Heights Tribune-March 1992
by Bridgette Mongeon © 1992
Right hemisphere and healing
Emotions and expression lie tucked away in the right hemisphere. That is the thread of substance that holds together psychologist books and tapes on healing. It seems to be the home for that inner child who wonders why all pain has been rationalized away by the left hemisphere. Writers and poets often purge themselves on paper. How often do we hear songs on the radio identifying with the pain or emotions of the songwriter? In workshops held on right brain writing or drawing, students often feel a sense of healing just with the acknowledgment that they can do it.
There seems to be a writer and an artist in all of us. An inborn need to express ourselves as well as to be understood. However perhaps when we were young we were told that we were a dreadful speller, or unable to write. Institutions made it a thing you had to do instead of wanting to. Overcome with dread we mentally put down our pencil. The teacher may have also pointed out Johnny was the best artist, unable to keep up or to create in the Johnny style, we just quit trying. And the Johnny's, often strangled by the responsibility to always create a masterpiece, grew to hate their ability. The left hemisphere likes to keep control and appears to encourage such badgering. It is that horrible little voice one hears when one tries.
In Gabriele Lusser Rico's Book Writing the Natural Way she teaches a techniques that allows one to tap into the right brain for writing. She states, "Clustering not only frees your expressive power but also helps you discover what you have to say, encouraging a flow instead of a mere trickle." In clustering a person finds a nucleus word that they would like to write about. This nucleus word is centered on a blank page and circled.
One simply Iets go and writes the connections that come, jotting each down quickly in its own circle radiating outward from the center in any direction they want to go. At first you may bicker with your left-brain, as it doesn't not want to do the meaningless tasks but sustain. If you temporarily out of ideas, doodle until something else comes. Amazingly there will come a point when you have a sense of what you want to write about. Referring back to the clustering the writing seems to write itself.
In the well-known book of Betty Edwards, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Ms. Edwards discuss the symbols that we have developed through out our lives. The symbols for the facial features, in drawing a portrait, have become our left-brains way of drawing, stored from our childhood. Miss Edwards teaches students not to name the parts of the face as you draw but only draw the shapes as they related to each other. Never naming nose, eyes, etc. for this allows your Ieft brain to insert its symbols. For an idea of how well one can draw and feel the shift, she suggests drawing a picture upside down. The Ieft brain considers this a tedious task and will Iet go, allowing the right brain to take over. Your space on the drawing pad should be made in proportion to the photo. Start drawing utilizing shadows and shapes comparing one to the other, never naming body parts. The left-brain is bored and will sometimes fight tremendously to stop. Don't turn the picture or photo right side up until you are complete. The results are often astounding.
Comments are heard by many students about the benefits of working in a workshop as compared to utilizing the books. Perhaps it is the lack of discipline by the participant or maybe more so the person's inability to turn of the cries from the loud, dominant left hemisphere. People often need to hear a real voice telling them they can do it, and showing them the places that the left hemisphere creeps in.
It is said that people only utilize 4% of their potential. Creativity is a key that unlocks the door to the storehouse of the greatest of our potential. What masterpieces and discoveries, what healing and nurturing can take place with our understanding and encouragement of right brain and creativity? For both the child and the adults the gift of creativity is for everyone and as marvelous as the person who holds the key.
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