Neuroplasticity of the Brain

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Whew!…haven’t been moved to blog in a while, but I MUST share my recent experience in reading Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight. What an extraordinary person, sharing, not only her area of expertise as a Harvard-trained brain scientist, but her personal journey after having had a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain!  It took her 8 years of intensive therapy, both personal and professional, to get to where she could write and speak about this event (you can find her on TED talks), and how it changed her perspective on the meaning of life as she now sees it. Chapters 17-20 gives you what she has learned from this experience…and how we, too, can take charge of how our mind works, if we pay attention.

One of the most valuable pieces of information she gives, as far as I am concerned, is how we can shift our thinking and feelings in a way most of us find very difficult to do. Since most of us use and overuse our left analytical  side of our brain (on a spec scan, one can see how active it is), Jill has known what it is like to live with only the right side of her brain functioning.  She noticed she was present in the moment, felt connected to all beings, and was  in an euphoric state much of the time.  But she had to function on a day to day basis, and had to make a conscious decision to relearn how to sit up, speak, ect., as an infant would.  This lead her to realize that, as she continued to know herself better…that it took her 90 seconds…or under, for her body to react to a situation….anger, fear, joy…and after that, she had a choice as to whether or not she wanted to engage that circuitry, or allow it to “melt away, as fleeting physiology”. we can either strengthen old patterns, or create new ones.

Can you imagine the ramifications of that for us?  If we can get ourselves to move from past painful thoughts or fearful future thoughts, we can truly learn to take charge of ourselves, and be the person we want to be!  If any of you out there has read this book, please feel free to share your thoughts!  Even if you have not read her book…I would love to hear from you.

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