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Left Brain Right Brain

Yesterday I did a play day. No papers to grade, no research to do—sunshine all day. I went for a hike with a friend and her two dogs, then we just did whatever we felt like all day.Of course, my left brain fired off a few “shoulds” but I told it to shut up. It mostly did. One of the benefits of hanging out with a friend is my left brain leaves me in peace.

Today I did some things I “needed” to do but they did not take all day. Naturally, that left my left brain—aka the Rational Mind—a lot of time to criticize. I “should” at least blog. Or jog. Or DO something. Anything, really.

Today I had an epiphany. Right brainers don’t live in the same strait jacket. If a sculptor isn’t sculpting on a given day there are not 2 gazillion “success” coaches telling him he (or  she) SHOULD be sculpting every day to achieve the “goal” of creating.

Writing is “creative”,  but there are so many people who think they “should” write every day. (I never did believe that, and I still don’t—but my writing has never been “normal”. I do very little editing. What I want to say comes out, either done or mostly done, most of the time. And if I don’t do it for a year it is still just fine.)

But law—law is all about the left brain. Geez—no wonder lawyers are bloody miserable. Left brain all the time.  The left brain is the prime source of the “lie that has to die.” So I shall be an artist.  For now, photography. Next? Dunno. It will be fun to see!

But  here’s the strange part: even in law school was not doing the whole thing “left brained.” For instance, one of the things you must learn in law school is legal research. (Never mind that most lawyers end up doing boring, repetitive mundane tasks that require NO research whatsoever.) I liked this. I have the mind of a sleuth—I love solving mysteries, solving puzzles–and doing legal research is puzzle solving. (EUREKA MOMENT- no wonder I like “House”!!)

Is there case law on this? What does the case law say? Does it help or hurt my client’s position? Had  that case law been periods or amplified? Many question MANY books. State law cases, federal cases —circuit courts, Supreme court—a veritable wonderland of clues and meandering labyrinths. Did I shepardize it enough?

Most law students agonize over knowing when they have done enough research. Lawyers do too, if they are working in a case.

I didn’t. I just knew that I knew when I had done enough. Of course, I never said this. I knew better. I am not sure how much  of this—of so much that I see now—is pure “intuition” (the right brain—see Jill Bolte Taylor video here) and how much is the “guidance” …about which more later.

Bu I do NOT regret learning law or doing law…but I think I will change hemispheres now.

  1. Margaret Morbach Weatherby
    February 19, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Sometimes, each side of the brain needs to give the other side permission to do their thing, you listened to your inner voice and look what happened. You probably were more productve today since the productive part of your brain got the day off.

  2. February 20, 2012 at 2:41 am

    I dare hope! I promise you lawyers don’t do this… but it is slowly dawning on me i not only have essentially switched dominant hemispheres, I need to REALLY own this and trust this!!

  3. February 20, 2012 at 2:48 am

    PS the right brain (I am thinking) IS the “productive” part. The left brain is a liar and tells is it is king. My blog will elaborate on this over time.

  4. leslie (I'mKar'n)
    February 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    It is so difficult to switch hemispheres! One good way i found was having almost a complete breakdown! That certainly tries to put a choke hold on that dangerous left hemi – but – it tends to pop up. I highly recommend tai-chi and yoga! Lol. Us left brainers have to take one day at a time! Great post, Carroll!

    • February 21, 2012 at 2:03 am

      Yes, it is hard to switch hemispheres– Jill Bolte Taylor did so by having a massive stroke. I did it, in part, by having PTSD-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder– which brings up the worst of our survival brain. That forced me to draw on resources I had no idea I had. I used “light and sound” which helps the brain get into “theta” brain wave mode, where images are more prevalent and more accessible.(As you may know the left brain is where speech resides and the right brain uses images.) I used prayer and mantras. I went out into nature. I suffered…and I transformed!

      It is made worse by the fact that our current “gestalt” as a society is so left brained. I do think this is the time of synthesis, and I know I am not the only “left brained-transforming to right brained ” (lawyer) doing the work. Stay tuned! If laywers can do it…

  5. February 21, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Great post, Carroll! I have spent many years “living” in my left-brain. In the last couple years I have tried to find a balance and do more creative things as well. I was surprised to find I was more creative than I would have thought. Or so, my mom tells me! ha ha! It is all about balance!

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