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The Power of Your Other Hand, Revised Edition Paperback – June 20, 2000
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About the Author
Lucia Capacchione, a registered art therapist, holds degrees in art and psychology and is a pioneer of self-therapy and healing through journal writing and drawing. She is the author of The Creative Journal, The Creative Journal for Teens, Lighten Up Your Body, Lighten Up Your Life, The Well Being Journal, and Visioning. She is a consultant to business and education, a lecturer and workshop leader, and a trainer of healthcare professionals and educators. Her methods are currently being used with AIDS and cancer patients and in 12-step recovery programs.
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Top Customer Reviews
I was interested in "left hand shenanigans" because I was looking for ways to exercise my right brain in hopes to get more creative and be able to actually do art rather than sit there and stagnate. So, I picked up this book because it had a refund policy and I was very skeptical, but just a week later, as I enter chapter 8, I can safely say it's been far more rewarding than just me getting what I wanted out of it (the ability to sit at my desk and churn out a stack of paper with drawing after drawing).
First, I'd like to provide some critical feedback before jumping into how great this book is. It has nothing to do with the content, but rather the presentation of the content.
This book suffers from something I've seen in a lot of sources in the instructional genre, be it financial, psychological, athletic or what-have-you, in that it is loaded to the brim with other random people's success stories. A few here and there is fine, but the problem is, I'm already reading the book, so it's safe to assume that I am at least interested enough in the subject already to not need any more convincing. The part that bugs me is that for all the bits of information encountered, there's a sugar story devoid of any new content and seemingly designed to sell you even more on an idea you're already open to.
I'm all for being patient and postponing instant gratification in order to obtain a greater reward later, but that only really works when there's a reason to postpone the reward. It's an easy read, so it hasn't been too bad, but at times it's been hard to hold my focus because I'm not looking at useful information. The good news is there's lots of headers, so you'll be able to identify the parts you may or may not be interested in and skip stuff relatively safely.
The other thing that has been slightly bothersome, also like a lot of books in this genre, is it dresses the subject up too much. It starts labeling things as "magical" and "whimsy." I understand that the book DOES have everything grounded in psychological and physiological facts, and I do enjoy an enthusiastic and lighthearted read. But a lot of people who could really use the information in this book might find that they are appalled by how whimsical or "deluded" it sounds when it talks about it's lesson.
To give you an example, take positive thinking books, like the Secret. A lot of those concepts are grounded in psychology "If you think positively and strongly about your goals. Your brain chemistry will work toward making you work toward it and you'll find a way to accomplish your tasks as opposed to stagnating and not doing anything."
The problem is that a lot of people look at how the subject is presented, and all they see is "MAGIC! There's MAGIC inside you brain. and if you think good thoughts about MAGIC, then MAGIC things will happen," and a myriad misconceptions are born. It's no wonder the genre gets so made fun of all the time.
That said, this book in particular hasn't been too bad in that regard, and I do appreciate the balance it tries to strike. But I believe a better strategy of handling that would be to start off a little more grounded (albeit enthusiastic, because that's important), and then slowly turn things more "magical" over time, so there's a literal psychological transformation that the reader can experience over time just by reading it.
Now that that's out of the way:
As most of you probably know, opinions and world views are all about perspective. If three blind men touch an elephant at different places, one of them will hold the trunk and say it's long like a snake, another will hold it's leg and say it's thick and tall like a tree, and the other will tough it's side and say it's solid like a big great wall. If they could see the elephant and look at it from different angles, they would develop entirely different opinions about it.
That said, if you do the exercises in this book once a day like it asks you to, it really forces you to look at yourself from several different perspectives and it's a very powerful way to learn more about yourself and your problems and more importantly, how to fix them.
I discovered that one of the main reasons my creativity was stiffed is because I would never actually draw anything. I'd sit there, make a few lines, and I'd be bombarded by overly critical reactions to it, thinking about how I was already doing a bad job and how anyone I showed the final to would hate it and why. I discovered that this happened because I have a long standing habit of comparing myself to artists I admire and none of my work looks anything like theirs. Turns out, once I figured this out and stopped comparing myself to them, I discovered that my own work has it's own charm. Sure, the technique could be improved, but that'll happen over time. Especially now that I'm actively practicing it constantly.
What the book refers to as the Inner Child, which is its central focus, is really the more upbeat and playful side of people that most end up shunning into oblivion as they grow up because they adhere to thoughts like "kid stuff is stupid." I've been lucky enough in life to hold on to that a bit more than others around me (much to their grief when they're being too serious), so I've found that having internal dialogs between my serious and spunky side has been very agreeable, but no less revealing. Even though I've always been very conscious and open to having fun and satisfying my playful side, when it comes down to the important things, my critical side has really been getting in the way. A lot of the reasons things are the way they are in my life have been the direct result of me getting in my own way for years. Within the past week, I've been more artistically productive, I've been actively cooking my own food at home rather than go out or order, I don't procrastinate nearly as much and have been dedicating a lot of time to learning things I've been wanting to learn for a while, like languages and magic and fiction writing.
All this was possible because within the first few exercises, the book really allowed me to step out of myself and objectively look back and see everything I am from a completely new perspective. My "Inner Child's" perspective.
I know, I know, I complained about success stories and then I gave you one of my own. The irony. For shame.
I very strongly recommend this book to anyone doing any form of soul searching or anyone who feels something is wrong in their life or... anyone really, I feel like a lot of people could benefit from what it has to teach.
I'll give you the heads up that it likes to be whimsical, but if you can put up with that, you'll benefit from it a lot more than you think you will.
My left handed writing sessions which I do a couple times a week have given me amazing clarity about the things I want, my priorities, how to handle tricky situations well, and how I really feel about things. Right hand tells me what I think. Left hand tells me how I feel. I am grateful to the writer for this book.