Okay, first, true confessions– I LOVE Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989.
I’ve been thinking a lot about blank space. (And I’ll write your name!)
You see, in my quest to make The Queen Sweep ever better, I’ve been reading this delightful and EXCEEDINGLY ODD little book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
It’s by Mari Kondo, a Japanese organizing expert.
The whole thing is sprinkled with quirky expressions and funny sayings, and I’m driving myself a little crazy trying to guess at the original Japanese. It makes me homesick and nostalgic, because this March 11th marked the fourth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that turned my life upside down…but that’s another story.
Mari-san is ALL ABOUT THE DISCARD. (Yes I am. I am going to keep referencing every single pop song I know. Lucky for you, I only know two. No treble!)
Her criteria for keeping things is that they must “spark joy.” No, really– if it doesn’t make your heart beat faster, if it doesn’t give you an actual visceral thrill of pleasure, it’s GONE.
I think this is amazing and brilliant. Genius, really.
And if we all did this, we’d be perfect.
I also think that most of us aren’t QUITE fully enlightened yet, which is why we need help with this stuff… which is, oh hey, exactly why I created The Queen Sweep.
We talk a lot about white space in Week 2, when we clean up our homes.
It turns out that leaving some wide open spaces in your life is the key to living graciously.
I have mastered this in my physical space. I really have. And it’s kind of a miracle, because as a kid I had a room that was SO MESSY and SO DISGUSTING that I actually used to have a recurring dream that it had magically been cleaned. So if you think that you’re too far gone, I promise, there’s hope for you too.
But mastering white space in my calendar? This is a constant work in progress. In fact, you could say that I totally failed Calendar Management 101 this week.
Here’s how you can tell: there was that day when I looked at my calendar and started to cry.
Pretty good sign that something is out of alignment, wouldn’t you say?
The thing is, every single thing on my calendar is something I WANT to do. I would say yes to every single appointment again, given the chance. And every single call, lunch, and playdate made me happy.
But there wasn’t enough white space between all those delightful things.
So the overall effect was jumbled, rushed, and heavy.
This is exactly what happens when you go buy the most gorgeous canary-colored lamp in the world– a dream of a lamp! A lamp that will singlehandedly transform your bedroom! And you put it on your nightstand! And– and– and instead of turning your room into a fantasy of French Provencal coziness, it just looks squeezed in between the picture frames, vases, stack of books, and tissue box.
The irony is that too much of anything, even delightful things, will choke the joy right out.
White space, loves. We need it in our homes; we need it in our days; we need it in our closets.
Think about art galleries. Think about how the beauty of each piece stands out…. against all that empty white.
Try this right now: try opening up a little space wherever you are. If you’re sitting at a desk, shift things around until there’s a little breathing room. Just stack papers and move files until there’s a little waft of air around your coffee cup. If you’re out and about, grab your phone and see if there’s any way you can add a little white space to your weekend. If you’re on a subway or on the playground or somewhere else that’s so noisy and jumbled you can’t think, just take a big breath and open up some space in your insides.
Ahhhhh. Better, right?
It’s counterintuitive, but in order to have a gracious, soft, lovely life, sometimes we have to be ruthless.
We have to draw fierce boundaries around our time. We have to set priorities. We have to deal with the uncomfortable emotions of loss when we let possessions, commitments, and illusions go– in order to make enough room for something beautiful to bloom.
Even though I flunked Calendar 101 this week, the good news was that I knew exactly what to do.
I dried my tears. I made a cup of tea. I took some vitamins. I played 1989 really, really loud. And then I went into my calendar and ruthlessly moved things around. It stung a little. It was a little embarrassing here and there. But now? There is breathings space in my week. There is room to do the writing that is my big priority this year. I’m not perfect at this yet, but things are SO much better for me than they used to be.
This is the hardest part for most of us. I talk to so many women who can hardly look at their calendar, let alone their to-do list, without feeling physically sick. I used to feel like this too. I’d wake up every morning with a tight knot in my stomach. I’m here to tell you–it really doesn’t have to be like this. (Even if I do still have the occasional relapse!)
So if you aren’t signed up yet, click the image below~
Here’s to you and your gorgeous life, dearheart. May all the rooms in your world and in your heart be big and bloomy and lovely. Wishing you a glorious weekend, lots of white space, and bright splashes of beauty.
P.S. So many of you asked about the heels I mentioned last week… so here they are!