Guest Post: What is a Spark of Joy?

DSSbutterflyI’m happy to welcome my partner Natasha to the blog with this guest post. Her company, Domestic Systems Solutions, helps people create space and relieve stress in their homes and workspaces. I asked her to write about that great concept: the Spark of Joy.

As I start writing this post, I realized that there are quite a few definitions of spark.  For the sake of the post I am going with the one from the Oxford Online Dictionary:
Spark:  A trace of a specified quality or intense feeling
and “joy” from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Joy : a feeling of great happiness: a source or cause of great happiness : something or someone that gives joy to someone

When looking at these definitions, “spark of joy” seems simple enough, right?

It comes down to a specified quality or intense feeling of joy. When I think about a “spark of joy” I immediately think of hearing an “I love you” from a partner, child, or grandchild.  It can be when you are opening a gift or watching a sunrise. In these instances there is an actual physical feeling in the body.  It may make you smile; it may just cause a tingling feeling. Whatever the feeling, you know it’s there.

What does it mean when we are talking about creating space?

Marie Kondo, in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. talks about using this feeling when decluttering your space. Keep in mind we are talking decluttering here, not just organizing.  There is a huge difference between getting rid of things and re-arranging them (I will save that rant for another post, though).

The point of decluttering is to get rid of things.  It creates space and a feeling of freedom (trust me on this).  The resistance comes from our attachment to things.  We may need or feel connected to it in some way. Marie Kondo’s method is the best way I have seen to help anyone figure out what is truly something they should keep and what they can let go of.

Does it spark joy?

Let me use some pictures as an example. I had a box of Polaroids I took when I was twelve. That box followed me from Nebraska to Washington, DC, to Texas, back to DC and finally to Wisconsin.

I threw them out.

Some of you are fainting merely reading that.  Think about it though: they stayed in the box in storage, and I only looked at them whenever I moved. While some of them made me smile they did not create any intense feelings. The problem becomes the part of our brain that says you SHOULD keep them. They are pictures of your family, after all!

I also have a picture of my grandparents that makes me smile (and, yes, miss them) but the memories it invokes make me happy.That’s the picture I kept.

Think about it: do your happy memories of that family christmas rely on those photos? If so, great! Keep them. I have found I can remember times like that without that box (in storage!) and honestly I felt lighter and more free being able to give up that extra weight in my life.

There are things we love that we should by all means hold onto. All the other things are taking up space in our life, weighing us down. I don’t need things to remind me of what I love. Some things create that spark of joy – and by decluttering, I have plenty of room in my life for those.

I dare you to look around, touch the things you have and decide if it gives you a spark of joy or if you are holding onto it because you think you should. I guarantee that letting go of the “shoulds” will make you feel more free.

Need help? Drop me a note on my Facebook page and I’ll be glad to talk!


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