So apparently it’s not enough to work out five days a week. It seems that in addition to building my muscles, I also need to exercise my brain. Specifically, the right side of my brain is in desperate need of attention. According to my creativity mentor, Whitney Ferre, my left brain has been doing all the heavy lifting for the last 30 years or more and I’m becoming lopsided. In an effort to correct this horrible disfigurement, I hosted Whitney in my home earlier this month for a Girls Night Out party in which she taught me and my friends how to become creatively fit!
Here’s how Whitney describes my imbalanced brain. My left brain is like an overloaded switchboard operator, working tirelessly all day long to answer the many incoming calls.
• Pay the bills – left brain.
• Buy the groceries – left brain.
• Help with homework – left brain.
• Meet with clients – left brain.
• Research on the internet – left brain.
• Arrange carpool for three kids involved in nine activities – left brain.
• Make decisions – left brain.
No wonder I can be easily over-stressed and tightly wound! Much of my day is filled with activities and tasks that engage my logical left-brain. And my neglected right brain switchboard operator sits around all day just waiting to receive a call. Nobody seems to be dialing my right brain operator and asking me to daydream, meditate, imagine, create or pretend. I know what you’re thinking: there’s no time for that! Who has time for such luxuries? Well, I for one, intend to create time for it. Because beautiful things happen when I exercise my right brain.
When I am in my right brain, I’m a better mom. I have more patience. I am filled with gratitude. When I’m exercising my right brain, I’m a better entrepreneur. I have a unique perspective. I possess confidence, compassion and clarity. I am less stressed and more productive. I don’t hold firm to the belief that my way is the only way. I am filled with awareness and can easily identify areas for improvement. After a good right-brain workout, I am a better friend. I am a good listener. I am not judgmental of myself or others. I don’t explode, implode or melt down. I am open to signs from the Universe. I am able to hear God’s call. It’s a wonderful place to be.
How do you access your right brain?
The encouraging news is that it’s surprisingly simple to dial your right brain operator. You can scribble, doodle, cut, paste and color. You can garden, cook or knit. There are countless ways you can tap into your right brain and give it a little workout. And you only need to do it for 10-15 minutes to experience the benefits. The key is to do it regularly and build up you right brain over time with consistent attention. And if you make it a party, it’s even more fun! Whitney showed my Girls Night Out friends how to dial up our right brains with an amazing and creative painted mural project. Check out the owl we pained! When’s the last time you painted? (Not including your fingernails.) Before I met Whitney it had been years since I painted. Decades, in fact, since I experienced the bliss of getting lost in the stroke of a brush. There is something incredibly peaceful and melodic about coloring a canvas.
The difficult part is giving yourself permission to spend the time engaging your right brain. Trust me, for the first five to ten minutes of my “creative workouts” my inner critic is reciting a litany of reasons why I am wasting my time. I could be cleaning the house, doing the laundry, working on that proposal, calling my mother, reading the report that’s been on my desk for a week, etc. Now that I’m getting more comfortable with the habit of creative exercise, I allow myself to ruminate a bit knowing that I need to move through that phase and my obnoxious left brain will eventually shut up so I can begin to create change. That’s when the bliss begins to set in. My mind goes blank. I don’t hear the phone, the kids, the jets flying overhead. My mouth opens slightly and I temporarily lose all awareness of my physical being. Ahhhhhh….how relaxing.
In case you need me to spell it out for you in a more artful manner, take a look at these photos from my recent visit to d’Art Center in Norfolk.
This is my Left Brain.
This is my Right Brain.
What are you doing to tap into your right brain? Please share your secrets to being creatively fit!