In this July 11, 2018 photo, Japanese organizational expert Marie Kondo introduces her new line of storage boxes during a media event in New York. Kondo is launching the product line, a six-piece set of colorful and sturdy paper boxes, for $89. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Decluttering also means getting rid of emotional junk
Emotional space should be reserved for real friends and family
“Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix has inspired people to clean up and declutter especially during long weekends.
Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant, author and propagator of the KonMari Method, “a state of mind and a way of life that encourages cherishing the things that spark joy in one’s life. Belongings are acknowledged for their service and thanked before being let go, should they no longer spark joy.”
But what about internal decluttering?
Archie Inlong, president/ CEO of NPI Communication Consulting, Inc., recently gave a talk to the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals Alabang East chapter on emotional decluttering.
“What force drives and fuels your life today?” Inlong asked. It could be “a dream to have, a dream to do something, or a dream to become (the most powerful of the three).”
He explained that a dream shared with someone gives it spirit and becomes an aspiration. “If the dream benefits only you, it becomes a burning ambition; if others benefit from it, too, it becomes a powerful aspiration. If it is an advocacy people are willing to sacrifice a lot for, it becomes a mission. Are we people on a mission or people with ambition?” he asked.
Inlong said that when people don’t express or pursue their dream, it stays a fantasy, which can degenerate into an illusion or even delusion.
So how does this driving force affect how you manage the spaces in your life? Finally, what does God want us to do with these spaces in our lives?
Your choice of Point B will affect your attractions (what draws your attention), affections (what we love become attachments when craved; addictions, when you’re depressed without it) and allocations (money, time, energy, relationships).
How we fill our spaces can also be categorized into physical, visual and auditory. What are we addicted to listening to, to seeing? What does it have to do with our Point B?
But the most important space to fill is emotional (your heart). “This is the scarcest space because it is limited. It is usually for family, friends,” said Inlong. “How do you know when it’s full? You feel emotionally drained.”
Inlong spoke about three challenges that happen to our spaces: “First, you crowd it. Even if you have a minimalist aesthetic, this is just a normal human propensity. Second, you confuse it. You don’t know what belongs where anymore, where things are.
“Last, you clutter it. Now this is a serious disorder. Which spaces are most cluttered in our lives? Be conscious of how you declutter and fill your spaces. If this matter is not addressed, it can derail you.”
How do we declutter our emotional spaces? The Bible says to empty, not merely declutter; to make space for the Lord. How?
“We all have our journeys, to be like Christ,” said Inlong. “So we all have the same life story. Moving from being masters of ourselves, to yielding to God to rule our lives. The mission is to be Christ to others.”
Inlong recounted the Bible story of the rich young man who asked Jesus what else he could do to follow Him. For many of us, to be young and rich is already a feat in itself, but clearly, being young and rich was not a fulfilling Point B for this man; he was still empty. Jesus asked for space, but the rich young man wasn’t ready to give Him space, and so he walked away, sad.
How do we use our resources, our spaces? Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian Henri Nouwen wrote about three tools to emptying spaces: through the “Discipline of the Church; Discipline of the Word; and Discipline of the Heart.
He said: “First, be part of the seasons and story of the Church because it reminds us of our own story. Next, return to the Bible. Not to analyze it but to pray with it; finding time, absorbing and allowing it to nourish you. The Word, when allowed to permeate, makes you see the stuck clutter.
“Last, prayer: make yourself available to God. Let Him strip you of clutter. Emotional space should be reserved for real friends and family.
“Christ emptied Himself to become our servant,” Inlong pointed out. “By making Christ our Point B, we’ll see the things we’ve accumulated are junk. The innkeeper had no room for Jesus, the rich young man wasn’t ready to empty himself for Jesus. We need the grace of God to empty our spaces; our willpower is not enough.”—CONTRIBUTED