Saturday, October 24, 2009

Orthogonal Order

Yeah, yeah. It's a statistical term, but I swear it will make sense by the end. The only challenge is following my wonky brain that far.



I've mentioned before that my intention is to be really hot by my book tour, right? Never mind that I haven't found an agent or publisher yet. I WILL, and by that time, I need to look much better if I am to inflict my naked self on the reading public. But for the last two years, I've had repeated attempts of micro-progress, then giving up. I don't seem able to follow Weight Watcher anymore (something I've had great luck with in the past—never mind that I can't seem to keep the weight off for more than a couple years—3 at my longest stretch—it is always a major routine change that blows it—moving, new job, pregnancy—though that last one is no longer a possibility, thankfully).

I've also mentioned finding an old college friend who does acupuncture and acupressure, the later focused on food cravings. So I had my first session yesterday. She likes to focus on one food category at a time, because it is more effective that way, so I chose.

Confession time. I focused on alcohol, because those are the empty calories that I was loathe to give up—drink after work, two in the tub when I write. I felt like I needed the first to let go of my day, and the latter two to sort of let the creativity flow.  Unfortunately... relaxed inhibitions also lead to more snacking, so I felt this would be the biggest bang for the buck, so to speak.

So the session focused on not needing the alcohol to relax—in other words, on relaxing in OTHER ways, and it was pretty cool. I got home and felt no compulsion to do my normal thing (fetch a glass of merlot). I filled a water bottle, stretched, typed a little, got called to dinner, and you know what? I wasn't as starving there either, even though we didn't work on that. We had stew and I bypassed both roll and seconds (typically I might do both, surely at least one). I even recognized my stomach feeling full as something I'd sometimes mistaken for hunger (weird, that—hubby thought it was really strange until I explained HE didn't have food issues. I did.--he is now considering acupressure for smoking.)

Evening was fine. Bath was fine. And strangeness of all strangeness... I wrote a whole chapter. It is 10 pages, though I did incorporate about two pages I had set aside when I went back and started earlier in the story—but fresh 2000 words... so alcohol-free creativity—definitely accessible.

This Morning's Power Walk

So this morning I had a few bills to pay and mail so I decided to walk the opposite direction of what I normally do because I pass the post office, but wanted to drop mail earlier than later in my walk. I seriously considered going another route from there, and then it occurred to me... why do I ALWAYS go counter clockwise? The session yesterday had an integration piece at the end-uniting left and right brain, which reminded me of the chick up top... spinning one way if you use one side, the other if you use the other.

I am a statistician who uses my left brain almost all the time... but it is the RIGHT brain that is creative, yes?

So I walked the route I normally do, but backward. I was tempted to take all these tangents and do all these other routes, but I kept going (funny, because walking the normal way, there is no tangent temptation whatsoever... but it felt like an integration of sorts...

And so what does Statistics have to do with this?

When a person asks a set of questions that gets at... say, COPING (something I did a lot of analysis on this week at work) then the questions can get at DIFFERENT components of that idea (say, passive coping and active coping, just to simplify it a lot). The NORMAL assumption is that the questions that measure one kind have nothing to do with the other kind... they are INDEPENDENT or OBLIQUE. Now that's just a lot of silliness when the ideas are part of the same thing (COPING). In fact wide dependence on one tells us there is less dependence on the other... they are correlated (if negatively), and so ORTHOGONAL—overlapping, but separate pieces of one broader idea.

Now I am thinking the brain sometimes gets into ruts and behaves obliquely... no communication between the two, and it takes some effort for us to change mode. Having a strong left brain tells us NOTHING about what the right brain can and cannot do (some are great with that too, others not so much--knowing one, doesn't tell us about the other). But this process has given me an orthogonal brain! They are talking, and what one does is moving with the other.

My conclusion... I think that session integrated more parts of my brain than just those necessary pieces to not count on alcohol to relax... it freed me to go back and forth a little more easily... I am excited to see where I can go with it, and if it lasts.

[note:  she always goes counter clockwise for me and today she is going clockwise)


Cruella Collett said...

I love the spinning chick! I remember the first time you posted that somewhere (HPANA?), and I can't remember which way she originally went for me, but I do remember that she after a little way started swinging like a pendula switching between the two faster than she could do a full round.
This time she spun in one direction only. It's not going to be a surprise to anyone when I mention I had trouble figuring out which way was clockwise and counter clockwise, that my brain is more on the creative side while I often let the right side of it rest for long periods of time. In order to make her spin the other direction this time I had to result to repeating French verbs (which did the trick instantly), since calculation for some reason didn't work.
Anyway, glad to hear the acupressure so far is successful. Good for you!

(Back to the spinning lady - after having written this comment I went back up, and she was spinnning clockwise again. Then I looked away and back at her, and she was counter clockwise. Now I couldn't make her change back until I started to pay attention to the music I'm listening to, and instantly she switched back. I'm extremely fascinated!)

Marjorie said...

I see her going clockwise and there isn't anything I can do to make her turn the other way. I tried to do some math, but I hate math. So, that didn't work. I can't think of anything else to do to make her go the other way. Oh, well.

It's great that you have learned how to switch to your right brain. Come to join me on the nutty side have you?

Chary Johnson said...

Do you know I have never heard of acupressure. I am very familiar with acupuncture and have even contemplated in booking a session (I have serious back problems due to my weight).

However, after reading your blog, I am seriously considering trying acupressure. I want the mind clutter and writing ruts to go away. Thanks. Great Blog.

Tundiel said...

I love your spinning lady! She goes clockwise for me at first, then after about 10 seconds she changes direction. Then she changes back again. Interestingly, although she always starts off going clockwise, she spins counter-clockwise for a longer period of time...

Don't know what that really means, but it's interesting all the same.*grins*

Another interesting blog, Tami!