Lose the Sparkle

The quest for joy has done nothing, but cause me grief. I am at my most miserable when I desperately try to hold on to things that bring me joy. When my treasured possessions get broken, damaged or lost, I get upset, brood for a while, then become obsessed with trying to replace them.  It is a vicious cycle. Yet, a new book on home organization advices us to surround ourselves with joy evoking possessions.

“Does this spark Joy?” asks Marie Kondō in her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Marie continues, “…the best criterion for choosing what to keep and what to discard is whether keeping it will make you happy, whether it will bring you joy.” This may work for home decluttering, but not necessarily elsewhere. The behavior of my two sons has not always sparked joy. The playfulness of my three cats has not always sparked joy. My job day-to-day activities do not necessarily spark joy every day. Life is not always sparkly.

When I try to constantly make my home sparkle, myself look shiny, and my life look ever bright, I find myself disappointed, arguing constantly, with myself and others, and feeling anything, but shiny. My favorite vase. One of my sons broke it.  The perfect curtains, the cats snagged them. The best eye cream ever, my other son spilled it. Spending all weekend cleaning for a party even though I had a hurt arm, surprisingly, did nothing to minimize the pain. Plus, come the day of the party, not only did I miss a few spots, I found myself getting ready for the party at the very last minute instead of being a good hostess. I have my limitations and so does everyone else. I am a human being. I do not sparkle.

If trying too hard to hold on to all the shiny and sparkly things in life is getting too stressful, if trying to be your best you at whatever the cost is getting too tiring, then I think the better question to ask yourself is “Does this bring me peace?”