Oh look, it's a picture of me, or a caricature at any rate. My friend Ledge did this in celebration of my mad Cossack beard. But never mind the beard, it's gone now and who cares?
It's the expression on my face that's interesting. Look at that furrowed brow. Ledge drew this just after he and I had come back from a cafe in Mullimbimby (aren't Australian place names great?) where I'd met an Englishman keen to impress upon me the wickedness of Jewish people. He'd given me a bunch of articles to read, all of which extolled the virtues of racial purity. Sure enough, I'm the wrong fellow for this and I threw his stuff out, and then Ledge and I sparked up and spent the rest of the afternoon inventing mad worlds and laughing our heads off. We like a laugh, Ledge and I.
But never mind the ageing stoners, right there in the picture is the battle for my face. As I slowly approach fifty and the wrinkles get deeper, it seems it's a race of who-gets-there-first between the crow's feet I have from smiling, and the Billy Joel-esque furrow I get from frowning. And I'm wondering if the frown isn't winning.
Lately over at Su's place I've been struck, or a chord has been, by Su's, um, I don't know, having had enough of it all? Would I be wrong in imagining that what Su describes in this piece, followed by this (as a bookend of sorts) are variations of what we're all going through? Spending every day reading of the stepped-in-blood activities of the death cult PTB really does do your head in. 'Basta!' as the Italians say, 'Enough! I get it already.' Honestly, don't these self-impressed fuckers ever get sick of it? Their relentless revelling in filth and degradation, and all to keep themselves in Savile Row suits, super yachts, and rape victims. God help me - I'm sick of them, and I'm sick of their shit.
And my face tells me daily. The muscles through my jaw, temples, and forehead ache from the perpetual tension. I've mentioned before I have bad teeth. But they usedn't to be. They used to be the best teeth money could buy until I ground them down. And now every morning I wake up with an exhausted face.
And lately I've realised that the tension is there during the waking hours too. And whilst the answer is as simple as relaxing my muscles, this is easier said than done. I relax my jaw and within seconds I find it's back to its default 'jut' mode. It's like pushing water uphill, a Sisyphean battle.
Funnily enough, martial arts is, amongst other things, the mastery of relaxation. It took me years to understand even the basics of how to relax my limbs, and the variety of internal tension required for a good stance. And just lately the words of one of the instructors came back to me - 'Your face should have a slight smile on it'. I didn't think about it at the time since I was too busy with my hips, thighs, back and shoulders, but it's a thing worth keeping in mind. If anyone wants to know what the smile should look like exactly, just check a Theravadan statue of the Buddha.
With this in mind I remembered a documentary I saw about a Japanese Buddhist sect, wherein the practitioners would ritualistically laugh together. The priest declared that happiness makes you laugh and laughing makes you happy. And sure they looked like a pack of weirdos, but that's beside the point. The nerve pathways transmitting electrical signals from the brain to the muscles aren't a one-way street. The stimulus that drives the response can likewise be driven by that response. It's a bit like how sexual arousal will dilate the pupils, but dilated pupils will cause sexual arousal. This is why romantic dinners are candle-lit, and if you want to get laid, you don't go to McDonalds. Well, that and a thousand other reasons, ha ha.
But to hell with McDonalds, I've been smiling. And it's spooky how happy I feel. What starts out feeling slightly false, takes on a life of its own. Within seconds the smile ceases to be false and I feel good. And whilst this isn't about to instantly undo years of muscle memory and the tension it brings, it's easily better than me thinking 'relax' and then forgetting again one second later.
Sure enough, weltschmerz wouldn't be weltschmerz if one could knock it on the head merely by smiling. But it's a good start. A trip of a thousand miles starts with a single step. What with having had to relocate my internet venue to the next town over, all manner of things, of paths to be travelled, have revealed themselves to me. Down the road from the library is a yoga/meditation centre. In the other direction is an art supply shop. And as soon as I can find a camera store, I'll get back into photography.
I'm not about to abandon writing. It's far too much fun, and besides, I like reading my own stuff, ha ha. But that doesn't mean I have to spend all day head down in the laptop buried in misery. Not forgetting that anyone suffering from weltschmerz, overcome with dismay and despair, is doing precisely what they're meant to. The death cult laughs in derision. Yeah well, they can go fuck themselves. I refuse to behave as they expect.
I'll look at the world with my eyes open. I'll acknowledge the wickedness that exists. And then I'll respond in the manner of my own choosing. To hell with letting the world eat me alive. Rather, I'm going to view the world as my oyster, and then let's see who eats whom, ha!