A stroke of insight

Sometimes, a bad experience really can bring on new insights, and give you a new life. Hardships are obstacles – sometimes mine fields – but, if we are very lucky, they can also open up whole new worlds.

My mother recently had a small stroke. One of the neighbours, a former pilot, now uses a wheelchair to get around because he lost the capacity to walk after his stroke.

Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist, watched as her bodily functions had a total meltdown. She spent eight years learning how to talk and walk again. And how to think. What she discovered is truly amazing – and an inspiration to us all.

“How many brain scientists have been able to study the brain from the inside out? I’ve gotten as much out of this experience of losing my left mind as I have in my entire academic career,” she says.

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I don’t mind telling you that this brought tears to my eyes.

What inspires you?

Thanks to TED for letting me share this wonderful video!

If you are having problems with the video, then perhaps this link will help!

7 thoughts on “A stroke of insight

  1. Ms. Bolte Taylor’s talk has inspired many. As presentations go, it is fantastic. As human stories go, it transports us to a plane where we call all meet and learn something new. Amongst the many things this talk, and the ones she gave on the Oprah spirit channel, that really struck me, is the necessity to acknowledge and rejoice about the little changes. She speaks about how her mother was happy if she could concentrate one more minute that day than she did the day before, or if she had a good night sleep, or managed to accomplish some menial task. For hospital personnel, or doctors, or visiting family, these things were no big deal. But, for Ms. Bolte Taylor and her mother they were momentous. Healing takes as long as it takes, and we would all do better to acknowledge the importance of the baby steps. I hope that your mother and your neighbour have people in their lives that help them acknowledge the wonder of those baby steps. Thank you for writing this post.


  2. Grr. Video blocked hree, all I get is a still shot.

    See, I’m no expert, but I think I can see what her issue is. That thing in her hands should actually be in her head. That’s the only place it really works properly.


  3. I suppose others have had similar experiences, but she had the courage and generosity to go out and spread her message. I wish your mother well in her recovery.


  4. I didn’t watch the video (because I don’t want to wake up the household at 4am). But I have read the book. It is amazing – her journey, her courage, and her success. My mom also had a stroke – almost 3 years ago now. It was huge – she was in hospital and then rehab for 3 months plus home-care afterward for almost a year. She recovered physically very well eventually – just some left peripheral vision issues which she has learned to overcome by “scanning left” a lot. But mentally she really struggles. Her short term memory is totally gone. It’s so sad to see someone who has lived so well struggle so much. She remains in great spirits – always talks positively and is appreciative and complimentary of whatever is going on around her.


  5. I love Jill.

    Hearing her story changed my life. Well, for about five minutes but then I forgot the message! But everytime I am reminded of her, I remember and it fills me with insight. I think I need to print out some of her words and stick em on the fridge.


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