In my twenties I worked on the front line of a large and very busy restaurant in St James's, London. My role included a good deal of carrying cases of wine and water up and down flights of stairs (they have since installed a lift from the cellar to the back of the bar), and the service was both fast and intense. I was going through an existential crisis at the time and the intensity of the work helped assuage the voices that assaulted me at will.
At this time, I would start work at 6am and would finish at 4pm. After returning home I would meditate in the back garden. My cat, Henry, would be sitting demurely somewhere, not wishing to be caught wanting attention. Then I would shower, with the intention of starting my evening feeling fresh. #thewolseley
One hot summer’s afternoon, I was rinsing the day’s labour from my body. With eyes closed, I felt the deeply pleasant feeling of the cool water cascading down on my upturned face, a bird tweeting sweetly in a tree outside the open window, the subtle rumble of passing cars in the distance. #water #mentalhealth
Abruptly, a train of thought, smoke billowing and its passengers bellowing course criticism from the carriage windows, thundered across the surface of my mind. The serenity of thoughtless space, beyond the talons of time, that I had been enjoying was of course obliterated and I was left cursing myself with brow creased, in a fog of doubt, fear and anger. #cognition
In the passing of a single grain of sand crashing down in the hour glass of eternity, I came to..
The cool water still fell. The bird tweeted sweetly. A truck went on along its way. I realised I had not been the cause of those thoughts. In a Kafkian court, I may have been accused of aiding and abetting it, of being an agent to the crime in ignorance only. Firm legal counsel would surely have had those charges quashed. #franzkafka It reminds me now of one of the violent hallucinations I experienced during a brief period as a child. I’d be in the infinite blue of the heavens, scrambling up a shingle embankment to the safety of tracks that led in a straight line from eternal past to uncertain future, only for a steam locomotive to suddenly roar past and I’d have to tumble down the bank, holding on to the edge with my bare feet dangling above the abyss. Up again I would scramble…
I remember shouting through the water,
‘I’m just having a shower!’