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Carol Perkins: A Cluttered Mind

When you think about it, telling yourself not to think about it is nearly impossible, Carol Perkins finds in conscious attempt to enter nap mode
For the next earlier Carol Perkins column, see Palin, scenic Alaska, and tiring dreams

By Carol Perkins

The chill in the house swept by me like a phantom on the run, bouncing from wall to wall and ceiling to ceiling. At five in the afternoon, I wasn't in the habit of nesting in my recliner, but Guy was gone and I had nothing pressing, so I turned on the gas logs, wrapped myself in a quilt, laid my glasses aside, and settled in for a nap. Why not?

There I was, in the most peaceful, relaxing place I could be.

I kicked off my tennis shoes and pulled the covers up to my chin and waited. And waited.

"Ok, try not to think about anything. Think about something peaceful like a creek," I told myself as I sat perfectly still, poised for sleep. I pictured the creek behind my mother's house, which led to a vision of me, wading through it with my toes crunched, slipping on the slimy bottom, and kicking through the minnows to reach the other side.

STOP THINKING. "Ok, I'm not going to think anymore. I'm going to relax. Hmmm, what can I think about so I won't think? I'll think of Christmas. NO, too complicated. I'll think about one aspect of Christmas." I thought about candy. Peanut butter fudge. The power of its richness filled the kitchen as I poured it out of the pan. Yummy. "Carla wants a batch; she loves my peanut butter fudge. I must have it ready when she comes. Maybe instead of sitting here, I need to whip up a batch."

STOP THINKING! "Ok, I'm not going to think of peanut butter fudge. I'm not going to think of anything." So, I hummed a song in my head. The hum was "Joy to the World." That didn't work because it made me think of my church cantata, which led me remember when I was a girl and had the honor of reading the Christmas story to church members. I stood behind a podium with candles surrounding me and felt special for being chosen for this role. Gave me confidence. Kids need more confidence and opportunities to stand before people.

STOP IT. STOP THINKING! The phone rang. "Are you asleep?" What an odd question to ask someone who was trying her best to get there. I must have answered in a haze. The conversation went on and on, with me listening more than talking. Finally, I was free.

"I have an hour to sleep before choir practice," I reminded myself, so I closed my eyes and quenched them tightly. "Breathe deeply. Get in touch with your inner self." My inner self wouldn't stop talking to me, telling me things I needed to be doing instead of sitting in front of the fire. "You know that pile of clothes on the floor? Get your lazy self up and wash them. You know that ironing you have put off for weeks? Do you think they will iron themselves? What about the......"

STOP LISTENING TO THAT VOICE! "Ok, I have thirty minutes to nap." I felt myself drifting slowly into a light snore. During the onset of my snoring, however, I was fully aware of Fluffy sitting behind me with his back leg resting on my head. "I have the gift of snoring while awake. I can trick people. Oh, goodness sake, now I'm planning snoring tricks. I'll never get that nap."

STOP TALKING TO YOURSELF! Cluttered and crowded, my mind would not free itself from restless thoughts of foolish things like where my red sweater might be, or if I needed to bake a ham or a turkey. We just had turkey, but my son-in-law doesn't like ham, so maybe I should fix neither. All these thoughts would be in my recycle bin or my trash if I were a computer. Wouldn't it be nice if our brains had trash bins? We would get rid of a lot of "junk mail." That's computer talk.


This story was posted on 2011-01-16 11:00:47
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