watchnight 2020

The water is one thing, and one thing for miles.

The water is one thing, making this bridge

Built over the water another. Walk it

Early, walk it back when the day goes dim, everyone

Rising just to find a way toward rest again.

We work, start on one side of the day

Like a planet’s only sun, our eyes straight

Until the flame sinks. The flame sinks. Thank God

I’m different. I’ve figured and counted. I’m not crossing

To cross back. I’m set

On something vast. It reaches

Long as the sea. I’m more than a conqueror, bigger

Than bravery. I don’t march. I’m the one who leaps.

From The Tradition, Jericho Brown.

I am coming late to the cultural phenomenon who is Marie Kondo, and her KonMari method for decluttering one’s life, so I was surprised to discover that her central tenet is the question: does it bring you joy?  Nataly Kogan tried it out:

Does it bring you joy? … If you answer yes, you keep the item. If you hesitate or say no, you donate it or throw it out. It’s simple, it’s brilliant, and it’s something that’s completely intuitive. You can spend a lot of time justifying how something might at some point be useful to you and therefore decide to keep it, but whether something brings you joy is an emotional question and one that can be answered almost instantly: If you feel joy or if you don’t feel joy: there’s no need to make it more complicated than that…

1. Joy is simple yet powerful.
…I found the decision process itself really easy: Joy is a simple filter we can apply to a lot of things, beyond clothes or stuff. We know it when we feel it, it’s strong and vibrant, and it can be a really great lens through which to view other life-choices.

2. There are different ways to bring joy.
… Perhaps the dress brought you joy when you bought it and at that moment you felt the thrill of the shopping-hunt and thinking about ways you were going to wear it. If so, Kondo says, that’s great — that item of clothing has served its purpose: it brought you joy at some point. Now you can remember that and put it into the donation pile without guilt.

3. We don’t hang on to things; we hang on to emotions attached to those things.

… Those jeans remind me of that time, of what I was feeling then, and I realized that while I’d probably never wear them again I’d kept them in an attempt to hang on to those emotions I’d connected them to. The jeans were just jeans; but the emotions they’d elicited were what I was hanging on to. When I put them in the donation pile on my floor, I felt a huge sense of freedom and relief — giving away a pair of pants was a way to let go of feelings I no longer needed carry with me.

4. Fewer things you love is better than many things you kinda like.

… here’s what really surprised me: When I was done decluttering I didn’t want to run out and shop for new clothes. I had less than before — I estimate that I donated about a quarter of all my clothes and shoes — but I was so much happier with what I now had that I lacked that familiar desire to chase something new. What an unexpected benefit and a huge lesson.

5. It’s not about what others think.

.. when it comes to joy — about what you’re wearing, or what you’re eating, or what you’re doing with your life — you have to feel it yourself. If you don’t, it doesn’t much matter what others think: their joy is not a substitute for your own.

I find it fascinating that Marie Kondo is trying to ‘spark joy’ (to use her phrase).  And whilst thinking about tidying up my material belongings might be tempting, especially at this turning of leaves time that is a New Year, to how much more of my life might this JoyPilgrim need to apply this intention?  For sparking joy needs to become my way of life, my way of thinking, my way of creating, my way of praying, my way of serving …

At this midnight hour, during the watches of this long night, on the threshold between the years, I pray for the grace to spark joy in others in the coming times.  However I may feel, whatever may occur, may I become a JoySpark; embodying sacred Joy as many times as I can, in as many places as I can, in as many ways as I can.  May the transmission of this JoySpark always be a blessing bursting forth, pointing up and out, in and down, to where the Holy waits for us.

What lifts the heron leaning on the air

I praise without a name.  A crouch, a flare,

a long stroke through the cumulus of trees,

a shaped thought at the sky – then gone.  O rare!

Saint Francis, being happiest on his knees,

would have cried Father!  Cry anything you please.

But praise.  By any name or none.  But praise

the white original burst that lights

the heron on his two soft kissing kites.

When saints praise heaven lit by doves and rays,

I sit by pond scums till the air recites

Its heron back.  And doubt all else.  But praise.

John Ciardi

set on something vast (triptych). IPhone images.

Published by Kate Kennington Steer

writer, photographer and visual artist

One thought on “watchnight 2020

  1. Hi lovely, Transmitting a Joy spark……. that is a worthwhile new year resolution.

    Love & light Mx

    Sent from my iPhone



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