I just finished reading Erin Loechner’s new book, Chasing Slow, and it was one of the best decisions I have made this year—without question. I felt affirmed and encouraged by her words in practically every chapter.
Let me confess that I don’t love to read, and I can literally count the number of books I’ve read over the past couple of years on one hand. But there was something compelling about the idea of “chasing slow” that I was immediately drawn in and knew this was something I had to do.
The scary thing for me, is that my deviation from slowness doesn’t happen overnight. The busyness sets in, like a disease, and works its way inch by inch into my schedule, my mind, and my capacity to do things as simple as love.
Chasing Slow: a Journey Worth Pursuing
Here are five things from the book which have changed the way I view my life. I hope they impact you as much as they have impacted me:
1. Without grace, minimalism is another metric for perfection.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.”
It’s no secret we live in a world where society tells us that the more we have, the better we are. So we spend our days acquiring as much as we can, while filling our schedules to the brim. Hint: It’s a recipe for disaster.
As minimalism has picked up in popularity over the years, there’s been a subtle shift in the comparison mentality here. People used to wear the badge of “I have more,” but now that’s changing to “I have less.”
Minimalism is about clarity. When we turn down the noise on the shoulda-woulda-coulda, the musicality of life comes forth—and that is something we shouldn’t feel the need to measure.
2. I learned that thinking about living is not the same as living.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Sophia Amoruso’s book, #GIRLBOSS:
“You’ve already taken the first step toward an awesome life by simply wanting one.”
Truth? Well, sort of. Let’s focus on the fact that she calls it the “first” step toward an awesome life—as opposed to the “only” step. The reality is, most of us are content with wanting this kind of life, rather than living this kind of life.
Erin encourages us to go beyond “thinking” about experiencing the kind of life of that chasing slow can bring—she wants us to actually be “living” it.
There are so many ways we can reclaim life. The good news is we can easily change course and get back on track. Start with one of these items, and see how it goes. And don’t get discouraged—we’re all a work in progress.
3. I used to think the opposite of control is chaos. But it’s not. The opposite of control is surrender.
I think this falls under the category “easy to believe, hard (so very hard) to do.”
Surrender is a word that sends chills down my spine, pretty much every time I hear it. There’s an element of sacrifice that usually comes with surrendering, and the truth is we … simply … don’t … want … to … let … go.
Whether it’s our busy schedules, the things we have in our home, the clothes in our closet, or the books we have on our shelf—they all weigh us down.
“What if I need it one day?”
“It’s worth too much and too valuable to throw away.”
“I don’t want to miss out on this opportunity.”
These are the things we say in our heads—the excuses we make—to justify holding on for dear life. None of us want to feel like we are losing control, but sometimes when we let go of something, we gain something else.
4. Here is the secret to subtraction. It doesn’t matter what you remove. What matters is that you stop adding it back.
This one is truly convicting for me, because I have a tendency to remove things from my life (and our house) quite easily—and then just as easily replace them with new things.
We try to enforce the fun rule of “one in, one out” in our kitchen—with coffee mugs, for example—and it’s successful. The problem, however, is that it’s not quite successful in other areas of our life.
And our calendars? Well let’s just say I’m slowly (painfully slowly) learning that being busy isn’t the same as being productive.
5. As usual, the things that cause me worry are not the things that require worrying about.
They say worry is the root of all evil, and far too often I have to admit this is true. The voices in my head continually assault my self-esteem, my self-worth, my self-anything.
Melissa Camara Wilkins asks:
“Why do so many of us feel so trapped? Why are we settling for lives measured in units of busyness and defined by who has the most stuff?”
She goes onto say:
“You were made to be free and you were made to help others be free. Every one of us was made for freedom. You can start by claiming your freedom. Right now, today.”
With freedom, we find ourselves. It’s time to start chasing “slow” and experiencing happiness.