When Jill Bolte Taylor speaks, a whole lot of people listen.
She is a phenomenal speaker. She strides on stage, no notes, no teleprompter and for 70 minutes, holds the attention of the audience. Animated, funny, and so crystal clear when talking about neuroscience and our brains that I get it,
Dr. Taylor is a joy to listen to. She should be difficult to understand, a Harvard trained neuro anatomist, a pointy-headed intellectual with credentials that would make most of us take a step back. Instead, she is someone who draws people in, makes them laugh and opens up her world and her life to us.
Her rise to fame has been quick; her journey to get there was incredibly difficult and long.
In 1996, Dr. Taylor, had a massive stroke. This brilliant scientist was so disabled that she could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of her life. Putting on shoes and socks became a challenge. Figuring out why 1 + 1 equaled 2 took her years. All linear processing was gone. For many, this would have been the end; for Dr. Taylor, it was the beginning of an amazing transformation.
All in all, it was 8 years before Dr. Taylor could reclaim her life, herself. But in returning to her life as a neuro anatomist, she brought something else with her. This left-brain scientist was now totally, completely in touch with her right brain.
During her now famous TED Talk, Dr.Taylor describes the two halves of her brain warring for her attention – left brain screaming, “…hey, you’re having a stroke.” Right brain saying, “Hey, wow, we are perfect, we are whole and we are beautiful. And we’re all connected.”
Jill Bolte Taylor is a medical phenomenon because she defied the common diagnoses that says you only have 3 months, 6 months 12 months to recover functions like speech and walking. She is also a phenomenon because she returned to her life changed by the spiritual experience of connecting with her right brain. Scientist and artist live together inside her now.
She is among Time Magazine’s 2008 top 100 most influential people in the world. Also appearing as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Soul Series and on Charlie Rose’s show, Dr. Taylor’s life caught the attention of Hollywood mega-director, Ron Howard who is making a movie based on her book, My Stroke of Insight.
Spend 18 minutes with her on TED and if you get a chance, read her book or see her speak or do both. Or just answer her question: You are the life force power of the universe; how will you spend your energy today?
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