The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, by Marie Kondo

In Buddhism they say that if you have more than 7 things you don’t own the things, they own you.

I’m by no means saying that you should just have 7 things, but I think we all subconsciously know that clearing the clutter is good. It’s more than just making space – something happens emotionally when things are in order. The mind seems to follow – feeling clearer and less cluttered. What a coincidence!

My mate Dan Kennedy (also a photographer) told me about this book. He found it totally inspirational, was having a massive clear-out and had started to sort and fold all his clothes using the recommended Konmari method (feel free to google:). It struck a chord with me – and I knew the book was one I wanted to read – so went out and got it immediately. That was last summer – and I could not recommend it more highly. You can take the order to whichever level you are comfortable with – but this books will make you feel differently about your stuff. Author Marie Kondo has some very clever and insightful points to make.

The main lessons I have taken from this book, is that clearing out is transformational. Not only will you feel better – but it can be the key to making great shifts and changes in your life. She has a very clever method of getting rid of things – you need to sort all your stuff in categories. So for example: get all your shoes, every single one that you own, in one place. Only then can you really make a proper call on which shoes you need or not. And the only criteria for keeping any of them is that you LOVE them! If you don’t love it – it should go. Simple. So uncomplicated.

Above is a picture of a corner of my office as it now stand – magazines that I love organised, my old negs sorted in grey boxes. Ahhh. Feels better – oh, and there is my grey meditating chair – which brings me to my next discovery.


The mindfulness App

About 10 years ago I did a Vedic Mediation course with The London School of Meditation. It was great. I loved it. After just a week of doing my 20 minutes morning and evening I felt different – more centred, happier and without a doubt calmer. Being a freelance photographer is not the most secure and relaxing of career choices, so this was a massive discovery and a great tool.

So why did I not continue? Well – I guess life got in the way. I’m very busy, I have kids – 40 minutes is quite a big chunk of time to carve out of every day. My meditations have carried on, but it was more like 20 minutes a week than twice a day.

So that got me thinking. Meditation is about regular practice. If I can’t fit in 20 minutes, is it not better to do 3 or 5 minutes twice a day than nothing at all? I was certain that I could manage to fit that in. So I went looking for a tool that would help me do just that – and I found the perfect meditating partner in The Mindfulness App.

With the app on my phone, I have set reminders for a morning and evening meditation. I choose to do 3 or 5 minutes depending on where I am.  Sometimes I even push the boat out and do 15 when I am not in a rush. You can do a guided meditation to the voice of a reasonably pleasant sounding american lady, or you can choose silent mediation.

I love the fact that it also tracks my practice and will give me my weekly and monthly statistics (I do like a graph!). My short 3 and 5 minutes slots add up to over an hour of meditation a week, and it feels totally doable.

It must be working. The picture above is of me meditating on a Cape Town beach in the middle of a seaweed fort built by my boys. Does it look silly? Pretty much. Do I care? Nope.