choosing peace


    A little over a month ago, my friend Billy sent me a link to a talk given by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist, who spoke at the TED Conference, which I had never heard of before but evidently involves a whole bunch of really smart people. The folks at TED want to get good words out to as many folks as possible, so they allow people to embed their videos as long as we link back to them. You need some time to take it in – because her talk is eighteen minutes long – and it’s worth taking the time.

    In her closing comments, Taylor says, “We have the power, moment by moment, to choose who and how we want to be in this world.” The context of her words is her years of researching the two hemispheres of the brain and her surviving a stroke. The choice she lays out is between the right hemisphere of the brain, which connects us “with the life force power of the universe” and helps us feel our interconnectedness and the left hemisphere, “where I am an individual separate from everything else.” She goes on: “The more we choose the peaceful circuitry of our right brain hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world.”

    The distinction she makes resonates with me because I know what it feels like to feel connected, whether I’m cooking or writing or painting or singing or just walking in the neighborhood with Ginger and Ella. I also know, when I turn into my task-oriented self, how easily I can see nothing but my stuff and my schedule and my way of doing things, which creates peace in no one, including me. Her words leave me these questions:

    Is there a way I can choose to live my life in such a way as to see all of it as a creative choice to wage peace?
    Can I chose to expand my consciousness to recognize when I have ceased to be a peacemaker without facing some major calamity?
    Why is it so hard for us to be peacemakers?


    P. S. There are new recipes here and here.
    P. S. My Red Sox are showing. Take time to see this video of Manny catching a fly ball, high-fiving a fan in the bleachers, and then making a double play all in one motion.


    1. How to be a peacemaker when facing a calamity? There’s the title of my day, after having the ex-con on parole for drugs, registered sex-offender neighbor’s twenty something son arrested this morning for trespassing into our backyard and trying to get into our house through a back door.

      That is a pickle.

    2. Well I hate to admit to you (especially at this point in the season) that I am a life long Yankee fan – but I did love the Manny catch and subsequent high five. How did he even think to do that so quickly?

    3. Thank you Milton (and thank you Billy).

      I loved the video by Jill Bolte Taylor on TED.

      Also, did you see Dr Taylor’s interviews with Oprah on Soul Series – wonderful!

      Best of all is her book MY STROKE OF INSIGHT – I’ve read it twice already. Second time better than the first

      Dr. Taylor is a great inspiration. The lessons in the book are life-changing…very simple yet very powerful.

      Here’s the link to the book

      and here’s the link to Oprah’s interviews

    4. I just finished watching this half an hour ago. I did not know the context, having received the link on an email service called Very Short List. The video was fascinating, and I was pleased and relieved to hear Dr. Taylor refer to the time of her stroke as possibly a transition from this stage of her journey to the next. I expected a summary to be the scientific explanation of why people who have “died” see and feel what they feel. My faith falters from time to time at believing there is anything beyond this life. I rely on people who are smarter than I am to affirm that possibility for me.

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