It’s not our WHOLE brain that drives us crazy!

First, Happy New Year!

Lately I have developed an interest in how our brains work.   I am no expert and never will be, but I am an avid student.   My interest started with a lecture by David Rock that I attended a couple of years ago.   Most recently, I read My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor.  This book really made an impact on me, in both my behaviour and my thinking.

Jill Bolte Taylor explains so effectively that it is our left side of our brain which contains the brain chatter, the continuous voice that talks to us, the inner critic, or gremlin.    This is the side that can drive us (me!) crazy.

When Jill Bolte Taylor had her stroke about 10 years ago, her left side was debilitated, leaving her right side to dominate.  She felt peace, euphoria, an interconnectedness with the world.  She was living only in the present moment.    (She was also incapable of understanding language and was like an infant in an adult’s body in many ways.)  Bolte Taylor has since fully recovered but she has chosen to be a little different from how she was before her stroke, because of her stroke of insight.

Her stroke of insight was, as she explains it, that we all have this in us, this peace, euphoria and interconnectedness with the world, this living in the present moment.   We just have to access it more effectively and more often.  We do this by quieting that voice in our left brain.   She makes suggestions as to how to do this.  Some suggestions that have stayed with me are so simple, like being able to notice what my senses are taking in at any given moment.  Noticing what I am seeing, what I am hearing, what I am tasting, what I am smelling, what I am feeling inside.   When I am doing this noticing, I cannot also be producing and listening to brain chatter.  I feel more centred, grounded and peaceful and can also hear that quieter voice of wisdom that is inside me that is often crowded out, drowned out by the brain chatter.  This is the voice that says “everything is good”,  “everything is going to be all right.”   When I try this, my breath slows.  I feel more energetic.  I have a much-needed break from myself!  Aha, no wonder a walk in the woods makes us feel better!

And then the interesting part is that this just gets easier with practice.  I notice more when my brain is chattering and  I feel empowered about stepping aside and filling myself up with more of the right brain-induced sensations.  I have much-needed breaks from myself more often.  I invite you to try this and let me know what you discover!

So, it may be obvious to you that I see a connection between  Jill Bolte Taylor’s insight  what reflection can do for us (and I include coaching as one way of reflecting).  See my free reflection PDF for more!  Please click below.

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4 Responses to It’s not our WHOLE brain that drives us crazy!
  1. Judy Krings
    January 17, 2011 | 4:54 pm

    Love the metaphor. I especially love being left handed to hopefully be more in my right mind! Thanks for you insights.

    • Milisa Burns
      January 18, 2011 | 4:44 pm

      Judy, thanks for your feedback! I am firmly a right handed person, so I welcome any help I can get to get to the left side! 🙂

  2. Joan Hitchens
    July 28, 2013 | 9:48 am

    Hi Milisa.

    I love Jill Boldt Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight! This was one of the changing books in my life to seeking a more right-sided existence with my overly-analytical self. Probably more important was my realization that we have a choice to become more balanced in our brain.

    Thank you for your blog. I just popped in to share some of your words with a friend and found some I like, too.

    ~Joan

    • Milisa Burns
      July 31, 2013 | 8:18 am

      Hi Joan, thanks for your comment! I agree – the realization that we have a a choice to exert some control over our brains is a total game-changer. I am so glad my words were helpful. warmly, Milisa

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