By on 25 August, 2017 in Fun, Sarah Thornton with 0 Comments

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

People who know me well know that I’m a bit of an artistic enigma. Perhaps it is something to do with my Leo/Virgo cusp birthday? Whatever the cause, I live my life in contradicting ways. As an artist, an actor, a musician, a dreamer, I create and play and revel in the unexpected and bold. I relish new experiences and taking chances and building imaginary worlds. And yet, I cannot find the peace within myself to live so wildly if my desk is cluttered, my “To Do” lists aren’t up to date, or my calendar is unorganized. I require a sense of order and structure, a rule-following in my life behind the scenes so that my head is clear and heart is open when I step into the other realm. My bookshelf is filled with a variety of adventures shooting off in every direction, but the books themselves are organized alphabetically and by genre.

Marie Kondo, a professional organizer, is acclaimed for her KonMari Method, and her book The Life Changing Method of Tidying Up is indeed “life changing”. At the very heart of her method is the phrase, “Does it bring you joy?” This is the key when you are evaluating your belongings, purging the clutter, cleansing your space. The things we hold onto in our closets and our cabinets tend to be kept based on emotional attachment, whether valued as an heirloom or out of guilt that we bought it and never wore it. “Maybe I’ll wear this someday… I may use this at some point…” and the piles build and the clutter clutters. So Marie suggests we ask, “Does it bring you joy?” If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Maybe it did bring you joy at some point but no longer does. Then it has served its purpose! Now let it go so that it can bring someone else joy.

I believe the deeper brilliance to the KonMari Method is that this same technique can be applied in all areas of life. In our choices, our work, our family and social lives, we should consider if the things we are surrounding ourselves with bring us joy. We should aspire to be able to answer definitively, “Yes!” If the answer tends to be “no,” we should challenge ourselves to make the necessary changes. Change is the only constant, as they say. Life is always shifting, and we all do our best to bend like reeds and move gracefully along. Life seems to move much faster than we do sometimes, and perhaps the meaning of life lies somewhere in finding that joy and that peace within ourselves throughout the turbulence.

The Cloverdale Playhouse is constantly changing! We spin plates and juggle balls and make balloon animals in our wacky circus everyday with the shared goal of creating meaningful art. Right now, our ever-changing life has been kicked into high gear! We have two wonderful new faces in the halls, Melaine Bennett, our new Managing Director, and Scott Grinstead, our new Technical Director. And, boy, are they embracing the chaos! They both bring enthusiastic energy, lots of new ideas, and a sense of joy for organizational changes within the building itself and the modus operandi. My split-personality Artistic Director heart skips beats daily! I am being given a tremendous gift in this new team, because as the Playhouse grows and changes more each day, I can grow and change with it both artistically and professionally. We are approaching our seventh season, planning for the future, and asking ourselves multiple times a day, “Does this bring us joy?” “Will this bring our audiences joy?” “Will this bring our artists joy?” We look forward to sharing all of this change and growth with you all as the good work continues!

Sarah Walker Thornton is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse, who walks like a New Yorker and waves like an Alabama girl. She is a product of a Montgomery arts education, with several years of life in NYC thrown in for extra flavor.

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