#6 The art of tidying up our homes and our world…

What does the KonMari method have to do with children who are undocumented and living in detention centers around our great nation?

As I was looking around in preparation for moving (yes, again! more on that in a different post), it occurred to me that I am really a terrible packer and need some help. What would my students do if they needed help?, I pondered… YouTube it! Yes! I gave into temptation and started watching a bunch of videos on moving hacks. Not too long into the viewing, videos of Marie Kondo’s KonMari method started popping up in my feed. One woman needed help with her office space, another one was moving from her childhood home to New York City, and so on it went.

I was struck by two things: the incredible beauty of having less and the emotion that was involved. With less, the spaces seemed new and shiny, inviting and restful. But getting there was painful; one of the women cried as she poured over her memorabilia. This is totally understandable. I know a lot of the physical things I carry are connected to memories of transformative times and special places (hence, the ceramic dish containing my love notes from the School for the Work, and my seashell collection gathering dust in another dish). The young woman in one of the videos said it best when she pointed out to herself and her helper that she didn’t need all of these things because the memories were with her in her head.

That seems like true wisdom to me. Letting go of things so that we can be more present and also honoring our memories, knowing they are always with us.

And, then I sat down to write this and saw that I’d left my browser window open to the Rachel Maddow Show and the report on sexual assault of children at the detention centers. My stomach lurched. My heart pounded. I wondered when this moment would arrive; there is no way that all those children trapped in cages could not be targets for predatory behaviors. I feel rage and also confusion. Who will make this stop? How can I help?

It made me wonder, what if we were each able to keep the things we love, that bring us joy (a la Marie Kondo), and give away the rest so that we could be more available to show up in these moments? I think it’s difficult, in a practical sense, for us to put down our work when our spaces and our minds are cluttered, to attend to the common good. And isn’t it for the common good that we address the needs of children?

So, if you’re feeling brave and lucky, try cleaning out and cleaning up. And then, please, then hurry to your local public official’s office or to a Lights for Liberty vigil to lend your newly freed voice and vision to the well-being of these kids. After all, it takes a village, right? 🙂

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