Appreciating the obvious by connecting
Connecting with the world around can seem painful if we rely on our left brained thinking to interpret what is happening “out there”. It’s important and vital to practice and create a new way of connecting to turn a personal life experience to joy when everything else around you say’s “it ain’t so”.
“My boss was talking to me the other day and I couldn’t stop looking at the fascinating shape of the shadow under his nose. It was a bluish color and a beautiful undulating form”. She was so enamored with the shape, that Aleta was afraid her boss would notice her staring. She had cultivated a deeper way of connecting with ordinary things in how she had trained her eye to see.
Even though her boss was telling her all the work she had to do, she was in the present moment, her right brain was connecting her with the world of seeing differently, calmly and beautifully.
After just a few short lessons in drawing based on Betty Edwards, Aleta was changing the way she responded to the visual world. She had more appreciation and fascination for more things more often, even when stress swirled around her.
The zone of timeless being
Wouldn’t you love to find yourself appreciating something so deeply that you enter a zone of thoughtful and timeless reflection? We all do it when something innocent like sunlight dabbles on a leaf that draws our attention and holds us. We are connected with the larger world in these moments. “We” are just being.
Are you with it or without it?
You know what I’m talking about. After a while you realize you’ve been staring at something, and yet nothing in particular. You feel completely at rest. Then you “wake up” and wonder where you’ve been. You might even feel silly for not being more ‘with it’. You spaced out.
You were ‘with it’ completely, as if you and ‘it’ were one. You were not spaced out but ‘spaced in’. You may think you are spacing out when in reality you are connecting, engaging and in communication with nature. Your inner space expands as you connect to the thing you “see”.
Seeing is a revelation
To “see” means to have something revealed to you that had not been known previously. Art is a form of ‘seeing’. It is the practice of allowing revelation to occur as you hold the door open for your sight to engage with something more than the physical, yet through the physical. Yeah, art is spiritual. That’s because seeing for real, is spiritual.
Restoring your energy from work
Being in the zone, means you are held in focused appreciation and concentration without effort. Aleta’s full-time job as a translator required her to fully engage her left brain all day. As she learned a new language the rest of her her was disconnected. You probably have a job requiring the same type of brain power, left analytical thinking. It doesn’t feed you.
Using the left brain too much saps our mind, emotions, and energy. It’s not really brain power but a brain drain to do that type of work. Recovering means finding balance on the right side of things.
Even if you are retired or a stay-at-home mom, our daily lives consist of things to do, places to go, people to talk to. These left-brained activities involve words, speech, numbers, analyzing and categorization. Connection is not a left-brain function, although it seems that way when we put things into categories.
Aleta recognized an important lesson for us all: balance for each side of her brain was necessary if she was to be successful at her full time, left-brained job. Art provided the restorative practice needed to recover her sense of connection to life, the world around her.
You too can renew your energy by engaging in right brained activities when you get up, during breaks and after work. Or just by taking an art class. Learning to see what is right in front of you, means being present.
Seeing is deeper than looking
In drawing regularly, Aleta was building pathways in the right side of her brain which she could then began to easily access as she became more observant to the things she was looking at, like her boss. Connecting with your right brain means you build connecting pathways to things you see, music you hear, the feeling, knowing, wisdom within part of you.
Left out and Right in
Think if it like this: left brain stuff keeps you left out. You and the world around you are more than a name to be filed, analyzed and categorized. Don’t be left out like that.
You will fit Right in, when you take time to be, feel, connect, go to that part of your brain that your left brain can’t deal with. Your right brain feels the music, see’s the deeper meaning, knows what it knows, you fit Right in there like green on grass, a hand in a glove, a heart that loves.
Art changes what we think
Art changes how we think because we are more than what we think. Seeing is a brain function that art deepens. It brings us easier access to a more restful way of seeing and being in a state of higher awareness and appreciation by connection.
The right brain notices, explores, is attentive, appreciates and becomes curious and even in awe. It holds us in a zone that is open for expansion, which is the unending creative story.
We become appreciative as we engage our right brain by setting up for creativity right at home and practicing the art of noticing, connecting and engaging.
I’ll be posting fun art you can do anywhere, anytime to help you activate the right brain function of opening up, calming down, going within, connecting. Follow me, or just be by my side to explore. It’s great to be in good company.
Follow this link to a fun drawing exercise you can do now to help you move in the right brain direction. See if you notice the shift during the exercise. If you don’t notice the shift, you are probably working too quickly-that would be your left brain saying “I don’t have time for this, I have more important things to do”.
Reward yourself Artfully
Art is just one way to practice balance in every-day life. Yoga, music, meditation, exercise,eating healthy are all activities that came be done in combination to reach the optimum benefits. Art is unique in it’s ability to engage the connection directly through seeing clearly.
Join me in transforming the world we live in. I’m not asking you to change the world, just your own, if you want to, so you hold more appreciation for ordinary things, are happier as an individual, less prone to be thrown off course by distractions.
No matter what else you do for a living, you can live a life that is creatively balanced, energized, keeps you focused on the good in you and at peace with whatever else is going on “out there”. The real life is inside you, so go there often and be grateful for all you have and are.
Betty Edwards Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain transformed my art life and it can do the same for you. Best to enroll in a class and not just read the book on your own.
Art League School Alexandria VA has many opportunities for the beginning artist.
This is a wonderful video easily explaining and showing one of the first Betty Edwards exercises you can do right at home now!