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A few years ago, I watched a TED talk about a guy who gave away all of his stuff, moved to Montana and got happy.

He felt rich and full and complete, and I just stared at the screen, at this man with his black tee and perfectly distressed jeans, with that full head of untamed hair, and I thought, hey, that’s it? That’s what I need to do? Sign me up.

So I tried, on a smaller scale. I gave away 80% of my wardrobe. I began removing the toxins from my home. I cut sugar and alcohol from my diet. I loaded bags and bags of stuff – beach sandals and spare sheets and that vase I couldn’t resist from the Target clearance aisle – and I hauled them in my minivan to the local thrift store.

My calendar, too, shifted to prioritize fewer things: family, service and love. I declined opportunities that didn’t align with my new goals. I said “No” when I used to say “Yes.”

It was a season of rich pruning, and with every pruning comes a fair bit of growth. But, unlike the Montana man, I did not get happy.

What I did get was a book deal. (click to keep reading)

The book I wanted to write is the Montana man’s story, of course. It’s a better story. There’s a clear beginning, middle and end, and who doesn’t love a protagonist that rises above a sea of stuff to frolic unchained in the middle of the Helena mountain range?

But that is not my story. My story is more than likely the same as your story: a clear beginning, and a murky middle, and then a new beginning again. A slow crawl back to the middle, a few inches closer to the goal, then another misstep right back to where I began.

It’s a story of relearning.

I’ll bet the Montana man didn’t slip up from a minimalist streak and impulse buy a steam cleaner from HSN (only $79.99!) just a few days before his manuscript was due.

(Really, though, you should see what this thing does to grease stains.)

This book is about slowing down, about stripping the excess, about refusing to amass in a world that shouts for more.

But it’s also about the inbetween. It’s about what it’s like to vacillate between different parts of yourself and not dizzy your mind from the whiplash. It’s about living in the tilt a whirl that is standing up for something, then losing focus and vomiting over the handrails. It’s about staking a claim into the ground, then tripping over it on your way into the house for dinner. It’s about what happens when you strive for excellence and fail, and when you allow grace to change your mind.

It’s a story of less, to be fair.

But it’s also a story of much, much more.

The Montana man’s story is a good one. He’s got great hair, and a tidy life, and you can’t beat a mountain view the opportunity to see the world from the peaks.

But me? Well, I suppose I’ve always been more of a valley girl.

p.s. I returned the steam cleaner. It didn’t do a thing for grease stains.

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Meet Erin

A former art director/stylist in Los Angeles, Erin Loechner has been blogging and speaking for more than a decade. Her heartfelt writing and design work has been showcased in The New York Times, Lucky, Parenting, Dwell, Marie Claire, Elle Decor, Huffington Post, and a two-season HGTV.com web special, garnering over one million fans worldwide. She has spoken for and appeared in renowned international events for clients such as Walt Disney World, IKEA, Martha Stewart and Home Depot.

Now nestled in a Midwestern town, Erin, her husband, and their toddler strive for less in most areas except three: joy, grace, and goat cheese.

What people are saying

When you find you are drowning in your own life—working harder, sleeping less, putting out fires, filling your hours with to-dos, and enjoying very little of it—I pray that Erin Loechner’s gentle, wise book will find its way into your hands. Chasing Slow guides us to a simpler life worth living. Prepare to feel your heart rate drop as you read these soothing, smart words.
Gabrielle Blair, mother of six; blogger; author, New York Times bestselling Design Mom
Erin’s writing is beautiful, and this book is soulful and practical, honest and inspiring. For all of us who are tempted to perform and filter and prove—which is, I think, all of us—this is a necessary conversation about a deeper, better way of living.
Shauna Niequist, author, Bread and Wine and Savor
In the fast lane of life, this book is a much needed rest stop for the soul.
Bethany Joy Clark, global brand ambassador, TOMS
Beautifully written. Beautifully lived. Chasing Slow will capture your attention, shift your perspective on life, and mark your journey as you move toward what matters.
Ellie Holcomb, singer/songwriter; Dove Award–winning artist
When the world yells, “Be more, run faster, try harder,” I’ll pick up this book again to remind me that true joy lies in the beauty of slow and present. With grace and humor, Erin tells the stories I need to hear and brought my heart back home.
Kelle Hampton, author, New York Times bestselling memoir Bloom
Erin Loechner has a calming presence, a reassuring voice, and a life-giving soul. You’ll walk away from these pages shifted and feeling whole instead of hurried. Her words are a brave call to a fast-paced generation, and I cannot suggest reading them enough.
Jess Connolly, author and speaker
Reading Chasing Slow is like eating a really scrumptious meal that also happens to be good for you. Erin’s voice is honest even when it hurts, inviting even when we don’t deserve the invitation. I consumed this delicious, compelling book in a weekend and bled my highlighter dry along the way.
Raechel Myers, cofounder and CEO, She Reads Truth
Erin has always stood out as someone who knows how to get beyond the pretty picture and all the comments and likes of social media. In her eloquent, smart, and real story about the evolution of her online and offline journey, she reminds us how to accept ourselves, feel more with less, and soak up life as it come to us.
Joy Cho, founder, Oh Joy!
Chasing Slow is equal parts memoir, meditation, and map to a more peaceful life. Erin Loechner has an artist’s eye for beauty, a poet’s ear for metaphor, and a scientist’s mind for investigation and clarity. Her wise voice stayed with me long after I finished the book.
Asha Dornfest, author, Parent Hacks and Minimalist Parenting
Erin takes us on a charming, meandering dance of stories, witticisms, and wisdoms. This book is for dreamers, adventurers, creatives, students, mamas, and professionals, but more than that, it’s for those of us feeling flawed and desperately craving connection. I’m adding it to a very short stack of inspiring favorites, and cannot wait to read it again.
Whitney English, founder and CEO, Day Designer
With four daughters and a job that I love, it is a great challenge for me to keep prioritized those things that give me true joy. As more activity comes into my life, Erin’s story has given me not only inspiration but a practical framework to make healthy and easily implemented choices.
Barrett Ward, CEO, FASHIONABLE
Erin’s way of thinking shows the fruit of living slowly. She pulls at every string, peeks beneath every layer. She connects the dots of how so many of us are feeling, putting words to questions we’re only just beginning to ask. This book is beautifully written, and you’ll want to savor it.
Hayley Morgan, coauthor, Wild and Free

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