Develop the right hemisphere of your brain to visualize and imagine. Think of your future, take positive action towards how you will stay solvent, meet challenges and opportunities in these demanding times.

Right brain, left brain? What does this mean? The key to a rich life and inspiration of your total resources which will equip you to survive in these challenging times. . A noted author and art education specialist, Betty Edwards, wrote a seminal book on how the left and right hemispheres of our brains affect our creative abilities. In her book “Drawing On the Right Side of Your Brain,” she delineated the conflict that often arises in learning and progressing creative endeavors. Although, some of us have a proclivity towards the right brain activity, most of us have equal right brain/left brain legislatures and often, the left brain is the majority. Here’s why: The left brain deals with defining things in our life, charting our travels, identifying and cataloging our activities so that for future use, we have a knowledge of what we are dealing with in our life. This identifying and categorizing process is fully necessary for our existence and is really the engine that runs our culture. The other very important part of our brain, the part that may be necessary in critical times such as these is, for the most part, pushed back into the minority status of our thinking and reacting our daily existence.

For example, it may well have started with seeing a wooly mammoth, being awestruck by the size of the animal, calculating how to go about killing for food. Identifying the mammoth was a left brain process, as well as learning its habits, its locations, and its migrations.

Inventing a tool to kill the mammoth was a right brain endeavor—knowing the need and finding a tree branch that could be held in hand and carved to a pointed end. Once the initial information was logged and recorded in the left brain, the right brain set about inventing ways of making tools to kill the mammoth. Once the tool was created, it was tried out. The left brain kicked in again to log the data—perhaps the tool was too small or broke or malfunctioned in some way. This information was passed on, whether the hunter survived or not, and more right brain invention had to take place to build the proper tool to kill the mammoth.

The interplay between these two parts of the brain has made us the intellects that we are today. However certain cultural demands in our social cultures do limit their use. For instance, in elementary, middle and high schools today, emphasis on left brain learning for logging data, retaining information and regurgitating it onto a test sheet, qualifies the student for passing. The right brain, which involves research, investigation, visualizing, invention and problem solving, is often left by the wayside. We are, today, graduating students who can reiterate information well but have no skills for inventing their own tools for survival—because they can’t visualize “outside the box” to see the options beyond what the world has to offer them on a two-dimensional plane.

And these are times for survival. Huge job losses because of outsourcing, downsizing and shifts in job industries have zeroes out many careers that the present graduates had hoped for. Starting a business to meet the needs of a rapidly changing economy is a good way to go—but is handicapped by the reluctance of banks to loan money to new businesses.

Perhaps something in you has always wanted to draw, paint and create. Maybe you found that building an extra bathroom was enjoyable. When you were putting down tile you liked the patterns. You saw a sunset that felt inspiring. You went to an art museum and saw paintings that wowed you. You didn’t know what they were about, but you liked them. Was that weird? No way.

Everyone has their creative side, something that snags their mind and resonates with the poet/artist/writer/composer within. However, unless your job requires creative abilities, you will pass those abilities by. There’s the kids, family, job, other much more important things in your life that keep will keep you on a narrow track and prevent your expansion into other parts of our brain. So why even think or wonder what that other side is? Because it can save you. By expanding your thinking abilities, you are much more able to survive the stresses and challenges of the modern world. And if you develop your creative abilities, you achieve a balance, strength and support in your life. You will be able to help yourself and others.

You know the amounts of your taxes, your bills, the square footage of your property and the total of your paycheck. But do you know the look on your kids’ faces when you wave them away because your watching a game, or the value of talking intimately about kitchen paint color, or going out and sitting in a park or forest and just breathing in the air? All of this “creative” information transfers very easily to a part of your brain, the subconscious, identified by early psychoanalysts, that is very easily instructed by positive and negative thoughts. You are instructing that part of your brain all the time—although, it is often, not evident to you that it exists.

Plying the right side of your brain emerges you in the part of yourself which questions, visualizes, creates and is non-verbal, non-destructive and non-combative. It is easy to see that if more cultures were structured to this kind of thinking there would be a lot less war, bloodshed, suffering, defending/counter/defending, usurping and destroying. Thinking creatively opens a different dimension of existence. It address learning experiences that are boundless: having no set parameters, restrictions and regulations. In this world, often like meditation, the mind is able to plumb the depths of the subconscious and come up with it rich resources of discovery. Here is where research, invention, creation, imagination and visualization rule.

Visualize, imagine, create. Whether you are single, married and have a family, creating together bonds relationships and gives a positive perception to all involved. We are a culture focused on doing activities. And activities: sports, amusements, hobbies, video games and TV are great, but they do not exercise your creative brain and so, with the emphasis on the above, we are resigned to be either very active or very passive, either the doer or the watcher.

All the more important to enable that creative being inside of you. And there are many ways. Here’s an example: How can you improve your physical environment? Do you have a garden? Can you landscape your front yard? Can you repaint your house? Can you plant trees and shrubbery? Your good physical work will improve you—and improve your environment. Family members will be gratified as well and your relationship bonds will be improved. But, this kind of activity will make you visualize, imagine and then, consequently design and activate your visualization.

Here’s another example: You’ve always wanted to write and have dreams about writing the next best-selling novel. You could take a writing class at your local community college, go online and choose some suitable writing instruction or just begin. Whatever you choose, you will again be tapping that vast rich creative knowledge in your brain that is just waiting for your invitation.

Here’s yet one more example: Perhaps you’ve always wanted to draw, paint or sculpt. Again, look at local community college classes, or your local art museum or galleries to see what art instruction is available. Is there a local artist offering classes? There are many good websites for art instruction. Check them out and decide on how you want to learn. Or perhaps, you might just want to begin. Your local art supply store can give you information on what materials you will need and supply some basic information as to how to start.

Whether you need a lot of support instruction or just want to begin a creative journey on your own, you are about to dig down into a very rich mine of material that we are all born with—your creative self. It has been with you all along and perhaps, you have felt urges to make something, design something, visualize or imagine. Unfortunately, in many cultures today, the emphasis is on reiteration information and utilizing the information for personal gain and edification. We are good at that, but in that respect, we are copy machines and we are often left hungry for exercising the other part of our great and wonderful human brains.

Author's Bio: 

Lois DeWitt is an artist, an art instructor and a lighting specialist who works part time at the Home Depot.

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