“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Let Go, Simplify

Mau Obon

HAVE you heard of the KonMari method? It’s a tidying up technique popularized by Marie Kondo through her Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. She instructs her viewers to organize stuff by category rather than by room. But what struck me most was her philosophy of keeping things that spark joy, and discarding those which do not. I can’t help but connect tidiness with joy.

         Indeed, a lot of people get stressed and unhappy with unkempt rooms, me included. It is also my belief that a person’s bedroom is a reflection of his inner self. What if we KonMari our values and not just our living spaces?

         Perhaps we can start by learning to be thankful for the things which really matter. Remember the story about King Midas and His Golden Touch? He had a blast turning his possessions into gold until, he can no longer eat, drink, and his daughter became a golden statue. Greed is actually insatiable. It will squeeze out every ounce of our breathing lives until we are left without the ability to enjoy the things we worked so hard to obtain. Unless, we let go of our greediness, we can never have true joy.

         Of course this is not saying that we have to let go of our ambitions of becoming a zillionaire. Ambitions actually fire us up. Achievements bring us happiness. If we work to achieve purely selfish ends, that becomes greed. But if we dream for others, that becomes altruism. Now, there were two men who were granted by a fairy with the ability to earn whatever amount they want. When person A’s bank account reached 10 billion pesos, he proceeded to buy five Lamborghinis, two Ducatis, a mansion in Dasmariñas Village in Makati, a condo in BGC, and some works of Hidalgo, Manansala, and Ang Kiukok. Person B also earned his first 10 billion, but he used it to build an orphanage, a home for the elderly, and a hospital for the poor. After spending the last peso of their 10 billion, they both died. Who do you think would have embraced death happily? Guess who will be remembered with gratitude by many?

         Lastly, amidst these accumulation of non-essentials is, I believe, insecurity. Some people measure their self-worth according to the things that they own. However, material possessions can only make us lust for sleeker versions of the things that we already have. It can only stir discontent and unhappiness within us because stuff gets upgraded all the time. There was a woman who gauged her self-worth with the iPhone model she carried. Well, Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone on June 29, 2007, and the company has churned out about 18 phones over the years. So in a span of eleven years, Apple enticed this woman to upgrade her iPhone seventeen times. That’s not even one phone a year! Her old phones would have taken up so much area in her closet, and it will continue to consume space until she stops.

         Changing our inner values may not be as easy as classifying our possessions into which brings us joy and those which do not.  Some stuff that bring us joy today may soon turn brittle with age and leave us eventually. Walang forever diyan. But the joy which God’s wants us to have is one that that is constant and reliable, and it comes from Him. This we can only have if we declutter our values, keeping only those which bring us closer to God and discarding those which do not.

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