Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
But today is a gift.
That’s why it’s called the present.
This is an old saying, refined with time and surprisingly, perfected by cartoons (first in the classic comic strip Family Circus and then in Kung Fu Panda). Wisdom comes in many forms, changing shape and taking on new layers of meaning through the generations. This little gem of a phrase has stayed with me ever since I first heard it, years ago, spoken by Master Oogway, the cartoon turtle kung fu master.
Every day truly is a present. Though our lives are full of ups and downs, they are also like a symphony playing out over time. Different instruments, melodies, and rhythms come and go at particular moments. Living in the present requires a conductor’s state of mind to properly guide the musicians and maintain the rhythm of the symphony. Conductors can’t think about the past or future, they live in the present moment.
This issue of Magnifissance is dedicated to harmonizing the symphony of our lives with guidance from designers, artists, entrepreneurs, and a traditional Chinese doctor, who have all found their own paths to refining and appreciating their daily experiences of beauty.
Dr. Serene Feng offers guidance from traditional Chinese medicine for reconnecting with the body’s natural cycles. Meditation, good sleep, and basic daily routines can transform a person’s body and mind. “If you can do meditation every day,” she says, “it’s like tidying up and organizing yourself.”
In ancient China, tea was a fundamental part of life for intellectuals—a quiet companion for self-reflection, contemplation, and spiritual improvement. In this issue, we invited the founders of Eastern Leaves to talk to us about the role of tea in improving our everyday experiences with tips on how to make the flavours of tea truly come alive.
There is a Tao (way) to everything, and within every art there is a path to self-mastery and skill-mastery. We talked to fashion-designer Sophie Hong and ikebana artist Ding Fengru who shared their stories of discovering and inheriting age-old artistic traditions. They studied with the old masters and through this process of understanding, they’ve developed their own unique creative and artistic creations.
The oldest incense company in Japan, Kungyokudo, is offering a new line of home incense that can help people purify their minds and personal spaces. “I always have a lot of issues on my mind, but while listening to the fragrance wood, my mind becomes empty,” says Chihaya Ouno, the company’s brand manager and wife of the president.
Sometimes we need an even longer break to escape the demands of everyday life. Jayne McCaw, founder of Jayne’s Cottages, discusses the value of vacations and reveals how she left the hectic pace of the city for the relaxing cottage lifestyle. Now, she curates luxury vacation experiences in the hidden gem of Muskoka, Ontario.
These days, the world is full of anxiety and uncertainty, but we don’t have to accept this state of mind. If we prepare tea mindfully, burn incense with a clear mind, and savour a bite of food for an extra moment longer, we can connect with our inner selves and find peace. The art of appreciation is what turns the present moment into an eternal gift.