Sunday, August 15, 2010

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor (audio; spoken by the author)
What a powerful narrative and inspirational speaker! Many thanks to Lori Petersen for bringing this book to my attention. The timing of it couldn’t have been more perfect. As I listened to the audiobook version of Taylor’s story, I got the bad news that I didn’t get the job I’d been hoping for and had dreamed would be perfect for me. Because of the beautiful way Taylor describes the brain and our reactions to the world around us, I was able to accept my “bad” news with sorrow, but move on without letting anger or grief take hold. I know myself well enough to understand that would have been my eventual reaction, but the book helped me process so much more effectively.
I would recommend this book to absolutely everyone. It really seems to have two purposes: first, to help us understand what a person goes through when they are having a stroke and how to help and comfort them. The high rate of strokes in our society leads me to believe that all of us should be familiar with symptoms and what to do if a friend, loved one, or we ourselves show those signs. As a former brain scientist, Taylor was able to explain with a perfect balance of science and lay-speak. In other words, she didn’t make it too complicated.
But the added bonus of this book is a spiritual component in which Taylor discusses the way she was tuned in to the right hemisphere of her brain during the stroke. She loved it. It was peaceful for her. She missed that sense of inner peace when her left hemisphere began to return. From that perspective, Taylor dedicates much of her book to helping readers understand how we all can learn to take full advantage of our brain’s power (without drugs or alcohol) to silence the chatter of our left brain and tune in to the peace of our right brain. It would be good if we could all ‘be in our right mind’ once in awhile!
I googled the author’s name and the title after I’d finished listening, and lo and behold, I found out that Taylor has appeared on Oprah and there is even an 18 minute video of her giving an abbreviated version of her story in an appearance on stage. Check it out
but don’t think that is all you should do. The book is so much more worthwhile!
If you have the time and inclination to get caught up in the dialogue (furor, in some cases) between some scientists who claim she isn’t a real scientist and others who claim she has helped them find a link to God) read the blog postings at and type in “Jill Bolte Taylor”. You’ll need to click on the article title and then the article and over 200 comments from readers will pop up. I read many of them and they are very interesting. What a reaction this topic generates!!!
I’d love to have our book discussion group talk about some of the issues and debate generated by Taylor’s book and presentation.
I’m going to be go see the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” this afternoon with some book club friends. The part about India will be much more interesting to me now that I’ve read My Stroke of Insight! Is transcendental meditation similar to the meditation Taylor describes?

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home