WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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folding our way to newness

Just the other day I found myself in an in-depth conversation regarding how to fold things.  “What things?” you might ask.  “Just things,” I would respond.   Shirts, socks, towels, the dreaded fitted sheet – all featured prominently. 

My discussion partner was well versed in folding.  Who knew there were so many options?  There is the half-vertical fold (the most common); the tri-fold (often seen in stores); the roll fold (which really isn’t a fold at all, but, as indicated, a roll); and the Marie Kondo or “KonMari” fold.  There are books, webpages, and even YouTube videos on this stuff. 

Focusing on folding seems ridiculous in the face of global conflicts, environmental assaults, food insecurity, poverty, racism, gender inequality, and all of the other amazingly huge challenges our world faces.  But, as I’ve written before, we live in an “and” world.  That means I grieve the needs of my world and my neighbor, and still ponder (occasionally at length) diverse folding strategies. 

There’s something else, too.  Not always, but sometimes when I focus on organizing my material life, I’m actually looking for internal renewal and clarity.  But renewal is mysterious and big.  Figuring out where to start can be intimidating enough to scrub the whole shebang.  On the other hand, fixing up my material environment feels manageable.  And, more often than not, simplifying material stuff and space is an adjunct for creating rich, new internal perspectives.  Maybe you relate to this.

Creating material order isn’t the only ticket to renewal and it certainly takes more than just organizing to feel renewed.  Still, whether the focus is on finding fresh style or creating space in our homes, bringing order to the external and material can facilitate living with intention and clarity.  From this place we can then connect, create, and, maybe, even figure out how to ease the bigger, messier struggles in our world.

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Whitney Cain