When I was creating a new work, Synaptic Rodeo, at the LIVElab last year, we were talking a lot about the predictive mind. From my understanding, our brains are wired to create predictions. We know what the next step will be like. We know how the height of each stair will feel and our bodies adjust accordingly. When the brain’s predictions are interrupted it feels weird. Like the moment when you step onto a broken escalator. Your brain is primed to predict the motion that will carry you up. And even though you may have consciously registered it’s not working, your body still does a little “whoa” as it matches predictions with reality. Or have you ever lifted a cup that you thought was full but it was empty? Your brain predicts the weight and location of objects and the muscles and movement adjust accordingly. When reality and prediction don’t match up it can hilarious. Mind bending. There is even a story of a man who was blind but didn’t know it because he could predict where everything was in his house was and he didn’t know he couldn’t see it.
During the pandemic, my brain is trying to make predictions and make sense of everything. I am falling into old patterns so that I can function. But the truth is, those old patterns don’t work anymore. Predictions and reality are not matching up and my brain and body are on alert almost all the time. No wonder I am so tired. No wonder I am edgy. I hear lots of positive voices out there saying Pivot! Use this opportunity! Adapt! Adjust!
Here’s what I say to myself (in as comforting a voice as possible)…Calm down!
Here’s how I try to do it…
Limit computer time
Sit still and drink tea.
Look at my cats
What’s your choice of magic?