I envy cats. If there is a cycle of rebirth, I want to come back as a housecat. I'm aware that the cycle is supposed to be quite far along if you're a human being and aware of the possibility of reaching Nirvana, but I do envy our 16 year old furball. I've yet to be convinced that being forced to live a lifetime as a housecat would be such a disaster.
One of the things they seem to get remarkably right is this whole business of living in the moment - which to my mind is the way to really relax. I'm not good at this, although I try. Which in itself rather eliminates the point. The internal conversation goes a bit like this:
"Right, you have a whole week of unscheduled anything and you can relax."
"Great, isn't it?"
"I can hear a *but* in that tone."
"It's not exactly a *but*, more of a 'isn't there a lot of stuff I could or should be doing?'"
"Well, you know, the lists of things."
"Look, all it means is you can do those things to your own schedule."
"Suppose I don't?"
"Then you're a lazy cow, aren't you?"
"Hey! I thought this was supposed to be about relaxing and not putting myself under pressure?"
"It is, it is. I'm just reminding you that you don't operate well without deadlines."
"Gee, thanks for the support, inner-self."
"Nobody knows you better."
"Damn right. So why do I always feel worse if I listen to you?"
"Just doing my job."
Having just had this conversation for the nth time, I've made a small personal vow that I'm not going to listen to my inner self this week. My inner self can go and fly a kite or jump in a lake or take some anti-depressants and get out of my head for a bit. My mum always said I paid far too much attention to the smaller me in my head and advised locking it away in a cupboard. She was right about that as well as a lot of other things, but I tend to forget.
Just putting down a cup of coffee and an ashtray as bait for the inner self.
"Oooh, look - fresh coffee and an unopened packet of Dunhill"
"You what? Stepping right in."
Slam. Sound of door locking.