Cerebral Traffic Control

I was driving home from the market this morning and I took a short-cut through a neighborhood near my house.

There were several pieces of construction equipment blocking parts of the road and a person standing there, ostensibly to direct traffic. I couldn’t see far enough down the road to tell what was on the other side of the trucks, so I trusted the person standing in the middle of the road to tell me when I could go.

She held up both of her hands, looking back and forth from me to the other end of the road, then sort of waggled both hands at the same time in a meaningless way. Then she stepped back out of the way. Baffled, I started to go. The trouble was, another driver at the other end did the same thing. Luckily the two of us were able to carefully edge by each other as our would-be traffic controller stood there haplessly looking on.

It made me think of my brain.

Like the lady in the hard hat, I don’t have total control over what comes driving through. I have various expected inputs. Some thoughts barrel through while others come gently by. Of course, brains are much more complicated than two-way streets. Some thoughts approach like a missile strike and others seem to walk by without even stopping, though we wish they would.

Sometimes, I get “busy brain.” There are just too many thoughts. Too many things to care about. Too many puzzles to figure out. So, like the lady in the hard hat, I sometimes get overwhelmed and just waggle my hands ineffectually and hope for the best.

I don’t judge myself for that. But after this morning, I’m left with the reminder that if I can practice effective cerebral traffic control sometimes I might arrive at more conclusions with less inner chaos.

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