books books books


We are a family of book lovers. 

Mostly these days, we get our books at the library. (I don't have an ereader yet, but I am hoping to get one in the next year or so.) We buy books sporadically, more for Remy then for anyone else.

I've written about going from four book shelves (in our old house) to one bookshelf in our tiny 2 bedroom rental last year. I decluttered the heck out of that shelf last year (and the year before that, I gave away even more books before we sold our house and moved), but once again, in my yearly spring clean out, I have two huge boxes of books to give away. 

And it isn't as if they are books we bought in the last year. Nope, these are just older books I am finally able to let go of. 

It's tough, letting go of books I love. They feel like old friends. They've shared their wisdom with me. I've learned so much from the books I have read. I feel happy when I see books (my books, a library, a bookstore), they bring me pleasure. And yet, if there are too many books in my house, they feel overwhelming. There is not enough space and organization to corral the books that are just not truly part of my life anymore, the books I'm keeping for sentimental reasons instead of practical ones.

What helps me in being able to let them go is remembering that their wisdom is inside me now. And if I give the books away, they will be able to be read by new people. People who can use those lessons in their own life. 

So, while it feels scary to let go of (let's use this true example) Pema Chödrön's "The Places that Scare You," now that I have released it to someone else, I feel grateful for the chance to pass this immensely special book along. I hope the next person who reads it will learn as much from it as I did.

I've internalized it to the best of my ability. If I need it again, I can find it. It is time. I let it go.

There are other books that I haven't been able to let go of yet. I'm not a true minimalist. I'm a writer and a reader and a bookworm. Books are part of my life. I reread books that I love and I use books as reference tools, especially the ones that are specialized. I'm doing the best I can to make sure that the books that live in my house are only the ones I really use.

I'm not quite there yet (are any of us ever really all the way "there?" Is there any "there" to really get to?) but I am continuing the path of letting go of the things that are not current in my life. 

It's a path I wan to stay on for the rest of my life. To be here and be present with the things that I am enjoying, instead of being weighed down by the things of the past, even if they were things I loved at that time. It's a practice, really. A daily practice. Letting go of what does not serve me. (And not filling back up with other things. Letting there be space.)

Love will always be. Things are transient. Letting them go makes room in my life. Love will always be.