Integrate Both Your Left and Right Brain

I knew this week that I wanted to write something about the visual approach.  Something about the importance of our creative sides and ‘art’ in general.  Something about the INTEGRATION and importance of both sides of our brain – the rational AND the creative.

All these thoughts were swirling in my mind, as I made my way from my parked car to the departure doors of the airport (yes, I’m traveling again… last trip of the season thankfully!).

I checked in for my flight then turned around to see a huge new art installation staring me in the face:

The measure of a culture is its integration of the arts into everyday life” ~Anonymous

I laughed out loud and grabbed my camera to take a shot.  A physical sign of the internal stuff I was trying to articulate.

A Creative Identity Sneaking Up on Me:
I’ve been working in the ‘creative world’ for about 15 years now.  I didn’t start out as a ‘creative’, its taken me about that long to really own and appreciate that side of myself (even if others identified me in that way long before).

As many of you know, I started my career in Organizational Development… becoming a ‘graphic recorder’ and then a ‘graphic facilitator’ – using interactive visuals to help groups see their environment, dialogue and make decisions.  I then progressed into taking those skills into coaching and self-actualization via my SHIFT-IT work.  In short, for years I’ve used a creative method to help people think and feel effectively.  Kind of a marriage of both sides of the brain – for my clients and for myself.

Battling Cynicism:
Inevitably, when a new organization or group was interested in working with me, I would have to go through a ‘cynicism phase’.  As my work is visually-based, I would have to counter the ‘pretty picture’ worries that a new and inexperienced client would have.  Sure, they had heard raves about this effective way of working, but since they hadn’t experienced it personally yet, they were worried about it not going over well and being seen as frivolous or silly (particularly with their peers and bosses).

When I did the actual meeting, at the first break, my formerly concerned client would, like clockwork, come up to me and express their relief and pleasure about how things were going and how folks were responding – ‘wow, I’m so glad, this is really going over well… people are LOVING this.  I gotta admit I was a little skeptical, but this visual stuff really works doesn’t it!?’.

Of course, I was glad that they were feeling pleased and assured.  But I was also saddened when this habitually happened.  Isn’t it sad that people are so concerned about the ‘artistic’?  That its value is subtly and not so subtly maligned as being ‘not serious’, ‘soft’ or ‘wimpy’. That people feel they are taking a risk by doing something that the deviates from the straight and narrow norm.

It’s Time for Integration:
Working in over 800+ groups over the years, I can unequivocally say that we are crying out for different, pleasant and more enjoyable ways of interacting, thinking and making decisions.  The one-dimensional way of being isn’t going to serve us any more (if it really ever did).  Is it really fair (or wise) to expect people to check large portions of themselves at the door when they enter work.

Work has typically been viewed as masculine, linear, rational, logical and action oriented (at least in the typical North American business setting).  It feels like a shift is now occurring where the feminine, circular, feeling, creative and being sides can now come in too – and be equally valued and appreciated.  As societies and a world, we can’t afford to reject whole sides of ourselves and our populations much longer.  We need to find a way to integrate the fullness of who we are.  We need to move into ‘yes/and’ and away from ‘either/or’ games.

A Bit of a Soapbox, But Hey:
Ok, I went on a bit of a rant there.  But in talking with my current clients, there is an awakening occurring.  People are attracted to new ways of doing things.  They are attracted to the creative.  To the visual.  To the heart and feeling based.  And they are willing to pay for it too – handsomely.

The linear is not being thrown out. Its valued and cherished. But other things are now being added in. In our work lives and in our personal lives as holistic people we need the full deal.  Our world and its current problems needs an integrated approach to find new ways of being and new solutions.

How Do You Fit In?
So, you are reading this e-zine.  You are attracted for a reason. Chances are, you have a role to play in this big shift that is occurring in our world.  What is calling out in you?  What wants to be expressed through you?  Why are you attracted to me and my work… what’s the allure?

In working with tons of people, I know its because I mirror or reflect some quality that you yourself have within – like attracts like.  Perhaps you are already owning it.  Or, perhaps, you have yet to fully claim that part of yourself.  Whatever is going on, I invite you to step more fully into your creative and feeling gifts, as well as your rational and thinking gifts. You obviously have a part to play in the larger SHIFT that is currently occurring. So get SHIFTing!  Now is the time.

© 2008 Christina L. Merkley

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it:

Christina Merkley, “The SHIFT-IT Coach” and creator of the SHIFT-IT Method® is a Visioning and Strategic Planning Expert specializing in Graphic Facilitation and Law of Attraction techniques. Based in charming Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she works deeply with individuals, partners and groups in defining and getting what they really, really want. For more information visit:

[tags]Christina Merkley, The SHIFT-IT Coach, SHIFT-IT Coach, SHIFT-IT, Law of Attraction, Laws of Attraction, LOA, creative, creative identity, cynicism[/tags]

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