Posted tagged ‘Jill Bolte Taylor’

‘My Stroke of Insight’ Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

September 13, 2009

        I have not read this one yet, but it is on my ‘must’ list.  Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a neuroscientist by profession who shares her insight into the illness of stroke.  Her book is titled ‘My Stroke of Insight.’

        She knows, and both from a right brain and left brain perspective, because she suffered a stroke herself a few years back.  Like many of us as medical professionals, prior to her stroke she was a left brain human.  Logical, organized, driven, time pressured etc.  I am not judging.  Lord knows I have plenty of ‘Type A’ to go around.

        When she had her stroke she knew it was in the left side of the brain, because she began to lose the use of her right hand, and her speech began to get garbled.  As it progressed, an odd thing happened.  Her right brain took over, and she began to experience an unexplained tranquility.  It was like she was able to step outside herself and look at the situation with near bemusement.  She began to think, “Well, isn’t this interesting?  My, my.  It sure is peaceful over here.”  (Paraphrased)

        The left side fought back.  “What are doing?  You are a scientist.  This is a stroke.  Call 911!”

       She never forgot the feeling, though.  Her full recovery took years, but as her left brain came back to normal, she was still able to tap into the right side and access all those warm fuzzies.  Even after the resolution of her stroke she did not lose that ability.  I think her book is very important.  If we read it with passion we might learn more about how to access both sides of our brain with equal ease.

        I am reminded of the early days when I began to write my book.  Some days I’d come in from work and start to type.  I was still in left brain mode.  I’d send it to my agent and he’d say, “You wrote this like a doctor.  It’s terrible.  Do it over.” 

        He thought about how to break this pony for a while. One day he called.  “I don’t want you to ever write a word until you have strung your mandolin around your neck and played until you have logged into your right brain.”

        It worked.  In fact, what few times I tried to get speed up the process and get it by him he’d notice right away.  “Tear it up.  Go get out your mandolin.”

        The last time I saw Wayne and Kristin Scott Benson we got into a discussion about Ms. Taylor’s book. I told Kristin that I looked forward to the read, but at the same time I had a notion I understood what the doctor was trying to say. 

        Kristin looked at the mandolin case at my feet and smiled.  “That’s how you get there, Doc.”

        How come woman are so intuitive?  She 100% got it.  The mandolin and writing has always taken me over to the tranquil side.  I just didn’t have to suffer a stroke to get there.  I bet there is a lot to learn from Dr. Taylor as to how to access it with more efficiency.  Or maybe I am just too danged left brain-ed analytical about it all, who knows?

      In my next post I plan to share some about the Wayne Benson left-brain right brain balanced mandolin method.  One time I told Kristin it seemed to me Wayne understood the why of how he played better than any great player I’d ever worked  with.

       She just smiled and nodded.  I’m sure she must have wondered how old Doc could be so slow to understand.  To her, as a woman, an artist, and as Wayne’s wife, that understanding was second nature.  It takes a community to make a right brain artist out of a left brain doc, but with the help of ‘The Mandolin Case,’ I’m getting there.

Dr. Taylor’s web site is:

Dr. B