Recently, I got into a heated argument with a friend. Not the shouting sort of argument. This was like a disputation instead. We were discussing scientific fact and scientific fiction. And how to determine what is crank science and what is real.
Our opinions were very far apart.
This friend is a lawyer and is quite intelligent. But she happens to be very linear in her thinking and very left-brained, fabulously useful traits when you are a lawyer. She is dogged and very stubborn in her views. Rigid, sometimes. She is also someone who has done enough research into this topic to satisfy her skepticism. And all of it bolsters her opinion that the world of alternative medicine and things like organic food are both crank science. If there isn’t a peer-reviewed article supporting it somewhere, she discounts its validity.
Characteristics of a left-brain dominant person are to be logical and have strong critical reasoning skills. “Generally, left-brain individuals rely on cold-hard facts and real-life data, rather than emotions and imagination.” They interpret information well and aren’t touchy-feely in their thoughts while performing precise research. The profession of lawyer is, in fact, an excellent career choice for a left-brain dominant person. Unsurprisingly, my friend is great at her job.
A right-brain dominant person, in contrast, is more of a creative and intuitive type. This type of person is good at expressing and reading emotions in others. And has a vivid imagination, and maybe a tendency to live in their heads because of this.
In truth, everyone has skillsets that use both sides of the brain, which are knitted together through the corpus callosum. The stronger the connectivity through the corpus callosum, the better the balance of skills. But there are different kinds of intelligence. And these reflect different tendencies that predominate through neural pathways in each side of the brain.
But back to my friend. Let’s call her Lynette. Lynette so believes in peer-reviewed articles and the pharmaceutical approach that characterizes allopathic medicine, that she is missing some fundamental points. We left the debate off with her telling me she will never change her mind about trying functional or alternative medicine in place of conventional medicine, even if she is in a situation where conventional medicine does not have an answer for her.
O the irony. Years ago, I once stood in her shoes. I had been raised the same way, to believe in allopathic medicine unquestioningly. And had no regard for anything else, all of which seemed like so much hogwash. Because of that, I spent a decade being treated for an autoimmune condition. I used all kinds of drugs that did not work for me with the understanding that I had a degenerative condition for which there was no cure, as my doctors told me. I didn’t question this at all. I only began to take a second look at the situation once I realized my body had reached a tipping point where it could no longer shrug off illness. I was noticeably getting worse.
And then step by step, I learned about diet and lifestyle changes. And, finally, mindset changes. And how all of that impacted the state of my health. I finally came to understand that healing was not something that happened through a pill. Or with your brain. It was a full-body affair. You needed your left brain, your right brain, and your whole body on board for the journey. And your soul.
For, indeed, healing from chronic illness does turn into a healing journey. It can change you utterly from the person you were before, redirecting you onto a whole new path in life. You get used to getting out of your comfort zone. And moving into new areas that may not have interested you in the past. But once they have functional importance in helping you heal, they become fascinating and powerful resources.
This is not a change that I embraced altogether at the beginning. No. For me, it occurred step by step. I moved forward into each new dimension of my healing journey only as I became ready for it. But O the distance I have traveled now! So far from where I started.
For those of you out there who are ill and don’t know where to turn, please remember your life can change entirely. It starts with one step forward.
For ideas about what your next step could be, visit my site and look at my resources.
Mara Schiffren, PhD, is a Writer, Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach, Certified Clear Beliefs Coach and Flow Coach.