Does it Spark Joy?

I joined the ranks of the Marie-Kondo-ites. Early in January I binge watched all the episodes and was inspired. I see why she begins with clothes; it’s pretty much all I’ve actually gotten done.

If you’re not familiar with Marie Kondo, she is a tiny, very sweet Japanese lady who tidies. Her show is kind of a reality show where she goes to people’s homes and helps teach them how to tidy up and declutter. It’s a valuable lesson in today’s consumerist world but the lessons I took deepest to heart have to do with respect.

When she teaches you to sort out your clothes, she has you put them all in one giant pile and pick them up, one by one, and see how they make you feel. Does it spark joy? Does it make you smile? Do you use it a lot? Do you feel pretty or sexy or handsome in it? Does it remind you of a precious time? Any of these might be ways the object spark joy for you.

If it does not spark joy, you thank the item for what it has given you, and you get rid of it. That moment after you’ve decided it’s not for you, but before you’ve given it up, that moment of thankfulness for something that doesn’t spark joy really gave me pause. It did two things. It helped me get rid of clothes I felt guilty bout giving away but it also made me think about the way we think about our bodies.

The second lesson I took to heart was that one of the first things she does after touring the home and assessing the damage, she takes a moment to kneel quietly and greet the home. You can see that some of the families are kinda like ‘okay weird lady, you do you’ but a few of them had an obvious shift in the way they thought about their homes. Suddenly, it wasn’t just this messy building, it was safety, respected, welcoming and welcomed. How often do we do that for our bodies?

When people come to see me, they are often ashamed. They can’t or won’t be in a sexually fulfilling relationship or encounter with others, or they think they’re too fat or too thin or too old or too hairy and they worry that I will like them. For years now, I’ve understood without having words for it that I appreciate and thank their bodies. Sometimes I’ll give someone’s cock a chaste kiss and a verbal thank you after their orgasm. But I’ve never asked anyone to do it themselves. The thanking, not the kissing, of course.

It’s been a beautiful revelation to try to remind my clients to thank their bodies. Thank your hands for the work they do for you, writing and driving and touching pleasurable things. Thank your eyes for the joy and pleasure of a beautiful sunset. Thank your feet for carrying you for years and years through new experiences. Thank your skin for the pleasure of a warm room after cold wind outside. Sure, your skin might be dry or hairy, but if you can appreciate it for what it can do, that’s one step towards loving your self a little more. And I want for everyone to love themselves just a little bit more.