Deciding what to do

Recently I have been reviewing what to do, having spent many years doing it all, or rather trying to do it all.  I feel now I have come to the state in life when I need to edit things out.  This kind of editing has involved giving away of things I am not using; not going to events/shows/talks; editing out facebook and other social media contacts; getting out of mailing lists and also deciding what to do with work goals.

The Konmari method of cleaning out spaces uses the idea of throwing out anything that is not ‘sparking joy’.  William Morris suggested that everything in our house should be useful or beautiful (or both).

The author, Scott Sonenshein, says that the Konmari method is ‘not just about what we do to our physical space.  It’s about what we do to our mental space. Once we break that dependence that having more equals more happiness and more success” and apply the “spark joy” filter, we “can recognize what is most meaningful and important to us because it doesn’t get lost in clutter.’

However, it has taken me a long time (decades) to see what sort of rest of my life I want to lead.  So he says, ‘Deciding which projects to pursue may be more challenging for individuals beginning a new career, as they have yet to develop a strong sense of the work and environments they prefer.  However, just as the KonMari Method is structured so individuals can “calibrate before getting to sentimental items”, people may need time in their professional lives to gain a better sense of what “sparks joy” for them.’

Using the method by William Morris, one can decide if the project is not useful or creating something beautiful it is time to let go of it.  After all, we live short lives and in that time, we do not leave something behind that is beautiful or useful (and even both), then there is nothing to remember us by.  That leaving gift need not be a physical thing- it can be advice or love you give to another person.  For example, my Uncle did not leave me anything but his love and advice (which I use all the time).  He lives on in my life and also in my children’s lives as I recount things he used to say or do with me.

Worth watching this 12 minute funny TED Talk (assuming you are not offended by the language!)

Acts of Kindness

When things are not going well for us, we tend to go inside (both physically and literally) and huddle.  There, in our state of misery we stay until we think that things will get better and we can emerge from under the covers and re-engage with life.  Yet the longer we stay in that cover, the longer we take to heal.  Reaching out and opening up to others helps to make our own sorrow go quickly.  It is not simply about positive thinking.  It is about taking action.  When our own heart is full of sorrow, it is then we need to reach out and help others overcome their own.  In doing so- whether by listening or helping with chores- this active engagement with others and with life, helps us to overcome our disappointment and sadness.  In such ways, our problems become our ‘mission’- they are no longer obstacles but they are opportunities for growth and renewal.  After going through the pain of several miscarriages, I went on to help others who had suffered similarly.  When finally my son was born, alive and kicking, I realised that even if I had another miscarriage, I was already healed.  Kindness towards others helps us heal mentally and physically-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21900202

There are many new movements around the world, calling for ‘Random acts of kindness’- latest trends on twitter is about someone leaving money in secret locations or buying coffee for others. However, we don’t always have to spend money.  The kindest act someone has done for me which I will never forget consisted of being there and being silent. She just held out tissues while I cried after losing my fifth baby after five months of pregnancy.  This woman did not say irritating  or hurtful things like, “Don’t cry”- “You can always get pregnant again”- “it was only a miscarriage”- “At least you are alive” etc etc which others did in misguided acts of kindness.  She did not have children of her own but yet understood how difficult it was for me.  I bumped into her two days ago after ten years.  I only had to say, “Do you remember?”  She nodded and I squeezed her hand silently. One never forgets true kindness.