“To accept is more loving than to expect.”
Inside Minimalism, Vol. 1
Based on our exclusive subscription series, Inside Minimalism Vol.1 is a collection of 50 short and relatable essays on simple living by a small team of writers from different backgrounds, but who all share a deep appreciation for minimalism as a way of life. Enjoy a curated collection of beautiful writing with a single one-off purchase and support independent creators.
Words by Shawn Mihalik
I own a lot of books. Up until a few months ago, I owned over 800 books. My library is smaller now—I gave up more than half of it in a divorce—but it’s still not insignificant. I have many books signed by the author, including several first editions. As a novelist, books are one of the most important things in the world to me.
I have no plans to get rid of any of my several hundred books, and I expect that my library will grow larger in the future. In fact, my wonderful partner gifted me signed first editions of two of my favorite novels at Christmas, and I think I’ll order a few more novels from a local bookstore soon.
All this said, I’m not particularly attached to my books.
Suppose I lost my entire library in a fire, even the signed first editions: Would I be sad? Yes, a little. I would mourn the loss. I certainly mourned the loss of the books I gave up in the divorce. But I would also be, and have been, able to move on from the loss pretty quickly.
The books are just things. If my copies were destroyed, there would still be thousands, and in many cases millions, of copies of all the particular titles I own still extant in the world. Losing the books wouldn’t mean losing the information.
The same is true of other possession—and even of relationships. Obviously, my books weren’t the only loss I mourned after the divorce. We can allow people we love into our lives while recognizing that they might not always be there. That they probably, even definitely, won’t always be there.
Letting go of our attachments doesn’t have to mean getting rid of everything or owning nothing or loving no one. But it does mean understanding that, some day, we will be forced to let go—and being at peace with that inevitability right now.
Words by Joshua Fields Millburn
Letting go does not require a trip to Goodwill
or a purchase from The Container Store.
Letting go is not something you do.
It is something you stop doing.
You stop pretending every thing is precious.
You stop clinging to toxic relationships.
You stop acting like busy is a good thing.
You stop posturing as if achievements make you, you.
You stop thinking new habits will solve the problem.
You stop trying to “fix” everything.
You stop turning to breaking news for information.
You stop mistaking information for understanding.
You stop polishing the facade of success.
You stop chasing happiness.
No matter the fixation—
be it possessions, people, or prosperity—
attachment is always suffering.
When you let go of attachments,
you pick up freedom, peace, equanimity.
But if you hold on,
you’ll get dragged.
A Little More of Less
A few other articles we think you might enjoy…
→ The Love People, Use Things Tour by The Minimalists
→ Just Enough by Brittany Olson
→ A Life of Meaning, Without Buying by Leo Babauta
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