This weekend I read My Stroke of Insight, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. In the introduction the writer describes the book as “a chronological documentation of the journey I took into the formless abyss of a silent mind, where the essence of my being became enfolded in a deep inner peace. This book is a weaving of my academic training with personal experience and insight. As far as I am aware, this is the first documented account of a neuroanatomist who has completely recovered from a severe brain hemorrhage.”
I was fascinated as I read Jill’s account of the stroke and of the healing – which took a full 8 years. I was moved and inspired as she shared the patience and fortitude of her mother who taught Jill how to read and eat and play and learn all over again. I was encouraged once again to celebrate health – and to continuously thank God for the miracle of our brains and bodies.
I was reminded of the many choices we make each and every day about what we allow our minds to think and how that in turn affects our well-being. As Jill began to regain the function of her left hemisphere (the part of her brain damaged by the stroke) she made conscious choices about what part of her personality she would retain – or re-invite to become a permanent part of her healed self.
Jill writes “The portion of my left mind that I chose not to recover was the part of my left hemisphere character that had the potential to be mean, worry incessantly, or be verbally abusive to either myself or others. Frankly, I just didn’t like the way these attitudes felt physiologically inside my body.”
We have so much more power and control over our thoughts and emotions than most of us are willing to admit. Yet when we choose to pay attention, we realize that we always have alternative ways of looking at any situation, alternative angles, alternative perspectives … alternative ways of being who we are and who we want to become.
So the next time that thought comes to mind about why you can’t be who you want to be – “I’m lazy.” “I’m just like my mom.” “I’ll never be as good as fill-in-the-blank.” – Realize those are just thoughts. Just stories you’ve chosen to believe – until now. Now you have another choice. Now you have endless possibilities. Now you get to choose to be who you want to be.
Peace, Love, and Good Books!