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Leaving Leftism Behind

This is a reprint from my creativity zine, The Practically Creative Quarter…with a few changes.

While in the process of writing an article about using the non-dominant hand in journaling as a way to reach the R-mind, I had an epiphany. I realized that my icon and ‘short-hand’ talk of R-mindfulness, based on Betty Edwards work regarding the use of brain hemisphere dominance to teach art, is at the least out-of-date and at the most, offensive 😐 to the small percentage of left-sided creative brains out there. The good news is that those people don’t know they’re offended because most of us haven’t had our brains examined. The traditionally-dubbed *creative side* of the brain is usually but not always the right. The dominant hemisphere of a person’s brain is not necessarily the left side although research supports an estimate of left brain dominance in at least 70% of people. And in looking at this today, I’m reminded that ‘dominance’ isn’t always about language but frequently about motor skills. Handedness is one of the ways this has been studied and, researchers have found that not all left-handed people (approximately 15% of the population) are right brain dominant even in motor skills. This is an area of research that has no definitive answers but there are some studies that have suggested that the more firmly dominant the left-handedness is, the more likely that person is to be right brain dominant at least in terms of language. Confused? Me too. Every time I wade into the marshy bog of *Creative Sides of the Brain* I feel that I’ll soon be up to my elbows in a thick peaty mush of ideas that do not have scientific studies to back them up. So why bother? Because it’s fascinating! Because we all have brains and because conventional wisdom is that we use a fraction of the power of the brain in our everyday life. Because the kinds of exercises that I’ve been calling “R-mindfulness” do work on some level for most people to trick the dominant, organizing, practical side of our brains into letting go for a while, so that we can put the non-verbal, metaphorical, visual sides at the forefront while we’re creating. But because not everyone accesses the right side of the brain when they do my R-mindfulness exercises, my referring to the R-mind is—what shall I call it?—hemispherism? leftism? Wikipedia in talking about the historical and cultural bigotry surrounding left-handedness (or just ‘left’) points out: Even the word “ambidexterity” reflects the bias. Its intended meaning is, “skillful on both sides.” However, since it keeps the Latin root “dexter,” which means “right,” it ends up conveying the idea of being “right-handed at both sides.” This bias is also apparent in the lesser-known antonym “ambisinistrous,” which means “clumsy on both sides” and derives from the Latin root “sinister.” So from now on, the articles about R-mindfulness will have to reflect my newly raised-consciousness about this. However, the phenomenon discussed in these articles is the same whatever side of the brain is less dominant. The point is to access the lesser used portions in tricky ways so as to circumvent the normal functions. It’s complicated so I have to call it something simple! How about…full-mindfulness? F-mind? ooh. Not so good. The innocent letter “F” has an undeserved and much more negative bias even than left-handers. There’s mind-fully or, quite appropriate in a metaphorical sense, fully-mined. 🙂 Well…that probably gets us off-track. Fully-mindful is too fully-mouthful. Whole-mind is used in other ways to teach reading and such. Non-dom, short for non-dominant? That’s a bit negative. Alternate-mind. Alternate-hemisphere? Alt-mind? That sounds like a keystroke shortcut. Oh, there you go: Alt-control! 😀 Hmmm. Alt-hemi? Demi-hemi? Semi-demi-hemi? Okay. This is a total illustration of brainstorming…how the brain works creatively, seemingly coming up with lots of funny and often useless ideas until something workable pops to the surface. In this case: C-mind—for Creative Mind. It’s simple and it works.

For a brief description of what I’m talking about, here’s the first article I wrote about the R-mind. Here’s another one called Changing States. There’ll be more C-mindfulness articles coming along…so check back or subscribe to get my updates.

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