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Why You Should Try Writing With Your Non-Dominant Hand

Peg Conley
Written by Peg Conley
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Joni, a therapist I once worked with, was a big proponent of working with your "inner child" to achieve healing. Upon her recommendation, I purchased a book titled Recovery of Your Inner Child, with the subtitle "The Highly Acclaimed Method for Liberating Your Inner Self," written by Lucia Capacchione, PhD.

Through exercises in the book, I was able to reconnect with "Peggy," my own inner child. I had made such a big deal about wanting to be called "Peg" when I went off to college that I hadn't been called "Peggy" in probably 20 years when I began this process. I remember being shocked when I drew a picture of Peggy, complete with her glasses and curly hair. She was so cute! She was playful and clearly opened me up to the idea that magic was all around us. I honestly believe that "Peggy" was able to feel, finally, that I was going to pay attention and listen to her, as I completed the various exercises in that book, including writing with my non-dominant hand.

At first it felt awkward to hold a pen in my left hand, not to mention my penmanship, which looked like that of a seven-year-old. From my own experience, I can see that being open to the magic surrounding "Peggy" helped me unleash my inner artist and opened me to the idea that I could, indeed, one day "live the creative life," as I now call it.

When I began writing with my non-dominant hand, I began to realize that I was drawing on wisdom that was universal. I would begin writing by addressing "Peggy" with my right hand and writing a question. Then when ready for the answer, I would shift the pen to my left hand.

In switching the pen (or pencil) from the right hand to left, you access a different part of your brain, the left side of the brain governs the analytical while the right side governs the artistic. I stopped addressing "Peggy" after a while and instead would address my guides, angels, ancestors, or whatever sounded right at the time.

One day, while struggling with a recurring issue, I grabbed my journal and instead of merely recording my frustrations, I began by addressing my guides and asking for help/insight with the situation at hand. I could feel something shift as I switched the pen from my right hand to my left. The words that poured forth comforted me: "Surrender to the Moon, the Sky, the Stars ... Peace results ... Rest in the comfort of the invisible hands that hold and guide ... The Hidden World supports us!" Those words allowed me to relax and remember the power of "letting go and letting God." I put those words on one of my greeting cards, paired with an image of the moon.

I believe we are able to find our authentic selves when we cut through the personalities we wear like masks to conceal who we really are from others as well as ourselves.

Over the years, I have used this technique often, and then long periods of time will pass when I don't write at all with my non-dominant hand. Something will trigger me to try it again, and I'll marvel at the insights I receive and pledge to be more consistent with the practice. Just yesterday I was writing about a situation, and the appropriate answer, which my personality-self and dominant hand clearly would have missed, was to think of this world as a playground rather than a school.

When the world is a playground, it can be playful and fun. When it's a school, I need to learn lessons, pay attention, do the right thing. I totally loved the idea of thinking of myself as being on a playground, and will try to keep that front and center in my awareness as I go about daily life.

So address your guides, angels, or whoever you call on as you write with your dominant hand, explaining the question or issue that you have. Then, as you switch hands, become aware of any shift in yourself.

Sit quietly for a few minutes and then begin writing with your non-dominant hand. Try writing like this over a period of time. Whenever you are confronted with a baffling issue, turn to your own inner wisdom for guidance.

Don't fret about the difficulty of writing this way. You are accessing a different part of your brain — your wisdom — even though the writing might look like a second-grader's! Do it often. You'll be amazed at all the answers that lie within.

The right side of the brain, which controls the left hand, will say things you don't know that you know. It specializes in assessing your physical and mental feelings, and it often offers solutions. "Take a nap," your right hemisphere might say, or "Just do what feels right; we'll be fine." You'll find there's a little Zen master in that left hand of yours (or whichever your non-dominant hand may be).

Reprinted with permission from Viva Editions. Excerpt from Imagine the Life You'd Love to Live, Then Live It: 52 Inspired Habits and Playful Prompts Copyright © 2014 by Peg Conley.

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