Written by Anthony Meindl
Click on the link to purchase Anthony’s, At Left Brain Right Turn
My First book interview with Belinda at Galvanize Press. She asked some fantastic questions about our inner genius, creativity and what’s possible for each of us as artists.
1. What was your impetus for writing At Left Brain Turn Right?
I think it was mostly my desire to help artists specifically (and people in general) to get out of their heads and live a more liberated, joyful, alive life. I have found that in the years I’ve been working with artists of all types and developing these theories, the more these people (including myself) began having more fun, felt more hopeful, became more creative and really started attempting things they didn’t think they could do previously. To that end, I realized it was time to write a book to reach more people and hopefully help them get out of their own way and tap into their innate creative potential.
2. How did you become interested in theories of left/brain right/brain functions?
As an artist myself, I have found that the biggest hurdles I have had to overcome in life were actually the obstacles in my own head. As I began to meditate and find practical ways to actually get out of the criticisms and judgments of the left brain, I found that all of us have moments where we are tapped into the creative power that the right brain gives birth too. We have ‘a-ha’ moments, we engage in some sort of physical activity and are in ‘the zone,’ we create a piece of art and are so engaged in the moment we transcend time and feel the exhilaration of timelessness. These actual states of being are our birthright, but we live in a culture that is so left-brain-driven we have lost the ability to access these states naturally. So, for me, as I began to have more experiences in them, I became interested in the science behind it.
3. An introduction for your book says it shows you how to ignore your left side and ignite your creativity. What about the converse: does it also show creative people how to employ the analytical side of their brain?
Well, the left brain is always going to be there, isn’t it? It’s the loud noise we hear droning away at us the very first thing when we wake up in the morning. And it’s the last noise we hear rumbling in our heads when we go to sleep. I think creative people know how to employ the left side of their brain because that function is always in over-drive for all people. It’s cultural. It’s epidemic. And actually, I think that the perception that creative people are only in their creative right brains is false. I actually have found that creative people are often in their left brain more than we realize because they are constantly judging and being judged by the output of creative work they produce. They want to be liked. They want their work to be embraced. So they often have a battle between the brains in order to create and at the same time not listen to the judgments of the left brain that want to prevent them from creating.
I joke with the people with whom I work that you really only need a left brain for a few things: balancing a check book, making a grocery list, remembering names, doing your taxes. Creativity doesn’t involve left brain mechanics.
4. Why do you think most of us have let the left, or analytical side of the brain rule our thinking?
I think because it’s the side that constantly gets reinforced individually and socially. We have become conditioned to believe the things we say to ourselves. Not because these things are true but because we say them to ourselves over and over again. So a belief is really born out of a habituated thought that just gets re-booted. And the science behind it is that we have these neural pathways that simply get charged when we continuously think the same patterns of thought. New neural grooves can be created. But they require thinking new paradigms of thought. Just because you were told you were “ugly” as a child or “fat” or “stupid” doesn’t make those statements true. You’ve just stored them in the receptor of your brain and they automatically get called upon when something gets triggered emotionally in your life that seems to confirm those untruths that you are “ugly” or “fat” or “stupid.”
5. Are you really saying any one of us can become a creative genius like Shakespeare, or Da Vinci?
All of us already are creative geniuses. It’s all contained within us. How our creative talents want to be expressed and manifested is uniquely different for each of us. But we all possess this genius. Some of us aren’t aware of it. And still others choose life paths that don’t encourage or nurture our latent creative talents because we do what others tell us instead. Our parents make us go to business school when we really want to create music. Someone else tells us to get this “important” job even though we want to go travel the world. We constantly do what others tell us and before we know it, we’re unhappy and unfulfilled because we’re living someone else’s life path instead of our own. And it’s sad because these people don’t actually tap into their innate gifts waiting to be expressed because they’ve really been doing things they felt they had to do rather than the things they wanted (and needed) to do.
Sometimes when people begin to face this internal conflict between who they are and who they wish to be, it shows up as midlife crisis. Some become brave enough to make drastic changes in their life at this juncture to really live the life they had been too scared — or didn’t know how — to live. Sometimes, other people ignore their own inner guidance and stay stuck in the same debilitating patterns their entire lives. I’m not saying it’s easy because a lot of this is old patterning that has to be broken. But the rewards are great and really, life-changing.
Part of realizing our potential is getting aligned with what it is we’re supposed to be doing with our lives. It’s not just thinking about it in terms of a job. It’s about self expression. Someone like Shakespeare or Da Vinci was more attuned to this creative life force within them so this creative genius found a way to be expressed. But we’re all channels. The key is to get plugged into the right outlet and then get the hell out of the way!
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, producer, director and actor whose first feature screenplay, THE WONDER GIRLS, was the Grand Prize Winning Feature Screenplay in the Slamdance Film Festival Screenplay Competition in 2007. Prior to this accomplishment, Meindl was responsible for the production of an array of award-winning projects. His background in acting, training, and performance has afforded him the opportunity to create what has become a thriving artist community in Los Angeles.
Check out Anthony’s book, At Left Brain, Right Turn