As I mentioned the other day, I have been earnestly making
my way through a book designed to teach me, (well, not just me, anyone - anyone who wants to, that is), how to relax. It advocates tuning in to the moment, halting the never-ending torrent of thoughts and judgments that pour through one's mind in every conscious moment.
I've been trying my best, (and I suspect therein lies my central problem - making an effort is probably not the route to being laid back), but without much genuine success. No matter how doggedly I fix my attention on my breathing and the world around me, I somehow cannot quite quell the faint sense of dread which underlies my waking existence - and revealing that it does so overlays that underlying dread with a whole new dread, which is the dread that mentioning the underlying dread may possibly be a form of tempting fate.
The feeling, (the underlying one, that is), is not focussed on anything. It just kind of lurks there, a vague idea that not everything is quite all right - or, if it is, it soon won't be. Heaven knows where it originally came from - okay, I did get a shock years ago when I fell out of a window, ditto when my father got us all caught in quicksand in a car and when my mother was driving and we got crashed into by a lorry and when my cousin was driving and we span across all the lanes of the M4, narrowly missing a pantechnicon whose driver had the great good sense to accelerate, (my cousin was impatient because I couldn't find the Vangelis tape she wanted so, having shoved my hand out of the way, was scrabbling about in that bit under the tape player herself, looking for it, rather than paying attention to the road [but I forgive her, although that does not mean I feel safe yet in a car with her]). On the other hand I did emerge from all these - and numerous other - dangerous incidents, if not unscathed at least still here. So why didn't I learn the lesson so ably trumpeted forth by Gloria Gaynor?
Dunno. Natural pessimism, going back through generations of ever improving gene iterations probably. Anyway, that's not my actual point. My point is that today, walking on Mount Ainslie, I was zealously struggling to put all my carefully learned quiet-your-mind techniques into practice and still feeling, as usual, mildlly angst-ridden, when above my head I heard a sound of wings flapping and I looked up and saw about eight kookaburras gather in a dead gumtree. As if set off by some hidden Riccardo Muti, they all began to laugh in unison. I stopped to admire them and as the hectic sounds washed over me, I found myself smiling and then chuckling along with them, and I realised that really nothing beats kookaburras for quieting the mind. (If you haven't heard a kookaburra yourself, you can hear one here).
Edmund Kean: or, The Life of an Actor by Alexandre Dumas - *Edmund Kean: or, The Life of an Actor* by Alexander Dumas The English adaptation by G. H. Jessop and J. St. Maur (published 1881) After I read the picture...
1 hour ago