It’s just another day in the mind of… a mind. The average mind.
There’s a knock on the door. Trying to be very quiet, Conscious nervously looks through a tiny slit in the blinds. “Oh, crud! It’s Overwhelm,” Conscious whispers, “Probably here because I’m getting a slow start this morning focus-wise. It’s getting late and there are so many things to do today!”
Without a second thought, Subconscious yells, “The door’s open!”
Conscious swirls around, giving Subconscious a dirty look as Overwhelm comes marching in with loud, dirty boots like he owns the place. Conscious is being summoned to focus on making a smoothie anyway. Leaving the room, and still glaring at Subconscious, Conscious says, “Fine. You handle this. You always do anyway.”
Subconscious sneers, “Whatever,” as Conscious heads out of the room. Subconscious then turns to Overwhelm and addresses him as if he’s an old friend and they’re about the run through the same routine they’ve gone through countless times before, under similar circumstances.
“What tape will you play today?” pointing to the ancient-looking, gray scuffed vinyl box under Overwhelm’s arm. It’s a cassette tape case that neatly stores about 20 tapes; all of them very old, but they each still play their contents very clearly like they were bought just today and being played for the very first time.
Overwhelm is pleased. “Thanks for asking.” Opening the case, he announces, “I dubbed this awesome mix last night while you lazy butts were sleeping. It’s a blend of some old stuff and some newer stuff and it’s got kind of a gnarly retro sound. Very convincing. Very convincing. Today is the perfect day to try it out.”
Subconscious is curious. “Why the perfect day?”
Overwhelm smiles like he knows a secret and isn’t sure he should share it. Finally, he whispers, “Because the lid to the blender is still in the dishwasher.”
Just as Subconscious starts thoughtfully saying to himself, “Oh, that’s right. I was supposed to remind…” there’s loud noise and the mind’s Owner reflexively screams in shock and horror at the mess all over the kitchen counter, floor and even dripping from the ceiling.
The mind’s Owner can’t believe this. “How could I forget the top for the blender? I’m so…”
And at that exact split second, Overwhelm pushes the PLAY button on the player and a mix of victimology from the 70’s, anger from the 80’s, fear and sadness from the 90’s, and a little recent rage comes pulsing out of the old player more than loud enough for the Owner to hear and instantly identify with.
Ah, the start of a new day.
How about you? Can you identify with this scenario? Can you imagine it happening in your mind?
It happens in mine from time to time. When I let it happen, that is. It is a choice after all. A conscious choice? Well, sort of. To fail to consciously say No! to Overwhelm, we subconsciously say Yes. And then, guess what: The door’s open! Our mind is open to whatever it isn’t absolutely closed to.
Denying entry to Overwhelm takes discipline and practice, so don’t think it’s easy. It can be really tough to get Overwhelm to go away forever. Three reasons: 1) Overwhelm is a feeling and feelings are usually pretty tough to overcome, 2) Overwhelm is very convincing, and 3) Overwhelm is a master of disguise and is deceitful in that it wants you to think Overwhelm itself doesn’t even exist; that Overwhelm is just a mix of other negative emotions. Nope. Overwhelm IS an emotion.
In the next post, let’s talk about each of these troublesome traits of Overwhelm and then we’ll consider a fairly simple strategy that will send Overwhelm packing every time he comes knocking.