On December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist, experienced a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. As she observed her mind deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life-all within four hours-Taylor alternated between the euphoria of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace, and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized she was having a stroke and enabled her to seek help before she was completely lost. It would take her eight years to fully recover.
For Taylor, the stroke was a blessing and a revelation. It taught her that by "stepping to the right" of our left brains, we can all uncover feelings of well-being that are often sidelined by "brain chatter." In My Stroke of Insight, Taylor provides a valuable recovery guide for those touched by brain injury and an inspiring testimony that inner peace is accessible to anyone.
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About the Author
Jill Bolte Taylor is a neuroanatomist who teaches at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Bloomington, Indiana. She is the National Spokesperson for the Mentally Ill for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (Brain Bank) and the Consulting Neuroantomist for the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute. Since 1993 she has been an active member of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Her story has been featured on the PBS program Understanding Amazing Brain, among others. She was interviewed on NPR’s Infinite Mind and ABC News, and was named one of The 100 of the World’s Most Influential People of 2008 in Time Magazine.
Read an Excerpt
It was 7:00 am on December 10, 1996. I sluggishly awoke to a sharp pain piercing my brain directly behind my left eye. Squinting into the early morning light, I clicked off the impending alarm with my right hand and instinctively pressed the palm of my left hand firmly against the side of my face. Rarely ill, I thought how queer it was for me to awaken to such a striking pain. As my left eye pulsed with a slow and deliberate rhythm, I felt bewildered and irritated.
As I rolled out of my warm waterbed, I stumbled into the world with the ambivalence of a wounded soldier. I closed the bedroom window blind to block the incoming stream of light from stinging my eyes. I decided that exercise might get my blood flowing and perhaps help dissipate the pain. Within moments, I hopped on to my "cardio-glider" (a full body exercise machine) and began jamming away to Shania Twain singing the lyrics, "Whose bed have your boots been under?". Immediately, I felt a powerful and unusual sense of dissociation roll over me. Even though my thoughts seemed lucid, my body felt irregular. As I watched my hands and arms rocking forward and back, forward and back, in opposing synchrony with my torso, I felt strangely detached from my normal cognitive functions. It was as if the integrity of my mind/body connection had somehow become compromised.
Feeling detached from normal reality, I felt as though I was observing myself in motion, as in the playback of a memory, as if my conscious mind was suspended somewhere between my normal reality and some esoteric space. I was sure I was awake, yet, I felt as if I was trapped inside the perception of a meditation that I could neither stop nor escape. Dazed, I felt the frequency of shooting pangs escalate inside my brain, and I realized that this exercise regime was probably not a good idea.
Feeling a little nervous about my physical condition, I climbed off the machine and bumbled through my living room on the way to the bath. As I walked, I noticed that my movements were no longer fluid. Instead they felt deliberate and almost jerky. There was no grace to my pace and my balance was so impaired that my mind seemed completely preoccupied with just keeping me upright.
As I lifted my leg to step into the tub, I held on to the wall for support. It seemed odd that I could sense the inner activities of my brain as it adjusted and readjusted all of the opposing muscle groups in my lower extremities to prevent me from falling over. I was momentarily privy to a precise and experiential understanding of how hard the fifty trillion cells in my brain and body were working in perfect unison to maintain the flexibility and integrity of my physical form.
Ignorant to the degree of danger my body was in, I balanced my weight against the shower wall. As I leaned forward to turn on the faucet, I was startled by an abrupt and exaggerated clamor as water surged into the tub. This unexpected amplification of sound was both enlightening and disturbing. It brought me to the realization that, in addition to having problems with coordination and equilibrium, my ability to process incoming sound (auditory information) was erratic. For the first time, I considered the possibility that I was perhaps having a major neurological malfunction that was life threatening.
In that instant, I suddenly felt vulnerable, and I noticed that the constant brain chatter that routinely familiarized me with my surroundings was no longer a predictable and constant flow of conversation. Instead, my verbal thoughts were now inconsistent, fragmented, and interrupted by an intermittent silence.
As my brain chatter began to disintegrate, I felt an odd sense of isolation. My blood pressure must have been dropping as a result of the bleeding in my brain because I felt as if all of my systems, including my mind's ability to instigate movement, were moving into a slow mode of operation. Yet, even though my thoughts were no longer a constant stream of chatter about the external world and my relationship to it, I was conscious and constantly present within my mind.
What is going on? I wondered. Have I ever experienced anything like this before? Have I ever felt like this before? This feels like a migraine. What is happening in my brain?
The harder I tried to concentrate, the more fleeting my ideas seemed to be. Instead of finding answers and information, I met a growing sense of peace. As the language centers in my left hemisphere grew increasingly silent, my consciousness soared into an all-knowingness, a "being at one" with the universe, if you will. In a compelling sort of way, it felt like the good road home and I liked it.
By this point I had lost touch with much of the physical three-dimensional reality that surrounded me. My body was propped up against the shower wall and I found it odd that I was aware that I could no longer clearly discern the physical boundaries of where I began and where I ended. Instead, I now blended in with the space and flow around me.
When the shower droplets beat into my chest like little bullets, I was harshly startled back into this reality. As I held my hands up in front of my face and wiggled my fingers, I was simultaneously perplexed and intrigued. Wow, what a strange and amazing thing I am. What a bizarre living being I am. Life! I am life! I am trillions of cells sharing a common mind. I am here, now, thriving as life. Wow! What an unfathomable concept!
In this altered state of being, my mind was no longer preoccupied with that brain chatter that customarily kept me abreast of myself in relation to the world outside of me. In the absence of those little voices my memories of the past and my dreams of the future evaporated. I was alone.
I must admit that the growing void in my traumatized brain was entirely seductive. I eagerly turned my focus inward to the steadfast drumming of the trillions of brilliant cells that worked diligently and synchronously to maintain my body's steady state of homeostasis. As the blood poured in over my brain, my consciousness slowed to a soothing and satisfying awareness that embraced the vast and wondrous world within. I was both fascinated and humbled by how hard my little cells worked, moment by moment, just to maintain the integrity of my existence in this physical form.
For the first time, I felt truly at one with my body as a complex construction of living, thriving organisms. I was proud to see that I was this swarming conglomeration of cellular life that had stemmed from the intelligence of a single molecular genius! As my consciousness slipped into a state of peaceful grace, I felt ethereal. Although the pulse of pain in my brain was inescapable, it was not debilitating.
Standing there with the water pounding onto my breasts, a tingling sensation surged through my chest and forcefully radiated upward into my throat. Startled, I became instantly aware that I was in grave danger. Shocked back into this external reality, I immediately reassessed the abnormalities of my physical systems. Determined to understand what was going on, I actively scanned my reservoir of education in demand of a self-diagnosis. What is going on with my body? What is wrong with my brain?
I was literally thrown off balance when my right arm dropped completely paralyzed against my side. In that moment I knew. Oh my gosh, I'm having a stroke! I'm having a stroke! And in the next instant, the thought flashed through my mind, Wow, this is so cool!
I kept thinking, Wow, how many scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain function and mental deterioration from the inside out ? My entire life had been dedicated to my own understanding of how the human brain creates our perception of reality. And now I was experiencing this most remarkable stroke of insight!
I wondered if it would ever be normal again. I fathomed the gravity of my immediate situation. Although I was compelled by a sense of urgency to orchestrate my rescue, another part of me delighted in the euphoria of my irrationality. I stepped across the threshold of my bedroom, and as I gazed into the eyes of my reflected image, I paused for a moment, in search of some guidance or profound insight. In the wisdom of my dementia, I understood that my body was, by the magnificence of its biological design, a precious and fragile gift.
Even in this condition, the egotistical mind of my left hemisphere arrogantly retained the belief that although I was experiencing a dramatic mental incapacity, my life was invincible. Optimistically, I believed that I would recover completely from this morning's events. Feeling a little irritated by this impromptu disruption of my work schedule, I bantered, Okay, well, I'm having a stroke. Yep, I'm having a stroke…but I'm a very busy woman! All right, since I can't stop this stroke from happening, then, okay, I'll do this for a week! I'll learn what I need to know about how my brain creates my perception of reality and then I'll meet my schedule, next week. Now, what am I doing? Getting help. I must stay focused and get help. To my counterpart in the looking glass I pleaded, Remember, please remember everything you are experiencing! Let this be my stroke of insight into the disintegration of my own cognitive mind.
Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from MY STROKE OF INSIGHT
Copyright © MY STROKE OF INSIGHT, INC., 2008
Table of Contents
Introduction: Heart to Heart, Brain to Brain xiii
1 Jill's Pre-Stroke Life 1
2 Simple Science 9
3 Hemispheric Asymmetries 26
4 Morning of the Stroke 36
5 Orchestrating My Reduce 48
6 My Return to the Still 58
7 Bare to the Bone 66
8 Neurological Intensive Care 76
9 Day Two: The Morning After 83
10 Day Three: G.G. Comes to Town 89
11 Healing and Preparing for Surgery 96
12 Stereotactic Craniotomy 112
13 What I Needed the Most 115
14 Milestones for Recovery 128
15 My Stroke of Insight 138
16 My Right and Left Minds 144
17 Own Your Power 153
18 Cells and Multidimensional Circuitry 157
19 Finding Your Deep Inner Peace 168
20 Tending the Garden 185
Recommendation for Recovery
Appendix A Ten Assessment Questions 191
Appendix B Forty Things I Needed Most 193
The Harvard Brian Bank 197
What People are Saying About This
"Transformative...[Taylor's] experience...will shatter [your] own perception of the world."
"[Dr. Taylor] brings a deep personal understanding to something she long studied: that the two lobes of the brain have very different personalities."
-The New York Times
"Fascinating...invaluable...fearless...This book is about the wonder of being human."
-Robert Koehler, Tribune Media Services
[T]here is comfort in better grasping what has gone wrong, and enlightenment for those around you when they grasp it too. None of us needs sympathy; what we do need is a helping hand and understanding. Someone like Taylor provides that, helping a terrible blow become far less so.
1. You describe the series of strange sensations your body was going through the morning of the stroke. At what point did you realize how serious the situation was?
From the moment I woke up with a pulsating headache, I was aware that something was not right. While in the shower, when the sound of the water surging into the tub knocked me over, I was aware that I was having a major neurological phenomenon. However, I did not realize that I was l was experiencing a stroke until my right arm went totally paralyzed by my side.
2. What was your immediate reaction?
When I first realized that I was having a stroke my left hemisphere brain chatter said to me, "Oh my gosh, I'm having a stroke!" Immediately following that, it exclaimed, "Wow, this is so cool!" You have to understand that I had spent my entire life studying the brain from the outside in. On that morning, I had an opportunity few scientists will ever have - the ability to study their own brain from the inside out! It was a fascinating experience . . . through the eyes of a trained scientist.
3. As a neuroanatomist, you're an expert on the brain. What was the most unexpected thing you learned from actually having a stroke?
I did not realize that I was capable of experiencing bliss and deep inner peace. When my left hemisphere and its ongoing brain chatter became completely non-functional, I shifted into an incredible state of euphoria. It was a really beautiful experience that I was not aware of ever experiencing before.
4. What helped you the most during your decade of recovery?
I owe my entire ability to recover to my mother GG Taylor. She cameto my side immediately, and recognized that I was now an infant in a woman's body. Even in this completely debilitated condition, she treated me with respect and together we embarked upon trying to figure out what my brain cells needed in order to recover health and function. One of the most important things we did was that we focused on my abilities rather than my disabilities and we gave my brain the sleep it desperately needed in order for the cells to recover. In addition, we did what we needed to do to take care of my brain, realizing that if my brain cells were happy and functional, then I could be happy and functional.
5. Now that you've experienced living in your right brain, can you go back to that euphoric place at will?
Yes, the beauty of our brain is that both of the hemispheres are always active so the bliss of my right hemisphere is always a circuitry that I can tap into. I believe we all have this ability. We have the ability to choose to pay attention to the circuitry of our chattering left hemispheres and attend to the details in our lives, or we have the cognitive ability to change what we are thinking about, choose to take a pause, take a breath, step back and look at the big picture of who we are and what are we doing here as a magnificent life force power in physical form. We are always using both halves of our brains and we make choices thousands of times a day about how we want to perceive something. An easy example of this is listening to a piece of music. You can choose to listen to the piece as a whole creation or you can choose to focus on each of the instruments playing its line. You can choose to listen and think with language, or choose to think and interact with the ongoing kinesthetic stimulation your body is receiving.
6. You're still a neuroanatomist, and you remain affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine. How has the stroke changed your approach to studying and teaching about the brain?
I have a very different perspective of myself in relationship to the external world and I am no longer worried about or focused on my own personal gain or value. As a result, I have shifted my concern to the students and the quality of their education. I teach them about the value of compassion and about the choices they are consciously or unconsciously making day by day. I try to instill in them an awareness of their responsibility for how they present themselves to their patients with the hope that they will become more caring physicians.
My interests in research have also shifted away from choosing to work in a lab environment where I spend endless hours in isolation, to working with helping others find the resources they need to recover. I have become much more of a humanitarian.
7. And what can your readers learn from your experience?
I believe that this book is of tremendous value to anyone who has a brain that they would like to create a better relationship with. Caregivers of anyone who is ill will walk away with a shifted perception of what the brain needs in order to recover and a toolbox of recommendations to help someone in need. Anyone who has experienced a brain trauma of any sort will also be armed with real strategies to help them help themselves during the process of neurological recovery. Spiritual seekers will better understand the neurocircuitry underlying the ability of our brains to have a spiritual experience, and how they can work with themselves to shift their own perceptions. People who are extremely right hemisphere dominant find validation as to why "they are the way they are" and that it is healthy to celebrate that. Also, anyone interested in learning more about how to "get their brain to do what they want it to do" will rejoice in the cacophony of practical information.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor has put together an awesome book! My Stoke of Insight: A Brain Scientists Personal Journey is extremely well written. What are the odds that someone with such extraordinary knowledge of the brain and at the height of her career would have a stroke at the age of 37 and live to share such an amazing journey with us? That, coupled with her talent as a writer is unique and extremely interesting.
This book is written on a level that average people can comprehend. Step-by-step the author describes how she felt, how others treated her, and what happened to her brain and abilities during her left brain deterioration beginning on December 10, 1996 and the 8 year healing process she endured.
The author explains her nirvana like existence when her right brain was dominant while her left brain was healing. Her ability to live in the moment and observe her thoughts in a detached manner to reach a peaceful state as a result of her connection to her right brain is described by many other authors as "Mindfulness Meditation."
Enthralled with the story, I could not put this book down. I doubt that there is another book written by a person with firsthand expert knowledge of what it is like to have and recover from a stroke. I am glad I read this book and recommend it to people who are interested in study of the brain or those who like biographical stories of people who not only survive, but grow out of the depths of catastrophe. OUTSTANDING!
My physical therepist referred this book to me last year--I had an accident which resulted in brain trauma. This book gave me hope, encouragement, and was very informative and enlightening. As a result of reading this book, I was able to give myself time to heal and know that healing was happening. I am blessed with 100 percent recovery! I would recommend every person in a health care profession, every caretaker, and every family member of anyone with a history of stroke or who has encountered brain trauma read this.
I'm the type of person that would read only romance novels. But because my mother and others have had strokes I wanted to read this book. I hoped that from the reviews I read that it would give me insight into what had happened to them and how they felt. Let me tell you I was NOT disappointed. This book is great. So if you know someone this will help you understand more.
The ratings guide should make an exception with this book in order to capture its true value to readers. I've read many other 5 Star books, but I would rate this book in a class of its own above them all. Jill Taylor is a true inspiration, so full of wisdom and information and compassion and love. I plan to share her messages and this book with everyone I know. no wonder it's on the New York Times bestseller list every week. I will remember this book for the rest of my life.
This book demonstrates the power of the right brain. As a man who was brought up to believe that the left brain is most important - think don't feel - I very much enjoyed the author's account of her loss of left brain activity and how she lived in her right brain and recovered. THis is a must read.
This author, an expert in brain anatomy, describes her experience of her own stroke as she experienced it. Most helpful is her description of her inner thoughts during and about her rehabilitation. Helpful for anyone attempting to encourage and support someone recovering from this type of stroke. Moves into a celebration of life and touches on psycho-neurology in a way the general public can understand.
I was lucky to hear Dr. Taylor speak at a conference this past year. She is an amazing person that can show everyone not to focus on the negatives and embrace life! I love her quote "the TRY is everything". This is also a must read for any health care individual, especially those caring for stroke victims.
Wonderfully candid, inspirational read! Such a serious subject matter handled with humor, depth, insight, and love. Dr .Taylor shares so much with the reader that you are left feeling as if she is your friend or sister. This book is A MUST READ!
As a therapist working with stroke patients, this book gave me insight into what it was like to have a stroke and what recovery 'felt' like to the person. Great simple writing and truly amazing story, I've recommended it over and over again to colleagues, clients, and family members.
Excellent, inspiring and fascinating.
I first learned about Jill Bolte Taylor thru a 20 minute online video in which she spoke of her stroke and briefly described how it changed her in so many positive ways. I was absolutely amazed and enthralled by her story, but didn't know who she was and didn't realize this book existed. Some time later I was delighted to see it in an airport bookstore, and once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down! This book has affected SO many areas of my life, but most importantly it has provided me a better understanding of myself. It helped me to see that the habitual negative patterns of thought I had become comfortable with in my life (in spite of the fact that I disliked my own negativity) could really be changed. After reading it I undertand WHY it is that by consistently CHOOSING to think and respond with patience, kindness, and forgiveness, these desired characteristics do, in time, become one's habitual way of feeling and reacting to the world. Understanding the "why" of things is very important to me - if I can't understand why, I can't believe in the outcome. After reading My Stroke, it became clear to me HOW the process works, I could believe in it, and practice it, and experience it in my own life! Rather than immediately responding with selfishness, anger, or resentment, I learned that I can build new neuronal paths that temper my reaction with more altruistic thoughts. And that has positively affected every square inch of my life, including my work, my marriage, my children, my spiritual practice. Amazing! And besides all that, it's just a good read - I highly recommend it.
More than the memoirs of a stroke victim, this book actually takes you inside the stroke event. Taylor shares her perceptions of the stroke as it is happening, enhancing the images with scientific descriptions of what is actually happening in the brain at the time. Because of her training she is able to clearly describe her feelings, emotions and fears while looking at them from the perspective of a physician as well as a patient. Information provided in this book is invaluable to the recovering stroke patient and to those who care for them. It is a book I have shared with many and will continue to share with many more.
As someone who cares for stroke patients I found it to be insightful and inspirational and all caregivers for stroke victims would be well served to read this.
My psychiatrist recommended this book since we had been discussing right and left brain effects on personality. I have multiple sclerosis and while the slow, progressive creep of cognitive disfuntion is in stark contrast to the rapid onset and initial alleviation experienced by Ms. Taylor, her comments about the effect of her stroke on the separate areas of the brain gave me greater insight into what happens physically. In addition, her thoughts on the imact in her life and the choices she made based on that impact have provided new discussion points.
Her input on the treatment and interaction with stroke patients is profound and ought to be incorporated into basic medical training. After you hear what she has to say, you think "But isn't that obvious?" Sadly, it doesn't seem to be.
All "review" speak aside, this is an excellent book. I recommend it to anyone having to deal with illness or injury to the brain, either their own or of someone they love. Ms. Taylor gives you a best-friend-holding-your-hand-over-a-cup-of-coffee view of a hard to understand issue.
This is the most important nonfiction book written in recent years. Because of her education Dr. Taylor is able to explain to the average reader the physical and personal events that happen to a person during brain injury. This has never been documented before to my knowledge. Understanding is key to appropriate care and interaction with the patient for a caregiver. The insight that can be obtained from this book is monumental! I recommend it highly as it was recommended to be by a friend who works in another field of healthcare. I purchased a second copy and donated to our professional library at the hospital where I work.
Rarely does a book come along that is so moving and inspirational that it is hard to put down and at the same time thought provoking. 'My Stroke of Insight' is told in the unique voice of a brain scientist who had a stroke and prevailed and even lived a better life because of this experience. But it is not the hardship that you will remember after reading this book, it's Dr. Taylor's unique view on life and her lessons of how we can all live our best lives, and live better with one another, that will live in our memories for a long time to come after reading this beautifully written memoir. My Stroke of Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is by far the best non-fiction book in print today and a must read for all book groups and readers looking for inspiration and understanding.
There are several aspects of this book that are unique to the universal message contained. What I like the most is the scientific approach in Jills journey to discovery. This book has a 'real' feel to it which anyone, skeptic or not, can begin to understand what enlightenment is all about. Another aspect which changed my perception was how those with some form of brain damage may be perceiving the world and those around them. I've always been one to feel uncomfortable around those who are mentally handicapped, feeling ignorant of how to be around these people. Now, I'm able to see them in a totally different way and treat them kindly with the understanding that they may be able to 'read' my body language or attitude. I highly recommend this book!
This book was very enlightning for me...my mom had 3 strokes on the left side of her brain, I was able to understand what my mom was going through with the help of Jill Taylor, bought this book for mom's nurses and it is being passed around to other nurses.
The workings of the mind seen from a new perspective by someone with a scientific background who was awakended to her full potential by what seemed at first to be a terrible experience. It was informative and made the science accessible but it's great value to me was in the author's insights about the workings of the non-logical aspects of the mind and what might be the implications for the whole of humanity.
Ms. Taylor's telling tale of her individual courage in the midst and eventual dealing of the stroke that struck her life at an early age of 37. She has relayed the intricacies of the function and design of the human brain and explains those intricacies in a simple and understandable manner. Her courage and intellect is inspiring.
My therapist recommended this book as a way of gaining insight into the way our brains cause us to form perhaps overly rigid identities. It was especially helpful to me in understanding why a sense of lacking a solid identify may not be such a bad thing. Dr. Taylor experienced a complete change in her perceptions and abilities as a result of a massive brain hemorrhage. She came to treasure at least some of her experience even as she fought to overcome it.
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's story of being a neuroanatomist (I think) and 'WATCHING' her very own stroke occur -- and her recovery process, which was extensive -- shares a story like no other. My mother suffered many small strokes over a period of about 4 years, and then she had two larger strokes (although nothing like Jill's) in quick succession, thereby rendering her a patient in a rehab facility for 20 months before she died. IF I HAD KNOWN HOW A STROKE PATIENT FEELS in those moments right after it happens, and in the days following as they struggle to speak, to get "their words" back ... my family and I could have related to Mom in a more capable and comforting fashion. That they need to be talked to slowly and quietly -- with eye to eye contact -- that you must be GENTLE with them -- they can hear you - they may not understand, but they do hear you and they probably DO know what you are saying or asking of them ... BUT YOU MUST BE GENTLE. We were gentle and patient with Mom, but I wish we had known more. ALL THAT, and then there is this. Reading MY STROKE OF INSIGHT taught me a lot about our left brain / right brain functions. Which side does what, which side controls which daily functions -- and when Jill tells us that we can 'switch', consciously, from left to right -- to take a break from the unceasing CHATTER (left brain) in our heads -- that chatter that can sometimes drive us near-crazy -- TO TAKE A BREAK from that by 'visiting' our right brain and just BEING, maybe being creative and calm and blissful -- THAT was life-changing for me. As a retired interior designer, who now takes a lot of art lessons and workshops -- I find that the more time I spend in my RIGHT BRAIN, the calmer and more headache-free I can be. It's really quite amazing. Thank you to Jill for sharing her story. I didn't want the book to end! She's an inspiration to me, and I'm sure, to millions.
In August 2008, I watched Jille's interviews with Oprah on line. The night before, we had tornadic activity in the area and I recall thinking how absurdly quiet it was once the worst of the first storm went through. For some reason I was (finally) drawn back to 'soul' searching and sat to watch the interviews. Immediately, I was buzzing. I felt only part of my little molecules heating up-but I was so on fire, I eagerly searched for a way to dissipate some energy so that I could handle what seemed to be happening within me. Jille's descriptions of overwhelm of sensory stimuli explains this event well. After the 3rd interview, I left to pick up my daughter from the bus station about 45 minute's drive away. I had to keep the radio off and although the heat of the day had encroached at 10 am, I could not turn the air conditioner in the car on. I had to keep the windows open. The further I drove through city and town toward my destination, I felt like I was picking up electricity from areas where the power went out and had no yet been restored. I brought a journal with me just to write words to capture the insights I was having about my own life. Later in the afternoon, once my daughter settled in and I had quiet time, I had to SLEEP! It was the most glorious 20 minutes I have spent with myself recently. Amazingly, the world outside was once again very silent-at 3:30 in the afternoon! When I woke, despite traffic light malfunctions between me and the nearest book store, I left on my quest to buy the book. The buzzing still has not worn off or even died down. I am highlighting things, writing in margins. What a glorious journey this book has opened for me. Jilles' journey as a brain scientist at the mercy of her own brain is written to help every reader to understand how powerful your own brain and beliefs are. She also weaves in research and data for those who need proof. Beyond general science, Jille takes you further into the quantum physics arena by describing how she transformed her own life by understanding the connections within and outside of the brain as an organ. Written in easy to read and understand language, this book is an amazing adventure. Currently, my husband and I refer to this book for understanding and explaining to my father in law some of what he is experiencing as he recovers from his stroke. Although a completely different type of stroke, most of Jille's wisdom applies to his situation. At least pick up the book and read through the top 40 things Jille needed most from others. One gem: realize that stroke patients may not be able to "think" the way they used to think. So, expecting them to respond as they previously did may be putting them under pressure to do something they are not (yet) capable of doing, such as taking part in a conversation involving more than themselves and one other with the TV on in the background! Think "toddler" and allow them time to relearn things they used to know.
At a time where many are looking for ways to become spiritual and live in the present moment, this book will open your eyes, and mind, to the possibilities that exist within. This is definitely a WOW story. I have passed it on to others.
I wish I had this book and information 25 years ago, when my husband suffered a stroke and lived as hemi-plegic for 25 years with a good mind but with the inability to talk and walk. Sharing and explaining the feelings of a stroke person I can realize what he went through. The writer's determination and knowledge of how the brain works give us an insight and hope for all the future sttroke victims