Saturday, January 24, 2009

Choosing your right side

This is a departure from anything I normally post on my blog. I've just watched it and as Dr Jill Bolte Taylor says at the end of her talk, I think it's a message worth spreading. All I can say is that I cried, but at the same time, it felt like recognition.

Update: Following Dale's comment on this post, I thought this exerpt from Dr Ken Robinson's TED talk went well with the previous one too, even though it takes a different approach and is focused on education. The full 20 minute talk is also available on YouTube, and is well worth watching, if you haven't already. Here is the link.


  1. The last time I checked, there were 1172 comments on this movie, and some near 650,000 views. Enough said, I think.

  2. And maybe the best thing about it: we watched it together. An experience shared.

  3. Yes, I saw this some time ago - in the autumn! Great vid!

  4. Something akin to not wearing your glasses mum? It would be great not to worry so much and be able to float off into the here and now.

  5. I have been working on left/right brain integration since the knowledge of it was presented to me in the mid 1980's.
    Personally, I believe we need both sides in order to survive, but, for some reason our western world, in its infinite wisdom, has chosen to focus on the use of the right brain exclusively... excuse me while I remove my tongue from my cheek.
    I saw Dr. Bolte-Taylor on Oprah a while back and was completely mesmerised by her story.
    We can learn many things from her experience, and I admire her for coming forward with her personal tale of enlightenment.

    I have a long way to go before my right brain arrives completely on track, but I am doing my best to live it.

    We can only begin with Ourselves - Here and Now.


  6. Yes, Koosje, it was good to watch it together, and String, I knew you would have seen it for sure!

    Haha, Momo, yes it might well be a bit like that if we shut down our left brains, but what really impressed me is how important it is to have both functioning fully, and how a better developed empathic sense could make a huge difference to the world at large. There was also a personal connection remembering that both yours and my grandpas were incapacitated by strokes, and realising for the first time how that must have felt.

    Dale, you are absolutely right, they are both of vital importance, but that's the point isn't it? We should try and develop both sides equally to ensure our humanity and social connectivity survive, as well as our individual selves. As I just mentioned to Mo, I have a personal interest here too as I saw what happened to both my father and grandfather when they had strokes, but was never able to understand how they must have felt. I found it incredibly moving.

    I'm about to add another link. Maybe you've seen this one too, but I think Sir Ken's speech is equally inspiring.

  7. Fascinating Val. I will have to listen to this a couple of times. Our brain function is amazing. I remember seeing an exhibit, I can't remember the name exactly, infact I really can't remember it at all, but, it showed different parts of the body and what effects certain things had on those parts, like a brain that had had a stroke, etc. they showed bodies with just the muscles, the veins etc. It was fascinating. I ll have to remember the name, I believe it traveled around the world, as it came from China originally.

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  9. Val, I took some more time to watch Ken Robinson's talk. Very interesting, especially the bit about the world without insects vs the world without humans... So very true.

    When I went to school I struggled with Mathematics, but the Language Arts came easily to me - thank goodness, or I would have been cast aside as a complete, undisciplined idiot!
    I excelled in Physical Education and the Fine Arts.
    With that in mind, I chose to continue my post secondary education in the Equine Studies field. After discovering that I would rather ride horses as a hobby and on my own terms rather than do it for a living, I decided that choosing a career in accounting would make me more employable, and, in my experience, I was correct.

    Now I am a ski instructor...

    And I have never felt more in my right mind!

  10. Hi Val,
    Thanks so much for putting both speeches up. I do remember watching my father as his brain tumour slowly took his language centre away and made him say and understand things differently. it was not always easy to watch.

    I fear that Sir Ken's plea will fall on deaf ears, as much as I totally agree with his points. We continue to navigate the waters of "accountability" in our education system, like much of the western world, and this means obsessions with test scores and therefore teaching to those tests. In the midst of it all, education for the sake of opening the mind and exploring the world is largely forgotten, much to my chagrin and frustration.


  11. To quote one of the participants in our CSIA Professional Development Program yesterday as we discussed a variety of skills...
    "Just do it. You will either get it, or you won't."

    The point he was getting at, was that we could hash over all the technical intricacies of the skill we were discussing, but without getting out there and doing it (without thinking about it too much), one would never learn.

    This comes from a 60+ ex-racing coach who, due to a serious leg injury, skis on only one ski...

  12. The body within, i think it was called.

  13. lol

    Now I know who Dr Robinson reminds me of...

    Michael Cain.

  14. After our mammoth idealogical debate last night, I watched this again (and again had to reach for the kleenex) and it only confirms all the more for me that we all need to get more in touch with our 'lala land' and start spreading the love.

  15. Thank you all for these wonderful, thoughtful comments. I'm glad both videos have provoked such responses from you. I have found them both quite inspiring, both as a human being and as a teacher - as if they aren't both the same, but sometimes I think my students don't really see beyond the teacher, so I have to distinguish between the two on occasiona ;-)


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