I was faced with a tough person dilemma this weekend. It was a challenge involving close relationships and I couldn’t find a way out of it to a peaceful outcome. Every option seemed to lead to at least one broken relationship.
Faced with this, I stepped out of the emotionally charged situation and took a walk with my dogs.
With the dogs on leash my left-brain was kept busy ensuring leashes remained untangled, noticing the bunnies on the road in the distance, and then taking steps to prevent my dogs from tearing my arm off chasing after the bunnies.
While my left brain and conscious mind dealt with these immediate concerns it had no capacity for worrying over the dilemma and my creative right brain was freed up to consider the challenge in the background.
By the time I turned around and headed home with the dogs my creative right-brain had delivered a simple and appropriate solution. Within ten minutes of my return home the plan had been implemented and a peaceful solution achieved.
If there had been a labyrinth available in my neighbourhood I could have walked one instead of taking the dogs out. The designer and builder of the labyrinth at the Bayview Medical Centre at Johns Hopkins University, David Tolzman, explains: “As the left brain engages in the logical progression of walking the path, the right brain is free to think creatively.” (Quoted by author Daniel Pink in A Whole New Mind.)
Our best thinking rarely happens when we are trying to force it.
Next time you are at an impasse, take it to a labyrinth, or simply get out and engage in an activity that moves your body and keeps your left brain busy while freeing up your right brain to tackle the challenge.
(Above photo is of the labyrinth at St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa, California.)