I can’t be the only one. Ever get a Brain Squirrel?

Let’s be clear – I’m not talking about squirrel brains, you guys, that’s totally gross. And apparently, squirrel brains are an overlooked delicacy, but I don’t buy it. It can give you Mad Cow Disease. Mad Fucking Cow Disease, ok? Besides, they’re totally gross. I’m an open-minded individual, but I have to draw the line at squirrel brains. Just writing about it makes me queasy. Brb – gotta hurl.

Instead, I’m talking about Brain Squirrels – when that negative inner voice has hijacked my brain, it leaves me feeling, well, like I have Mad Cow Disease. Except this kind is preventable.

It all started after my last job ended. It happens every time. I fight these crazy feelings of what-the-fuck-am-I-doing and my brain just starts this spinning, whirling, constant squirrel in my brain that’s tryin’ so fucking hard to get a nut – *any nut* that everybody (except it) can see the forest of nuts just out of the squirrel’s tunnel vision.

But you know what?  I realized that that’s what my ole brain is up to. And now I’m watching you, brain, got that?

Sometimes my brain whispers horrible things to me – like:
What’reyougonnadotomakemoney, huh?
You’re wasting your time.
You’re old.
What if no one reads this book you’re writing?
You’ll have to figure out a way to make money. Now.
ALL THE TIME. CONSCIOUSLY AND UNCONSCIOUSLY.

(****OK – these ‘voices’ are not like crazy voices, ok? If you have crazy voices, get some help – or come sleep in the streets in Venice, that’s what a lot of other people with crazy voices do.)

But I realized that these brain squirrels had taken over my normally pleasant and kind thought patterns. I remembered some good advice from my friend Elissa. Her voice glowed when she said, “Anna, do you ever use positive affirmations?” I absolutely love my friend Elissa, love her precisely for her genuine, honey-dripping exuberance for everything. But my sarcastic self has a hard time getting behind the phrase ‘Positive Affirmations.’

My opinion? The name ‘positive affirmations’ really needs a good re-branding. When I think the words ‘positive affirmations’ like sparkling glitter getting pissed in the wind, it’s just really hard for me to take the name seriously. Sure, I’ll let ‘positive affirmations’ float right in on fairy toadstool and let it land in that pile of cow shit over there, thank you very much. ‘Positive affirmations’ makes it sound like I might be required to go do some yoga.

How about for my cynical intents and purposes we will refer to ‘Positive Affirmations’ as NICE SHIT TO SAY TO OURSELVES. 

Brain: I got my eye on you. I found a list somewhere on the net of 100 bits of  NICE SHIT TO SAY TO MYSELF to answer those awful brain questions. (The brain squirrel wants to talk in parenthesis. What a bitch.)

– I may be one of 7 billion, but I’m one in 7 billion. (That is the cheesiest thing I’ve ever heard in my life!)
– I refuse to give up because I haven’t tried all possible ways. (That’s very long.)
– I do not settle for meaningless, boring or frustrating work. (But you have for 14 years!)
– I choose to fully participate in my day. (I can actually kinda get on board with that.)

Aha! And so we have a start.

– I let go of worries that drain my energy for no good reason. (Preach!)
– I am in complete charge of planning for my future. (OK. But still scary.)
– Everything always works out for my highest good. (Yes! So true!) (I’m lucky!)
– The answer is right before me (squirrels are in the way!) even if I’m not seeing it yet.
– I believe in my ability to unlock the way. (I do.)
– I am more than good enough and getting better every day. (Cue Stuart Smiley: And gosh darn it, people like me!)
– I press on because I believe in my path. (Fuck! It’s so true!)
My path has never lead me astray.
I added that last part.
And one last one.

#99 (like 99 problems but a FUCKING BRAIN SQUIRREL AIN’T ONE)

– All that I need come to me at the right time and place in life.
Yep, it always does.

I used all that NICE SHIT TO SAY TO MYSELF for about a week. None of it stuck, but one thing did. Every single time the brain squirrel would try to take over, I’d just would imagine me petting it and simply saying, “You’re ok, everything’s ok.”

And you know what? THAT worked.

What works for you guys? Artist Adventurers have to be vigilant to keep the creativity sucking vampiric Brain Squirrels at bay, so let’s help one another out here.