What sparks joy in your life? What sparks joy are three magic words that according to Marie Kondo, an organisational expert, will change your life.
Years ago, I wrote about surrounding our lives with things we love. Beautiful ornaments, crockery, comfortable cushions, a vase of roses, crystal glasses or even chooks! I recognised that I feel happier when I have a home full of things I love. It sparks joy!
But what about the gifts we receive? Do you find there are some gifts you have that have never seen the light of day! What do we do with gifts we have no place for or the gift that does not match our décor? These are gifts that do not spark joy. You may have a few hidden at your place?
My great-grandmother Mary Wilkinson (she passed away when I was 8 years old) told my mother about the art of receiving a gift. Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to receive a gift! When my great-grandmother was alive gift giving was very different to what it is today. Most people made a gift at home or gave produce that was home grown. A gift was mostly made by hand, knitted or sewn or whittled from a piece of wood. These gifts took time to make and would be treasured. Today we can shop online and at our doorsteps are hundreds and hundreds of items we can purchase for a gift.
I love receiving the gifts that I know a family member or friend has put much thought into. It was not just a matter of going to the shops and quickly purchasing something for a birthday party tomorrow!
I have had many experiences of receiving gifts that have been carefully thought through by the gift giver. For this I am thankful. One of these was from my sister Christine. A beautiful cup, saucer and plate and yes, it sparked joy!
But can simple things spark joy – such as a pumpkin? Yes, I believe they can. The joy of receiving home-grown produce. I had one such experience a few weeks ago. My sister Trish and husband Jason had many pumpkins grown on their property in Springbrook. I did not have any home-grown pumpkins so when she gave me one, it was received with much gratitude. Pumpkin is one of my favourite vegetables and at this time of the year home-made pumpkin soup with home-grown pumpkin does not get much better! The simple things in life can spark joy!
But what if I had six pumpkins at home and could not manage one more? Mary’s approach was always to graciously receive the gift, even if it was something you did not need or could not use. If a gift is offered to me, I accept it with a grateful heart. I do not reject the gift as in rejecting the gift I am rejecting the generosity of the person. If the gift is a pumpkin and I can’t use one more pumpkin, then Mary would say ‘pass the gift on’. However, it is more than passing the gift on, it is passing on generosity and kindness and then giving the receiver the opportunity to show thankfulness, to acknowledge the generosity of the giver.
Passing a gift on when you don’t need it is a simple principle and one that will prevent clutter. Such as storing away the unwanted gift with other unwanted gifts until the cupboard is about to burst open. Stuck away in a cupboard is not a loving thing to do, it is best to release the gift to another person. It could well spark joy for someone else.
Marie Kondo’s has three rules when we receive a gift. The first rule is to open it immediately; the second rule is to remove the packaging; the third rule is to start using them now. As Marie says we don’t know if a gift will spark joy unless we try it out at least once. Just like Mary, Marie has the attitude that the true purpose of a gift is to be received. If it does not continue to give joy, then it can be passed on. We should not feel guilty if we release things from our life that do not give us joy.
Recently, I bought a cordless vacuum cleaner. I found the perfect place for it on the garage wall. As the garage is connected to the house it is very handy. But can a vacuum cleaner spark joy? The answer is ‘Yes’! My One & Only (O&O) did not know where our cord vacuum lived, and it had never touched his hand to spark joy! However, he installed the cordless one on the wall and once he got hold of it before I knew it the ensuite, bedroom and hall had been vacuumed. Now that really sparked joy for me! What about you? What sparks joy in your life?