My Left Leg

by Andrea Chilcote

I’ve always been pretty good at logic and analysis, calculating and thinking. Having just begun feeling in earnest late into my 30’s, I am still somewhat new to it. (Yes, that’s a bit of a joke as all of us feel – yet it is new for me to give credence to my more intuitive and creative side). And just when I think I have the right brain-left brain, head-heart thing in balance, whammo – I get hit with a lesson – a lesson that involves the mind-body connection.

For the past four years I’ve been studying and practicing (but not yet mastering), a form of Pilates that has virtually changed my life. The discipline, an invention of the talented Dana Sterling of Carefree Movement, has eliminated back pain and frequent headaches, and has built strength I never knew was possible. A good example of the principle “simple not easy,” it’s not a mere workout routine but rather a new way to sit, stand, sleep and breathe, 24-7. Who knew it would impact how I think and interact with others?

Among other things during these focused four years, I have been striving to balance my weight on both sides of my body, rather than using only my right side for strength, straining and stretching my left mercilessly. My posture has improved vastly, and my leg strength is – well, more or less is ­– balanced. So what a surprise when a Chi Gong instructor, someone I regard as a masterful, intuitive teacher remarked to me: “Andrea, you walk with your weight on your right side only, barely skimming the surface with your left foot. What are you holding back from yourself and the world?”

He went on to explain how my lack of left side physical connection to the earth could be restricting my connection to my right brain, that feeling-based center that I have come to realize is the driver of everything. Damn, damn, damn. I thought I was doing so well.

The fact is, I was doing well to that point. But there’s so much more. Perhaps I’m still allowing my logical know-it-all left hemisphere to be in charge, by default.

So why am I sharing this story here? It seems to present a reinforcement of an often-pondered principle. Your right brain represents the creative force. It signifies perfection not yet manifest. Your left brain is the doing force, the active, willing servant. In perfect balance, creative intuition says: “Here is what I want and need. Here is the life I choose to live and the types of people and experiences that make it fulfilling.” The logical, efficient analytic side says: “You want that? I’ll get it for you. Here’s what we need to do…”

My friend shared a lesson from her golf coach. She’s learning to use her whole body in her swing, rather than default to her dominant side. The outcome? She no longer hesitates over the ball, analyzing to the point of destroying her presence.

I don’t know if you rely on the right side of your body to drag the rest of you around as you go about your busy days (though it’s actually a very common pattern). But if you are allowing past messages and memories, or so-called logic to usurp your creative knowing in any area of your life, notice how you’re standing. Which way are you leaning?

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