Happiness Addendum | Recommended Reading: My Stroke of Insight

I wrote this last blog about happiness on my digesthis site, http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/pursuit-of-happiness-the-happy-movie-my-stroke-of-insight/

Now I have more to add about this book which I’m finishing, “My Stroke of Insight“. Jill Bolte Taylor also has a TED talk on the subject.

Nirvana is a mere hemisphere away; from the bustling, critical and judgmental ego centered left hemisphere !-)

I think the book should be required reading; not just for people who may know a stroke victim, but for all hospital staff, interns or any persons entering the medical profession who have contact with patients in general. In fact, it is very insightful for every one of us. The author discusses the ways in which our brains function anatomically, and how this translates to our consciousness and choices about how we perceive and operate in the world.

Rather than copying and pasting what I already wrote in the other blog, I welcome you to read it to get the gist of what the author describes after having witnessed having a stroke, from the point of view of a neuro-anatamist. I’ve taken notes on the book “My Stroke of Insight” and posted some here on the blog, along with the Appendix A & B, which contain important information about how to approach communicating with someone who has had a stroke and assessing to what degree they are able to communicate.

Here is some food for thought!

left_right_hemisphere_brain_jill_bolte_taylor_TEDtalk

p 29 Left hemisphere is a serial processor and right hemisphere is a parallel processor

p134 Many speak about how our head (left hemisphere) is telling us something while our heart (right hemisphere) is telling us to do the exact opposite. Some of us distinguish between what we think (left h) and what we feel (right h). Others communicate about our mind consciousness (left h) versus our body’s instinctive consciousness (right h). Some of us talk about our small ego mind (left h) compared with our capital ego mind (right h), or our small self (left h) versus our inner or authentic self (right h). Some delineate between their researcher mind (left h) versus their diplomatic mind (right h). And of course there is our masculine mind (left h) versus our feminine mind (right h), and our yang consciousness (left h) countered by our yin consciousness (right h). And if you are familiar with Carl Jung, there is our sensing mind (left h) versus our intuitive mind (right h), and or judging mind (left h) versus our perceiving mind (right h). Whatever language or terminology you use to describe these two parts, they stem from anatomically two distinct hemispheres inside your head.

p149 Dr. Jerry Joseph “Peacefulness should be the place we begin rather than the place we try to achieve.” “dual interpenetrating awareness”

p150 The more aware you are of how you are influencing the energies around you, the more say you will have (control) in what comes your way. Sure, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you choose to think and feel about those things. Even negative events can be perceived as valuable life lessons, and if you step to perceive things from the right hemisphere of your brain, you can choose to evaluate an experience or situation with compassion.

p151 You can become aware of the cognitive loops that are running in your brain, and focus on how these thought patterns are causing you to feel physiologically in your body. Neuronal loops (circuits) of fear, anxiety, or anger can be triggered by all sorts of different stimulation. But once they are triggered, these different emotions produce predictable physiological responses that you can train yourself to consciously observe, and then allow to dissipate in a matter of 90 seconds, that is, if you choose not to feed them!

p146 She defines responsibility (response ability) as the ability to choose how you will respond to simulation coming through your sensory systems at any time. Although there are certain limbic systems (emotional) programs that can be triggered automatically, it takes less than 90 seconds for these surges to arrive and then be flushed out of your bloodstream. If you remain angry….it is because you have chosen to let that circuit continue to run. Moment by moment you make the choice to either hook into your neurocircuitry, or to step back into the present moment with awareness, and allow the reaction to melt away as a fleeting physiology.

p155 Same thing goes with ‘negative’ thought patterns, or positive ones. It is vital to your own health, and to what kinds of vibes you put out to ripple to other people you directly or indirectly come into contact with. You can choose to hold onto joyful, happy, empathetic, playful and loving thought patterns, and send these physiologically through your body and into the electromagnetic field surrounding you to move onto other people.

p148 Feeling deep inner peace and sharing kindness is always a choice, for all of us!
-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-
Recommendations for Recovery: Ten Assessment Questions

1. Have you had my eyes and ears checked to make sure you know what I can see and hear?
2. Can I discriminate color?
3. Do I perceive three dimensions?
4. Do I have any sense of time?
5. Can I identify all of my body parts as mine?
6. Can I discriminate a voice from background noise?
7. Can I access my food? Can my hands open the containers? Do I have the strength and dexterity to feed myself?
8. Am I comfortable? Am I warm enough? Or thirsty? Or in pain?
9. Am I oversensitive to sensory stimulation (light or sound)? If so, bring me earplugs so I can sleep, and sunglasses so I can keep my eyes open.
10. Can I think linearly? Do I know what socks and shoes are? Do I know that my socks go on before my shoes?

40 Things A Stroke Survivor May Need

We would highly recommend Jill Bolte Taylor’s My Stroke of Insight,  the story of the author’s experience with her own stroke and recovery.  We particularly like the appendix section titled “Forty Things I Needed Most.”  In fact, immediately after a parent’s stroke, it may be difficult to find time to read any more than that.  But it is well worth it:  It tells you how you can be most helpful to your parent.  Below are Taylor’s 40 things she needed most.

1. I am not stupid, I am wounded.  Please respect me.
2. Come close, speak slowly, and enunciate clearly.
3. Repeat yourself – assume I know nothing and start from the beginning, over and over.
4. Be as patient with me the twentieth time you teach me something as you were the first.
5. Approach me with an open heart and slow your energy down.  Take your time.
6. Be aware of what your body language and facial expressions are communicating to me.
7. Make eye contact with me.  I am in here – come find me.  Encourage me.
8. Please don’t raise your voice – I’m not deaf, I’m wounded.
9. Touch me appropriately and connect with me.
10. Honor the healing power of sleep.
11. Protect my energy.  No talk radio, TV, or nervous visitors!  Keep visitation brief (five minutes).
12. Stimulate my brain when I have any energy to learn something new, but know that a small amount may wear me out quickly.
13. Use age-appropriate (toddler) educational toys and books to teach me.
14. Introduce me to the world kinesthetically.  Let me feel everything.  (I am an infant again.)
15. Teach me with monkey-see, monkey-do behavior.
16. Trust that I am trying – just not with your skill level or on your schedule.
17. Ask me multiple-choice questions.  Avoid Yes/No questions.
18. Ask me questions with specific answers.  Allow me time to hunt for an answer.
19. Do not assess my cognitive ability by how fast I can think.
20. Handle me gently, as you would handle a newborn.
21. Speak to me directly, not about me to others.
22. Cheer me on.  Expect me to recover completely, even if it takes twenty years!
23. Trust that my brain can always continue to learn.
24. Break all actions down into smaller steps of action.
25. Look for what obstacles prevent me from succeeding on a task.
26. Clarify for me what the next level or step is so I know what I am working toward.
27. Remember that I have to be proficient at one level of function before I can move on to the next level.
28. Celebrate all of my little successes.  They inspire me.
29. Please don’t finish my sentences for me or fill in words I can’t find.  I need to work my brain.
30. If I can’t find an old file, make it a point to create a new one.
31. I may want you to think I understand more than I really do.
32. Focus on what I can do rather than bemoan what I cannot do.
33. Introduce me to my old life.  Don’t assume that because I cannot play like I used to play that I won’t continue to enjoy music or an instrument, etc.
34. Remember that in the absence of some functions, I have gained other abilities.
35. Keep me familiar with my family, friends, and loving support.  Build a collage wall of cards and photos that I can see.  Label them so I can review them.
36. Call in the troops!  Create a healing team for me.  Send word out to everyone so they can send me love.  Keep them abreast of my condition and ask them to do specific things to support me – like visualize me being able to swallow with ease or rocking my body up into a sitting position.
37. Love me for who I am today.  Don’t hold me to being the person I was before.  I have a different brain now.
38. Be protective of me but do not stand in the way of my progress.
39. Show me old video footage of me doing things to remind me about how I spoke, walked, and gestured.
40. Remember that my medications probably make me feel tired, as well as mask my ability to know what it feels like to be me.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/oprahradio/Jill-Bolte-Taylors-10-Assessment-Questions#ixzz2O6cmYKcf

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About carolkeiter
Aspiring writer, artist, musician and composer who was born and raised in the United States and has resided in several European countries. Communication is my forte; both through using various tools and in approaching people of divers backgrounds to gather information. Speak conversational - advanced intermediate - French, German and Spanish. Love interacting with people in cultural centers as much as going to remote places to learn more about the different creatures that share our planet. Love of the outdoors and of a variety of outdoor sports. Driven to learn and expand my own consciousness and understanding through curiosity and love of life. Creative skills merge with analytical ones, leading to an interest in a myriad of topics; ranging from politics, economics, science to environmental. Motivated to use my art, music and writing to support and educate people towards humane practices that support and respect all of life, including practices supporting a healthy planet.

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