My Tottering TBR: Mindfulness and Magazines

When we go to the bookstore, my son and I, we kind of camp out. Sometimes I bring the laptop and my writing notebook, or I may carry along a few books and a notepad. He brings very little (“Mom, we’re going to a bookstore”). We find a spot to settle in—café or sofas—and take turns wandering, then go back to browse our finds and make our selections. This can take hours.

I meandered along the walls filled with periodicals. I wasn’t terrifically interested in roaming on this night, but wanted movement and thought that taking in some magazine elements—easy browsing was my rationale—might satisfy this as well as settle down the activity in my brain. Flipping through brightly colored pages and examining images might settle me down a bit.

What I found actually did settle my mind a bit, though activated it in another direction.

Flow: Mindfulness (English Edition)

All about mindfulness for beginners, the advanced and the curious.

Printed in the Netherlands, this journal is both a sensory delight as well as an exercise for the mind. It’s chunky, owing to the inclusion of “paper goodies”: this time a small one-thought-a-day diary; picture cards to record insights gained while reading the book; perforated notecards “for your beautiful moments jar”; a fold-out page for use in creating a collage; and a “Joy of One Thing at a Time” notebook. The magazine dedicates itself to the discussion and spread of ideas for thoughtful, creative living, slowing down the pace and living right now as opposed to speedily looking ahead at what you have to hurriedly do next. Astrid and Irene lay it out in their editors’ note and it reminds me greatly of a book I read years ago, In Praise of Slow, about a movement that began with food (what else!) and extended to other realms of life.

[Flow Mindfulness cover image to be replaced]

I love the concept, though I wonder at times if my multiple abandoned efforts to live this sort of lifestyle count toward real experience of it. It’s hypothetical, really, I don’t need an answer because either way, I still aspire to it. About two years ago I made a conscious effort to take things such as to-do lists slow and steady, and for a number of months it flowed quite nicely. I no longer recall what made me go off track, but won’t dwell on it. I have another chance, and in fact, a few weeks ago stepped down from a position I enjoyed but that took way too much time from my family. I was gobsmacked to find how little I was on the computer since then, and the greater amount of time I spend with my son actually carries the reward of an increased feeling of joy at being able to do things together–together.

The magazine feels great in my hands, contains articles and recipes, beautiful colors, designs and fonts and validates anybody who longs for and/or has taken steps to simplify and slow down their lives. It’s also rather expensive, and I struggled with whether to buy it. As I sat at the café table I could hear pessimistic voices admonishing me for financial support of overpriced periodicals filled with images created to draw me in just to grab my money. Indeed, I’ve never spent $24.99 for a magazine before in my whole life, and to me that’s a lot. I don’t even love to shell out that much on a book.

On the flip side, it is imported, is translated into English and probably costs a tidy sum to produce. I haven’t yet found anything resembling a masthead, so am unable to get much information about it along those lines. (However, I did find they have a fantastic website with some of that, plus much more.) Moreover, I believe in capitalism and the freedom to create one’s own success, and would like to support that, especially as it can have such a positive impact on others.

Ultimately I chose to see it as an investment because if I can stick with the endeavor, the guidance not only can validate my own already-in-progress efforts, but also positively affect the rest of my life, and in turn at least portions of others’. Moreover, knowing there are others who share some of my ideals—

Flow is all about positive psychology, mindfulness, creativity and the beauty of imperfection.

—is more likely to help keep me on track. That baby came home with me.

Here are another couple of journals I saw that really intrigued me:

Willow and Sage: Homemade Bath & Body

[Willow and Sage cover image to be replaced]

Unlike the previous magazine, I was able to determine that it is current (Autumn 2015), plus it hails from California so though it’s also a tad pricey ($14.99), not quite as much. And while there are some similarities, it’s a completely different journal, one dedicated to, as its title suggests, bed and bath products you can make at home.

My son laughed a bit, asking if I am becoming “almost Amish” (after a book I’ve been reading with similar endeavors) or a hippie. The answer is: nope. These are along the lines of projects we’ve done before, such as making our own paper or re-purposing/re-designing books, and ones I’ve mentioned many times that I’ve wanted to try, but never did (lacked discipline, time, energy, etc.). I reminded him that the food we create together is not much different: rather than buying noodles, for example, when preparing for winter I make a jar full of hlalems. My fascination with the Middle Ages also plays into this interest.

This magazine is perfect for, amongst others, people who collect odd bits of twine, material, containers and so on. You can use some food items to make your goodies and wrap it in a way that conjures up olden times or still in some countries or areas—I so loved when books were wrapped up in the Prag bookshop I visited, rather than put in a bag. Some boxes or containers practically beg you to re-purpose them, such as one of the magazine’s recipes for body balm does for an empty Altoids tin. I’ve always enjoyed a lovely presentation and maintain a habit of hanging onto beautiful ribbons or fancy jars, even if I’m not exactly sure what to do with them at the moment. I just know I so often can’t bear to throw certain pieces away.

I also love it that many of the recipes are accompanied by websites with more that might interest, and the directions are laid out in a way that doesn’t overwhelm. The projects range from the utterly simple (mint leaves inside ice cubes) to more complicated (“birthday bouquet candles”—oversized homemade candles in a circular tin). Also: I’ve seen so many items at garage sales (for pennies, literally) that can be used to create such gorgeous gifts or items to contribute to a beautiful, tranquil home, and many are simply bits and bobs that can be saved in a small area for projects such as these.

[Daphne’s Diary cover image to be replaced]

Daphne’s Diary

This one didn’t leave with me, largely because I had to limit my costs, plus it didn’t come as close to home—my personal interests and favorites—as the others, but it remains on my mind.

Interior * Garden * Vintage* Workshops * Recipes * Outings & Trips * Shopping

Most of these are topics that likely would contain projects or endeavors to inspire me to do them or give me ideas for my take on what they’ve accomplished. There were a couple of articles for projects I’m not terribly interested in, such as shabby chic and converting two chairs into a bench. I’m currently working on transitioning a girl’s bureau to a buffet and it’s taken a lot more time and effort (not to mention patience) than I ever dreamed. In the end that may turn out to be good for me, but in the meantime, I’ve got my hands full. However, this is just one issue and it has made its way to my TBR, to where I can return and check it out again.

My TBR is rather happy.

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