These are two things that are apparently in vogue right now; but they’re usually discussed independently. However, having recently (15th January I believe) listened to a Radio 4 episode of Women’s Hour, featuring a professional Japanese de-clutterer called Marie Kondo, I see that de-cluttering and mindfulness are intertwined.
When we have too much stuff or things become untidy our mind follows suit. By reducing and removing the clutter and focusing on what we need, “keeping what gives you joy and taking good care of it” as Kondo explains with her term “spark-joy”, we are able to become mindful of what we have – when we have too much stuff (or too much to do) our focus and our attention is fragmented and scattered.
It seems to be the nature of our time and I think it goes beyond mere physical possessions. Much of our lives have become digital; we not only hoard physical stuff because physical stuff like photographs, music or letters have become digital and stored in our gadgets and tech. But we are also distracted in other ways.
When the wireless (radio) was new, BBC listeners were encouraged to stop whatever else they were doing (such as playing board games) and told to focus on what they were hearing (to be mindful); but since that time we’ve “progressed” from radio, and we’re progressing from simple television; we’re now thoroughly in the internet age and the social network that pulls our attention in a multitude of directions; away from what is physically with us. New media now seems to encourage our attention to be diverted and divided by nudging us towards Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and websites; personally I try my best to switch off from it all and only “tune in” to one thing at a time, one thing at a time that I have specifically chosen to give my attention to, my spark-joy – it’s not easy though.