Do I Really Need This?
Recently I was gifted two beautiful photographic art pieces. Looking for wall space, I noticed an inherited painting stuck in a corner where I rarely look. Admittedly, I’m late to the Marie Kondo “does this spark joy” craze, but even I could tell this piece failed the test. In fact, it's downright ugly. Strangely, I don’t recall ever seeing the painting in my father’s home. Was it given to him after his divorce when he needed something on the walls? Had it been in his bedroom all along and I’d failed to notice it? Or maybe he hid it in a closet.
We’ve had a year of reckoning about how much has been hiding in plain sight. Plenty of people have clamored for remedy for years, sometimes generations. But change evolves slowly–painfully so for the vanguards. They pass the torch to others in a relay race of indeterminate length. Their alarms about despicable behavior toward humans, animals, and the planet have been dismissed and/or ridiculed. But over time, beliefs and values in the larger populace begin a surreptitious evolution. The tipping point comes when the chorus of voices is so large and loud it can no longer be ignored. Even then, institutions and governments foot-drag, but they too eventually get on board. Some of the changes in attitudes (and laws) over the course of my lifetime have included bans on smoking, cleaning up the air, seeing women in executive leadership positions, the normalizing of multi-racial families, and the protection of same-sex marriage. All social change creates push-back and experiences reversals, but I believe forward momentum continues even if the short view may be disheartening. Our species has to grow; we don’t know how not to.
Massive turmoil from the pandemic has thrown “normal” out the window. We find ourselves in a golden moment for change on personal, national, and global fronts. Maybe it’s time to "do a Marie Kondo" on rarely examined beliefs, values, and habitual patterns. If they don't spark joy, we know what to do. Then we get to enjoy the process of new growth.
I hope you had a happy July 4th! Our nation was founded with optimism and fervent desire for change. We are so fortunate that the evolution continues.