What Sparks Joy

There’s something incredibly sad to me about “putting away Christmas”. I’ve let it all stand through the (almost) twelve days (and the days before) and rose each morning to the sparkle of rainbow lights. The color is about to drain out of the room soon and what remains will be only and all that these walls have held.
It’s time for freshening up. The plan is to continue to free myself of old memories, trinkets and junk in the garage so that I can move everything from the house out there while we paint and replace this worn carpet throughout. The thought of being free of yellow walls in the kitchen and hall is absolutely thrilling. The notion that this will be a blank palette gets my heart racing.
Without giving in to the reality of the noise and disruption that change will bring, I am beginning the process. Whereas yesterday was the day I couldn’t part with anything, today feels like a good “tell the truth”  purge kind of day about letting go.
How does it happen that we hang onto so much ? Memory is a big culprit. Each item I touch sparks a memory. If the measure of saving a thing is “what sparks joy” how do we ever give up anything ? Even when a thing doesn’t reach right in and tickle your heart with joy, it can trigger other deeply held remembrances. I often feel like throwing away the “thing” abandons the memory. Therein lies the problem.
The worst for me are the paperish things. Cards, ticket stubs, newspaper headlines … old journals. Most of these I look at once every decade and then tuck back into a box never to be touched or viewed or remembered again until the next decade.
And then there are books and photos.
I have finally discovered the joy of digitally “borrowing” books from the library. It’s not perfect for everyone, but it’s “just right” for me right now. Last night I got a reminder that my “loan” for the great book I’m reading will end Wednesday. I renewed my loan for another 21 days which will allow me time to finish. Mountains Beyond Mountains has me captivated and now I’m free to relax into the last half with just a tiny footprint on the Universe. Win-win.
(Speaking of books: I feel like I need to read A Gift From the Sea again. Anne Morrow Lindbergh was in my dream last night. She handed me a book, but I’m not sure what it was. It was the oddest dream. The two of us on the beach, shells scattered in a pattern that seemed like a maze, and a book in her hand. Maybe it was the other book on my list to read: “Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead. Maybe it wasn’t her book at all. It all faded quickly after waking, but I know she handed me a book and I took it as a sign … )
So, onward I go through the sparks of memory and joy. I think my new rule should be: if I died suddenly tomorrow, would anyone keep any of these things ?
What constitutes value ?
How do you manage memory, and ultimately, the “things” that serve as touchstones ?
What does it mean if a thing “sparks joy” and you tuck it back into a box. Is there an easier way to make sure memories are preserved without the baggage of things ?
So long, Christmas 2019.
Hello 2020.
New decade, new rules.
What will we carry into this new decade ?

10 Comments on “What Sparks Joy

  1. I’m going through the same process. Not unusual, I suppose in the beginning of a new year, new decade. When you mentioned Gifts from the Sea I really perked up. I read that several (read 5? 6? 7? 15?) years ago and loved it. Now I want to go back and reread it too, even though Anne didn’t invite me personally. 🙂

    • Haha … yes, it was a quite compelling offering as it faded on awakening. The issue of “stuff” accounts for as many arguments as money in this household. Such a loaded activity. Thanks for reading.

  2. I struggle with this daily packing and purging. Whenever I toss something that my Love hung onto I feel as though I am throwing away his life. A bit irrational, but I must decide on what is important to hang onto and what is not. (This just may turn into another blog post)… thank you for the inspiration.

    • I so know the feeling of abandoning memories along with the “things”. I can’t imagine what it must be like for you, but I am grateful that you continue to work through some of these feelings on the page. I look forward to reading more ♡

  3. My mom passing a couple of years ago really brought the “if I died suddenly would anyone keep any of these things”. She had a crafty castle, as I do as well. So when I purged it after she passed I took a few things, but not many. I have enough unfinished projects and supplies for some inspiration that might take me. As I went through it I had to push myself to not think of each item that she thought someday might be clever in the yard or on a wall, or used for a gift.
    Now when I go through my things while I’m trying as you are to reduce – I think that – will I really get to this, does it bring me joy, do my kids want it. In most cases, they don’t. They want to pick out their own trinkets.
    However… this year I pledge to craft more – we shall see.
    Happy new year Bonnie!

    • There is an extra question for me about the “who”. With no kids to burden and a niece and nephew who have plainly said they have no interest, I have no good excuse for saving much of anything. They may change their minds as they get older and more sentimental. Or not. “Where there is too much, something is missing”. Thanks for sharing about your Mom, Connie ♡ Happy New Year !

  4. When one of my daughters was small, she said that she needed to “keep _everything_, Mom. Because how will I remember if I don’t have this stuff???” When she was moving from Ohio to NC, she told me that she realized that the memories were forever in her heart.

    I keep some things—-cleaning out my in-laws’ house, with 3.6 TONS in a dumpster helped me to be ruthless in my purging.

    • 3.6 tons can be quite compelling ! I understand how it can happen though. We use “things” to fill voids. We keep it around because we’ve attached our emotional baggage to it with super glue. Cheers to being relentless. I am hopeful !

  5. You could make the best cool memory scrapbook with all your trinkets. One place to turn the pages of your life!

    You’re cool and arty – Happy New Year!!!

    • Thanks. Stacy ♡ There are days I feel like memory has a grip that keeps me from moving forward. There is something to be said for both saving and purging. Maybe photos, organized in a book, is a thing to consider. 🙃

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