This week, whenever I remembered, I tried doing different tasks with my left hand. Back in high school I used to practice writing with my left hand because I thought it would be so neat if I could train myself to be ambidextrous. I remember that being very difficult, and using my left hand this week to eat, brush my teeth etc. was also quite difficult.

It made me really focus on the mundane tasks that I was trying to accomplish. I found that I was much slower with my left hand; I was less reliable and confident when doing something as simple as brushing my teeth. It was hard and I had to take my time to make sure I did a good job. When I tried eating with only my left hand I found that I couldn’t hold the utensil as easily and securely as I could with my right hand. It made me realize that I don’t have the same fine motor skills with my left hand as I do with my right.

The book How to Train a Wild Elephant by Jan Chozen Bays discusses this exercise as follows:

“Our dominant hand might be forty years old, but the non-dominant hand is much younger, perhaps about two or three years old. … This task illustrates how strong and unconscious our habits are and how difficult they are to change without awareness and determination. … Using the non-dominant hand reveals our impatience. It can help us become more flexible and discover that we are never too old to learn new tricks.”

The next mindfulness exercise for this week is:

Leave No Trace

“Choose one room of your house and for one week try leaving no trace that you’ve used that space. The bathroom or kitchen works best for most people. If you’ve been doing something in that room, cooking a meal or taking a shower, clean up in such a way that you leave no signs that you’ve been there, except perhaps the odor of food or fragrance of soap.”

I’m excited to do this one, but I know it will be hard. I’m a clean person, but to leave absolutely no trace of what it is I’ve been doing in a place like the kitchen? That’s going to be tricky.

Did you try using your non-dominant hand last week? What did you find?

I’m off on a field trip with Theo’s class today to my old stompin’ grounds – Camp Valaqua. I’m very excited.

Have a wonderful Monday!

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