Replacing the cerebral soundtrack

When the conscious mind insists on repeating a nauseating cycle of negative memories, weary displeasures, overwrought disturbances (please don't pretend this doesn't happen to the most evolved spiritual gurus) and stubbornly refuses to accept the positive affirmations you imbue with intention until you're blue in the face, rejecting your sincere attempts as pusillanimous, only drugs, alcohol or furious exercise can silence or hopefully obliterate the repetition, but when the mental soundtrack is rooted in a song, al you have to do is change the music.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of Joni Mitchell. Who isn't? What a range! And quite the discography. No one in the world has sung Both Sides Now more than I did over the pre-teen years of ten and eleven. But when I woke up with The Circle Game playing in my head, it was a call for immediate action. The lyrics go like this.

"The seasons, they go round and round...

"and the painted ponies, they go up and down

"We're captive on a carousel of time."

This soundtrack, from her 1966 song "Circle" bubbled up from my mental archives as I was waking this morning. As if my dreams hadn't been sobering enough, now here was an old boyfriend strumming guitar in a dark, smoky bar, his memory forever soured by his behind-the-scenes shenanigans, while a depressed girl with long, black hair sang off-key, her thin, ghostly voice trapped in time. It's already too much: February in the mountains. These sunless, snowless wintry days, one after another, though grim, fly by too quickly, as though the carousel is gaining speed and will soon careen unnoticed into the cosmos, while everyone is off shopping at the mall.

This one is simple. Just change the musical channel. Why bother insisting that time is not an illusion today? One can always rely upon the aptly named band The Cure to put a positive spin on a sad day. Maybe Just Like Heaven? Followed by Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu in C-sharp minor. Maybe fall into pianist Yiruma's river current, letting it flow through you out there in the cosmos, or drift with Einaudi's white clouds as they float upward from his piano keys, or as they slip through Rousseau's nimble fingers. When it comes to the emotional spaces music can take you and the ease of getting there, just a couple clicks, it is truly a wondrous time to be alive. 

The heart of the Phantom Galaxy as captured by the James Webb telescope