When the Familiar Gets Unfamiliar

Now that you're aware of the difficulty of doing a right-brain task while you're operating on the left, let's try an exercise that helps get you over the fence onto the right side.

We recognize and identify things in our world based on our familiarity with them. We see, identify, name, categorize, and remember, so we think we "know." That's fine for facts: names, dates, numbers, concepts, and ideas. For seeing and drawing, though, a more flexible, responsive way of observing is better, because things are not always as they seem.

Mostly, we're used to seeing things one way, right side up. Our left brain easily identifies an object and names it for us, and then we know what it is and feel confident and secure.

But the familiar becomes instantly unfamiliar when it's upside down or backwards. We expect to see it right side up and are confused when it's not. Upside-down shapes and relationships are strange to us because they're different from the memory we've stored from past experience. Our brain doesn't like them.

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