Allow Your Mind to Stop Thinking
Jill had a stroke at age 37 and the illness changed her life. She no longer was the same person. She is a neuro-scientist who found the stroke to be fully dimensioned and instructive. She remembers every detail of the experience. Ms. Taylor became interested in the workings of the brain because of her love for her schizophrenic brother. She strived to know more about his mental illness.
The morning of her stroke, 12/10/1996, she arose to go to work with a throbbing headache behind her left eye. Thinking she could relieve or ignore the pain, she got on her exerciser and went through the motions. She looked at her body as if out of body. She noticed her hands looked like claws. Her body appeared strangely to her inner eye. Her thoughts began to slow down. She got off the machine and when she walked across the room, her body felt rigid.
As she took her shower, she marveled at the amplified sound of water hitting the shower stall. When the shower water hit her chest and felt like tiny bullets, she knew something was wrong and that she needed to get help.
Yet she felt perplexed, intrigued, almost ecstatic, feeling a new respect for “Life! I am Life! I am cellular, molecular life!” Jane Bolte Taylor saw her body, her form as light, as flowing energy, as a beautiful world within. She said her being was a conglomeration of trillions of organisms, and she felt it all. Oprah then asked Jane if she saw herself as a stroke survivor or a stroke triumphant!!
Jane was delighted to say, “A stroke Triumphant!”
Jill’s stroke was a left brain bleed due to a congenital malformation in the brain, leaving her right brain intact. The right brain represents the Big Picture, the left brain logic, language, detail orientation, and analytic thinking. She lost all memory of who she was, Harvard Brain Scientist, and also lost her identity. She wrote a book about her experience called, “My stroke Of Insight.” Jane said her first stroke of insight was a sense of peace, and she said she experienced nirvana, heaven on earth, love and compassion of mind.
But now she needed to find the motivation to come back from this feeling of total bliss, and seek help. She managed to call her co-worker, by matching forms in her head with the numbers on her phone. But she couldn’t speak. Her co-worker recognized she was in trouble and by the sound of his voice, she knew he was going to get help. Her experience in the hospital gives doctors and nurses something to think about.
- Be responsible for the energy you bring to your patients.
- Show up 100% for your patients. Do not be hurried or rushed.
- Be a safe haven for your patient.
- Soften your voice and be gentle.
- As you care for an elderly patient or parent, know that they are still here. Speak to them eye to eye. Be with them.
At this point, Oprah cried a little. Jane experienced a quiet mind before she had her surgery. Some of the people around her seemed to be thinking, “Poor Jane, she had a stroke.”
But she was experiencing euphoria, a deep place of happiness, even though she could not feed herself, speak or communicate. Her mother, G.G., came to take care of her. G.G. was not negative, did not pity her, and taught her about life, how to get up and walk and count and talk again with a cheerful and persistent attitude. As Jane was learning it all again, she said she felt perfect, whole and beautiful as well as determined to master the intricacies of this physical dimension once again.
Even as she learned her own name again, who she used to be had died, never to return. Her family and friends had to let go of the person she once was and accept her for who she is and allow the freedom for the new Jane to replace the old. It took her 8-9 years before she remembered her old life. She lost all of her old emotional baggage and was determined not to regain or accumulate any more. When people laid their “old stuff” on her she said, No! I won’t do this anymore.
She lost her pain body, as Eckhart Tolle calls it. (The pain body is emotional pain that adds up in a person’s life, and can cause tremendous physical pain). Jill said she changed the rules and created a new game with new rules. She changed her neural circuitry. She said all of us can do this without having a stroke to accomplish the same thing. Do this, Jane says, by paying attention to your thoughts. You are not your thoughts.
By purposely living in the present moment, you are allowing the right hemishere of the brain to take over, and the mind will quickly create restoration to the physical body. Also, by concentration on an attitude of gratitude, the right hemishere takes the reins, and you function from a place of joy and connection. Jane adds, Choose the thoughts that feel good and weed out those that cause resentment, and a belaboring of past hurts. Let go of all of that. Jane says that when we die, we leave behind a memory of who we were. What is most important is: was I kind, did I love, did I treat all people and living creatures with compassion?
Jane said that as a patient, she needed the people who took care of her to recognize:
- I am wounded, not stupid, please respect me.
- Repeat yourself and be patient with me.
- Take your time.
- Connect with me.
- Bring your positive energy.
- Do not raise your voice.
- Touch kindly and appropriately.
- Be with.
- Allow time to answer.
- Listen deeply.
- Be a cheer leader!!
- Expect complete recovery.
As care givers, we must take complete responsibility for our energy.
This is a great lesson, taught by Jane Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.