A Stroke of Insight

Jill Taylor at TED conference all rights reserved-alt.ted conference/flickr

Jill Taylor at TED conference

Jill Taylor is a brain scientist who had a stroke and lived to talk about it. What she says is “mind blowing”.

Here it is: 

 www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html  

Enjoy! 

Thanks to “Spirit Lights the Way” for telling me about Jill Taylor, her TED talk and her book. 

Synopsis of the book from Amazon:

“On the morning of December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist, experienced a massive stroke when a blood vessel exploded in the left side of her brain.

A neuroanatomist by profession, she observed her own mind completely deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life, all within the space of four brief hours. As the damaged left side of her brain ~ the rational, grounded, detail- and time-oriented side ~ swung in and out of function, Taylor alternated between two distinct and opposite realties: the euphoric nirvana of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace; and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized Jill was having a stroke, and enabled her to seek help before she was lost completely.

In My Stroke of Insight, Taylor shares her unique perspective on the brain and its capacity for recovery, and the sense of omniscient understanding she gained from this unusual and inspiring voyage out of the abyss of a wounded brain.

It would take eight years for Taylor to heal completely. Because of her knowledge of how the brain works, her respect for the cells composing her human form, and most of all an amazing mother, Taylor completely repaired her mind and recalibrated her understanding of the world according to the insights gained from her right brain that morning of December 10th.

Today Taylor is convinced that the stroke was the best thing that could have happened to her.

It has taught her that the feeling of nirvana is never more than a mere thought away. By stepping to the right of our left brains, we can all uncover the feelings of well-being and peace that are so often sidelined by our own brain chatter.

A fascinating journey into the mechanics of the human mind, My Stroke of Insight is both a valuable recovery guide for anyone touched by a brain injury, and an emotionally stirring testimony that deep internal peace truly is accessible to anyone, at any time.”

My take on the synopsis and the talk:

This TED talk fascinated me as a neurosurgery nurse and also as a Course in Miracle student.

As a neurosurgery nurse and because I nursed many patients with strokes, (but don’t know of many that made a full recovery) this talk explained what some of my patients were going through. It of course matters where in the brain the stroke was as to what kind of symptoms the patient was having but for someone to have made this kind of recovery is  beyond wonderful. In the TED talk she said all of us can make the choice to be in our left brain or right brain, to be separated or be as “one” and that as more people would step into their right brain and  do this we would have peace on earth. This in itself  is “mind blowing”. And doubly so because that is also what we learn as students of A Course in Miracles.

As a student, the nirvana Jill spoke about is reminiscent of the “right mind” and the separateness from God we run away from is the “little mind” or the ego. A Course In Miracles teaches us that we are all One. What Jill talks about experiencing sounds like she ‘woke up’ to that reality.

For me this book sounds like one not to be missed. And I want to read the book because of that last sentence in the synopses; ”My Stroke of Insight is both a valuable recovery guide for anyone touched by a brain injury, and an emotionally stirring testimony that deep internal peace truly is accessible to anyone, at any time.” I will order my copy now.

I’m interested in hearing what you think. Please leave a comment

. A related post you may be interested in is: “A Course in Miracles, It’s Thought System”  and another “My struggles about God”.

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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22 Responses to A Stroke of Insight

  1. granny1947 says:

    My grandfather also had a stroke…he never recovered…I also want to read this book.

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    • Clar says:

      Yes, wouldn’t be nice if he was in Nirvana the whole time he was still alive? Of course if his stroke wasn’t on the left brain he would have had other symptoms and had different challenges.
      When you read this book, tell me about it, Ok?

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  2. I had seen the link to this video on Spirit Lights the Way, but didn’t watch it then…but I just watched it now…astounding! wow! Thank you for posting this…it’s inspirational!

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  3. Patricia Tilton says:

    Clar,
    Glad you shared this wonderful video and Dr. Bolte’s journey. Her book is outstanding and I’ve referred a lot of people to her work. Oprah has interviewed her too.

    I suffered a serious hypoxic brain injury (not a stroke) following an elective surgery in 2004. I found her material very helpful. Although we had different insults to our brain, my left brain didn’t go silent. It took three long years of intense Rehab to bring me to where I am today. I understand what it is like to be a woman trapped/frozen in an infant’s body and the feeling of victory when I first crawled and pulled myself up like a toddler would to a chair. Unlike Jill, I was left with some neurological issues, but I manage. I was a journalist, but after 7 yrs, I have been reinventing myself for the past 28 months. I wanted a new voice, and began to write children’s books, under the guidance of some wonderful teachers and editors. I am doing something that brings me great joy. Didn’t mean to ramble, but I wanted to add my story of hope.

    Patricia

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    • Clar says:

      Wow, that is a story of hope. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂 I am glad you are reinventing yourself. I would be interested in knowing your authors journey and some of your children’s books. Did we meet on LinkedIn?
      Thanks again for your comment. It is inspirational.

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  4. pattyabr says:

    I saw her YouTube video from TED several years ago. I read her book which is a fabulous account of her stroke and insight to God and the afterlife. No need to fear death after reading that book.

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    • Clar says:

      Oh great! The more I learn the less I do fear death. She sounds like she has so much in common with the Course of Miracles I am studying. I can’t wait to read her book. I’d like to learn more about what they have in common. 🙂

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  5. clickerbug says:

    It sounds amazing! I’m fascinated by the mind, and totally buy into the concept that we control our own joy. I will read it to keep discovering where the “switch” is and how to turn it on and off. 🙂

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    • clarbojahn says:

      I think the secret is in meditating. When one can turn on and off the brain centers at will then we can step in and out of nirvana and peace. Peace begins with you and me in the little things right here in the present. In the now.

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  6. Widdershins says:

    Congrats on getting this post up … we did try didn’t we! You have converted me into a Ted fan.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Yep.we tried to have a link that didn’t look like a link but a name and then hyperlink over it. It didn’t work. I’ll have to find out some other way.

      Hey out there. Does any one know how to link a TED talk to the title? We’d appreciate a step by step directions. 🙂

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  7. Clar, I really enjoyed this post. In part because I was not familiar with this particular TED presentation but also because the post touches on our potential to tap into underutilized areas of our brains. I am a fellow campaigner. Good luck with all your authoring projects!

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Thank you, Gary. Good luck with yours as well.

      Yes, our brains do have a lot of untapped potential and this seems to point right at some of them doesn’t it? Jill still seems able to use hers in a way to make for good communication. It seems if we could all do that we would have a more peaceful existence. Some people seem to be able to reach their right brains through meditation. I’m not that good.

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  8. Clara u r liebstered. See my post today. Hugs

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  9. Glad you shared this. My late husband had a brain stem infarct after a procedure to stabilize an aneurysm. He became “locked in” after that – mute and paralyzed (well, he could blink and move his right middle finger). He lived four years after the stroke and regained his ability to breathe on his own. We joked at the time that the post-stroke time was more of a war against the health care system … not a journey.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      I am also glad that you could hear this in hopes it made you feel better. I am so sorry you had to live and surpass such a tragedy. I can see that what you must have lived through was a war or at least a battle rather than a journey. The end was so tragic. Thanks for your “insight” and comment. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. This is an amazing story. Have put the book on my reading list. How often do we get to see an event such as this from the inside? Thanks for bringing it forward!

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  11. Julie says:

    I haven’t watched the video yet, but I just finished reading the book. It’s a life-changer for sure!

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  12. clarbojahn says:

    I can imagine from watching the video that the book must be just as good. Can’t wait to read it. It is on my list of-must-reads. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

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