Inspiration and Reflection Part Three

by Penny Boreham

Dr Jill Bolte Taylor holding a brain

Dr Jill Bolte Taylor holding a brain

In this series of blogs – Inspiration and Reflection, members of staff at Khiron House are choosing and sharing the words of an inspiring thinker/writer/practitioner who has made an impact on them and encouraged them to reflect more deeply on the work they do. Today one of our practitioners, Humphrey Bacchus, who is Khiron House’s clinical nutritionist and also experienced in therapeutic bodywork and functional medicine, chooses an extract from neuroanatomist Dr Jill Bolte Taylor’s book ‘My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey’, which vividly describes her own stroke and her road to recovery.

Jill Bolte Taylor was a 37-year-old Harvard-trained and published brain scientist when a blood vessel exploded in her brain.

Extract from Dr Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, chosen by Humphrey Bacchus:

“Immediately, I felt a powerful and unusual sense of dissociation roll over me. I felt so peculiar that I questioned my well-being. 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 seemed to be witnessing my activity as opposed to feeling like the active participant performing the action. I felt as though I was observing myself in motion, as in the playback of a memory. My fingers, as they grasped onto the handrail, looked like primitive claws. For a few seconds I rocked and watched, with riveting wonder, as my body oscillated rhythmically and mechanically. My torso moved up and down in perfect cadence with the music and my head continued to ache”.

 Humphrey Bacchus’ reflections

I have been reflecting on the words of Dr Jill Bolte Taylor, as she describes herself experiencing a stroke – they give a strong expression of her lucid disassociation during a developing haemorrhage and also mirror the disassociation of mind and body as a result of emotional trauma.

Her words are deeply personal and touched me deeply as her recovery was dependent on the love and support of those around her, her ability to commit to her rehabilitation process and to listening to her body’s innate healing capacity.

What was most important in her healing process was balancing the hard work needed to retrain healthy neural function with restorative sleep and nutrition. She also realised that the environment that she surrounded herself with directly allowed her body/mind/spirit to express itself in different ways. She was the architect of her own journey.

The journey each person takes to model a different future and associate with the present after a traumatic past is dependent on the influence of those lifestyle, social and nutritional patterns that are developed in recovery.

This excerpt from her book reminds me of how far from the present both physical and emotional trauma can take us, and that we have the ability to heal ourselves with careful guidance from ourselves and those around us.

You might also want to watch Jill Bolte Taylor’s inspiring TED talk on this subject:-

 This was the third in a series of blogs in which the staff at Khiron House will choose and share the words of an inspiring thinker/writer/practitioner who has made an impact on them and has encouraged them to reflect more deeply on the work they are currently practicing.

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