Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder & Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark by Julia Baird

$37.99

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SKU: 9781460757154 Categories: ,

Description

A beautiful, intimate and inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture within ourselves that essential quality of internal happiness – the 'light within' that Julia Baird calls 'phosphorescence' – which will sustain us even through the darkest times.

Over the last decade, we have become better at knowing what brings us contentment, well-being and joy. We know, for example, that there are a few core truths to science of happiness. We know that being kind and altruistic makes us happy, that turning off devices, talking to people, forging relationships, living with meaning and delving into the concerns of others offer our best chance at achieving happiness. But how do we retain happiness? It often slips out of our hands as quickly as we find it. So, when we are exposed to, or learn, good things, how do we continue to burn with them?

And more than that, when our world goes dark, when we're overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain, how do we survive, stay alive or even bloom? In the muck and grit of a daily existence full of disappointments and a disturbing lack of control over many of the things that matter most – finite relationships, fragile health, fraying economies, a planet in peril – how do we find, nurture and carry our own inner, living light – a light to ward off the darkness?

Absorbing, achingly beautiful, inspiring and deeply moving, Julia Baird has written exactly the book we need for these times.

Excerpt from the book:

'One day recently, while swimming at sunrise, I began thinking about how Oscar Wilde described the dawn as like a ‘frightened girl’ who crept along the ‘long and silent street . . . with silver sandalled feet’. It suddenly struck me as so timid and British (although Wilde was an Irishman, he lived many years in London). In Australia, the dawn is an arsonist who pours petrol along the horizon, throws a match on it and watches it burn.

The sun’s rise and the sun’s retreat bookend our days with awe. We often take awe for granted, and yet it’s something both modern scientists and ancient philosophers have told us to hunt. Awe makes us stop and stare. Being awestruck dwarfs us, humbles us, makes us aware we are part of a universe unfathomably larger than ourselves; it even, social scientists say, makes us kinder and more aware of the needs of the community around us.

Wonder is a similar sensation, and the two feelings are often entwined. Wonder makes us stop and ask questions about the world, while marvelling over something we have not seen before, whether spectacular or mundane.'

320 pp. hardback

16 x 3 x 21.8 cm

480 g

Published March 2020 by 4th Estate

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