[-crackles!, c-mindfulness-]

by Nancy Waldman

I am in the process of writing an article on using the non-dominant hand in journaling as a way to reach the R-mind. In doing so, I decided 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based on Betty Edwards work regarding the use of brain hemisphere dominance to teach art, is at the least out-of-date and at the most, offensive :| to the small percentage of left-sided creative brains out there.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 side. 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! :D Hmmm. Alt-hemi? Demi-hemi? Semi-demi-hemi?

Okay. This is a total illustration of how my creativity works (or more specifically: does not work).

c-mind graphic For now I will settle on C-mind—short for Creative Mind—until, unless, I can think of a better iconic term.

Any suggestions?

June 16: This article was withdrawn and re-written after its first posting, evidently to illustrate more fully my personal brain’s challenges. 8)




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.
Click on C-mind tag to get a full-listing or go to our Topics list and click on C-mindfulness


also posted in: C-mindfulness , Process


4 Comments so far

  1. Jim on July 20, 2007 8:25 pm

    Enjoyed the article. I like your sence of humor. Specially since I have just finished, ‘The New Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain.”

    After a quite a few years of letting my graphite and paints set idle (long story) I thought to get busy once again. But since it had been so long since my last show and attemp at so much as a duddle, I thought I’d venture the elementary and get some R-mode exercise (c-mind celebrations).

    In the new book (1999), Betty and her son talk briefly about this topic and have realized the new scientific thoughts on the matter. However, you will probably have to let them know there is a new politically correct term for it though – c-mind. Still, no matter what it’s called, it works well. Everyone who can’t draw a stick figure should take the time to look into it. What’s the chance of high schools picking it up – ooops, another levy.

    As for me, you can call it “shutting off the scrambled egg shift” if you choose (although I do like “c-mind” much better), it has been a nice few days of play and I realize I’m still an artist.

    Anyway, like your site.

  2. nuanc on July 21, 2007 9:43 am

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for your comments. It sure seems as if you’re choosing the right (*ahem*) way to go about re-energizing your art work. I love both your terms: “shutting off the scrambled egg shift” and “c-mind celebrations!” And, I’m very glad that you found the site helpful. Let us hear from you again so we know how it’s going.

  3. Jim on October 17, 2007 6:12 am

    Hello nuance,

    Here it is the middle of October already. How time flies. Just thought I’d give you an update – didn’t know where else to put this so here it is in the comments section.

    Since following Betty’s book and reading through a number of articles on Practically Creative, I decided to put up a blog for those starting or thinking about starting to draw, http://artdraw.blogspot.com and have attached a gallery that houses a few drawings. If you have time for a visit, you are more than welcome, http://tdbgallery.blogspot.com/.

    Again, thanks for the articles. They have been very inspiring.

  4. nuanc on October 17, 2007 7:21 am

    Hey Jim, thanks for letting us know what you’re up to. I will be checking out your blog very soon (I’m travelling at the moment)! It’s great to know that you’ve found some inspiration on The PCQ and that you’re getting your work online so others can be inspired by you. Keep in touch.

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