I recently discovered the Japanese idea of danshari. Although I do not know any Japanese, I understand it to actually be a made up word that combines three separate characters. These characters symbolize the principals behind the danshari philosophy.
Simply put, it is the idea that excess clutter weighs you down. This applies not only to physical, but emotional and mental clutter too. Danshari teaches that if you throw away the unnecessary stuff in your life then you will free up more time, energy, and space to live the life that you want. Some have taken this to mean a life of extreme minimalism however I like to think of it as starting point and an inspiration. In danshari, the idea is that clutter keeps you living in the past instead of focusing on what makes you thrive in the present. This has caused me to rethink my relationship with my “things”. Starting with my home and the physical things in it, I began to take inventory. However, instead of asking myself,
“What does this mean to me?”
“Can I use it?”
I have reworded my questions. I now ask myself,
“Does this item help me thrive in my present life?”
“Do I need this to reach my current goals?”
By rethinking my relationship with the items I have surrounded myself with, it has become much easier to focus on what I truly want from life. I am also able to set a goal and not get distracted or easily taken off course. It has also made it much easier to dispose of those items that I have been hanging on to “just in case”. It is amazing how freeing it is to get rid of those things that I thought were so important. For example, I have been hanging onto my knitting collection although I haven't actually done anything with it for sometime. I had this huge weight lifted off of me once I just finally got rid of of my knitting bag because the pressure of “getting around to it” was gone. It is very empowering when you are able to gain control over your possessions rather than allowing them to have control over you. I never thought that my things weighed me down but after getting rid of a few things I have found it to be quite freeing and I realized that they were in fact holding me back.
Before I was able to start my inventory I had to ask myself what it was that I truly wanted in my life? This is not a question that I was able to answer quickly nor is it an answer that is concrete. As I continue to grow and discover what makes me thrive, my answer constantly morphs and becomes more refined. I am constantly reassessing my belongings and commitments and see if they still have a vital role in my present life or have they served their purpose. This in no way discredits the significance that this item played in my life nor does it devalue my relationship with the person I associate it with. I have just realized that everything in this world has a “lifespan” and that things don't have a memory, only we do.
I think I am going to stop writing and go “declutter” something, how about you?