Tag Archives: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor: The Missing Disclaimer

Enlightened Horsemanship’s Favorite Posts of 2009

If you blog, what was your favorite post from last year? I’d love it if you posted it here in the comments, so we can all go and read it.
If you have a favorite from EHTT in the past year, let me now what it was.

January 2009

Mindful Monday: On Mistakes

February 2009

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor: The Missing Disclaimer
Verse Thursday + Completely Un-Horse-Related Ramblings of a Buddhist Nature

March 2009

How and Why Did Popular Natural Horsemanship Get So Far From Its Roots?
Handler Independence and Calm, Secure Learning in T.T.E.A.M.
Ray Hunt, Rest In Peace
Just Hold Your Horses!

April 2009

Horses, Shamans and Autism in Mongolia
The Mindlessness of Equestrian Vanity
Sally Swift, Godmother of Mindful Horsemanship, Dies At Age 95

May 2009

Another Bridleless Riding and Communication Tool: The Tellington TTouch Balance Rein
Ever Thought Something Was Too Good To Be True?
Guest Blog Contest Winner: Lost Trail Ranch’s High Mountain Muse
You Asked For It, You Got It: The Liberty Neck Ring

June 2009

The Nose Knows
Toward An Equine Bill of Rights
Embracing Groundlessness

July, 2009

Petition to Allow Bitless Bridles in USEF Rated Competitions
The Dominance Model and Horsemanship by Equine Ethology Are Dead
I Need Your Help and I Need It Fast! (Mongol Derby Animal Welfare Violations)
Affirmations of Awareness for Horsepeople: On Perception
Another Post About Demanding Your Horse’s Attention
Do You Demand Your Horse’s Complete Attention?
The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare A Solid Foundation For An Equine Bill of Rights

August 2009

What can I say? Some months, you just don’t hit your stride. I should have gone on vacation. Go back to July. It was a good month. Or check out September.

September 2009

Styles in the Horse World: Trailer Loading
Parelli Parade of Preposterousness
Science Friday: Heart Rate & Heart Rate Variability And Emotionality in Horses
Verse Thursday: Puerhan on Hurt
Unprecedented BLM Mustang Roundup Hearing Tomorrow: Please Make Your Voice Heard

October, 2009

Eye Contact: Necessary for Catching Your Horse?
Reader Dilemma: Catching A Horse In The Field
Backing Up; The Holy Grail of Horsemanshp?
Parelli Natural Horsemanship Cake Recipe

November 2009

Mindful Monday: Don’t Just Do Something–Sit There!
Interpretations of “Pressure”
Routine Tasks With No Inherent Meaning Diminish the Spirit of the Horse
From Gallop to Freedom: Do we REALLY Know What We Do?
Horses In Transition: A Call To Action

December 2009

We Are All Made of Stars
Sage By Nature: Horses Drawing Out Our Goddess Force
I Ride/A Simple Statement
Dressage Derailed at Horses for Life
Another Brick In the Wall: Trainers Eschewing Rope Halters

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My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor: The Missing Disclaimer

My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor: The Missing Disclaimer

In the world of mind-body studies, this book is all the rage. Taylor’s writing is incisive and, at times, brilliantly evocative. Her blow-by-blow description of what it’s like to experience a left-brain hemorrhagic stroke is unique in that she is a neuroanatomist who specializes in the brain. Taylor offers many westernized insights into the sustained state of insight she (mistakenly) refers to as nirvana. If she had indeed achieved nirvana, she would not be speaking to us now. In Japanese, what Taylor refers to is a state of satori, or enlightened knowing. Her research and writing indicate that this state of mind is made possible by manipulation of neurotransmitters in the brain. According to Taylor, whatever form this manipulation takes (meditation, mind control, anoxia [the denial of oxygen to vital parts of the brain]) might induce this state.


I think this is a wonderful book. Her story is touching as well as informative. She has people talking all over the world about the brain and altered states. This can only lead to further developments in the knowledge base on the mind-body connection. In particular, I am grateful for the appendices. Ten Assessment Questions and Forty Things I Needed Most will be valuable for stroke patients’ survival and recovery because they come with the authority of a neuroanatomist.

But Taylor seems to have left out a very important passage.

I have decided to write it for her. Here it is:

This book has been about all the positive things that came from my stroke of insight. As I’ve said before, I would not trade the experience. The opportunities for both personal and professional growth have been profound.

I must, however, make a very important point: NOT ALL STROKES deliver such outstanding results. Stroke is a dangerous, life-threatening event and must be treated as such. Providing a stroke sufferer survives the event, his life will almost never be the same. Most stroke sufferers are not nearly as lucky as I was. Lifelong disabilities often result. Loss of speech or speech recognition, total loss of language, movement, motor coordination, executive functioning skills, and many more severe and permanent effects occur. It is with great humility that I acknowledge the universe of stroke survivors who have not been as lucky as I.

I hold daily hope that any research my story has inspired will lead to both prevention of strokes and to the improvement of the lives of survivors. And I am ever mindful of the fact that, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

I have a great deal of experience with stroke. And the whole point of this post is that I feel compelled to state that ANY STROKE, especially when stroke happens to a child, is not a romantic, enlightening experience. Taylor owes it to her readers to tell it like it is. 99.999% of strokes are permanently devastating and bear no resemblance to the mind-expanding, new-age experience she relates. Sorry if this sounds uncharacteristically bitter, but someone has to bring this up. Thanks for reading my addendum to Taylor’s book. I wish she would.

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