Sparking Joy?

Marie Kondo and her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has come up in conversation several times the last month for me; her method of de-cluttering your life is all the rage right now.  So it wasn’t a complete surprise to see an email from my “Word of the Day” website, mentioning the phrase “sparking joy” and leading to a fairly long online article about what “joy” translated into in Japanese and why the phrase “sparking joy” was chosen when the initial translation of her book was done.

Although I’m not completely onboard the Kondo train, I do recognize that her de-cluttering method comes from a place of finding gratitude. While a corkscrew may not give me a physical thrill of joy, the memory of good times with friends around a good bottle of wine, or the hope that there will be more of those good times does.  I’m grateful, not so much for the corkscrew itself, but for what it represents in my life.

Some of you know that I have been on a mini-Kondo mission the last year or so. It’s a slow process and I’m actually trying to think of my departing items (to Goodwill or trash bin) with gratitude, instead of just the items I’m keeping.  Even if I don’t need them any longer, I’d like to think those items had a good place in my life at some point.  Doesn’t mean I need to keep them, just to recognize that my stuff was my stuff for a reason.

Anything bringing you joy/gratitude this weekend?

 

74 thoughts on “Sparking Joy?”

  1. Almost the only thing sparking joy for me recently is my daughter. It was to be near her that I left the state I loved and abandoned much of my former life.

    One of her gifts to me this past Christmas was a pledge to cook any dish I choose twice a month. Cooking is difficult for me these days. This gift has sparked more joy than anyone could have expected.

    No better example could exist than the dish she just delivered: Indian chicken makani (butter chicken, as it is often called). After eating it I reported to my daughter it was the tastiest dish I’ve eaten in the past decade. Last night, having enjoyed a second meal, I’ve been forced to revise my opinion. Her chicken makani is the best dish I’ve eaten in the past seventy years. It might be better than that, but my memory isn’t sharp about the meals I enjoyed in my very first years.

    I’ll share the recipe with anyone who is interested. Surprisingly, it isn’t difficult to prepare.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have a recipe for Butter Chicken but I don’t remember where it’s from. It’s quite good, although I’ve made it only once.

      Like

    1. Is it hard to find bison? They have it pretty regularly here in tbe grocery store. A native friend of ours tried raising beefalo on his ranch but had to quit because they keot jumping the fences into the neighbor’s pasture. He said he never saw such jumpers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A little bit difficult to find in my Ohio location. The folks I get my meat from treat the animals as spiritual beings and are very reluctant to process them. I respect their feelings and so approach the sale with appreciation not as a simple transaction.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Most bison in state and national parks have a certain degree of beef DNA through cross breeding. Blue Mound State park in Luverne, MN has one of the most genetically pure bison herds in the country.

        Like

  2. Bread baking sparks joy any time, and this weekend I plan to make my usual French bread, as well as graham buns, a recipe I got from The Nordic Baking book. The wind chill tonight will be -50. Fresh baked bread will be very comforting. The buns go great with cheese. Graham flour is very coarse whole wheat. I take bread to work quite often to share, as does husband.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I baked my last batch of Amish Friendship bread last night. Put the starter in the fridge to save for next year. There was no joy; it was just ‘get this damn baking over with’.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Triple batch of carrot cashew soup for me today. Also making sand castles out of ice cream and later some studio time. And tomorrow going out to lunch with a girlfriend of mine.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Rise and Find Joy Baboons,

    Well, this morning this blog is giving me joy—especially knowing that other baboons find joy in delicious food. This morning I made biscuits for breakfast. Their light, flakiness is a texture I do enjoy.

    I will need joyful things and events to focus on today and in the coming weeks. The worst thing has happened in my co-worker/friend’s family—her child is now on kidney dialysis and they are seeking a kidney donor. This is a sad and heavy event evoking dread.

    I am sitting here on my porch looking at the bright white snow all around reminding myself that it is beautiful, despite my yearning for spring. I am also looking at the plants I winter each year, and I am fantasizing about my garden. May will be here in a twitch and it will bring me joy—both the process of gardening and the flowers and food it produces.

    Last night I listened to podcasts and played a word game on my iPad. Terry Gross interviewed Mary Pipher, who has written another book, now about women aging. She says older women (yes, my age) are the happiest people according to research, accepting joy and delight as they present themselves. I am trying!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I forgot that we are starting tomatoes and pepper plants this weekend. I have to sterilize the reusable plastic pots from last year. They sure work better than peat pots or cow pots.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Just saw a meme on the Facebooks with a photo of wide swaths of the white stuff and the text, “Can we Marie Kondo the heck out of this snow? It no longer brings me joy…”

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Last night I posted a photo on Facebook that Hans took of our bird bath in the back yard. It has a lovely 31″ dome of white fluffy snow on it. One of my neighbor/friends made the following comment: “Oh hell, just stick a cherry on it.” Just the kind of wry humor I appreciate and needed at that moment. In fact, I spent a few minutes thinking about what I could put on top that would look like a cherry, but would be light enough to not fall through all that snow.

        Meanwhile, I have friends who are out and about cross country skiing, something I haven’t done in fifteen years. I sure could use the exercise.

        Liked by 4 people

  6. I saw a headline recently saying now people are regretting getting rid of some of the things they did when they “Marie Kondo’d”.
    It wasn’t sparking joy to them now, but they got rid of it and are missing the joy it bought them at the time.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I suppose that can happen if you rush the process or do it just because it’s a cool thing to do. Too bad it is backfiring for those people.

      Like

  7. I got distracted for a few hours by a bedroom rearrange, which definitely sparks joy. It’s also far and away the best way to get the dang room cleaned. Also put a lamb stew in the crock pot. Gratitude for having a day with no place I have to go, just optional things. And for the slow cooker, food in the freezer, and a warm place to enjoy it.

    We did our shoveling early and it wasn’t bad, partly because we did some last night… maybe 4 inches total this time. It’s getting old, though.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m having a good email conversation with a good friend and sent off another email to him today; that’s one spark of joy.

    That’s about it for today for sparks of joy; maybe tomorrow will bring a new one.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Interesting that Marie Kondo should come up again in today’s discussion. I’m looking for opportunities to get things out of the house in a responsible way that doesn’t add to the pile of debris we’ve been stuffing into landfills. I tried to take a sun-shredded 25 year old upholstered chair to a recycling company today, hopeful that they weren’t lying when they said on their website that for $20 they will deconstruct furniture and direct the component parts (springs, fabric, foam, wood) to a sparkling new life instead of a dismal dump. The company’s website also said they were open until 2pm. But when I arrived at their location at 12:30pm, they were closed, and a phone call confirmed (via recorded message) that the hours, had, in fact, changed. Now the chair is back in my garage, sitting on sawhorses, waiting for Monday when I will try again to gratefully dispose of this blasted chair in a Kondo-esque way that allows me to feel virtuous rather than wasteful. But in the age of Donald Trump and Michael Cohen, one must wonder if a proven liar can ever be trusted. Maybe they will accept my $20 with a wink and throw my chair in the river as soon as I pull away. Should I drive downstream and wait to see if it floats by?

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I’m envisioning you with a big fluffy hat with ear flaps, standing on a bridge, looking down at the water to see if your chair goes by!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. If all else fails, Dale, you could have another garage sale. This time of year, I bet you wouldn’t have much competition.

      Like

  10. Yes PJ, I think I’d have the field to myself with an early March garage sale, especially since the garage is so hard to see behind the piles at the end of the driveway. For every purchase, you can take a free ton of snow with you – I will happily shovel it into the backseat of your car!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Unassembled snowmen – free with every purchase. Those little extras are everything, Dale. Bill can probably give you some really catchy marketing ideas.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When YA was much younger, she got a snowman kit for the holidays once. Box with a scarf, hat, carrot, two pieces of charcoal and two sticks. Maybe these could be the giveaway w/ the snow!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Why settle for a common snowman when, for just a little bit more, you can have the makings of a magnificent snow dragon? 10% discount when you shovel it yourself.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Studies have shown that people find the builders of snow dragons to be attractive and fascinating. Be the envy of your community! Impress your boss! Boost your immune system! Lose ten pounds in just a week! Never be lonely again!

        Liked by 2 people

  11. This morning there was joy in a New Orleans style brass band at church. It’s Mardi Gras Sunday – so there was king cake (yum!) and lots and lots of New Orleans/Dixieland band music. Hard not to tap your feet when you have a trumpet, trombone, a bit of percussion, and Sousaphone bringing you Iko Iko or I’ll Fly Away or When the Saints Go Marchin’ In…

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I’m interested in reading more about the translation choices that resulted in the words “sparking joy”. When I first heard about the first Kondo book several years ago, I was rather skeptical about that concept. It seemed to me that expecting everything in your household to “spark joy” was holding your stuff to a rather unreasonable standard. It seemed to me that something you appreciate for its usefulness has a valid place in your life, even if you don’t adore it.

    As for feeling gratitude this weekend, I’m feeling grateful for the old boiler and circulator pump faithfully supplying warmth and security.

    These past few years, I’ve gotten into the habit of thanking my car when I come home and park it. When I bought the car, its previous owners told me its name was Freddie. When you have a car that has a name, it seems appropriate to talk to it. So I say “Thank you, Freddie” at each journey’s end.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. S/he is Mort – no “e.” My niece (prior driver of the car) named it. It’s a Nissan Leaf – which means there is an app that lets me monitor charging, start the climate control remotely and a bunch of other stuff I don’t bother using. App clearly spelled out that my car is named Mort. Niece has no explanation for how she came to the name – the car and I are just stuck with it.

          Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve deliberately avoided gender pronouns with my car. Freddie could be short for Frederick, or Winifred. But as I have not received any guidance on gender pronoun preference from Freddie, I am going with it/its.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I share your skepticism about Marie Kondo. I was too busy to participate when the subject came up and I’ll allow that it’s entirely possible that I misapprehend what M. K. is all about, but it strikes me that she is not a maker, not a creator. Her philosophy is about reduction and simplification, not growth. She doesn’t factor tools, supplies, raw materials and resources in her equation. When you are a maker, you value tools because they spark utility. You value your supplies because they spark possibility. You value resources because they spark understanding. Joy, if it comes, comes later and in retrospect.

    Maybe “joy” is just an unfortunate translation choice. Asking your possessions to spark joy asks very little from yourself; it puts the responsibility for being joy-inspiring on your possessions. You are not creating joy for yourself, only consuming it.

    Liked by 8 people

  14. There is another problem with Kondo. She delivers unqualified promises that decluttering will spark happiness, but she fails to make allowance for psychology. I believe her when she says a clean, uncluttered environment sparks joy in her. But I see her as a neat freak who could be happy living in a spartan room in a cloister.

    Kondo’s attitudes toward books seem like an example. I guess I believe chucking out a big bunch of books would make her happy, but the same thing would spark verily sherrilee into a pit of remorse. My daughter has way too many books now. To spark joy in her, you give her more books.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are correct that Marie Kondo’s idea that 30 books are a good number gives me the shivers. However over a year ago when I started my decluttering program, which is still ongoing, I did tackle books. I had a lot of books that I was keeping over the years because I felt they said something about me and I valued what they said. After spending quite a bit of time thinking about that I realized that no one cares what my books say about me except me. And that I can certainly still have those values in my own mind without the actual books. I got rid of about two hundred books back then, mostly to the library.

      Liked by 3 people

  15. I wonder if some of the people who are driving all their unwanted stuff to thrift shops will really stick with the minimalist lifestyle. Given that Americans tend to be big consumers, some of them might embrace the idea of giving away stuff that is not “sparking joy” for them, but fail to internalize the concept of doing without so much stuff, resulting in shopping sprees at IKEA or big boxes arriving from Wayfair in the not too distant future.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I frankly don’t understand why, if you are a person who has a lot of stuff AND it bothers you, why you need a diminutive Japanese woman to point out the obvious solution.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Barbara in Rivertown Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.