In my last article, The Gift of Being “An Old Soul,” published on March 13, 2014, I posed the theory that right-brained people carry the propensity to be more sensitive to others, and the world at large, because emotions factor more into the way their brains are wired. I outlined that right-brained people are also more creative in the divergent sense of how they process the world. Their strengths come in the forms of dance, theater, music, art and the written word. Their ideas seem to be expressed through a diversity of free-floating forms. Conversely, left-brained thinkers create in a more convergent, linear fashion. They express their creativity more through numbers, scientific processes and analytical forms of thought. And from my own experience, right and left-brained people seem to complement one another. I need my husband’s calming, practical manner to simmer down my mercurial, emotional personality. It is simply marvelous the way both hemispheres of the brain need the other to create a balanced, healthy outlook on life.
However, we ‘old souls’ seem to take on the woes of the world. As a very small child, I worried about everything and everyone. I was already planning to pay for my college when I was eight because I knew my single mother couldn’t afford it. In my dealings with left-brained individuals, they don’t seem to have as much of the worry factor in their personalities because they see life as a never-ending mathematical construct that unfolds perfectly. It is natural for left-brained thinkers to ease their worries with an analyzed, practical approach that minimizes a destructive emotional mindset. I envy my extremely left-brained husband who categorizes all problems as having logical solutions. For all else that falls into the delicacy of the human condition, such as illness and death, he also understands that which we cannot control. My husband explains loss as the natural evolution of the human life span. He feels loss deeply, but does not question what he believes is meant to be.
As an educator, I have taken a battery of personality inventories that have placed me on the extreme end of the right-brained bell-shaped curve. Everything I create is from a strong emotional base. In truth, it can be as daunting as it is freeing. I wish I didn’t care what others thought of me as much as I have most of my life; I wish I didn’t feel every nuance of other people’s pain; I wish I could turn off my thoughts and just be in the moment; I wish I could have my husband’s reactions to all of the above. He often says, “It’s not my concern what others think of me. I live my life honorably, work hard and help others when I can. Anything else that happens around me is not in my control.” He actually lives this truth.
I thoroughly enjoy my emotions most of the time because life, in general, moves me deeply; my tears can even be comforting. From these emotions, I create my best written works and artistic endeavors. I know how to savor my passions. But every now and then, I think, “I wonder what it would feel like to not have a care in the world; and, to accept who I am completely, without regard.” And in those rare moments I can relate to the left-brained thinker. I seem to breathe more deeply from a stronger center. It is a welcoming glimpse into that other side of my brain.
However, truth be told, it scares me to death to be enlightened like that. When I see the calm, pristine waters of my left-brain and how the sunshine of serenity reflects shiny gems of thought, I can’t wait to paddle my boat back into the giant swells of my right brain. I need the rocking motion of the waves to take me up and down through my journey in life. I need those feelings to make me feel… alive.