Flea brain. Do they make a collar for that?

Last week a fidgety mind was seriously messing up my productivity. It happens to me from time to time. I call it flea brain. When I have flea brain, It doesn’t seem to matter what I’m doing–writing, practicing, cataloging music–my mind darts from one place to another, not settling on one place long enough to focus or engage.

It usually happens when I’m anxious, when the tasks on my list tug on my skirt like a toddler. Pay attention to me! No, pay attention to me! I’ll be doing one thing, and realize I should be doing something else, then on the way to do that thing, get distracted by some other task and forget what I wanted to accomplish in the first place.

The thing is, I’m not anxious. Sure, I have lots to do, but my son is at camp and I have nothing but time. I know my priorities, and even the logical steps and pathway, but it’s like my planning functions and execution functions have been disconnected. My rational self says, time to write. My behavioral self says, let’s look at kitten videos.  Or worse, I’ll stare at the blank screen, thinking Write something! Anything!

I’ll get a shiny new thought, but I can’t pin it down. Like mercury, it breaks into bits that scatter, liquid and elusive. I type what I can and go for a run. When I get back  I look at what I have written down.

Joshua Bell/Jealousy

Have enough/Never enough

Book about sisters/crap, crap, crap

All I can think is, WTF?  What did I mean by any of that? I have six or seven unfinished posts like this on my dashboard.

So I went to see my acupuncturist.  Typically, my flea brain is caused by a slump in wood energy. Instead of moving forward, I run around in circles. This time the source is different. She tells me I have a block. My mind cannot hear what my heart has to say.

Funny, I distinctly heard, Write something! Anything!

No, you idiot, my heart says. That’s not me. That’s fear talking. Don’t you know the difference?

Apparently not. So, Heart, what do you say? I’m listening.

You don’t have to find the words. They are already here.

Well, how about that.  So they are.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Beatrice Murch

2 comments on “Flea brain. Do they make a collar for that?

  1. angelpoint says:

    My brain is always a “flea brain”! The word “focus” is not a word in my vocabulary. The word I use is “multi-tasking”–sounds more organized:-) Just ask my daughter. I have been at Angelpoint for two days helping her declutter her life belongings and we go from box to box and finally just said STOP. Unpack one box–sort through–three stacks–keep, throw out, goodwill. It works.

  2. Chris says:

    I can’t wait to read your book about sisters. I (heart) you!

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