“When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”
When Marie Kondo launched her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she inadvertently introduced a new term into our cultural lexicon:
‘Does it spark joy?’
Those four words became the basis from which thousands of us took to our homes asking ourselves that very question for every conceivable item we could lay our hands-on.
Having a purge of possessions has always left me feeling lighter and weirdly more in control of my life. It’s become clear to me how much emotional transference we place within our environments and the things that fill them. It was wonderful to see so many people consciously making choices about what their external environment needs to look like and include, in order to promote a better internal environment.
The psychological and spiritual benefits of tidying up have been covered in-depth, and I particularly enjoyed this piece by CNN Health. As more and more people moved to take part in the magic, I found another phenomenon slowly crept in.
If you don’t clear out your entire house and showcase your new laundry folding skills on Instagram, are you still #SparkingJoy?
I’m as much a sucker for getting, well, sucked into a social media loop as anyone, but I couldn’t help feel a point was being missed by the escalating influx of photos and stories showing up on my feeds of how much everyone was ‘sparking joy’. You don’t need me to tell you how damaging framing everything we do in life within the tidy squares and captions of social media can be. So many individuals have spoken out about the social-media- as-performance lifestyle and it’s detrimental impact on their emotional and mental health.
I’ve previously taken time out from the digital scene with detoxes ranging from one week to one month, with wonderful benefits. But you and I both know — giving up the digital life completely? Not going to happen.
The digital world is such an important part of our lives. Now as we brace ourselves through social-distancing and quarantining practices in our own homes, digital is one of the core ways most of us are remaining connected (and sane!). The movement to deliver more of our lives digitally has taken on an entirely new pace. An app my school was attempting to develop to support students learning at home has taken less than 6 days to be built — contrary to pre-pandemic quotes advising it would take 6–8 months.
Written by Elaine