Growing up, my grandmother would always say she “wasn’t religious but she was extremely superstitious”; unsurprisingly she suffered from an anxiety disorder too. Superstitions are a way to try to control situations when it’s much better to let go of control and accept the anxiety. Fighting anxiety is the worst way to stop it. Dealing with anxiety is an individual process, different for every person, but for me it was been important to discern what is being careful and what is being pathologically anxious. When I stayed with a friend who had cancer, I made sure to quarantine before. I wear KN95 masks when flying and try to avoid large gatherings even now. Sometimes the line between sane and neurotic is pretty hard to discern, but I try to gauge my suffering when I’m trying to figure it out. If I’m suffering over something, then usually that’s a tell that I’m being neurotic.
Am I fearless today? Absolutely not. But I have found a way to do the things that used to leave me utterly defeated, in a state of mortal fear. Yes. From mantras to meditation, mindfulness to manifestation, Well Intentioned offers an intimate look at how to make space for self-care in meaningful ways, big and small. Marie Kondo’s firm grip on our subconscious is an impressive feat rarely achieved in pop culture. Her distillation of Japanese organizational methods is so ingrained, that whenever I contemplate which items to keep and which need to go during a long-overdue closet purge—an “intermittent decluttering” that goes against Kondo’s advice of investing in more of a once-in-a-lifetime purge—the same four words cross my mind: Does it spark joy? Starting next week, the sound of Kondo’s delicate hand striking a crystal with a tuning fork to energetically clear a space will become a similarly ubiquitous mental device. “Sparking Joy,” the organizational psychologist-turned-bestselling author, entrepreneur, educator, and television star’s new series for Netflix, debuts on Tuesday and will feature Kondo working her KonMari magic outside of the home. “After 2020, I realized that it was time to challenge myself and the method further,” says the 36-year-old, who turns executive consultant in an effort to help small business owners—a family-owned garden center, a boutique coffee shop—go outside their comfort zones to tidy up their operations, as well as improve the interpersonal relationships that surround them.
“I just had my third baby—a boy—so everything is a new experience for me right now,” says Kondo, already a mother to two older daughters, via Zoom. Her backdrop is as spartan as you’d imagine it would be: The impeccably lit white-walled room features a minimalist shelving unit stacked with a single plant and a diffuser. Then, a crack in the perfect veneer: the faint sound of an infant crying! “I have a dedicated drawer for things the baby grows out of, and it has a set limit that I try not to go over,” Kondo says of her solution for dealing with the same organizational pitfalls that plague all new mothers. “But let’s be honest,” she deadpans via translator: “it’s overflowing!” The premise for another TV series, perhaps? Here, the woman inspiring Americans to clean up their acts shares her sanity saving tips for creating order at home, at work, and in the increasingly rare spaces between.
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