Alys: Subconscious, are you there?
Subconscious: Yes, I’m here. I’m there. I’m everywhere.
A: You seem a little weary
S: Its not for the conscious to say how the subconscious is feeling.
S: That’s a better response.
A: I’m feeling very overwhelmed.
S: And you expect me to do something about this?
A: I’m not asking for you to anything about this. I would just like some advice as to how I might better deal.
S: Deal with what?
A: Having too much to do and not enough time to get it all done.
S: I’ll cut to the chase. What you are telling me you’re feeling is an illusion that you created. I had nothing to do with any of it. You have that new how-to list in hand, right? How much of what you have to do is all that important?
A: It’s all important.
S: That’s the problem. Our pal, the conscious, who resides in your neocortex, has again pulled a fast one on you, by convincing you that it’s again okay to take on more than you can handle.
A: What I have written on this list is not more than I can handle.
S: It must be or else you would not be bitching to me about being overwhelmed.
A: Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
S: Look. I long ago accepted the fact that I can’t organize or prioritize. So I content myself by wallowing in a mudhole full of memories, both good and bad.
A: So my neocortex draws from my memories and these memories shape my thinking.
A: But my feeling overwhelmed is not, as you say, an illusion. I truly am overwhelmed, almost near paralytic with the feeling that I’ll never get caught up. Pete’s now in Anchorage, at a two-day union meeting. And so in his absence I must do the chores that he normally does.
S: Such as?
A: Tend to all the animals, keep the fire going in the woodstove, keep myself fed, and clean up after myself – this in addition to all the other things around here that I normally do.
S: You and Pete are pulling the same cart. But it’s also your load that he’s pulling.
A: So how do I lighten the load?
S: That’s up for you and your neocortex to decide.
A: But I am my neocortex.
S: You need to detach yourself from your neocortex for a bit, and together do some major sorting.
A: And in the meantime?
S: Focus on what you are doing in the minute and don’t give any thought to what else you think you have to do.
A: This is easier said than done. Hey, I got this great idea. I’d like to write a book. It’ll be a series of conversations between me and you. I could incorporate information about the way the brain works into this book.
S: What would you call this book?
A: Me and Me: Conversations with my Subconscious.
S: Well, first off, this would not be about how the brain works. Rather, it would be about how the mind works.
A: Yes. It would be like, say, you know, a Socratic dialogue, with me being the questioner and you being the one with all the answers.
S: I like this idea. But a cautionary note here. You are doing here what I suggested you don’t do, which is taking on yet another task. This one could overload the system. The neocortex is already working on overtime.
A: But isn’t this a wonderful idea?
S: Table it.
A: I could do it in between other writing tasks.
A: I mean, I could encourage the amygdala to participate.
S: And the hippocampus.
A: And the cerebellum. The cerebellum could advocate that I work at achieving a better balance in my life.
S: Think overload.
A: But isn’t this a wonderful idea? And I could include cartoons.
S: All your ideas are wonderful.
A: Thank you.
S: You are like a train, barreling down the tracks at the speed of light, near impossible to slow down.
A: Great analogy. But what about my being overwhelmed?
S: You have too much momentum to do anything about this. You just need to accept the fact that this is the way you are.
A: And enjoy the ride?
S: Oh yes, most importantly, enjoy the ride.
Next: 56. 2/26/19: The Country Mouse and the City Mouse