Mocking Bird-Brain


My brain mocks me. It gives me the impression that I have drama that I don’t really have, that I have important news that isn’t really news or isn’t important to me, that I have emergency situations that aren’t really emergent at all, in fact. My brain is like the Mocking Bird. It deceives me into believing in phantoms.

I use this comparison because Mockingbirds according to Wikipedia, are best known for the habit of mimicking the songs of other birds. They erupt with these calls in a loud and rapid succession. My brain, likewise, imitates in a loud and rapid succession messages of urgency. It creates its own drama, giving me the sense that I must act immediately, think and solve constantly. In response I dive into observe, analyze and fix-it mode. 

Some well-meaning panel in Texas decided the Mockingbird would be a terrific state bird. I assume that’s because this species is so prolific here. I often rush to the window, binoculars in hand expecting to see a Black-headed Oriole or a Golden-fronted Woodpecker, only to locate the source of the sound… another gregarious Mockingbird. The winged creature that I was pursuing with the swing of my binoculars, is a phantom once again.

Not being a quick learner, after over two years in the Southern regions I’ve begun to reverse my typical bird watching process. I look with the binoculars, scanning the tree limbs and the ground for sightings and tuning out the loud and rapid succession of calls that used to excite me. I know now that the best way to locate a bird of interest in Texas is to look first and then listen. I have become selective and picky. I don’t get motivated any longer by the loud and incessant mocking. The fact is that I’ve seen a lot of really wonderful birds and had a chance to enjoy them by using this reverse process. I actually like Mockingbirds, but I want more.

Likewise, it’s the wanting more from life that has helped me to make some recent changes. I’ve reversed some of my decisions. Knowing my brain acts like a Mockingbird, I have cut down on what I pay attention to. I don’t listen indiscriminately to its alarms any longer. I am becoming selective.

This is how I started to do that.

  1. Years ago, when I got sober, I stopped watching television news broadcasts and scan headlines online only occasionally, unless I choose to follow a story. I found the stress from daily news made me want to numb myself.
  2. As I started to face the reality of my life and wanted to cut down on the escapism and fantasy element of my thinking, I unsubscribed to magazines that built unrealistic expectations into my life.
  3. Some time back I began each day by praying for God’s will for the day instead of making a Do List. Moving through one item at a time and then praying again.
  4. Just last week I turned off all notifiers on my electronic devices. No more email notifiers, no social media alerts and no more notification of breaking news.

I like not having all the ‘noise’ in my head from these sources of chaos. They were creating a false sense of urgency. I love the serenity in my head. I want to share it.

Not everyone would agree with my choices, but maybe someone else is looking for a saner, quieter, more simplistic way of living. It is for you that I write this, that I confess I work daily with a bird brain. It’s what I’ve got. I can share that.