Archive for March, 2018


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http://www.hinduwebsite.com/divinelife/auro/mother_meditations.asp

http://www.awakening-intuition.com/sri-aurobindo-quotes.html

“The great are strongest when they stand alone,
A God-given might of being is their force.”
― Sri Aurobindo, Savitri
“Do not belong to the past dawns,but to the noons of future”
― Sri Aurobindo
“But few are those who tread the sunlit path;
Only the pure in soul can walk in light.”
― Sri Aurobindo, Savitri
“It is true that the subliminal in man is the largest part of his nature and has in it the secret of the unseeen dynamisms which explain his surface activities. But the lower vital subconscious which is all that this psycho-analysis of Freud seems to know, – and of that it knows only a few ill-lit corners, – is no more than a restricted and very inferior portion of the subliminal whole… to begin by opening up the lower subconscious, risking to raise up all that is foul or obscure in it, is to go out of one’s way to invite trouble.”
― Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Teaching and Method of Practice
“I swore that I would not suffer from the world’s grief and the world’s stupidity and cruelty and injustice and I made my heart as hard in endurance as the nether millstone and my mind as a polished surface of steel. I no longer suffered, but enjoyment had passed away from me.”
― Sri Aurobindo
“As in all infant sciences, the universal habit of the human mind – to take a partial or local truth, generalise it unduly and try to explain a whole field of nature in its narrow terms – runs riot here (in psychoanalysis). Moreover, the exaggeration of the importance of suppressed sexual complexes is a dangerous falsehood.”
― Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Teaching and Method of Practice
“By our stumbling the world is perfected”
― Sri Aurobindo
While doing work if the mind continues to be active let it be so, but there must be at the same time a capacity for silence.
― Sri Aurobindo
An aimless life is always a troubled life. Every individual should have an aim. But do not forget that the quality of your aim will depend the quality of your life. Your aim should be high and wide, generous and disinterested; this will make your life precious to yourself and to others. Whatever your ideal, it cannot be perfectly realized unless you have realized perfection in yourself.
― Sri Aurobindo
In order to see, you have to stop being in the middle of the picture
― Sri Aurobindo
All existence is a manifestation of God.
― Sri Aurobindo
The whole world yearns after freedom, yet each creature is in love with his chains; this is the first paradox and inextricable knot of our nature.
― Sri Aurobindo
The yoga we practice is not for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out the will of the Divine in the world, to effect a spiritual transformation and to bring down a divine nature and a divine life into the mental, vital and physical nature and life of humanity. Its object is not personal Mukti, although Mukti is a necessary condition of the yoga, but the liberation and transformation of the human being. It is not personal Ananda, but the bringing down of the divine Ananda – Christ’s kingdom of heaven, our Satyayuga – upon the earth.
― Sri Aurobindo
A quiet mind does not mean that there will be no thoughts or mental movements at all, but that these will be on the surface, and you will feel your true being within, separate from them, observing but not carried away
― Sri Aurobindo
The practice of Yoga brings us face to face with the extraordinary complexity of our own being.
― Sri Aurobindo
The fly that touches honey cannot use it’s wings; so too the soul that clings to spiritual sweetness ruins it’s freedom and hinders contemplation.
― Sri Aurobindo
Everyone has in him something divine, something his own, a chance of perfection and strength in however small a sphere which God offers him to take or refuse. The task is to find it, develop it & use it. The chief aim of education should be to help the growing soul to draw out that in itself which is best and make it perfect for a noble use.
― Sri Aurobindo
Man is a transitional being. He is not final. The step from man to superman is the next approaching achievement in the earth evolution. It is inevitable because it is at once the intention of the inner spirit and the logic of nature’s process.
― Sri Aurobindo
We have to create strength where it did not exist before; we have to change our natures, and become new men with new hearts, to be born again … We need a nucleus of men in whom the Shakti is developed to its uttermost extent, in whom it fills every corner of the personality and overflows to fertilise the earth. These, having the fire of Bhawani in their hearts and brains, will go forth and carry the flame to every nook and cranny of our land.
― Sri Aurobindo
The supreme state of human love is…the unity of one soul in two bodies.
― Sri Aurobindo

 

LIKE a flame that burns in silence, like a perfume that rises straight upward without wavering, my love goes to Thee; and like the child who does not reason and has no care, I trust myself to Thee that Thy Will may be done, that Thy Light may manifest, Thy Peace radiate, Thy Love cover the world. When Thou willest I shall be in Thee, Thyself, and there shall be no more any distinction; I await that blessed hour without impatience of any kind, letting myself flow irresistibly toward it as a peaceful stream flows toward the boundless ocean.

Thy Peace is in me, and in that Peace I see Thee alone present in everything, with the calm of Eternity.

it is Thou who art the doer in each thing and each being, and he who is near enough to Thee to see Thee in all actions without exception, will know how to transform each act into a benediction.

How shall all these disappear? Slowly, as the result of countless small efforts and a vigilance not faltering even for a moment, or suddenly, through a great illumination of Thy All-Puissant Love? I know not, I do not even put to myself the question; I wait, keeping watch as best as I can, in the certitude that nothing exists save Thy Will, that Thou alone art the doer and I am the instrument; and when the instrument is ready for a completer manifestation, the manifestation will quite naturally take place.

Already there is heard from behind the veil the wordless symphony of gladness that reveals Thy sublime Presence.

1913 (translation by Sri Aurobindo)

Thy voice is heard as a melodious chant in the stillness of my heart, and is translated in my head by words which are inadequate and yet replete with Thee. And these words are addressed to the Earth and say to her: Poor sorrowful earth, remember that I am present in thee and lose not hope; each effort, each grief, each joy, each pang, each call of thy heart, each aspiration of thy soul, each renewal of thy seasons, all, all without exception, what seems to thee sorrowful and what seems to thee joyous, what seems to thee ugly and what seems to thee beautiful, all infallibly lead thee towards me, who am endless Peace, shadowless Light, perfect Harmony, Certitude, Rest and Supreme Blessedness.

Harken, O Earth, to the sublime voice that arises,

Harken and take new courage!

(translation by Sri Aurobindo) O LORD, Thou art my refuge and my blessing, my strength, my health, my hope, and my courage. Thou art supreme Peace, unalloyed Joy, perfect Serenity. My whole being prostrates before Thee in a gratitude beyond measure and a ceaseless worship; and that worship goes up from my heart and my mind towards Thee like the pure smoke of incense of the perfumes of India.

Let me be Thy herald among men, so that all who are ready may taste the beatitude that Thou grantest me in Thy infinite Mercy, and let Thy Peace reign upon earth.

March 13, 1913

(translation by Sri Aurobindo)

LET the pure perfume of sanctification burn always, rising higher and higher, and straighter and straighter, like the ceaseless prayer of the integral being, desiring to unite with Thee so as to manifest Thee.

June 27, 1913

THY voice is so modest, so impartial, so sublime in its patience and mercy that it does not make itself heard with any authority, any force of will but comes like a cool breeze, sweet and pure, like a crystalline murmur that brings a note of harmony to a discordant concert. Yet, for him who knows how to listen to the note, to breathe that breeze, it holds such treasures of beauty, such a fragrance of pure serenity and noble grandeur, that all foolish illusions vanish or are transformed into a joyful acceptance of the marvellous truth that has been glimpsed.

July 23, 1913

O LORD, inconceivable Splendour, may Thy Beauty spread through all the earth, may Thy Love be kindled in every heart and Thy Peace reign over all.

A deep and solemn chant, smiling and subtle, rises from my heart, and I do not know whether this chant goes from me to Thee or comes from Thee to me or whether Thou and I and the entire universe are this marvellous chant of which I have just become conscious….Surely there is no longer any Thou or I or any separate universe; only an immense harmony is there, sublime and infinite, which is all things and of which all things will one day grow aware. It is the harmony of boundless Love, Love victorious over all suffering and all obscurity.

By this law of Love, Thy law, I want to live more and more integrally; to it unreservedly I give myself.

And all my being exults in an inexpressible Peace.

August 2, 1913

THIS morning, as I was glancing over the month that is beginning and wondering how I could serve Thee better, I heard the small voice within like a murmur in the silence, and this is what it said to me: “See how very little all outer circumstances matter. Why strive and strain so to realise thy own conception of Truth? Be more supple, more trusting. The only duty is not to let oneself be troubled by anything. To torment oneself about doing the right thing causes as much harm as a bad will. Only in a calm as of deep waters can be found the possibility of True Service.”

And this reply was so luminous and pure, it carried within itself such a striking reality, that the state it described was communicated without any difficulty. It seemed to me I was floating in the calm of deep waters; I understood; I saw clearly what the best attitude would be; and now I have only to ask Thee, O Sublime Master, my Supreme Teacher, to give me the strength and clear-sightedness I need to remain constantly in this state.

“Do not torment thyself, child. Silence, peace, peace.”

Deliver those who are in this bondage, O Lord, even as those who are the slaves of passion. On the path that leads to Thee these obstacles are at once terrible and puerile – terrible for those who are yet under their sway, puerile for one who has passed beyond.

How shall I describe that utter relief, that delightful lightness which comes when one is free from all anxiety for oneself, for one’s life and health and satisfaction, and even one’s progress?

; .

October 7, 1913

Mother's house in Paris

A photo of the House in Rue du Val de Grace

All is Thine, O Lord, it is Thou who placest all things at our disposal; but how blind we are when we imagine that we can be owners of any one of these! I am a visitor here as elsewhere, as everywhere, Thy messenger and Thy servant upon earth, a stranger among men, and yet the very soul of their life, the love of their heart….

Secondly, the whole atmosphere of the house is charged with a religious solemnity; one immediately goes down into the depths; the meditations here are more in-gathered and serious; dispersion vanishes to give place to concentration; and I feel this concentration literally descending from my head and entering into my heart; and the heart seems to attain a depth more profound than the head. It is as though for three months I had been loving with my head and that now I were beginning to love with my heart; and this brings me an incomparable solemnity and sweetness of feeling.

A new door has opened in my being and an immensity has appeared before me.

I cross the threshold with devotion, feeling hardly worthy yet of entering upon this hidden
THE greatest enemy of a silent contemplation turned towards Thee is surely this constant subconscient registering of the multitude of phenomena with which we come into contact. So long as we are mentally active, our conscious thought veils for us this over activity of our subconscious receptivity; an entire part of our sensibility, and perhaps not the smallest, acts like a cine-camera without our knowledge and indeed to our detriment. It is only when we silence our active thought, which is relatively easy, that we see this multitude of little subconscious notions surging up from every side and often drowning us under their overwhelming flood. So it happens that, as soon as we attempt to enter the silence of deep contemplation, we are assailed by countless thoughts – if thoughts they could be called -which do not interest us in the least, do not represent for us any active desire, any conscious attachment, but only prove to us our inability to control what maybe described as the mechanical receptivity of our subconscient. A considerable labour is needed to silence all these useless noises, to stop this wearisome train of images and to purify one’s mind of these thousand little nothings, so obstructing and worthless. And it is so much time uselessly lost; it is a terrible wastage.

And the remedy? In an over-simple way, certain ascetic disciplines recommend solitude and inaction: sheltering one’s subconscient from all possible registration; that seem to me a childish remedy, for it leaves the ascetic at the mercy of the first surprise-attack; and if one day, confident of being perfectly master of himself, he wants to come back among his fellowmen in order to help them, his subconscient, so long deprived of its activity of reception, will surely indulge it more intensely than ever before, as soon as the least opportunity offers.

There is certainly another remedy. What is it? Undoubtedly, one must learn to control one’s conscious thought. There must be many ways of achieving this. Regular introspection in the Buddhist manner and a methodical analysis of one’s dreams – formed almost always from this subconscious registration – are part of the method to be found. But there is surely something more rapidly effective….

O Lord, Eternal Master, Thou shalt be the Teacher, the Inspirer; Thou wilt teach me what should be done, so that after an indispensable application of it to myself, I may make others also benefit from what Thou hast taught me.

A silent hymn of praise rises from my heart like the white smoke of incense of the perfumes of the East.

And in the serenity of a perfect surrender, I bow to Thee in the light of the rising day.

December 13, 1913

GIVE me Thy light, O Lord, grant that I do not fall into any error. Grant that the infinite reverence, the utter devotion, that intense and profound love I bring to Thee may be radiant, convincing, contagious, and be awakened in every heart.

O Lord, Eternal Master, Thou art my Light and my Peace; guide my steps, open my eyes, illumine my heart, and lead me on the paths

that go straight to Thee.

O Lord, Lord, grant that I may have no other will than Thine and that all my acts may be an expression of Thy divine law.

A great Light floods my whole being, and I am no longer conscious of anything but Thee….

Peace, peace, peace upon all earth.

December 16, 1913

PURE and disinterested love, Thy love in what we are able to perceive and manifest of it, is the sole key that can open all hearts that seek for Thee. Those who follow the path of the intellect may have a very high and true conception; they may have all the information about the true life, the life One with Thee, but they do not know it; they have no inner experience of that life and are ignorant of all contact with Thee. These men whose knowledge is intellectual and whose action is confined to a construction which they believe to be the best, are the most difficult of all to convert; it is harder to awaken the consciousness of the Divine in them than in any other person of goodwill. Love alone can work this miracle, for love opens all doors, penetrates every wall, clears every obstacle. And a little true love does more than the most beautiful speeches.

Lord, let this pure flower of love blossom in me, that it may give its fragrance to all those who come near us, and that this fragrance may sanctify them.

In this love lie peace and joy, the fount of all strength and all realisation. It is the infallible healer, the supreme consoler; it is the victor, the sovereign teacher.

O Lord, my sweet Master, Thou whom I adore in silence and to whom I have entirely consecrated myself, Thou who governest my life, kindle in my heart the flame of Thy pure love that it may burn like a glowing brazier, consuming all imperfections and transforming into a comforting warmth and radiating light the dead wood of egoism and the black coals of ignorance.

O Lord, I turn towards Thee with a devotion at once joyful and solemn and I implore Thee:

Let Thy love manifest,

Thy reign come.

May Thy peace govern the world.

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Zen-kus

Zen haikus from this amazing Tumblelog Terrace museTerrace muse

International women’s Day

 

 

https://www.racked.com/2016/3/14/11173148/kinfolk-lifestyle-magazines

Unlike reading a newspaper, reading a lifestyle magazine is more an aesthetic than functional choice, a way of pursuing higher, or at least less immediate, interests like art, fashion, food, and good manners.

Lifestyle magazines are treated as light fare, but they fulfill the deeper purpose of helping us define ourselves. A publication like Godey’s Lady’s Book, founded by Louis A. Godey in Philadelphia in 1830, included fiction and poetry, as well as recipes and how-to guides outlining a “moral, maternal lifestyle —€” this is how women should be,” Haveman says. Editors published letters from loyal readers, and a consensus about how to live a particular kind of life formed over time.

What separates true lifestyle magazines from the likes of Harper’s, the New Yorker, or even N+1, which might obliquely define certain ways of life, is the sense of commodified identity that can be found in a publication like Cosmopolitan, described by founding editor Paul Schlicht as a “family magazine” when it launched in 1886.

The lifestyle magazine demonstrates what to consume as well as how to behave, and this ethos has informed how newspapers define their lifestyle content as well. In the 1950s, the New York Times summarized its women’s pages as “Food, Fashion, Family, and Furnishings.” Jacqui Shine’s comprehensive essay on The Awl shows how the women’s pages gradually evolved into a “Living Style” section that the Times launched in 1978, now known simply as Styles, with its signature “ambiguous variety of cultural reporting and criticism,” as Shine writes, a mix that continues to define lifestyle editorial today.

It’s worth noting that many popular lifestyle entities were, and continue to be, directed at women; the relationship to the domestic often means that the term itself is unfairly gendered. However, it is in fact an equal opportunity genre. GQ and Esquire became the dominant lifestyle magazines for men during the later 20th century, with “lad mags” like Maxim and FHM flaring up in the ’90s. Still more titles are unisex.

The category might be best summed up by what Adam Moss called the New York Times Magazine‘s iconic front-of-book section under his editorship in the 1990s: “The Way We Live Now.” (Though the Times Magazine isn’t a lifestyle magazine, Moss’s FOB section as well as his current domain, New York magazine, reflect an aspirational urban mode of living.) The successful lifestyle magazine is a mirror that reflects the trends of our times back at us, only a little prettier, more polished, and less complicated. It is “designed to either turn one’s life’s preferences into cliches, or turn cliches into your life preferences,” says Mental Floss executive editor Foster Kamer —€” often both at the same time.

Kinfolk’s Kin

Many independent print magazines populate Kinfolk’s wake. They often share its minimalist design, heavy stock, and serene photography, but each presents a slightly different shade of lifestyle. Here, a short list.

Alpine Modern: A Boulder, Colorado-based magazine, store, and cafe focusing on the concept of “elevated living,” both literal and figurative.

Smith Journal: An Australian quarterly that covers a quirky mix of “thinkers, adventurers, and makers.”

Four & Sons: A print and online publication “where dogs and culture collide” documenting a canine-friendly lifestyle.

Cereal: This Bristol, U.K. quarterly concerns “travel and style,” including branded accessories and city guides sold alongside the magazine.

Another Escape: “An outdoor lifestyle, creative culture, and sustainable living publication that explores the stories of passionate people.”

Drift: A New York-based title about “coffee, the people who drink it, and the cities they inhabit,” with truly insane column widths.

Les Others: A biannual French magazine and digital platform focusing on “fresh air and creativity.”

Provencial: This American quarterly’s mission is to “encourage a lifestyle of balance with a clear and intentional delineation between work and rest.”

 

By the mid-2000s, lifestyle magazines had become multi-platform lifestyle brands, moving from providing readers a sense of intangible community to creating the non-editorial products readers actually consume in order to solidify that sense of belonging. You can now buy a Monocle cardigan or croissant, or live in a pre-fab home designed by the shelter magazine Dwell. Print may have become less relevant with the advent of the internet, but businesses pushing aesthetically-conscious consumption are even more relevant as we document our every move on Snapchat and Instagram.

But it’s meant to be looked at more than read. The magazine’s large format, embossed serif logo, striking covers, and heavy stock have come to define the latest generation of lifestyle magazines. It’s now possible to find Kinfolk clones covering everything from mountain climbing to fatherhood to the joys of dog ownership. The copycats only serve to magnify the sense that Kinfolk really is everywhere.


Kinfolk itself is content with staying mysterious; it’s part of the brand. The company doesn’t release news about itself, and its websites are comically light on background information. After a month’s worth of emails, however, Nathan Williams agrees to meet for lunch near the magazine’s new headquarters in Copenhagen. (Still under renovation, the office is not yet “a comprehensive representation of the brand,” the communications director Jessica Gray warns me.) I book a flight departing a few days later and land in a wintry city, the sky flat and gray like matte paper.

Williams’s careful posture and soft voice seem of a piece with his upbringing. He often pauses to think about or check on his words. During these pauses, he purses his mouth, glances into the distance, and then soldiers on, having confirmed the proper valence of his sentence, often murmuring “yeah” in agreement with himself.

The late aughts could be considered an apogee for lifestyle blogging, a more diaristic and less nakedly monetized medium than its print equivalent, and Mormons led the charge.

 

Beyond its Mormon credo, Williams chose BYU Hawaii for its strong international business program, helped along by a scholarship offer. There, Williams studied economics in the footsteps of his father, an economics professor, “but I knew that I wasn’t really going to find something in that field I would enjoy.”

The late aughts could be considered an apogee for lifestyle blogging, a more diaristic and less nakedly monetized medium than its print equivalent, and Mormons led the charge. That was when Dooce and its proprietor Heather Armstrong, “queen of the mommy bloggers,” as the New York Times described her, hit peak popularity; Armstrong had attended Brigham Young University in Utah, but left the church before turning to blogging.

 

A spread from Kinfolk‘s winter 2016 design issue. Photo: Ouur Media

Mormon lifestyle blogging also intersected with the peak of flanneled artisanal hipsterdom that occurred around the same time. A 2012 article in Trinity College’s Religion in the News chalked this up to the recession. Without money to spend, “millennials have begun to look towards social gratification as a means of self-worth,” doubling down on close circles of friends and shopping at thrift stores for retro fashion.

The idea was to create a title that did talk about things we thought were important, a focus on community, slowing down, quality of life.”

 

 

The Copenhagen studio of Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi was featured in the summer 2015 issue. Photo: Anders Schønnemann

 

With issue sales mounting into the tens of thousands, the team moved to Portland in September 2012, where they brought their staff up to a dozen and launched an event series that saw official Kinfolk dinner parties hosted all over the world. These were documented in easily parodied videos in which, for example, a picnic table perfectly set for 12 suddenly appears atop a picturesque cliff that the attractive diners later leap off of into the ocean.

Kinfolk hit a cultural nerve that went far beyond the print magazine. “I don’t think we created anything new, maybe it’s just collected in a certain spot and presented in a certain way,” Williams says. “How many people post and share Kinfolk on Instagram, it’s kind of bizarre. It turned into its own beast that we have no control over.” Williams doesn’t have a personal Instagram and the official magazine account only posts once or twice a week, but #kinfolk is used about once a minute.

the magazine’s oppressive neatness also seemed like a mold followers had to fit into, performing m for the sake of an Instagram photo. “Everyone feels like every little part of their life has to be perfect. Nothing looks real anymore,” he continues. “You spend 20 minutes setting up your morning coffee with a copy of Kinfolk on a marble countertop.”


 

The editor is acutely aware of his magazine’s reputation. “We have our haters. There’s definitely a misconception that Kinfolk is more of an aesthetic and less of a,” Williams pauses at length before continuing, “company, or publication with at least some substance. The idea that some folks think it’s full of editorials of girls running through daisy fields with flower crowns, which, it’s not. God, no.”

Kinfolk‘s editorial mission has morphed into a larger pursuit of what Williams calls “intentionality”: “figuring out what’s most important to us and then finding a way to actually spend our time and energy on those things.” As Doug Bischoff puts it, “It’s kind of self-help content, but done in a way that appeals to our readership, paired with interesting writing and art direction.”

A Parisian dining room shot for the design issue. Photo: Anders Schønnemann

The magazine confronts our never-ending search for authentic connection, particularly in the internet era. “We’re on our laptops, on our phones all the time, that in itself is fine,” Williams says. “But the flip side is that it does create an appetite for real life, for relationships, for genuine bonds with the people around us. Kinfolk leverages that appetite.” For the duration of our lunch, Williams’s out-of-date iPhone doesn’t emerge from his pocket once.

This notion of authenticity has resonated around the world. Sales were strong in Japan even from the initial issues, and media companies there as well as in China, Korea, and Russia eventually inked syndication deals to translate and produce their own editions of Kinfolk, with careful oversight from the Portland team. Through an agent in Japan, the company hooked up with the local brand Actus to produce a line of clothing, austere outfits that a friend of mine visiting Tokyo described as “a cross between Muji and Everlane,” as well as a series of ascetic housewares, both under the label Ouur Collection. With the name “Ouur,” “the idea is we’re bringing together likeminded designs and ideas,” Williams says. But the significance of the name “just kind of turned into bogus.”

Ouur is modeling itself on businesses like BuzzFeed, Vice, and Vox (parent company to Racked), among many other media companies subsidizing their original editorial content with creative studio branches.


 

The lifestyle was better in Denmark, too. As Kinfolk might also imagine its readers, the Danes perennially rank among the happiest people in the world. “The work-life balance, it’s definitely a good fit for that. Most Danes don’t work past 3,” Williams says. Alongside the Danish emphasis on family, which Bischoff appreciates as he and his wife raise their two small children, there’s a “borderline laziness,” he says, then stops short. “I shouldn’t say that. They know how to spend their time wisely.”

“Even their ‘Imperfect’ issue was perfect in every way, shape, and form.”

Williams changed along with his company. As recently as 2012, he identified with Mormonism, but no longer does, nor does Katie (Doug and Paige Bischoff are the only two Mormons left on staff, Williams later writes over email). When I ask him to elaborate, he declines, preferring to leave religion out of the conversation. It’s clear, however, that Kinfolk has also become more inclusive.

I ask Williams if these editorial shifts were an intentional effort to change the magazine’s early notoriety as a bastion of white hipsterdom. “The first few issues it was really just an oversight,” he says. “If 90 percent of our shoots are happening in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Portland, I know people don’t like to hear it, but they’re actually not very diverse communities. That’s no excuse. You make it work, you figure out how to properly represent your readership. That’s what we’re doing now.”

Yet there remains a sanctimoniousness to Kinfolk. It portrays a right way of doing things set against an invisible wrong, packaging anxieties over topics like family, friendship, and connection in the guise of rustic tablescapes and drapey garments. Even if its models are more diverse, the magazine still has a pervasive air of whiteness about it, in the overall aesthetic homogeneity and the quest for a self-professed “purity.” As photographer Andrew Lee notes, “even their ‘Imperfect’ issue was perfect in every way, shape, and form.”

Kinfolk still offers a one-size-fits-all-who-seek-it lifestyle solution with little tolerance for mess. The increasingly rarified image of luxurious simplicity that it projects is far from possible, desirable, or even recognizable for everyone.

 


A few days after meeting Williams, I moved from my hotel into an apartment in Nørrebro, a hip neighborhood across the river from downtown Copenhagen. An open studio with tall ceilings and expansive windows, it’s described as “Boheme New Yorker style” on Airbnb. As I wandered across Copenhagen from artisanal coffee shop to curated bookstore, I thought about why I want the things I want: an industrial loft apartment, a precisely poured cortado, intimate dinner parties —€” all things that show up in Kinfolk.

I learned these aspirations through magazines, novels, television shows, and the tastes of my friends. Lined up, they seem like the punchline of a joke at my own expense, the reduction of an identity to a few arbitrary objects, and yet I feel an unjustifiable loyalty to them as mine.

I stop in Atelier September, a cafe and furniture boutique in a stately old storefront. With soft lighting, mid-century modern designs, and marble countertops, it exudes characteristically Danish hygge, the trendy term for coziness. But my mind kept wandering back to Kinfolk, which had become a kind of scrim warping everything in its own image.

From a beatific barista I order avocado toast, a culinary trope of the magazine’s audience. It had a local twist, the avocado shellacked like fish scales on dark Danish rye bread, and tasted transcendentally good. Maybe it was the jet lag, but bathed in the mild light of the gray day falling on the marble, I momentarily felt like a better person, or at least more like myself. Then I Instagrammed my cappuccino and it shot past 30 likes, a personal hit.

A lifestyle is made up of a shared vernacular. My Instagram was so popular because my friends recognized a quiet coffee in a foreign city as a badge of the lifestyle that we aspire to. Perhaps these days we demonstrate our mutual recognition by exchanging likes rather than buying magazine subscriptions. Aspiration is mediated by digital technology rather than print. We model our lifestyle goals in Instagram photos because the medium is so accessible. We can publicly participate in our chosen lifestyles all the time, constantly signaling our belonging and getting affirmation in return, creating our own communities rather than waiting for the directions of an editor.

This is ultimately why Kinfolk worked so well. It created a lifestyle with familiar, do-it-yourself tokens —€” the unfinished wood tables and mason jars and dinner parties —€” fit for a world in recession, and subsumed them within an iconic visual style that was equally easy to participate in through social media. Kinfolk also came into existence just as we started using platforms like Instagram aspirationally, translating the aesthetics of the glossy print page onto the even glossier screen and making them our own in the process. As Williams admits, he lost control of what “Kinfolk” communicated. It means more to people as a label than as a substantive movement or even a magazine.

Photo by Anders Schønnemann for Racked

The #Kinfolk community is united less by particular ideas about how to live than a superficial visual style. It enforces monotony rather than embracing differences of identity. The same emblems of aspiration can now be found in Brooklyn or Copenhagen as easily as Tokyo, Lisbon, London, or Istanbul, and Kinfolk is always there to provide them, piggybacking on the meme it has become.

The challenge that Williams and Ouur face is how to reclaim an image of self-affirming authenticity when the perspective that once made them unique is now universal. It’s the hipster paradox: you can’t be both nonconformist and part of a massive, global group.

“Convergence is possible only at the price of shedding identity,” architect Rem Koolhaas wrote in his 1995 book, The Generic City. “Identity is like a mousetrap in which more and more mice have to share the original bait, and which, on closer inspection, may have been empty for centuries.”


There’s a kind of schadenfreude to watching the meaning drain from a lifestyle aesthetic, in the fading relevance of latte art and avocado toast. Lifestyle is like high fashion —€” you can only chase it in its wake, catching fleeting moments. I started to wonder what Williams himself was chasing, so I met him again one night at his office.

The editor doesn’t live an immaculate Kinfolk life. Williams watches Seinfeld at home after work and follows along with the latest potboiler TV: The Good Wife, The Black List. Rather than novels, he reads the usual business books on entrepreneurship, leadership, and running a creative team. But he still has to determine how Ouur will direct the Kinfolk-y aspirations of its audience, present and future. The vision of a lifestyle must constantly be refined, made to appear effortless, timely, authentic, and unaware of its own artificiality. To better explain his goals, Williams shared a moment of clarity he had experienced earlier that day.

Joni Mitchell

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/joni-mitchells-openhearted-heroism 

All she needed was her lyrics, preternaturally analytic, wry, and shrewd; her chords, largely self-invented, a kind of calligraphy of the moods; and her voice, which modulates from patter to rue to rhapsody in a single phrase. In concert, she sometimes trained her attention on a single listener in the front row, casting the stranger as the vivid “you” of a song who in real life may have been Sam Shepard, James Taylor, or Leonard Cohen. The best pop music is often preening and shamanic.

This photo of a Danish kitchen appears in The Kinfolk Home. Photo

excerpts from  https://the-shooting-star.com/2013/08/01/10-life-lessons-from-2-years-of-travelling/

We take life too seriously.Most of us have been brought up and set in such moulds of what our life should look like by the time we’re thirty, that we forget it’s okay to mess up and live a little. Meeting people both in my own backyard and halfway across the world made me realize that you don’t always have to be running and aspiring for something more. That more than a steady job, a posh apartment, a promotion, a life partner, or even a to-do list, it’s more fulfilling to have a life that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed.

Freedom is underrated.

At some point after I quit my job (Read: The Story of How I Quit My Job to Travel) and gave up any semblance of a regular schedule, I started to wonder why so many people, my family included, couldn’t appreciate the sense of freedom I felt everyday. Then I met a fisherman in Mauritius who chose not to work in a factory for more money like his friends, because he loved the sea and could choose not to work on some days and still feed his family (Read: What a Fisherman Taught Me About Paradise). It was his philosophy that made me more sure of mine.

Possessions are overrated.While moving to Delhi from Singapore two years ago, I had accumulated a few suitcases worth of stuff, from six years of living there. I decided to get rid of most of it, though not without the gnawing feeling that I was going to miss it. The truth? A month from then, I didn’t even remember what stuff I had left behind. I’m in the process of instituting a big change in my life after August, and this time I’ll be more than happy to get rid of the things I certainly don’t need.

Karma can bitch-slap you.You know when you go all out to help a friend and then they brutally backstab you? That’s kind of what karma has done to me recently. I won’t go into details, but I think I’ve learnt my lesson right here in the travel industry. You can either do the right thing or be politically correct, and while both have their consequences, it’s not true that doing the right thing can’t screw you over. That’s just how life is.

Strangers are kind.I’ve trashed all those horror stories that end with the lesson, don’t talk to strangers. If I had a penny for every time I’ve been overwhelmed with the kindness of a stranger on my travels, I’d be a millionaire. Families with so little in small villages in India have shared their meals and life stories with me. People in Turkey opened up their homes and hearts to this stranger from Hindistan (Read: So Long, Turkey). The hospitality of an Aussie expat in Mauritius and a French-Mauritian couple in Rodrigues blew me over. And I haven’t yet experienced anything close to the warmth of the Bahraini people (Read: Land of a Thousand Friends). So trust your gut, but let strangers show you what a kind world we live in.

Happiness is not the goal.I always thought that the leap of faith I took two years ago, to live and travel on my own terms, would take me closer to the illusive feeling of happiness. And it has. But happiness is such a fleeting feeling. Happiness for me was a drunk man on a lonely road in Sri Lanka stopping and shining the torch in our direction, till we found our way back to our guesthouse. Happiness was walking into a bakery in Turkey to ask for directions, and having the owner pull out his truck to give me a ride. The memories of these moments last, but happiness itself doesn’t. Recently a friend told me, we’re not people who can be happy. We’re just drifters. It’s true.

Workshops

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neemrana

Trilogie de chocolat @ Carte blanche

Pondy 2017

Foraging for antiques

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Luvv this kitschy scoot

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workshop @Nimhans b’lore

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pondy airport

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gelateria montecatini

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workshop @Pondy

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auroville

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ma pondy cherie

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vintage indian maps

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neemrana

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surguru near manakula vinayaka temple

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jayanagar bangalore

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promenade pondy

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pondy

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Temple tree wilson , B’lore