marie kondo & letting them go…with gratitude

It was a slow Saturday shift at my “hobby jobby,” and I have hefty reading goals for the month of August. Therefore, I spent a good couple of hours digging into (and nearly finishing) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which I have owned for quite sometime but hadn’t yet read.

Part of the reason is that I was worried what reading that book would do to me (because if you give a Bohem Brunette a book about decluttering….you may not see her for a few weeks). But with a major clothing purge and capsule wardrobe build recently completed, I felt ready.

I intend to tell you more about what I think in general about the contents of this book later, but, for me, this is what hit (and still is) home:

To truly cherish things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To get rid of what you no longer need is neither wasteful or shameful….Free them from the prison to which you have relegated  them. Help them leave that deserted isle to which you have exiled them. Let them go, with gratitude.

I believe Kondo was talking about clothes, but I was thinking about friendships. Specifically about the ones that no longer exist.

I used to spend a great deal of time fretting about my friendships. Worrying about whether or not I was doing enough to maintain them, or if I was being replaced in someone’s life. Or if I had a “best friend.” Or enough friends. Or too many friends.

I’m not completely advanced, so sometimes the gremlins creep back in. But, for the most part, somewhere along the way I I realized three very important things about relationships: 1) Authenticity is key; 2) Quality over quantity; and 3) Life is long, and feelings are indefinite.

The third point is really my focus here, and to put it more simply: not all things will last forever, and that is okay.


It doesn’t always feel okay. In fact, I can recall times in my own life when I literally thought I was going to die from this gaping emptiness in my chest.

Even though feelings like that should kill us, as Diane Lane put it in Under the Tuscan Sun, they rarely do. We survive, and life moves us on. And most of the time, we look back appreciatively.

The simple truth is that sometimes it is just time for things to be over. More oft than not, it’s an unconscious decision. We don’t go to school together anymore. Someone got a boyfriend. The calls get less frequent. The connection eventually fades.

But once and a while, we choose to end a relationship, be it a platonic or romantic, and it’s a jarring transition.

Perhaps we walk away because we have been treated badly. Or perhaps they do. Perhaps it’s because it’s just not working anymore. Maybe there was a fight. Maybe a Betrayal. Or maybe we just want to go, and that is reason enough.

What is weighing heavily upon my heart tonight is not the leaving but the idea that Kondo presents about letting them go, with gratitude.

To be honest, I don’t think they deserve it, says my ego.

And as I sit with that ugliness, knowing it is not my real self speaking, I think about what Toni Robbins said: “Blame at the level of your soul. Not the fucking level of your head.”

And that’s where the gratitude is. That’s where the grit comes in. And the grace. And those G’s are the type of capital-G Girl I want to be.

For one year, a once-dear person was exactly who I needed in my life for different reasons at different times. And then they totally fucked it up.

Well, to be honest, I bear a responsibility for our shared joy and for the fractures that eventually broke us too. I know that to be a soul truth, as much as I hate it.

And those cracks let so much light into my life, and I would not be the person I am today without them.

So when that person crosses my mind, and my fucking head wants to flip them a very poignant finger, I take a breath. And I say thank you. And send (or sometimes, to be very truthful, hurl at) them a glowing ball of good energy.

Because you gotta let them go, with gratitude.


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