I was watching Marie Kondo while folding clothes, and it was actually amazing. I have never read the book, and at first I was pretty impressed they were able to turn it into a compelling show, but I ended up finding it VERY compelling.
It was incredibly thought-provoking to see how Kondo treats the spaces she’s in and the objects she interacts with, with so much respect, with such an air of sacredness, so mindfully. I have never thanked an object, or at least very rarely. As I was folding clothes, I thought, I’ve never thanked my favorite jacket, I’ve never thanked my jiu-jitsu gis… but I love those clothes. They do so much for me, they mean a lot to me everyday, but I do not treat them with respect, I do not take care of them, I do not express the energy of gratitude for them into the universe, ever. And it seems so spiritually fulfilling, and so calming and peaceful, to think that I might live in a different way, in which I have deep respect and gratitude and connection and harmony with the places I occupy and the objects that I interact with in my life.
This brings together a few things I’ve read before… first, I’ve actually written about how the body is so sacred that you should be extremely thoughtful about the spaces that you put it in, as the spaces your body occupies are the context for your body’s existence and aliveness, which has so much of an effect, if not all the effect, on YOU. Kondo reminded me of that, and in an even deeper way. To be grateful for the context that everything creates, the way the space takes care of you, the way the space makes room for you to be, in whatever way you are.
The second is actually on my Facebook About Me… it says, “there are no unsacred places. There are only sacred places and desecrated places.” And wow. Everything is sacred… we either treat it as such or we fail it, we desecrate it. And this is not just places, but things, not just things, but living things, it is literally everything that is our universe and our lives. It’s all sacred. And Kondo can convey the principle and value of this type of gratitude, of this type of sacredness of living, through the art of tidying up.
And a beautiful extension of this idea that Melanie brought up that makes it even more striking and powerful to me is, she said that Kondo “is battling capitalism through teaching cleaning,” because she is teaching a very powerful sort of anti-materialism in which a person has much more respect for their belongings, and is also much more open to change, to only being surrounded by objects that he or she intentionally wants to be there, that have a deep meaning and which bring joy to that person.
It’s just incredible to me that one can change the world in such an important way, fight such a gigantic dragon of our society, through lessons of what seem to be such a mundane task. It really goes to show that one can change the world, and cause gigantic effects on culture and people, through small actions, in ways one could never make a slide deck for and get startup funding for, in ways that one would never predict. One can make life better for oneself and others in such simple ways, and with joy and with gratitude.
It again reminds me of one of my absolute favorite quotes, from the former Secretary of Education under Jimmy Carter, John something (I only remember the title and don’t remember his name), where he says that “remember, one can be a good person, that is a person that makes the world a better place, just by virtue of being the kind of person they are. It could be a truck driver, a teacher, a politician, a businessman, but just because they exist, and because of the way they live, they make the world a better place.” There is a place for the mundane to change the world. There is a place for the way we clean to affect the way we interact with our contexts, and change the way we live, and ultimately change the world. Fuck flying cars and hyperloops and Mars missions and global internet, there is so much to respect outside of the cutting edge, outside of the glorified. I’m glad we can still find beauty in such things as the art of tidying up.
And my last favorite quote, just because alongside the one above about being a good person and making the world a better place, it’s one I’m considering having read at our wedding: “Walker, there is no path. The path is made by walking.”
Walk on… there’s a place for everything and everyone. All of it is sacred.