Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Learning to the Left

My latest endeavor in the spirit of never ending self improvement: Learning to write with my left hand.

The main reason for this effort is to try and narrow the gap between the proficiency of my right hand and the awkwardness of my left.  It was real but negligible before I broke my arm; it's significant and more inhibiting since.

I hatched this idea a few years ago but never really followed through with it.  More and more I'm becoming aware of a strong preference for my right hand.  My stick is almost always in my right hand, I feel more nervous following the rail to the left and I seem more unbalanced cantering on the left lead.

I was in physical therapy on and off for a year trying to rehabilitate my left wrist after the break.  While I regained more mobility than even my doctor expected, I'm left with permanent limitations.  I decided to learn to write with my left hand as a low-stress way to become less one-sided.

I bought one of those writing tablets.  You know, the kind little kids use when they are first learning to write.  I started out the same way my Mum first taught me to write.  I printed out a neat row of  upper and lower case As with my right hand and then neatly traced over them with my left.

I have about 3 pages of As at last count.  The upper case was fairly easy but the lower case is quite troublesome.  Changing the angle of the paper, adjusting my grip on the pen - nothing seems to make the letter flow easier onto the page.  Each attempt is awkward and ugly.

I began to think about this project in terms of my horsemanship.  After all, it started as a way to improve my overall tool handling skills.  So how could I use what I know from my Parelli journey to improve my penmanship journey?

I started acknowledging the things that were right.  I identified the element of the letter that was plaguing me and instead of writing "a" I focused on just the oval, repeating the circular motion until it felt more natural.  Oddly enough, by the end of the line I had several left-handed letters that looked remarkably like their right-handed counterparts.

I am finding this little project to be more intriguing and revealing than I could have imagined.


Tina said...

Get some coloring books too!! I love coloring left-handed, but haven't tried the penmanship books. I'll have to get one.

My mom is a lefty who doesn't scrunch her wrist around to write as most do. The trick is to tilt your paper to the right, so the top left corner of your paper (if 8x11 vertical) is at 1:00 or so. Whatever angle is most comfortable for you.

Maybe we should be old-fashioned penpals and write our letters with our left hands! Or...in the modern counterpart, write your blog on paper with your left hand, scan it and post the picture!

Lisa said...

I do have coloring books and crayons.

That is about the angle I've had my paper on. I cannot twist my hand around because that actually hurts my wrist even more.

I have a scanner so I should scan some examples of my progress. I don't think "old fashioned pen pals" would work. I'm great at writing; terribly at mailing. But the scan and post thing might work.