A once in a lifetime exchange with the awakened scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor on her brilliant new book, Whole Brain Living. We also talk about her stroke of insight and so much more. Jill really opens up her soul and shares a beautiful mixture of science and mystery.
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist who experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain in 1996. On the afternoon of this rare form of stroke (AVM), she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. It took eight years for Dr. Jill to completely recover all of her functions and thinking ability. She is the author of The New York Times bestselling memoir My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey (published in 2008 by Viking Penguin). In 2008, Dr. Jill gave a presentation at the TED Conference in Monterey, CA, which has become the second most viewed TED Talk of all time. This now famous 18-minute presentation catapulted her story into the public eye. As a result, she was chosen as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008. In addition, Dr. Jill was the premiere guest on Oprah’s Soul Series web-cast and was interviewed by Oprah and Dr. Oz on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2008.
Dr. Jill is working on the creation of a serious game for health for neurological recovery. She feels passionate about helping others find their way back from neurological trauma. In addition, she is working on her next book and is excited about the upcoming feature film of her life. She has just created Jill Bolte Taylor BRAINS, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing educational services and promoting programs related to the advancement of brain awareness, appreciation, exploration, education, injury prevention, neurological recovery, and the value of movement on mental and physical health, as well as other activities that support this purpose. The Brain Extravaganza! is the not-for-profits first educational awareness program she is bringing to the the community of Bloomington, Indiana, and then the world.
Dr. Jill is the National Spokesperson for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (Harvard Brain Bank) and educates the public about the shortage of brain tissue donated for research into the severe mental illnesses. Since 1993, she has been an active member of NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) and is currently the president of the NAMI Greater Bloomington Area affiliate in Bloomington, Indiana.
A trained and published neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill’s specialty was in the postmortem investigation of the human brain as it relates to schizophrenia and the severe mental illnesses. Because she has a brother who has been diagnosed with the brain disorder schizophrenia, Dr. Taylor served for three years on the Board of Directors of National NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) between 1994-1997. (Currently she serves as President of the Greater Bloomington Affiliate of NAMI in Bloomington, Indiana.)
Because there is a long term shortage of brain tissue donated for postmortem research by individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, Dr. Taylor travels as the National Spokesperson for the Mentally Ill for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (Harvard Brain Bank) located at McLean Hospital. As the Singin’ Scientist, Dr. Taylor delivers a very popular keynote address titled “How To Get Your Brain To Do What You Want It To Do.”
But as irony would have it, on December 10, 1996, Dr. Taylor woke up to discover that she was experiencing a rare form of stroke, an arterio-venous malformation (AVM). Two and a half weeks later, on December 27, 1996, she underwent major brain surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to remove a golf ball size blood clot that was placing pressure on the language centers in the left hemisphere of her brain.
It took eight years for Dr. Taylor to successfully rebuild her brain – from the inside out. In response to the swelling and trauma of the stroke, which placed pressure on her dominant left hemisphere, the functions of her right hemisphere blossomed. Among other things, she now creates and sells unique stained glass brains when commissioned to do so. In addition, she published a book about her recovery from stroke and the insights she gained into the workings of her brain. The New York Times bestselling memoir is titled My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.
In February 2008, Dr. Taylor gave a presentation at the prestigious TED Conference. A video of that presentation was posted on the TED website which was immediately viewed by millions of people around the world. The response to the video launched Dr. Taylor into becoming a highly sought-after public speaker. She was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008 and was the premiere guest on Oprah’s Soul Series web-cast. In addition, she was interviewed by Oprah and Dr. Mehmet Oz on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October, 2008.
Dr. Taylor now serves as the CEO of My Stroke of Insight, Inc. and as the Chairman of the Board of the not-for-profit Jill Bolte Taylor BRAINS, Inc. She is working on the creation of a Serious Game for Health for neurological recovery as she feels passionate about helping others find their way back from neurological trauma. In addition, she is working on her next book and is excited about the upcoming feature film of her life. She has just created Jill Bolte Taylor BRAINS, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing educational services and promoting programs related to the advancement of brain awareness, appreciation, exploration, education, injury prevention, neurological recovery, and the value of movement on mental and physical health, as well as other activities that support this purpose. She travels extensively as a keynoter at conferences around the world and is having a wonderful time helping others learn more about their own brains and how to realize that peace really is just a thought away.
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