By Dan Zevin
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For all of us who’ve crammed yoga, meditation, and self-care into our lives, there’s just one thing missing on our daily slog toward serenity: a laugh. With rainbow-free visualizations ripped from real life, Very Modern Mantras will have you mastering the meditations that really matter, like Mantra for Starbucks; Mantra for the Airport Security Line; Mantra for Open-Plan Office, and Mantra for Public Transportation. Finally, a way to find inner peace without losing your sense of humor.
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CHANT, DON’T RANT.
Finding inner peace is extremely stressful. You try to visualize rainbows and waterfalls, but quickly start visualizing deadlines, appointments, and that weird rattling noise your car has been making when you put it in reverse. You do your best to focus on your breath, but wind up focusing on your broken phone, and on the hour you’re about to lose live-chatting with a customer service representative who won’t know how to fix it, and on the endless array of all the other daily aggravations you need to be focusing on instead of focusing on your breath. Sure, you can lock yourself in a darkened room and chant a katrillion Oms. But how about a mantra for waiting in line at Starbucks while the lady in front of you spends twenty minutes customizing her foam-free latte? Or a mantra for reckless sidewalk texters? Or a mantra for surviving a mind-numbing staff meeting? These are the daily aggravations that drive even the most mindful among us out of our minds. These are the moments we need some very modern mantras.
The sacred text you hold before you contains aggravation-specific, microtargeted meditations for today’s world. Each begins with a rainbow-free visualization ripped from real life, and ends with a very modern mantra to chant over and over whenever you’re about to lose your shit serenity. By making this book the center of your mindfulness practice, you will achieve instant inner peace. And if that doesn’t pan out, I hope you’ll get something we can all use on our daily slog toward #tranquility: a laugh.
MANTRA FOR STARBUCKS
Close your eyes and envision an infinite line of humanity, stretching miles and miles and miles.
Now, envision this line is at Starbucks.
At the front, notice a young woman in Uggs, explaining how she would like her latte prepared.
Tune in to her needs.
She wants it one-quarter caffeinated, half-soy, and no nutmeg…
Because she does not like nutmeg…
And what can they recommend to replace the nutmeg?
As you realize you’re going to be late for your morning meeting, visualize taking her aside…
And explaining to her that, despite everything she has ever been told by her mommy…
The world does not really revolve around her.
Become keenly aware of your fists, clenching tighter and tighter and tighter.
On the count of three, release them.
One… two… three.
Together we chant Modern Mantra #1…
MANTRA FOR GPS
Imagine taking an endless back road to nowhere…
Because your GPS said you’d save 3 minutes if you got off the highway.
In front of you, notice a bright yellow school bus making infinite stops.
Feel a rush of regret surge through your chakras, as you are guided on a journey of continuous right turns.
How do you feel?
Like you’ve been driving around in circles?
Simply surrender to the soothing, slightly condescending voice of your GPS.
She is leading you toward a gleaming bridge, over an unknown body of water.
When you’ve reached the middle of the bridge, allow your fingernails to dig into the steering wheel.
Slowly, become aware that your GPS has lost its signal.
Notice how she begins to free-associate:
“Go left/go right/take the roundabout/make a U-turn.”
And relax as she recalculates…
Sending you through city traffic at rush hour.
As our journey reaches its final destination, honor your anxiety by honking at a red light to make it turn green.
And now, let it go.
Today, we discover Modern Mantra #2…
MANTRA FOR THE MALL
Feel yourself floating up the escalator of a suburban cathedral.
Behold the pure white light; the peaceful tinkle of a fountain; the serene background music.
At this very moment in time…
Twenty minutes before rush hour starts…
There is nowhere on Earth you would less like to be.
But you need to return a complicated scarf someone gave you from Banana Republic.
Channel your spirit animal, the majestic mall rat.
See yourself scurry past the mall-walkers to a towering store directory.
Gaze in awe at the billions and billions of stores…
And ponder how it is possible that you still have no idea how to get to Banana Republic.
As you feel the first wave of mall fatigue washing over you, breathe in through the nostrils.
Breathe in the Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel air…
The Crabtree & Evelyn seaside room-spray air…
The Bath & Body Works vanilla face mask air.
With each breath, feel yourself losing focus…
Surrendering to your inner consumer…
Wandering aimlessly around H&M with a soft pretzel in your mouth.
Slowly, find yourself sitting in a giant, vibrating chair at the entrance of Brookstone.
Try not to question how you wound up here…
Simply be in the moment.
And when the moment is over…
Simply be in Foot Locker, getting a new pair of tennis sneakers in case you decide to learn how to play tennis one day.
Whenever you start dying inside, envision what your credit card bill is going to look like this month.
Abruptly, envision yourself stuck in rush hour traffic.
In your trunk lies an abundance of purchases you had no intention of buying.
On your passenger seat sits a complicated scarf from Banana Republic you forgot to return.
Today, we are reminded of Modern Mantra #3…
MANTRA FOR GLUTEN INTOLERANCE
Inhale its doughy energies…
And drift off to a healing space, such as a bathroom or emergency room, where you will wind up if you eat it.
Now, let a new image materialize.
It is a lovely evening and you are dining out with companions.
Hear yourself dialoguing with the waitress…
Notice how she rolls her eyes when you ask if the rice noodles are boiled in the same water as the ravioli.
Feel your face chakra radiate the crimson glow of gluten-free shame.
And release with a sip of your nasty hard cider.
Now, envision your companions sharing a delicious pitcher of wheat beer.
Flow into forced-smile pose.
Honor your food envy as you evoke their meal:
Soft flour tortillas…
Warm bread pudding…
Our voyage of gluten intolerance now turns inward, as we bring the focus back to our own food.
Become one with your gluten-free cookie.
Bask in its gummy, sandy aura.
Do not become destabilized if you experience an urge to spit it out and chug the entire pitcher of wheat beer.
Rather, reclaim your powers of digestion with Modern Mantra # 4…
MANTRA FOR AN OPEN-PLAN OFFICE
Clear your mind and transport yourself to a place with no walls…
No personal space whatsoever between you…
And the insufferable co-worker next to you.
Sense that he is so close that he’s basically sitting in your lap…
So very close that you can hear each breath he takes…
And you can also smell it.
Inhale deeply through your nasal pathways, and gag on the sardines he is eating straight out of the tin…
While he talks to his doctor on speakerphone.
Let your familiar queasiness wash over you, as you absorb each word of his conversation:
Now, take a moment to turn your focus to the click, click, click from the high-intensity keyboard typist on the other side of you.
And the chronic cough from the contagious colleague behind you.
Feel yourself finally composing your letter of resignation…
Though you do not have one single job prospect to fall back on.
Ready to hit Send?
Reframe your rage and repeat Modern Mantra #5…
MANTRA FOR AIRPORT SECURITY
- "This book didn't just make me laugh, it rescued my sanity from a precarious ledge. Thank you, Dan Zevin!"—AJ Jacobs, bestselling auhor of The Year of Living Biblically and Thanks a Thousand
- "These hilarious mantras reduce stress and provide ample justification for mumbling to myself in public. Sign me up!"—Sarah Knight, New York Times bestselling author of Calm the F*ck Down and The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
- "These 'Very Modern Mantras' will almost (but not quite) help you calm tf DOWN."—Funny or Die (Best of the Web)
- Very Modern Mantras is a 2019 Entrepreneur Best Book of the Year
- "Dan Zevin's Very Modern Mantras was just what I needed to crack a smile and laugh off some stress."—Psychology Today.com
- "Dan Zevin's painfully funny Very Modern Mantras will help you find peace where chaos and sneezing co-workers reign."—Entrepreneur.com
- On Sale
- Oct 8, 2019
- Page Count
- 144 pages
- Running Press