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  • Jill Lawson

The Life Changing Magic of a Tidy Mind

Many folks speak of having a guru. Well, my dad was mine. One of the things he always said was, "Simplicity is the result of successfully eliminating from your life that which tends to complicate it." Whether it is in the food you eat, the clothes you wear, or the way you keep your house; living simply has enormous benefits on your state of health and wellbeing.

Because clutter serves to confuse, and hoarding harbors envy, relying on material things for happiness is sure to keep us from experiencing maximum enjoyment out of life. I learned this from my dad-guru when he lit his shed on fire, without even going through its contents. "I don't know what's in there and I don't care. I just want it gone," he said. "If it doesn't matter, don't make it matter." That's one way to clean house!

Housekeeping guru Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, would agree. She believes getting rid of physical items that do not bring joy to your life is paramount for living happily ever after.

We all know how good it feels to finally clean out an overstuffed closet or pitch the piles of magazines growing cobwebs in the corners of our bedroom. The instant gratification of getting rid of old, stagnant, useless items indeed sparks joy, as Kondo suggests, and as my dad demonstrated.

Your house is no different than your mind. In fact, clutter in your life reflects the clutter in your head. You may spend hours simplifying your sock drawer by tossing the unmatched pairs, but unless your mind is clear, your life will not be so simple.

Practice the following meditation to get rid of all that robs you of joy. Clear out the stacks of regret collecting dust in the corners of your mind. Sweep away negativity. Dump the trash talk from your anxious thoughts. Do a little tidying up of your brain and create space for happiness to take residence.

Do this meditation first thing in the morning. Refrain from listening to the radio, reading the news, or watching television until you’ve completed the following practice.

Begin in a comfortable position. Bring your attention to the thoughts coursing through your brain. When a thought comes in, label it, and file it. For example, perhaps you are thinking about what to bring to a dinner party next week. Label it as “not yet needed” and file it away. If thoughts do not bring you joy, such as thoughts of remorse or pessimism, delete them. Mentally burn any image, memory, or way of thinking that no longer serves you.

Continue until your mind houses peace and clarity.

My dad also said, "The art of simplification is its own reward." When simplicity occurs both in your house and in your mind, the space created can only be flooded with all the joys money cannot buy. May your existence be full of immeasurable, simple pleasures.

Thank you for your wisdom, dear dad.


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