“I love mess!”
These are the words of Marie Kondo, Japanese consultant and author of the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
Let’s set the stage…once upon a time, there was a couple who had a very messy house. Their house was not dirty, or unhealthy in any way. But it was very, very messy.
They had a lot of stuff – stuff piled up in the corners of their bedroom and spare rooms. Closets with clothing that had never seen the light of day since the Summer of ’42. Decorations and collections of stuff spilling out of rooms and flowing like Mississippi silt into hallways and stairwells. Kitchens choked with gadgets and “whatchmacallits” to a degree that would daunt the most intrepid of warriors.
This harried couple hears a delicate knock on their front door. A slim young woman of elegant design enters. She leads with a huge smile and extends her petite hand in greeting. She is followed by another very polite, smiling young woman who we come to understand is her translator.
There is something ethereal and graceful about this woman…something quiet and accepting and inspiring about her.
She is Marie Kondo. She is not here to judge. She is here to help.
Years ago I watched a few episodes of Hoarders but had to turn the channel because it made me claustrophobic. I tried to be cool, but that was way too much stuff for me.
The people Marie Kondo helps are not in the Hoarders category. They are functional folks who, perhaps, let life get away from them in some manner. Perhaps they have children and find that establishing a routine while raising a growing family is harder than they thought it would be. Perhaps they are retired empty nesters who hold onto stuff from their younger days out of sentimentalism. Perhaps they attempt to distract themselves from time’s relentless advance by shopping till they drop.
Marie Kondo is not a counselor, but she does address the emotional issues surrounding the meaning of the mess with the spirit of a warrior, using three little words.
I love mess.
There is a world of difference between cleaning up a mess because you say you hate it and cleaning up a mess because you say you love it. Both methods get the job done, but which one gets the job done with love?
By her example, Marie Kondo teaches that everything in your home, your possessions – the clothing you wear on your body to the items with which you decorate your life, to the things you choose to throw away or donate to charity or to keep…hold sacred space in your life.
Does a cluttered home mean a cluttered mind?
Where we see a mess, she sees the elegant spirit of the people she serves. As a Master of Flow, she understands what needs to be done to change the spirit of the room to align with the true spirit of its inhabitants.
By her elegant example, she teaches an aspect of doing Everything Gently…where you gently and consciously create beauty and serenity in the space where you live, love, and share your most precious time with others. This is the process that transforms a house into a home.
In her quiet way, she invites us to consider our world through the eyes of gentility.
I found myself close to tears as I watched this young lady kneel and honor her client’s space before she began.
You see, I believe I understand the meaning behind her humble and yet masterful gesture. She was honoring the lives of its inhabitants…and thereby demonstrating the great power in service.
The elegant arts – appreciation, patience, forgiveness, acceptance, freedom, humility, silence, and trust are some of the most subtle and difficult to master. Marie Kondo represents these aspects of warriorhood at their finest.
I invite you to watch her Netflix series or perhaps read her book. Whether those who have participated in her series continue to uphold the example she teaches to them is not the point.
A master will offer. It is up to the student to accept.
It is all sacred space or nothing is sacred space. You decide.