Lesson Three: Keep Only Things that Bring You Joy

“Discard everything that does not spark joy.”  ~Marie Kondo

One of my favorite things to do is watch tortoises eat. In Torti Town, there are two concrete stepping stones next to each other, fondly referred to as “The Slab.” It is on the slab that I lay out all of the culinary goodness I have prepared for the shelled ones. In the morning, I spread the food around, then…

 …then I sit and watch. 

Usually, before I am finished putting food out for them, one or two of them (typically Archie and Cupid) have already started to emerge from their hides. Though tortoises cannot hear very well, they can sense vibrations, they have a good sense of smell, and they are aware of time. Because I feed my creep around the same time every morning, the food smells yummy, and my footsteps in Torti Town create vibrations, the tortoises senses alert them that good things are about to happen!

Guess what happens…

The tortoises choose the best things to eat. They choose fruits over all else. Mushrooms next, Mazuri tortoise food ranks high; fresh leafy greens and tomatoes are also favorites. They love hibiscus blossoms (actually, they will eat EVERY part of the hibiscus plant). Sometimes I bury the good stuff under other foods…they shove things aside to eat the good stuff first. Foods that are often untouched and left behind: carrots, celery, asparagus. 

They find the foods they enjoy (which are also good for them). They ignore everything else.

Lesson Learned: Keep the things that bring you joy, get rid of everything else.

You may have heard of this strategy if you’ve ever gone through the process of simplifying your life, or decluttering. This is a concept I try to live by. Every so often, it is time to go through cabinets, drawers, bins, and boxes to declutter. 

Sometimes when I am doing this, I get rid of things simply because they do not bring me joy. If it doesn’t make me happy, why spend any energy, time, or space keeping it around? Here’s an example. I recently sent Dean this picture of things I had set aside to donate:

He responded: “Kinda surprised on the coffee mugs.” 

While staying in an airbnb recently, I realized that there is a certain type of coffee mug I prefer – a big, chunky, heavy one – especially if it has a cheerful message on it. Holding a coffee mug like that in both hands, breathing in the amazing, warm aroma, lifting it to my lips…it’s all part of the experience that I savor. 

This description does not match my coffee mugs. They don’t particularly bring me joy. So, why have them? Especially if I can replace them with a mug that does bring me joy. And…BONUS…by donating these mugs, they may bring joy to someone else.

“But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”  ~Marie Kindo

Today I am going to use a gift certificate given to me as a gift to replace some of the things I purged…the things that did not bring me joy. I will enjoy the shopping. I will enjoy receiving the package in the mail. I will enjoy using the new things. And I will have a space in my cupboard for them, because I discarded the things that did not spark joy.

Incidentally, this same concept applies to ALL AREAS of your life: activities, people, jobs, etc. It is easier to apply this idea of “keep only things that bring us joy” to coffee mugs, no doubt. It is more difficult to purge a person or a job that consistently brings us down, but the impact is greater. Life is the most precious gift we are given. I believe it is our responsibility to live it to the very fullest

When you find those things that bring you joy, take time to savor them. Remember to feel the gratitude for them. 

Let’s watch Archie savor one of the things that brings him joy…a mango! (If you don’t see the video, click here)

Here’s a challenge for all of us: Choose a drawer, cabinet, box, or bin and PURGE! Get rid of everything inside that does not bring you joy.

Stay tuned for more Tales from Torti Town, and for an upcoming Tortoise Spotlight! Get to know my creep…

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