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A Comfortably Functional and Joyful Living Space


Art by Paul Foreman

There’s a book out there that’s the buzz of the buzz, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluterring and Organizing by Marie Kondo. While I haven’t officially read this organizing bible, I have vicariously lived its tenets from a wide range of friends that speak of its super powers on lightening the load in the home and the heart. That being said, the urge to purge has snapped me up like an eager kiddo reaching for her next jack win in a jumbo jacks game.

Here I am living my life “problem” with too much and so many in our world have too little. Isn’t there a place we can all meet in the middle, with our bag of too much stuff, and spread the material burden a bit? Some material items are functional, some bring simple joys, and still others are just burdensome. And, of course, there’s any combination of these categories. Though Kondo may ask her readers to figure out which items in their living space spark their joy, I feel like during my purging process, I’m asking more this guiding question – “How much do I really require to bring comfortable function and joy in each day?”

Recall, I haven’t read Kondo’s book, but I know enough friends that have that the declutter message has somehow seeped into my unconscious and has been incubating for quite some time, which now in my current state of affairs is exploding like the whole world is celebrating our 4th of July at the same time. The energy is so strong, it’s consuming at times and I can’t move forward until I clear more and more items out of my living space. How did this privilege of too much stuff happen anyway (that’s another post coming…hint)?

Not long ago I was roaming the halls of the Menil, a museum in Houston housing an extensive private art collection, and during this visit there was a special exhibit on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. It is there, too, that this other important message steeped into my unconscious. Gandhi died with only a few possessions to his name. If I recall correctly, it was his spectacles, a bowl, and the clothes on his back. I was certainly mesmerized by the magic of the idea of living without all this stuff that we acquire in our privileged, albeit blessed, and yet painfully over-consumptive based society that we live in here in the amazing U.S.

So, the energy of the cosmos merged just right at this point in my life. The seemingly domestic virtue of decluttering asked it’s internally light counter part, the spirit of me, on a very important and transformative dance. The result was a spiritual rebirth of a living space that was in dire need of shedding some dusty layers so it could breathe and live a little more clearly. Though I won’t quite be like Gandhi with only a few possessions in my name, I am striving for a new way of living in personal and physical space that directly exhibits the nature of the transformations I have experienced on the inside in my spirit’s development since some major life events that have happened over the last several years of my life.

It isn’t so much about giving my physical space a makeover either and ridding dusty old items for nice and new ones. Having a comfortably functional and joyful living space is teasing out everything that just isn’t required in my everyday living. I believe when we ask that question, “What do I need to live my everyday life in a comfortably functional and joyful way?”, that we realize we don’t need very much at all. While I’m not in a cave or in an Ashram, I do realize, too, that I’m still living my life in the modern U.S.

As I continue my work to take the darker layers of wounds off of my heart and my spirit through various spiritual practices, I’m finding it’s time do the same in my physical space. The inner and outer worlds are ready for a little harmony. So, that outward manifestation of my spirit’s current state from the internal processes that took place over the past several years and, that continue to take place, is ready to exhibit simplicity, functional comfortability, and as Kondo would say, “a spark of joy”.

Om Shanti Om ~ Athea


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