Spotlight On: Mindfulness, Creativity, & Ritual

Reconnecting with the world, the self, and the creative impulse can be a wonderful winter project, as the weather encourages us to hunker down and embrace the long, dark, evenings (at least here in Minnesota!). Whether for a loved one or yourself, these titles make thoughtful, useful, and meaningful gifts.

The Power of Ritual by Casper ter Kuile, $25
What do Soul Cycle, gratitude journals, and tech breaks have in common? For Casper ter Kuile, they offer rituals that create the foundation for our modern spiritual lives. 

Our modern technological society has left too many of us–no matter our ages–feeling isolated and bereft of purpose. Previous frameworks for building community and finding meaning no longer support us. But ter Kuile reveals a hopeful new message: we might not be religious, but that doesn’t mean we are any less spiritual. Instead, we are in the midst of a paradigm shift in which we seek belonging and meaning in secular practices. In The Power of Ritual, ter Kuile invites us to deepen these ordinary practices as intentional rituals that nurture connection and wellbeing. With wisdom and endearing wit, ter Kuile’s call for ritual is ultimately a call to heal our loss of connection to ourselves, to others, and to our spiritual identities.

The Power of Ritual reminds us that what we already do every day matters–and has the potential to become a powerful experience of reflection, sanctuary, and meaning.

Missed Casper’s virtual author event? Watch his conversation with local Rev. Tyler Sit here!

Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year by Beth Kempton, $20
This joyful guide embraces all the festive holiday build-up and then welcomes the new year in a holistic, nurturing way. Author Beth Kempton gently encourages you to prioritize your holiday hopes and take a slower, more mindful approach to your celebrations. Kempton also offers helpful suggestions for making the most of winter, and recommends using this quiet time to dream new dreams, set goals, and aspire toward a beautiful year ahead.

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn, $9
We may long for wholeness, suggests Jon Kabat-Zinn, but the truth is that it is already here and already ours. The practice of mindfulness holds the possibility of not just a fleeting sense of contentment, but a true embracing of a deeper unity that envelops and permeates our lives. With Mindfulness for Beginners you are invited to learn how to transform your relationship to the way you think, feel, love, work, and play–and thereby awaken to and embody more completely who you really are. Includes five guided mindfulness meditations by Jon Kabat-Zinn

At the Center of all Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life by Fenton Johnson, $25
Whether seeking more time for solitude or suffering what seems a surfeit of it, readers will find the best of companions here. Fenton Johnson’s lyrical prose and searching sensibility explores what it means to choose to be solitary and celebrates the notion, that solitude is a legitimate and dignified calling. He delves into the lives and works of nearly a dozen iconic “solitaries” he considers his kindred spirits. Each character portrait is full of intense detail, the bright wakes they’ve left behind illuminating Fenton Johnson’s own journey from his childhood in the backwoods of Kentucky to his travels alone throughout the world and the people he has lost and found along the way.

Give Yourself Margin: A Guide to Rediscovering and Reconnecting with Your Creative Self by Stacie Bloomfield, $14
A gorgeously illustrated interactive guide to changing your mindset, rekindling creativity, and embracing imperfection. “Give yourself margin” is a sewing maxim about leaving enough excess fabric to account for potential mistakes. This book is about giving yourself the space–the mental margin–to reconnect with your creative self by trying new things and, yes, even by failing sometimes. With lush illustrations, empowering interactive prompts, and inspiring personal stories, Give Yourself Margin is the perfect gift for anyone who is looking to rediscover their spark.

Boundless Creativity by Martha Alderson, $23
Boundless Creativity is designed to help writers, artists, and anyone feeling creatively blocked move beyond the self-doubt and criticism, past emotional wounds, and habits and patterns that keep you from realizing your artistic ambitions. Using a powerful technique called “The Universal Story”–a four-phase program with easy-to-follow steps and exercises–you’ll learn to identify and dissolve the emotional and energetic blocks that get in the way of your creativity. With these tips and tools, you’ll have the keys to unlock creative inspiration, intuition, and new ways of seeing yourself and the world–with acceptance, emotional balance, and a tolerance of imperfection.

The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker, $22
Welcome to the era of white noise. Our lives are in constant tether to phones, to email, and to social media. In this age of distraction, the ability to experience and be present is often lost: to think and to see and to listen. Enter Rob Walker’s The Art of Noticing. This gorgeously illustrated volume will spark your creativity–and most importantly, help you see the world anew. Through a series of simple and playful exercises, Walker maps ways for you to become a clearer thinker, a better listener, a more creative workplace colleague and finally, to rediscover your sense of passion and to notice what really matters to you.

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