A bookstore that is ‘hungry for change’
By Michael Aushenker
If there are two people who know what works and what doesn’t in a billion-dollar self-help industry awash in books and movies addressing food and fitness issues, it’s James Colquhoun and Laurentine Ten Bosch, authors of “Hungry For Change” and the filmmakers behind 2008’s “Food Matters.”
Mystic Journey Bookstore, 1624 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, will welcome the married couple-authors-filmmakers at its Summer Garden Book Party on Saturday, June 22 for a Q&A discussion, accompanied by a bevy of healthy, organic refreshments.
Mystic Journey has been on its own “mystic journey” of late. Earlier this month, the bookstore re-opened just a couple blocks away from its old locale.
“Our lease was up,” said Jennie Witt, Mystic’s event coordinator. “We have a bigger space now. The problem was there was no sound barrier with the events. That was always an issue, but now there’s a whole meditation garden.”
“It was a magical day, with the store filled with incredible people and energy,” said the bookstore’s founder, Jeffrey Segal. “It was the perfect launch to the next phase of Mystic Journey.”
The store’s owner told The Argonaut that the only fear holding him back from making this leap was fear itself.
“Fear of the unknown is what held me back from taking the step of opening Mystic Journey many years earlier,” Segal said. “I now believe, really know, more strongly than ever, that with trust in one’s self, and in the universe, there is nothing to fear from the unknown, and that all that is asked for will be provided.”
Colquhoun and Ten Bosch are only the third big appearances booked at this new location. Popular spiritual lecturer Mary Ann Williamson appeared at Mystic’s re-opening party and store blessing, which drew hundreds to the new site.
“It feels more like home,” Witt said. “The energy is more relaxed and calm.”
She stressed that Mystic is now more than just an eclectic book store. A “Morning Movement and Meditation Series” of classes is scheduled from 9:30-11 a.m. weekday mornings, with yoga instructors Megan Monahan, Lisa de Narvaez, Michael Brian Baker, Karen Elaine and Riyaana Hartley.
A wave of interest in the way Americans eat, approach fitness, and medicate themselves (all often unhealthily) has proliferated in the form of documentaries, books and movies with catchy titles such as “Super-Size Me,” “Food, Inc.,” “Fast Food Nation” and “Prozac Nation.” Colquhoun’s father was one of the people that material was meant for.
“We intervened and he tried to believe what they were saying he didn’t believe it,” Colquhoun said. “So we did our film.”
That documentary changed the way Colquhoun’s father saw things.
“He had a complete shift,” Colquhoun said. “Within three months, after five years of chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and anxiety, he had that turn-around, that transformation. He lost 50 pounds.
“We share clothes now. He’s a bigger hippie than me now. He just got back from India. This guy was like an accountant.”
Originally from Australia and freshly arrived in the U.S., Colquhoun and Ten Bosch are not out to debunk the above-referenced mass-consumed works but to add to it.
“People are very confused,” Ten Bosch explained. “Even though there is so much information out there, there is a lot of conflicting information. We’re trying to simplify it for people.
“Instead of ‘I can’t have that,’” she continued, describing their approach, “how about we add wonderful, healthy foods into our life? Once you do that, (after a while) you don’t have any more room for the bad ones.”
Colquhoun and Ten Bosch, who is eight months pregnant with their first child, are currently in the throes of creating a book and film about prenatal and post-pregnancy nutrition. Ten Bosch noted that, in her homeland, “they don’t necessarily need this information. People live by the beach (and engage in a healthy lifestyle). But in America, there’s a real need for this.”
That said, she added that their adopted communities of Santa Monica and Venice are progressive communities where their views on food and fitness are shared.
“It’s like being in heaven,” Ten Bosch said. (The couple divides their time on three month intervals between Santa Monica and Australia, where they have an office with a staff of eight.) “We are communicating with people who are on the same wavelength. That energy encourages us to keep challenging ourselves.”
Energy, such as that found at Mystic Journey.
“We are growing, we are flourishing,” Witt said of her place of work. “A lot of people are expressing gratitude since Bodhi Tree (the longtime likeminded bookstore on Melrose Avenue near La Cienega Boulevard) closed.”
Appearances such as Colquhoun and Ten Bosch’s are what his old store was all about –and what the new location will continue to be.
“I continue to be amazed and honored at how Mystic Journey has unfolded and grown,” Segal said. “How it has become such a loved center of giving, sharing and learning.”
The Summer Garden Book Party will take place June 22 from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free. Information, HungryForChange.TV.