My Stroke of Insight

Have you ever been so busy that you forget to eat or even skip adequate sleep?

Imagine life as you know it coming to a halt without realizing the initial cause. 

This is what Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. experienced in 1996. The only difference is that, as a neuroanatomist, she realized (after a short time) exactly what was happening. She was having a stroke in the early morning hours of December 10th. 

But her story isn’t what you would typically expect. 

First, she was able to call a colleague and communicate that she was having a stroke, even though she could barely speak. 

Second, in “My Stroke of Insight,” she has given us an amazing view of her experiences and how our left and right brains work together and independently. 

She says that since the hemorrhage began in the left side of her brain, it felt as though she was witnessing everything happening as opposed to participating in any action.

Background on the Brain 

Many studies have led neuroscientists to the understanding that although our left and right brain hemispheres work together and complement each other, the two can function independently if separated. The two would even have unique personalities.

Ever heard of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Our right hemisphere doesn’t perceive time, only the sensations in the present moment. It is in our right mind where we process things in pictures and think about the big picture of the present moment. 

Do you remember how you felt when you accomplished that huge goal, lost a loved one, or started a new journey? That is your right brain at work. 

It also gives us the ability to be empathic. 

However, our left hemisphere is responsible for linearly organizing details, stringing moments together, and creating the concept of time. It is known as our more logical hemisphere and is more concerned about all of the details.  

The Recovery 

During her recovery, she relied on her right hemisphere, which means things were difficult to remember moment to moment. With the help of her mom, she never gave up and continued to make incremental progress.

She relearned to verbalize, read, drive, and live on her own again.

One of the things that really resonated with me: she points out how the stroke and her recovery made her realize how much choice she has about how she wants to be in the world. This is in contrast to believing we are controlled by our brain. 

She also spends a lot of time feeling grateful for her life and thanking her brain and cells for responding so well to revival. 

If you are not familiar with Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., I encourage you to check out her book. “My Stroke of Insight” has so much more to do with life and how we perceive things than the actual stroke. 

Do we need to hold on to things like the need to always be right, in order to hold on to our individuality?

I’ll leave you with that thought…

Thanks for reading today!

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.👆

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