It’s Hip to Be Sober
A mindful sober subculture is emerging, indicating that we’re seeking out deeper, more meaningful connections to others.
A wide range of sober, mindful, after-work activities is emerging, as booze culture is beginning to fall by the wayside among the hipster generation.
The buzz may have started with Daybreaker, the pre-workday dance party crusade that quickly swept both coasts (I’ve been more than once), eventually spreading throughout major cities across the globe. It’s an action-packed, sweaty, but sober, rave—glitter and all—that leaves just enough time afterward to do a little presto change-o before hitting the office. Then there’s The Get Down, the feel-good post-workday dance party in Manhattan started by house music DJ Tasha Blank.
The recently unveiled MNDFL, NYC’s first boutique meditation studio, has already gained a reputation for being a sober-chic place to hang and chill out, while big scale events like The Big Quiet have made mass meditations in public places a desirable activity among enlightenment seekers. Biet Simkin, a musician and founder of Center of the Cyclone, guides artistically charged meditations as part performance art, part mindfulness. Andrea Praet and Katia Tallarico lead The Uplift Project, which mobilizes the overstimulated and promises restoration and balance for today’s fast-paced world—a far cry from blowing off steam at the bar and drowning sorrows in alcohol.
And this week in The New York Times, a bi-monthly post-work mindful movement known to both LA and NYC as The Shine was profiled in the Styles section—a clear gauge that sober gatherings have officially gone mainstream.
Light Watkins, a meditation teacher, Wanderlust presenter, and author of The Inner Gym, founded The Shine in 2014 to create a mindful, connected community, without all the booze. An evening at The Shine will include meditation, music, film, and philanthropic enterprises, complimented with healthy nibbles and juices—and specially sourced artisan water.
In its first year, The Shine’s popularity as an aspirational gathering place to connect with like-minded individuals grew from just a dozen people to nearly 300. “The Shine started because I wanted to be more social, but I wasn’t attracted to the bar scene,” said Watkins. “I felt that it was hard to make meaningful connections with people who are buzzed - you’re not really meeting them, but rather the slightly to heavily intoxicated version of them, which may be uninhibited and fun, but it’s not real."
"We can’t help but wonder if this is just the beginning of an increasing demand for more alcohol-free zones for people to connect", Andrea concludes.