Like Jill Bolte Taylor -- aka The Singing Scientist -- I've experienced brain "trauma" that has radically changed my perspective about how to live. Listening to, and watching Dr. Taylor give her TED talk about her "stroke of insight", I started bawling because I identified so much with her revelation and the potential it has for reshaping the reality of our world.
I suffered my first brain trauma when I was 20: a series of high grade fevers ranging from 103 to 106.7. I emerged from the last one with expressive aphasia, a condition associated with Broca's Area of the brain, the area that governs our use of language and speech patterns. In my case, I lost my ability to locate and select the correct words for what I wanted to say, and, also, my ability to construct sentences using "proper"syntax. So for example, I might be sitting at a bar with a friend, and ask "How's that mascara?" when what I want to say is "How's that margarita?" Or if asking for the time, I might say, "On your wrist, that thing, round, what time shows it?" After maybe five years, I was able to once again feel in control of my language capacity, but the foray into the loss of control was a beautiful and life-enhancing experience for me. The second trauma I experienced at 39 was a brain hemorrhage, specifically a subarachnoid hemorrhage. While I emerged from this "unscathed" (unlike Bolte Taylor did), I did come out of it with an understanding of just how lucky I am to be alive, what an incredible gift it is, and how I never want to take it for granted, how I want to be grateful for my life every single day. Compared to Bolte Taylor's insights, my understanding seems trite. However, as trite as it sounds, the practice of this gratitude, this not-taking-my-life-for-granted is one of the hardest, most complex tasks I've ever undertaken. The outcome of my efforts thus far, however, have shown me that miracles are constantly happening, and are only a blink away from being noticed most of the time. When I shift my gaze, the truth -- nirvana -- really does come into view.
If watching Bolte Taylor's TED talk is difficult from this site, then go here, to TED directly. If you haven't been introduced to TED talks yet, I hope you might find something to appreciate. I feel safe in saying I bet you will.
I read her book and found it fascinating.
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