Wednesday, March 13, 2013


What side of the brain do you use most often?  Psychological tests have shown that our left brain controls logical, rational, sequential, analytical & objective thinking, and tends to examine pieces of things or break things down into parts.  Our right brain controls creative and intuitive thinking, is subjective, holistic, and allows us to evaluate something as a whole entity.  Most people tend to use one side more than the other, and will make decisions and everyday life choices based on their modus operandi of whichever side of their brain is dominant.

While studying in college for my communications degree, I had several classes that required me to take a left brain/right brain test to see which side I fall on the most.  Every time I took the test, I got an 11, which is a score directly in the middle of the scale.  In other words, I use both sides of my brain equally.  While this ability to use both sides of my brain allows me to look at situations from both sides, over the years I have realized that it can also cause me to be at odds with myself at times.  I long for spontaneity, but thrive in routine.  When making financial plans, I am bound by the clear logic of a budget, but have made a career out of horse training/breeding/instructing, which is creative and intuitive, and not at all financially secure, rather than a rational and analytical (and more financially secure) career - like being a banker or a lawyer as my dad might have wanted for me!  In my daily life, I am constantly torn between the two sides of myself - the side that doesn't care about the mess, and the side that absolutely does!!  And with two kids, ten horses, pets, work, a husband, family, friends, my health to look after and a blog to write for goodness sakes, it seems finding balance can be incredibly hard.  This problem isn't unique to my life - our lives are increasingly fast paced, and we are trying to pack SO MUCH in to every day that it is easy to become overwhelmed.

It used to be, when I was younger and before I had a business and two kids to manage, I could go riding and 'lose myself' for a few hours.  I could do this with friends, but I especially loved to ride by myself.  As the miles flew by, I would get deeper and deeper into my subconscious till I wasn't really thinking anymore, just really alive in the moment and at peace.  At the end of the ride, I felt refreshed and invigorated, and usually very much ready to face 'real life.'  It was a transformative experience

I always knew that I wanted to train, breed and instruct, but it took me until after college to really commit to it and hang out my shingle.  The moment I did this, riding changed for me.  It became more calculated, more client oriented, and more stressful.  I had so many horses to ride during a given day, plus lessons scheduled in, had to remember to take care of paperwork, registrations, entries, advertising, customer relationships, etc.  All of those things meant that very often when I was in the saddle, I may be paying attention to what is happening underneath me, but I was also attending to my To-Do List.  The moments where I got lost in subconscious thought became fewer and farther between.  I don't begrudge my career choice a single moment, and do not regret the decision I made.  After all, sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with others has reaped immeasurable rewards, and I feel that I have made a contribution to my little corner of the horse world that is indelibly my own.  It has been a wonderful life so far, but as with everything worth achieving there have been sacrifices.

I can see now that those moments of being mentally transported while riding was actually meditation.  For many years, I was curious about meditation, but my left brain thought it was silly, and that I just needed to focus more, work harder, and forget about all the new-wave-mumbo-jumbo.  But my right brain persisted.....'let's try something different,' it said, 'something that will feel creative and good.'  And so, over the last four months I have been learning to meditate.  The sessions are short, just 15 minutes daily, and the mantras used are general, focused on inner calm and well-being.  It is a small gesture of self-care that I really feel is making a difference in how I approach the general chaos of life.  My two brain halves feel more integrated, less at odds, and I feel calmer in facing the myriad of tasks that I must accomplish on any given day.  But the most amazing thing is that I feel that I am more in touch with the young girl who could 'disappear' on her horse for a few hours and come back feeling new again.  When I am in the saddle, I am more able to unplug from real life again, and just ride from the gut like I did before.

The best way to start meditating is with a 'guided meditation,' where someone gives you a mantra and imagery to help relax you and unlock your subconscious mind.  I particularly like Deepak Chopra, but there are many on the market. Meditation is a practiced art, so if you are willing to try it, be forgiving with yourself, and understand that it may not be easy at first.  For some, sitting still and quiet is the hardest thing you could ask them to do - - but that is probably why they need it the most.  If you can learn to control your mind, you can learn to control your actions, which gives you power over your life! If you are right brained, you will learn to use structure more effectively in your life, and if you are left brained, you might be able to tap into more creativity.  Or if you are like me, you can just find a quiet place to just BE.  Give it a shot and try something new; you never know what you might discover about yourself!

Well, this looks like a nice place to meditate.....  ;)