a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Transformative power of our minds and barking dogs

Posted on the July 7th, 2011

Sometimes we learn something in the course of daily living that is just too good to keep to ourselves. So here’s my sharing for the day. It’s about the amazing transformative power of our mind, if we just allow ourselves to make use of it.

Years ago while trying to fall asleep — either for a nap or at bedtime, I don’t remember — some noises outside were keeping me awake. Trying to ignore them was useless. It came to me then that, perhaps, if I tried an opposite approach, it might be better.

So I began to concentrate on trying to hear all the sounds both big and small that it was possible for me to hear in those moments — including the noises. I imagined that they were all coming together to create a sound symphony. All I had to do was accept each distinctive sound/noise I heard into the orchestra.

It worked. The cacophony waned and was replaced by a sense of strange harmony. Very soon I felt asleep. This sound symphony technique continues to serve me well. Maybe it will work for you also.

What brought this to mind today was re-reading the famous poem by Billy Collins that is here below. Collins, being the poet that he is, explores the mind’s transformative power in his imaginatively amusing and insightful way.

Enjoy! (For those who can’t bear the very idea of reading a poem, there’s the video above.)

Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

(Billy Collins)

Reader Comments (4) - Post a Comment

Antonio Pappano talks about Rome and Respighi

Posted on the March 14th, 2011

In yesterday’s missed links post, I included a link to a Guardian interview with Antonio Pappano, music director of Rome’s Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.  Googling around later, I found this 2009 short EMI Classics video of Pappano discussing Rome and the music of the Italian composer Respighi.

The video’s too good to be tucked away into obscurity, I think.




Reader Comments (0) Comments Off on Antonio Pappano talks about Rome and Respighi

People Have The Power: Patti Smith

Posted on the February 26th, 2011

Reader Comments (0) Comments Off on People Have The Power: Patti Smith

In solidarity with the protesters in Egypt

Posted on the February 11th, 2011

Another time, another place. Same battle. “”Marching up to freedom land” Joan Baez)

Reader Comments (0) Comments Off on In solidarity with the protesters in Egypt

Atterraggio a Los Angeles (video)

Posted on the January 31st, 2011

Brings a twinge of nostalgia for my old hometown.  Video from la Repubblica, Jan 31, 2011).

Reader Comments (1) - Post a Comment