Posted in Musings

The Paradox of the Good Book


dog readingIsn’t it strange how when you’re reading a book you really like it’s so hard to put down and when you are away from the book, you just can’t get back to it. But the faster you read, the faster you’re done and then you don’t get to be in that world anymore? And then you’re a little sad that it’s over. You knew that would happen but you couldn’t stop yourself.

And then when there’s an author you really like, you can’t wait to read their next book. You don’t need to know what it’s about. You just know they wrote it so you will like it. But then when you’re browsing in the library, bookstore, or reading a book summary online you probably decide to read the book based on the description. But really want matters is how well the author tells the story and not so much the circumstances.

What are some books you’ve raced through? What authors do you love?

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Posted in Meditation

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: The Japanese art of Decluttering and Organizing by Mari Kondo

I bought this book at the recommendation of friends. It wasn’t just recommended, it was recommended vigorously by both parties.

What it boils down to is going through all of your belongings and considering each item and deciding if it brings you joy or not. If it doesn’t bring you joy, you should not keep it despite lofty notions such as sentimental value, expecting to use it someday, or it being practical to keep it. For example, even if it’s a shirt you wore last week, you should not keep it if wearing it did not make you happy.

I like to donate items to a thrift store that benefits military veterans throughout the year. But generally once a year I do a more serious purging. This year I took it to a new level after reading this book. I chose to get rid of things I would have held on to such as books, and DVDs I loved. As I considered each book I realized even if I were to read them again, I would prefer a digital version and would not likely read the physical book. And as for the DVDs, I already had many of them recorded on my DVR anyway. I also got rid of most of the clothes I hope to fit into again someday. When I stopped to really consider if they brought me joy, I realized they were from a few years ago and I wouldn’t want to wear most of them again. I did save a few that would genuinely make me happy, being able to wear them again would be like crossing a 5K finish line, maybe even a half marathon.

There are some classes of objects that I have had fetishes with buying but have stopped myself from buying recently. Containers, school supplies (folders, post-its, and notebooks), purses, and candles fall into this category (though I confess I have had a candle relapse lately). Containers just cause me to collect things and I barely write things down now, preferring to capture info in the Evernote app, so out all these things went.

Sometimes we collect things because we feel like we will use it again, or we feel loved having these belongings. The author suggests to be thankful for having these items or whoever gave it to us and then let it go. We can also take pictures of precious items to remember them. Getting rid of things we don’t use allows us to appreciate what we do have more.

I did keep back some stuff that was questionable because I thought perhaps if I got rid of a lot of these other things, I would have the psychic energy to enjoy the questionable items. So I decided if I didn’t use them in a few months they would be eliminated. What the magic of tidying is really a meditative processes allowing us to be aware of our possessions and its value in our lives.