Confessions of a Right-Brained Writer


Speaking at the 2015 IASD conference about Dream Theatres of the Soul. Don't you love my
Speaking at the 2015 IASD conference about Dream Theatres of the Soul. Don’t you love my “shadow” in the background?
Photo Credit: Walter Berry

“The last big speech I gave was a year ago this March.  What if I’m rusty?”

“I’m terrible at memorizing! I could forget something important.”

“I talk with my hands. People might find that annoying.”

“I don’t notice the physical world around me.  I could trip over an extension cord.”

“I don’t want to say ‘Um’ all the time. If I don’t practice, I’ll forget.”

“I’m not worried about talking to a big audience, but technology is really hard.  I need to be sure I know how to use the remote to my powerpoint presentation and when to click it.”

“I’m afraid I’ll leave out something important.”

These are just some of the responses I made to my husband when he asked why I was constantly revising, practicing, and generally fretting over my upcoming speech for the annual gathering of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.

Fred is a brilliant man with a photographic memory.  As a forensic economist, he can read through a 100-page file over breakfast and testify about it in a trial or deposition two hours later without forgetting one detail.

It took me a year to write my dissertation. I needed hours of uninterrupted solitude, usually at night when Fred and the kids were asleep. Even then, selecting and pulling together relevant thoughts from among the myriad impressions flooding my mind, not to mention writing them down in a logical, clear, and organized way, was a constant struggle.  The next night I spent half my writing time omitting or revising whole sections of what I wrote the night before. Initially it was hard, but by the end of that year I realized I’d never had so much fun in my life.  By then, the revising was as much fun as the creating.

In the early years of our marriage I thought there must be something wrong with him; like maybe he was lazy, or a procrastinator, or had ADD. I mean, how could he possibly be ready to defend his dissertation in a month when he’d only written fifteen pages and was constantly distracted?  Later on, I realized 20 minutes at a time was all he needed to do something it took me hours to do.  Then I thought there must be something wrong with me.

The truth is in between.  There’s nothing wrong with either of us.  We just have different ways of thinking about, processing and expressing information. His way is considered far superior to mine in our Western, academically oriented culture.  And for many years, I bought into that perspective.

Yet we were both excellent students, which tells me we each had access to both ways. Just as he can think in ways that present difficulties for me, I can think in ways that are difficult for him. My subjective perspective is associated with sensitive, receptive, reflective and inner-directed artists, advisors, sages and Queens. His objective way is associated with with tough, logical, assertive outer-directed scientists, warriors, and Kings. Is one better than the other?  Of course not!

Dinner with Fred and sister dreamer Justina Lasley the night before my speech in Virginia Beach.
Dinner with Fred and sister dreamer Justina Lasley the night before my speech in Virginia Beach.

That couldn’t have been more clear at last weekend’s IASD conference.  Fred took care of our travel arrangements and got us to the hotel easily and efficiently. When I walked out of our hotel room and turned the wrong way, he guided me in the right direction.

He found things I misplaced in our room, remembered what time breakfast was served, where the next presentation was, and when it would start.  I had to have a schedule with me at all times. He took pictures of special times with friends when I forgot to bring or use my cell phone.

Having him with me turned what could have been a frustrating ordeal into a joyous experience. Yet, he usually only sees the trees when my ability to see the forest is more helpful. And I often sense underlying currents in situations that need to be addressed when he doesn’t have a clue.

All this is to say that my presentation is over and I couldn’t be more thrilled with it. And I can’t help but compare my new pleasure and confidence in myself with earlier times when I believed his way of being was superior to mine. My months of writing and revising and practicing, plus receiving support, suggestions and assurance from friends who cared, was of infinite value.  It eased my concerns, gave me confidence, and turned what could have been an average presentation into one that received a standing ovation and more compliments than I can count.

And here’s the biggest plus:  After 51 years of marriage (as of June 15), Fred and I have more understanding, respect, and gratitude for each other than ever before—a true partnership in which we have each learned to value the differences in ourselves and each other.

Thank you, Fred, and thank you to all of you who helped and supported me. I couldn’t have done it without you.

A video of my speech will be available in a few weeks.  I’ll tell you when and where as soon as I know.  Meanwhile, here’s a recent Skype interview of me about Healing the Sacred Divide that was coincidentally published just this weekend. I hope you enjoy it.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

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0 Responses

  1. Hi Jean,
    I am happy you had such a good time at the IASD conference. You gave a magnificent interview (very orginized too I might say).
    Maybe you’d appreciate my blog about Healing the sacred divide:
    I think that the mandorla concept you put into practice in Healing the sacred divide is a perfect way to integrate
    opposites in your self and between you and other people. I enjoyed the book as much as I did your
    conversation during the Mindfunda interview.
    kind regards

    1. Hi Susanne,
      Thanks, Susanne. I loved doing this Skype interview with you: You asked some great questions and I’m very happy with the finished product. Thanks, too for the written post. You’re doing a great service for a lot of writers and I very much appreciate your support. I’m glad to know my book safely reached you in the Netherlands, home of my ancestral roots. My best to you, Jeanie

  2. “I realized I’d never had so much fun in my life.” Jean, what a joy to read your thoughts. Your ponderings bring so much hope to those of us who discover ourselves to be working in a left brain environment. Congratulations on such a happy outcome!
    PS And you didn’t trip over one of those leads 🙂

    1. No, I didn’t, thank goodness!! 🙂 And thanks for the good words and congratulations. These days I have a powerful awareness of how my years of inner work are “paying off” in so many ways. Being “different” has never felt better!

  3. Thanks for sharing this. It is beautiful. Also congratulations on 51 years of marriage. Wow

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I felt like you must have known me and my husband’s issues! He’s the left and I’m the right!! It is a challenge! And congrats on celebrating 51 years, for us it is 46!

    1. You’re welcome. Way to go! It certainly is an enormous challenge, but equally enormous rewards await those who persevere long enough to build a bridge between this particular pair of opposites!

  5. Thank you so much Susanne and Jeanie for this wonderful interview! I listened all the way through and loved Susanne’s pertinent and gentle questioning and your wise heart-felt responses. I so hope this gets more airtime as it would be a great service to all who listen. Have shared on social media.
    I too was in a Centerpoint group in the very early 80’s and am ever indebted to that learning. The tapes were audio tapes and huge files to accompany them!
    Many congratulations on 51 years of marriage – and the marriage of the inner and outer.
    And thank you both again!

    1. Thank you, Susan for watching and sharing the interview I did with Susanne. That was very kind. I agree that her questions were pertinent and gentle. She’s quite good at this! (Thank you again, Susanne.) Yes, Centerpoint was a powerful teaching, learning, and life-transforming experience for me. I wish everyone could have that experience. The world would be a very different place if they did. Thanks also for your congratulations on our 51st anniversary. It’s been a wild and wonderful ride!

  6. Congratulations and many blessings upon you and Fred; a beautiful post of loving appreciation! And I’m so very happy for you about the successful conference presentation; I’m sure the attendees were/are as grateful for your wisdom as I am. The interview on Mindfunda was delightful — I look forward to watching the other interviews.
    The timing was supportive (what you share always feels synchronous) as I had a difficult dream last night, and yet, because of my foray into *regular* dreamwork growth, and then listening to you speak of shadow, I’m hopeful that I can open wider into my dream instead of simply being terrified by it (as I have by similar types of dreams or nightmares in the past).
    Your comments about relationship and connection — in real life as well as within our dreams — leads me to a desire to find another person (or perhaps a very *tiny* group) where I live so that I could receive insights from others as well as share some small part of my own with them. I’ve always felt more comfortable writing rather than talking about inner work, however, there are certainly some dreams that seem to call for little outside objectivity perhaps. 🙂
    Thank you! Blessings!

    1. Hi, Darla, I’m just getting back to my social media after a day of travel and settling in. I’m so delighted to see your sweet post. Thank you for your warm words of congratulations and appreciation. It’s a gratifying time.
      I think you’re very wise to consider opening to your dream instead of running from it, although that’s much easier said than done. I suspect you already know this as well as I. Knowledge doesn’t create change if it’s not accompanied by heart-felt experience. And there’s always more to learn about ourselves.
      I, too, have always been more comfortable writing about than talking about inner experience. But since my late forties I’ve always had a women’s group of like-minded thinkers to process with, and this has been invaluable.
      Sending warm blessings to you, my sister, Jeanie

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