gifts? Donated. The books I’ll never read again, the decorations I hold on to because I feel like I should, the kids toys they aren’t playing with any more? Gone.
But I’m keeping the Buddha statue because it makes me think of my Gran and the way she promised that it was lucky to rub his tummy and whisper secrets in his ear. And I’d never ditch my Shovels & Rope t-shirt or favorite jeans. And I’m holding tight to dinosaurs that my dad made for the kids to play with. In fact, I just put them somewhere I can see them more often.
I recognize the need for more joy in my life. I believe so firmly down to the soles of my feet that we all need more joy. Yes, you too. We all need to feel elation, ecstasy, jubilation (thank you Becca for the word) more often and as much as possible. It’s necessary. It’s needed. It’s basic.
Now, if you’ll please excuse me. I need to find something to clean out.