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Mindful : April 2019
It’s a museum exhibit, a movie, a podcast, and a book—all in service of a bold notion that shakes you into an appreciation for just what human life on this planet means. The Anthropocene, so the hypothesis goes, is our current geologic age, wherein the largest effects are not a result of natural events (such as volcanism or glaciation) but rather the outgrowth of human habitation, and it is the current passion of master photogra- pher Edward Burtynsky and his colleagues. The book and the movie depict stunning landscapes and tell poignant stories that let us know the depth of the effect we’ve been having during our short history on this rock. It’s one thing to read about it. It’s another to see pictures that put you in places you never would choose to go. In 2017, the Garrison Institute honored Bur- tynsky as a contemplative—in the sense that his work causes you to pause and reflect. His enor- mous, sweeping, detail-rich pictures of “global industrial landscape”—mines, factory farms, and manufacturing plants, to name a few—convey a strange beauty, which is part of their allure. As in his acclaimed film and book Manufactured Landscapes, he invites us to linger on images not easily described as beautiful or ugly. They are simply striking. He is not a scold, telling us all that we’ve done wrong. He’s an artist and reporter, showing us the full spectrum of life on earth. If we admire the fine things the earth brings us, we ought also to appreciate what havoc may be wrought in places normally hid- den. As Burtynsky’s colleague and collaborator Nicholas de Pencier said, “It is my responsibility to use my camera as a mirror, not a hammer: to invite viewers to witness these places and react in their own individual fashion.” ANTHROPOCENE Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal, and Nicholas de Pencier • Goose Lane Editions Mindfulness is often popu- larly characterized as focus- ing on a kind of bliss-filled, exultant present moment, as if life were an endless series of stunning Instagram posts. Andrew Safer knows differ- ently. He himself has known hardship, and he’s worked with lots of people in difficult circumstances: youth in crisis, prisoners, addicts, people struggling with mental illness. He teaches mindfulness in New found- land, a very earthy place, so he imbues Anxiety, Stress, and Mindfulness with a lot of hear t and a celebration of the fact that mindfulness shines brightest when it helps us through our darkest hours. ANXIETY, STRESS, AND MINDFULNESS A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Wellness Andrew Safer • 2nd Tier Publishing “Some days, everything is annoying,” observes author Ton Mak, a Shanghai-based artist and meditation enthu- siast. “We forget the small happy things. Happy things that are already within us and around us.” Just such a small happy thing is the star of this book, a sloth—the most adorably lethargic critter out there—who in his “philo- slothical” (arrrgh) relaxation represents a counterpoint to our hurried and harried lives. The sloth illustrates basic methods for mindful- ness meditation, breath- ing exercises, and guided visualization, while reflecting lighthear tedly on how they help us move through life. Nothing comprehensive— but then, sometimes all we need is a gentle reminder to take it slow. A SLOTH’S GUIDE TO MINDFULNESS Ton Mak • Chronicle Books April 2019 mindful 71 reviews Bookmark This read...listen...stream