When I was living in an ashram in the Himalayan foothills of India at the start of this year, everything I needed seemed to exist in my little bedroom from a small portable heater to keep me warm in winter, to a variety of outfits for my daily yoga classes, to a small kettle I bought in the holy town of Rishikesh
It was so basic that I used to joke that my kettle had special ‘skills’ because it would charmingly whistle and do a little dance on my desk, sometimes blowing off its aluminium top before the water came to a boil.
However, as I sat cross-legged on my comfortable fleece quilt (yet another luxury like the heater I bought, though they were both less than RM50), I felt so fortunate as a human being to be feeling warm despite the cold.
As my modest room filled with the aroma of piping hot masala chai tea, I felt blessed and truly grateful that I had an abundance of everything I needed to survive, from a roof over my head, to hot running water, home cooked meals and a world of music at my fingertips.
Prior to my trip to Rishikesh, I was unsure how stable the WiFi network would be, so I stored my music playlists offline and every time I heard my favourite songs playing out of my smartphone, it reminded me of a life I used to have, a world away.
So, when I returned to that world, I was suddenly back in my uber modern bedroom surrounded by all my things.
It was bizarre how familiar yet foreign my room felt. On the one hand, it was great to be back home amongst all my creature comforts but I don’t think I realised how many ‘things’ I had.
I actually wanted to create more space in my bedroom, even more space between my clothes on the rack but everything was jam- packed with so many hangars on the rail that I marvelled at how I ever found what I was looking for every day.
The only way to create that space meant throwing out the clutter and being ruthless about it.
When a room has more expansive space, it also has a positive effect on the mind.
After living and enjoying such a clutter-free environment while practising yoga in India, I felt compelled to start doing a major spring-cleaning in my own home.
I cleared out drawers and drawers worth of junk or old magazines that were just collecting dust. I gave away exercise gear that I was no longer using, spare phones that my husband and I could live without and books that I had already read.
It was such a great feeling to cut through the clutter. It makes you feel so much lighter.
I also gave suitcases of clothes away to the Salvation Army. If I had not worn them in ages, it meant I didn’t really miss them so I may as well donate them.
According to feng shui philosophy, energy needs to flow freely through a space because a healthy home has energy that’s moving through it, to create flow in your life. Clutter, by contrast is stuck, or stagnant energy that can have a negative effect on our psychology and energy levels.
One of the world’s leading space clearing experts, Karen Kingston explains in ‘Clutter Control’, “Your vitality is connected to the objects in your home. When you live with things that you do not love or need, then you are literally draining yourself of important life force energy.”
When I was living in India, I had detoxified my body and cleared my mind through a clean diet, daily yoga practice and a plethora of breathing techniques to instil inner calm.
I guess I flew back to Malaysia with the same energy of clearance because I was cutting through the clutter in every way.
After clearing out loads of junk in my house, I also repainted it, which made me feel like I’m living in a new house.
I also started deleting ‘trash’ in my computer because it was also full of clutter and not working as efficiently or as fast as it should.
I managed to clear out more than 100gigs of old files and duplicate back-ups I never knew existed, just piling up in the background.
Despite this type of ‘spring cleaning’ happening in a virtual space, it had the same effect as clearing a physical space. I felt lighter and more motivated to work on my computer because it was so better organised.
I cannot emphasise how important it is to set time aside to “slow down in order to speed up”. It does take time and patience to clear a space and painstakingly go through all your items but it is well worth it.
Once you get rid of the ‘old’, it always makes room for the ‘new’. The more you clear, the lighter and more energised you will feel to attract more positive energy into your life.
Jojo Struys is a regional TV host, wellness author and HRDF-approved corporate trainer. Feel free to share your thoughts with her at firstname.lastname@example.org