Sunday, February 27, 2011

evolve: notes on leading a left brained life and moving towards the right

For those of you who know me personally, you know that I am as Left Brained as they come. I thrive in structured environments, like being organized, think deadlines are the best things on earth, and hate ambiguity. In 8th grade, I took the Meyers-Briggs in my advanced English class and sure enough, INTJ-an introvert, highly intuitive thinker and judger. Ha. Yep, pretty much a cookie cutter of who I am. Now, I also play on the other team that believes that tests and profiles tell us everything about ourselves. Boxes are for moving, not for putting people in. 

Fast forward 13 years later and to most people who know me, I am still the kid who thrives in structure, doesn't like disorder, and fears ambiguity. But hold on a second...I am much different in my approach to life, thinking, and creativity. In my own personal thinking and self-discovery, I can honestly say I have changed a lot-especially in the areas of structure, emotional processing, and creativity.

Yes, a plan helps me play at my best. I enjoy knowing what is going on, having goals, deadlines, and feedback help me produce results. I use a calendar and enjoy having things exactly where I can find them. Although true, I have learned the value of not over-scheduling, burning out, and taking on things that are not important to me. I have incorporated more "undefined" time in my daily life and this keeps me healthy and happy. I choose activities that nourish me from the inside out, (i.e. yoga, meditation, hikes, art, cooking, etc). Structure helps us produce results and unstructured time helps us get in touch with our soul. I still catch myself pushing too hard, not establishing healthy boundaries, and getting past the point of exhaustion but the cool part is I am very self-aware now and I can stop it before I get too deep.

Emotional Processing:
I remember being a young child and having a tough time talking about my feelings. I was the volcano that would build and build, then explode. Yes-I am still like that but my feelings are now owned by me versus me being owned by my feelings. I had a huge breakthrough last year regarding being responsible for my happiness and my feelings. I can choose to be down in the dumps and pissed off or I can choose to sit with what is and go from there. I still struggle with the words, "I feel________." I am learning though that just naming the feeling can create a powerful state of being.

I grew up in the age of you either chose to be an athlete or an artist (painter, actor, singer, etc.) It was near impossible to do both, simply because of time. Now, I crave the chance to be creative-I love to sketch and am recently taking on mixed media, collage, and art journaling. I listened to a Podcast recently and heard the phrase, "trust the mess." For a left brainer, this is extremely difficult to do because I am constantly judging myself and what I create-especially visual art. Writing is one avenue where I can be expressive, my yoga another, and cooking and now the visual arts. It's fun. I put myself back in my 8 year old body where I have no limits and infinite permission from the universe to be creative. 

In conclusion, it is so easy to label people-whether it be left brained or right brained, athlete or artist, expert or novice. The key is to trust that following your heart and what feels good and necessary in the moment will not only help you transition between your left and right sides of your brain, but will also nourish your soul-the one thing that everyone wants you to share the world with.

1 comment:

Rosaria said...

Kudos to those who learn early on about their learning styles and personality types. It has taken me a long time to figure this out. I wish I had known this going through college and early on in my career. Although, I think you naturally gravitate toward work that enhances those attributes, it would make things a lot easier by getting there more directly. Or maybe we aren't supposed to get there directly, which opens up avenues for frustrations and appreciations.