Decluttered Abundance

Our lives run smoother when we subtract the clutter; however, we need not eliminate the elements of joy that soften the dampest days of the human experience. A decluttered home is just the beginning; next, let's curate our spaces to highlight our authenticity.

After people complete an intense Tidying Project, they won't give-in to instant gratification because that's how their over accumulation of things started in the first place. Tidy people have learned that delayed gratification is extremely gratifying. It’s the mental calmness that we experience when we love ourselves enough to refrain from trivial pleasures that cost us our integrity. Faith and satisfaction give us the confidence to risk being authentic in the world. This type of joy doesn’t require an abundance of stuff, it’s a spiritual inner heartening.

The hummingbird symbolizes joy.

Practical applications:

1) Let money fill up your bank account without being spent.

2) Another form of disciplined bliss is to honor your workout schedule. As Brooke Burke said, “It’s harder for me not to work out.” After time, discipline starts to feel like the easier path.

Cozy Abundance

Contrary to my love for equanimity and discipline, I do believe whole-heartedly in joyful abundance. I love the feeling of a decluttered room, but not so much the cool, industrial feel of minimalism. A decluttered home is elegant, but don’t let the “sophistication” of a simplified home suck the joy out of it.

Fortuitously, the book Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee entered my life. Lee researches the aesthetics of joy from a scientific viewpoint. Turns out most people feel energized by color, stripes, dots, freedom, surprise, transcendence, harmony, and blossoming. On a material plane, I took Lee’s advice, and I added color, plants, big artwork of a blossoming flower, and garlands of multicolored pom-poms. After “adding joy”, I realized that I had previously held judgements against myself as childish for loving these things. In addition, I used to chastise myself for liking things that seemed “too feminine”. Now feeling plucky, I bought two beautiful, dainty nightgowns. Also, I put up artwork of mermaids because who said a 37-year-old woman can’t love mermaids?! Love it!

Lee writes, “Minimalist homes promise a Zen-like serenity, but to live permanently in that kind of environment seems to go against the grain of human nature. Even the supposed minimalist Philip Johnson didn’t live full-time in his famous Glass House. After only a few years, he remodeled the adjacent Brick House into a cushy haven for sleeping and reading, complete with plush carpet, vaulted ceilings, and patterned fabric on the walls. It’s almost as if the craving for sensations is inexorable and can be held at bay only for so long”. Lee posits that Zen-like interiors aren’t meant for long-term living for modern humans. We do need to accumulate several items to interact socially and comfortably in this world.

The zen-like Glass House.

The cozier Brick House.

Practical applications:

1) Turn a collection into a curation. Collections, when curated with attention and care become exponential sparkers of joy. Find items that bring you joy (for me it’s found feathers) and display them well.

2) Is there something that brings you joy, but you’ve hidden it away because you are too embarrassed to bring it out into the open? Try putting it in your closet first, so at least you can enjoy it in your personal private space.

I hope you have fun adding joy to your home!

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