I recently sat through a staff meeting where we discussed our Emergency Preparedness Plan. Words like “bomb” and “evacuate” were thrown around. My mind wandered and all I could hear was “you dropped a bomb on me, baby” and “evacuate the dance floor”. Lyrics of songs ran through my head and eventually they spilled out. My friends jokingly said that they wondered what it would be like to be in my head for a minute.
That moment took me back to one years ago when I was sharing with two dear friends all that was swirling around for me and the internal dialogue that ensued. My friend looked at me and lifted up her hand as if to turn down a nob and asked, “how do you turn that off?”. I remember feeling seen and known in the moment and at the same time ashamed and caught.
My mind is always like this. Always. As I was pondering the themes for April this month, I was standing outside watching my boys playing as we waited for the rain storm to roll in. My mind began to wander and before I knew it, I was hearing lyrics such as “kiss the rain, whenever you miss me”, and “rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky”, and “here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory, falling on my heart like a new emotion.” I could go on with all the songs that popped into my mind but I think you get the point. My mind didn’t stop there however. In a matter of seconds, as I watched my children play, I was also tied to memories and the people connected with each of those songs. In a single moment, I felt playful, sad, loved, and lonely.
As I think about all of this, I continue to be amazed by the human brain. I am stunned by the complexity and fragility on a daily basis. Our brains, controlling movement, regulating senses, processing emotions, providing understanding and keeping us alive are changing and adjusting all the time. Experiences, patterns, trauma, stress, beliefs, age, exercise, mindfulness, and gratitude are just a few of the factors that have an effect on the brain. I find it fascinating to think about how little we are consciously aware of, on a moment by moment basis, that is affecting our being.
I recently was walking downtown when I popped into a shop that spotlights local artists as well as some of their favorite artists. As I was enjoying the unique creations, I found myself drawn to a print from an artist based in West Virginia. The whimsy and color coupled with a bizarre image caused me to pause long enough to read the words on the print: “it was a fine day indeed when Phillip realized how well the orchestra of madness responds to a conductor who has learned to let go.” Yes. I walked away that day without the print but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. My friend shared with me a sign she recently received that was an invitation to relax and accept the chaos and I shared with her about the picture that I had seen saying something about the orchestra of sounds that play when we quit trying to control the chaos.
The words, as I could remember, stayed with me for weeks until I walked into the store again one late afternoon. As I surveyed the room for the print, my anxiety grew as I was not finding it anywhere. I had pondered those words and finally decided that this piece felt significant and like something I wanted to embrace and now it was nowhere to be found. As I was about to ask the sales clerk, I turned a corner and found a stack of prints from the artist. I rifled through them, reading more of his brilliant words but kept returning to the original one that I had found. I bought it that day and it now rests on a shelf in my bathroom for me to see every day. I keep it in a place where my reflection is always looking back at me. A place where I choose every day to either be critical or hard, controlling or free, indifferent or kind.
As I engage in my day and the chaos that abounds both internally and externally for me I am continuing to climb out of the box to embrace the beauty in the truth. The truth, that it was a fine day indeed when I realized how well the orchestra of madness responds to a conductor who has learned to let go!
Bethany Cabell is a Texas transplant, residing in Michigan with her husband and their two young boys. A lover of beauty, she lives life chasing after wide-open spaces: sharing her heart with others, in relationship with Jesus, and through music and photography. She tells her story here.
Bethany – I so enjoyed reading that!! And I can relate!!!! The words that swirl around inside our heads. And how do we turn it off?! We don’t. I loved the picture as well and I’m so glad you bought it and have embraced who God has made you to be. You are an artist of words. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Barbara. An artist of words…I loved that! Glad you can relate!
Loved this one!!! And all of the pieces it holds! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thank you K. I love that you know all those pieces!
What a wonderful depiction of how to work with the chaos of our minds with such joy and abandon. You are not alone. Thank you for sharing this beautiful thought! Michele
Thank you for sharing and joining with me Michelle and for your words of encouragement.
Oh Bethany I think we are kindred spirits. I too live with a jukebox in my head. It only takes one word to get the vinyl spinning and in a moment I am bebopping to my own tune. I need that print! Who is the artist?
Rebecca, it is sweet to find a kindred spirit and I think you are right! The artist is Seth and he can be found at http://www.theartofseth.com or http://www.theartofseth.etsy.com
Love this, Bethany and the wonder of your words that are now swirling around in my head! Love you, my friend, MJ
Thank you my friend. The wonder of words swirling in your head…love that! Miss you and look forward to hugging you soon!
Bethany, your creative and fast moving mind with musical lyrics remains in my mind. Your brilliance lingers and causes me to want to know more about you. Thank you.
Thank you, Becky, for your response. I hope for the opportunity to sit and enjoy getting to know more of you too…beyond your writing!
I too love how the “orchestra plays” in my head….we share the same gift.
Hope you enjoy your gift as much as I enjoy mine!
Elaine…I do enjoy it most of the time. It’s a daily journey to embrace and enjoy!
The orchestra of madness…I love this…and am so familiar with it! Thanks for letting us in in the invitation to let go.
A kindred spirit…thank you Janet!
Dear Bethany, …. “I am continuing to climb out of the box to embrace the beauty in the truth.” The freedom to let go is creating such beauty in you and for the space your create for your family and friends. Love it. Valerie
Thank you for noticing and for your encouragement, Valerie.