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Erin Loechner, the author of Chasing Slow, has a talent for storytelling. She writes about her pursuit of a simpler life in a story that is full of forgiveness. She captures the journey of pursuing an intentional life so beautifully and raw. Her words feel authentic as she describes her mistakes and the lessons learned. I finished the book with a different perspective in my minimalism journey.
Here are the quotes that resonated with me the most (no spoilers):
“Without grace, minimalism is just another metric for perfection.”
I love connecting with the minimalism community, sharing ideas, commenting on photos of “before/after”, and the overall inspiration these groups bring. However, a sense of competitiveness grows in these communities.
A few days ago, a member of a group posted a picture of her kitchen cabinet. She had recently decluttered and wanted to share her progress. She owned all white dishes, and the cabinet contained a simple stack of plates, bowls, and coffee cups. One commenter asked why she owned 6 plates if there were only 2 people living in the home.
Its easy to get lost in the definition of minimalism. Are you a minimalist if you own 6 plates for a family of 2? Are you a minimalist if you own more than one tv? Are you a minimalist if your home is larger than 800 sq ft? Instead of physical metrics to measure minimalism, we need to measure progress by intangible terms. Do you see your life with more clarity? Do you have more time to do things that bring you joy?
“But of course, what we do is not who we are, and although we know this, we still, continually over red-pepper bisque at a dinner party, ask each other what we do for a living.”
There are days when I feel like a complete failure as a mother.
However, I am much more than a mother, much more than a wife, much more than a writer. My husband is much more than a CPA, much more than a father, much more than my husband. Some days I make mistakes as a mother, and I can either let those mistakes define my self-worth or I can realize that I have many layers and being a mother is just one of them.
What we do is not who we are.
“I begin to learn to allow things to happen as they are, rather than how I want them to be. I begin to learn, quite simply, the art of peace.”
Our journey to becoming parents was not an easy one. We felt like we were swimming against the current in a river, pushing with all our strength, but not making any progress. The force of the waters left us exhausted, emotionally raw, and with lost hope.
One evening the word “adoption” came up, and suddenly we began floating down the river, with the current, taking life as it is, rather than how we planned it. There were still lots of unexpected turns and a few rapids, but the peace- the peace of leaving the “fight” behind and giving into the power of the water- was very real. I’ve fought this battle of “how I want things to be vs how things are” over and over again in different aspects of my life. Sometimes, its over a coffee table, sometimes its me trying to take a photo of my one year old- but I’m getting better at recognizing these moments and recognizing my expectations are stunting my joy.
“My desire to give my children more left me feeling less. Less energy. Less joy. Less calm. Then I found Minimalism.”
The desire to give our children more is human nature. This is how we have survived for 200,000 years. Our definition of more is much different than our cave-dwelling ancestors. The first few months of being a stay at home mom, I filled our schedule with activities (she was 7 months old when I left my job). That felt like my duty as a stay at home mom, to give her everything I could not while I was working. That was my way of feeling accomplished. It was my way of giving her more.
It was exhausting.
Today, my idea of giving her more is by doing less. We read books, we stop and look at the balloon section at the grocery store instead of rushing through the aisles, she plays barefoot in the backyard in the evenings, I teach her how to peel her banana. The days are slower, but they are full of joy. I feel more fulfilled as a mother because I’ve slowed down enough to teach, to explain, to listen.
Grab your copy of Chasing Slow today, and for more inspiration, connect with Erin Loechner on social media: