February 2018 Message
Wherever we turn these days, we see Marie Kondo, the tidying up guru who teaches us how to rid ourselves of excess clothing, artifacts, books and other sources of clutter. We see her face on book covers, all over the internet and, now, on Netflix, where she shows us how to fold our clothes, organize our homes and say good-bye to an endless stream of long-forgotten possessions.
The Konmari Method, as it is known, takes us through the steps of gathering our things, holding each item, asking ourselves whether it “sparks joy,” ruthlessly deciding which items’ end has come, saying good-bye to it and thanking it for its service to us. Yes, telling the things in our lives how much we appreciated what they gave.
Less than two weeks ago, we celebrated Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees. We gathered together to enjoy the annual Tu B’Shevat seder during which we taste the seven species of fruits indigenous to the Holy Land and drink four cups of wine or juice, symbolizing our journey through the four seasons of the year. We give gratitude for these fruits, for the shade our trees give us, for the roots which hold onto the earth and for wood, out of which we build our homes, schools, furniture, many musical instruments and even matchsticks. These are commodities we enjoy every day and, yet, we give thanks but once each year.
There are so many items—and people—that enrich our lives daily. We may give a bonus to the mailperson in December, but he/she delivers six days each week; our teachers are on call during most of the year and our hairdresser is there during bad-hair-day-and-I-have-an-interview-tomorrow days. How often do we hold each of the items in our lives, and acknowledge those who do so much, and tell them what they meant to us? And, when is the last time you thanked a friend for being in your life?