Spark Some Joy


This post is based on my inspiration at the February meeting of the Palos Verdes Chapter of National Charity League.

One thing I love about Southern California is that winter is over by February. The rest of the country may be snowed in, but we’re enjoying summer weather.

We’re just over 20 days from daylight savings. Not that I’m counting.

Spring is around the corner. And you know what the means. Spring cleaning.

There was a great quote I was trying to find but never exactly did. It was something like, “now that I’ve cleaned out my refrigerator, I have clarity on what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

There’s something very freeing about decluttering. Letting go of things that no longer serve us. Opening doors for new experiences.

Japanese organizing expert Marie Kondo calls this “the life-changing magic of tidying up.” That’s the name of her bestselling book about the art of decluttering and organizing.

And it’s as simple – and as difficult – as this: taking every item in your house in hand and asking yourself, “does this spark joy?”

If it does, keep it. If not, thank it and give it away.

Because, as Marie says, “when your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state. You can see any issues you’ve been avoiding and are forced to deal with them.”

And, “From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change. It gives you a drastic change in self perception — the belief that you can do anything if you set your mind to it.”

This manifested itself in my life 5 years ago. Following a particular intense time, I started by clearing my calendar. That was followed by tidying my house. A slimmer, trimmer body followed that.

What Marie wrote is really true. “The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order. Pour your time and passion into what brings you the most joy, your mission in life.”

Humor can also spark joy, but I don’t consider myself a comedian. So when I saw a parody of Marie’s book, I grabbed it, hoping for some great laughs to share.

It’s called, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F—. Or, how to “stop spending time you don’t have with people you don’t like doing things you don’t want to do.”

And while there IS some humor in it, the message was quite serious.

It’s about knowing what’s important to you. And gracefully bowing out of what’s NOT important to you. This is such a freeing concept.

How many of us do things we don’t really enjoy out of obligation? What if we just said no? Because it’s really about saying yes to ourselves and what’s most important to us.

There was a few “obligations” on my list that I promptly dispatched. And it made my giddy with happiness.

So ask yourself this question about the possessions, the people and the action items in your life.

Does it spark joy?

If not, you know what to do.

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Caroline Leach

Hi, I'm Caroline Leach. I help people and organizations tell their stories. I'm a Marketing VP at AT&T, a former Communications VP at DIRECTV and an alum of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. This blog, How to Build Your Career through Social Media, shows you how to build your personal brand, advance your career and embrace your future. It helps you promote your employer and your network too. Opinions expressed in this blog are my own. Your comments are welcomed and encouraged. I'd love to hear from you!

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