The things you can see only when you slow down - Sunim (Non-fiction) 

“If I had to summarize the entirety of most people’s lives in a few words, it would be endless resistance to what is. As we resist, we are in constant motion trying to adjust, and yet we still remain unhappy about what is.”

Haemin Sunim explains about mindfulness, peace and spirituality through accessible explanations, quotes, practical tips and beautiful drawings. This is one of those books I like to have visible on a shelf as a reminder, a book to pick up and flip through when times get tough.  

If nobody speaks of remarkable things - Jon McGregor (fiction)

“If you listen, you can hear it. The city, it sings. If you stand quietly, at the foot of a garden, in the middle of the street, on the roof of a house. It’s clearest at night, when the sound cuts more sharply across the surface of things, when the song reaches out to a place inside you. It’s a wordless song, for the most, but it’s a song all the same, and nobody hearing it could doubt what it sings. And the song sings the loudest when you pick out each note.”

Epitaph for a peach is a book I picked up from a local mini-bieb because the back flap said: “a young author with a farmer’s calluses and a poet’s soul”. In this book, we tag along on Masumoto’s farm for one year, four seasons, in which Masumoto decides to save his favorite type of peach - the Sun Crest peaches, from their declining popularity. He decides to give them one more year, a year in which he starts farming a new way, working with and not against nature. He faces the everyday challenges of rain, insects and budgeting with a buddhist-like wisdom. It’s a book that taught me about the intricacies of (biological) farming and the nerves of steel it requires. For me, this book is the ultimate practical guide of mindfulness.

Epitaph for a peach – David Masumoto (Memoir)

“What can you do? he answered. Make it stop raining? We lost most of the crop that year. We failed. But the grapes grew the next year and it didn’t rain. When I farm or garden, I learn to fail without winners or losers.”

Dit boek is niet naar het Nederlands vertaalt. Ik heb dit boek gevonden in een lokale minibieb, en meegenomen omdat de achterflap zei dat de schrijver “farmer’s calluses and a poet’s soul” heeft. In dit boek lopen we een jaar mee  op Masumoto’s boerderij. Zijn favoriete perziksoort, de Sun Crest, is steeds minder populair, maar hij besluit zijn Sun Crests nog één jaar te proberen aan de man te brengen, door samen te werken met de natuur, in plaats van de strijd aan te gaan. Hij gaat de alledaagse uitdagingen van regen, insecten en administratie aan met een boeddhistische denkwijze. Dit boek heeft me inzicht gegeven in de fijne kneepjes van de biologische landbouw en de stalen zenuwen die dat vereist. Voor mij is dit boek de ultieme praktische mindfulness-gids.

Lips too chilled – Basho (Poëzie collectie)

Spring rain –

under trees

a crystal stream.

This collection of seventeenth-century haiku’s is filled with mindful images. The original idea of a haiku was to describe a moment in nature, and Basho is probably the best known Buddhist poet to do so. If you like your poetry interspersed with prose I would recommend The narrow road to the deep north and other travel sketches, in which Basho describes his travels through haiku’s, poems and prose.

William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Another one of my favourite poets is William Carlos Willams. He has the ability to write simple poetry that forces my brain to slow down, in order to build up these beautiful images. My favourite poems include “this is just to say” and “the right of way”, which can be found in the bundle “Death the barber”, and of course his most famous “The red wheelbarrow”.