I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had the desire to feel smart—at least, to myself that is.
There are several overt ways I go about achieving this in my life, but today I discovered a subtler way: I avoid entirely, using my left hand for anything, because it is my non-dominant hand.
For a long time, I’ve been amazed by people who are ambidextrous—people who can switch their dominant hand from left to right, and right to left, at will. I’ve seen artists who can draw entire works of art, using both hands at the same time. It’s astounding to me. I always believed I can’t even feed myself with my left hand. It is as though my left arm is used solely for stabilization.
Today, however, I was weeding my garden and decided it would be a fun experiment to weed entirely with my left hand. I quickly began receiving insights while in this process, which turned into me writing this article. The following are some golden nuggets of what I learned through this experiment:
1. Creativity is a Gift that Grows by Using It.
If we think of something that sounds fun to us and we want to try it, we owe it to ourselves to do so, despite the little voice inside we all have telling us how silly it seems. We will most certainly gain something from doing it—learning new things, discovering latent talents, perhaps even surprising ourselves. In my book, self-surprise is what leads to self-awareness. Try the things you are inspired by—especially if it is unconventional.
2. Trust Your Intuition.
We are blessed with intuitive wisdom. Our bodies know how to survive, thrive and function, much without our conscious effort. We intuitively know how to interact with nature, with life—because we actually are life itself. It is the water we swim in. Trust yourself. Allow your natural intuition to guide your actions through life.
Pay attention to what your body tells you, with its various sensations, reactions, feelings and impulses. Reach when it is time to reach. Rest when it is time to rest. Hold when it is time to hold, and let go when it is time to let go. We are the universe in motion, and there is a flow to life we are living—surrender to it. Trust your intuition.
3. Perseverance and Patience.
When trying something new, we all feel a little awkward. There’s always the point where the desire to revert to what we know, as opposed to continuing something new, is tempting. We may even have an internal dialogue about the many virtues of the old ways: the familiar, the comfortable, “the way things have always been” (secret: they haven’t).
I am not disputing that our comfort zones are absolutely comfortable. That’s the point of a comfort zone, to keep us comfortable. There is nothing wrong with hanging out there, until there arises an urge to move beyond it. The single impulse to step out of our comfort zone, is the indicator that we are ready.
Understanding this, one can move through all those reasons to turn back and continue moving forward. This friends, is where our barriers move. We have now taken new ground, we have come further than we ever have before, this is new territory. We can give ourselves time to adjust and be patient with the adaptations we will surely make. Let the awkwardness appear initially, it will fade with every step as you move forward. Nothing feels pristine the first time you encounter it.
If you want some examples, compare the first time you drove a car with your driving now, or honestly contrast the first time you ever had sex with your current sexual expression. We adapt. We get better at the actions we continue to take. Patience and perseverance are critical in enjoying the moment by moment unfolding of life.
4. Novelty Is Possible In Monotony.
Life happens all around us. Fun and excitement is a part of life, but there are also boring days, tedious obligations and drab events we must endure. That’s not going to change. Our gardens need weeding, laundry needs folding, dishes pile up in our sinks and on our counters. Our jobs require attendance. Our government is functioning in ways that we oppose. Our bank accounts feel slender, and the bill collectors are calling, and those 15 extra pounds we’ve been holding onto just seems to keep growing.
What are we to do? Is this really all there is? Might I suggest applying novelty: choosing a new approach, perhaps one we have dismissed most of our lives, can bring fun into the boredom of our lives. A new approach can be challenging, refreshing, and even playful.
While weeding the garden with my non-dominant hand, I found myself asking, what else can I do with my non-dominant hand? And if I can do this here, what other aspects of my life can I bring novelty to? What new recipes can I try cooking? How can I move my body that would be good for my being? What new piece of art can I create?
There are many limitations we have as human beings.
Some of the most profound and long-term limitations we experience can be alleviated by simply being willing to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. What could happen if we broke out of our own, self-imposed status quo?
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be full of wonder and curiosity, than trying to appear like I know what I am doing all the time (secret: I don’t!).
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Pixoto user Juliet Newton