Everything that Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus (www.theminimalists.com) is the best book of non-fiction I’ve read in a long time.
I’m going to be posting some thoughts regarding Minimalism in the near future. For now, if you are even remotely interested in trying to break free from the burden of possessions, drop everything and read this book.
Doors can be heavy
they can be transparent
Doors are different than windows,
whatever lies on the other side is anyone’s guess—
elephants or sinkholes,
mint leaves, magpies, corduroy or moonlight.
birth of a child
2:00 am ringing phones
death of a parent
intimate becoming invisible
cancer and chemo
hesitations in conversations
dry summer lightning
dinner with a friend
a photograph and a letter
When my kids were younger I wanted to instill grand ideas; how to be a kind person, how to have empathy, how to be honest, how to have good manners. They were so little and I was so adamant.
Now they are teenagers.
My ideas have changed. I remind them to wear coats, I remind them to eat. I remind them that mistakes happen, sometimes, big mistakes happen. What path is to be taken after making those mistakes? What wise choices make themselves available? Will they avail?
Be happy, not necessarily behaved. (but don’t get arrested)
Be strong, not necessarily compliant. (but don’t get expelled)
Be true to yourself, not to society’s expectations. (but don’t break your curfew)
This part of parenting, this evolution and expansion of thought makes me wince and smile and stare out windows with glassy half-closed eyes in the midnight solitude.
Before I had kids, I knew exactly what kind of mother I wanted to be. I knew the rules, I knew the consequences. As the years go by, I know less and less. Who’s rules do I follow? What really are the consequences?
How can I know less now than I knew then?
Make mistakes, take chances. (but be safe)
Take a risk, don’t always take the safe way out. (but be wise)
Strike out a new path. (but don’t forget where you came from)
Of course, it’s just a matter of what I thought I knew. Now I really know, that I don’t know anything.
Sometimes I rip my tea bag when I open the packet.
If I’m feeling ambitious, I will use it anyway.
Straining the leaves when the tea has steeped fills me
with confidence. If I can do this, I can do anything.
Wrapping my hands around the cup, inhaling the steam, I remember other cups of tea.
Morning cups with cold pizza,
afternoon cups with crispy cookies,
evening cups with conversations,
midnight cups with ticking clocks.
Sometimes, I heat milk for my tea.
this is a special occasion and its novelty soothes my senses.
When I drink tea, I forget that I actually prefer coffee.