#168 This week, my incredible guest is Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Jill is a neuroscientist who in 1996 experienced a severe haemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain causing her to lose the ability to walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. This experience allowed her to have an extremely unique perspective on how it is to lead life with primarily one side of the brain as opposed to the other.
Our conversation today centres around hacking the anatomy of the brain, learning to identify common negative thought patterns and how to change them, and living more in the present moment. So if you are someone who struggles with living in any time but the present, this episode is for you.
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About Jill: Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained and published neuroscientist. In 1996 she experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain causing her to lose the ability to walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Her memoir, My Stroke of Insight, documenting her experience with stroke and eight-year recovery, spent 63 weeks on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list and is still routinely the #1 book about stroke on Amazon.
Dr. Jill is a dynamic teacher and public speaker who loves educating all age groups, academic levels, as well as corporations about the beauty of our human brain and its ability to recover from trauma. In 2008 she gave the first TED talk that ever went viral on the Internet, which now has well over 26 million views. Also in 2008, Dr. Jill was chosen as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and was the premiere guest on Oprah Winfrey’s “Soul Series” webcast.
Key points with time stamp:
- Whole Brain Living (00:00)
- “My Stroke of Insight” TED talk (00:07)
- Leading our lives from the heart (04:34)
- The experience of the right brain vs. the left brain (09:15)
- Hacking the anatomy of the brain (13:14)
- Dissecting and understanding common thought patterns and behaviours (30:46)
- How to train the brain to become more whole living (35:04)
- Practices for whole brain living (37:53)
- Observing our thoughts and being present (42:24)
- The power to choose (46:57)
Mentioned in this episode:
- TEDx Talk
- TED Talk
- Time Magazine
- Harvard University
- My Stroke of Insight, 2006. Jill’s first book
- Carl Jung
- Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life, 2021. Jill’s second book.
Jill, welcome to the podcast.
So great to be with you, guy. Thank you.
Honestly, it’s an honor, I, it’s really interesting. I’ve done about 100 I think I’m 160 170 episodes in on my podcast. I was telling you since I started this three years ago, and your name has come up along the journey with different guests I’ve had on different points. And I and I have a list of people, too, I must reach out and see if they’ll come on the show, I must reach out and see if they come on the show. And I’ll make a confession. I hadn’t seen your TEDx talk. until about two weeks ago, once I knew you were coming on. And I you know, my life is busy. I have a 10 month old daughter things are crazy. And I was blown away, that a TEDx talk had 27 and a half million views on it. Your YouTube, as I think 7 million views or something like that. When you did that talk? Did you expect it to have the response in any shape or form that it has? Because clearly, people are hungry for what you have to say,
you know, it’s, it’s interesting when when I gave that Ted Talk, no, there were only five TED talks on the internet. So I gave it really when I showed up and gave that talk, I gave it to 1200 people in the room, and 300 people who were streamed in from Aspen. So I was giving my talk to 1500 people. And little did I know that two weeks later, that thing would be put on the internet. And Ted and I got famous together instantaneously. And it was it was an amazing experience. And energetically I call it a tsunami of energy. Because it was it exploded. It went to Oprah, Oprah then invited me on her website, her web show, which ended up being the first soul interview for the soul series. Oh, wow. And then I was chosen as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, all inside of six weeks. And so you can imagine, ma’am, my life just it I describe that energetic, as powerful as the morning of the stroke when I lost my left hemisphere, and almost lost my life. And, and so so it was wild. I mean, it was absolutely wild. And, and no, I had no idea that it would go the way that that it went.
Unbelievable. And I sincerely mean this, they I do a lot of public speaking. You know, I, I talk in front of people a lot. But when I watched your TEDx, I was absolutely moved and blown away from start to finish and to captivate someone like that for 18 minutes, have them laugh, and cry, have them curious, like, you took me through all the emotional spectrums. And to come out the other end, I was just like, the way it ended. Like,
I think that’s why I could move No. Yeah, no, it ended up being a really powerful presentation. And, and I, you know, I lead with my heart, I was willing to be vulnerable and open. And I felt like, these were 1500 really significant people in the planet who all kind of had their own empires. And if I could influence those Empire leaders, then that would trickle down in their world and in their business and in their personal life. And it would have a really meaningful spread. And, and then, you know, on top of that, it ended up being what it was as, as, as a TED talk. And, and Ted, we really I didn’t know what Ted was when they came to me and said, Would you give a talk because it wasn’t all over the internet yet. Until that until that Ted Talk went crazy. So So yeah, Ted and I have a very loving and supportive relationship of what we’ve been through together.
I don’t doubt it and you mentioned something to me then that just struck a chord which I want to pick up on about, you lead with your heart and you are vulnerable. And we live in a day and age where we are not encouraged to lead with you know, everything is about the the ego the left side that climb the ladder. How much of your life now you live is lead from the heart, as opposed to maybe it might have been before. You had the stroke?
much more. before when I was young, I was very heart based. And I was musical and I was athletic. And I was artistic and playful and happy and joyful and loving and all that until I went to college. And then I finally fell in love with the subject of anatomy, it was so beautiful. And so I began to study anatomy, and then neuro anatomy and biochemistry and physiology, and you know, all of that. And it, it’s, you know, we are this incredible masterpiece, just a masterpiece, and it was so beautiful to me. And so I just ended up the the ego turned on the academic left brain turned on, I started learning, I started excelling, I started climbing the ladder, one thing led to another, I ended up doing my postdoc at Harvard, where I was really training as a neuroanatomist and teaching and performing research and writing papers and doing the whole thing. And then bam, my left brain experiences this hemorrhage, and it shuts down. And I was very fortunate that I already had a really strong and healthy right brain. And I so I never I didn’t go unconscious, I was conscious, I was aware of what was going on through the eyes of a scientist, it was really clear. On the morning of the stroke, I just watched the circuits Breakdown, Breakdown Breakdown, which is outlined in that Ted Talk. And then, you know, I ended up that afternoon, I could not walk, talk, read, write, recall any of my life. So the left hemisphere that deals with the external world and understands my past and understands the future, they were gone. And it left me in this blissful euphoria of the present moment, and it was magnificent. Yet at the same time, I was 100%, completely non functional, you have to have a left brain in order to be able to relate to the external world in order to be able to have a life there to know what your name is to know anything about where you live, or any data or organize or control anything out there. You have to have that left brain. But the gift that it gave me through the eyes of a scientist was when there is no left brain, what is the right brain? And then the right brain had to come in and figure out with the big picture, how do I get that left brain circuitry to function again? So that was an eight year journey, but it was an amazingly insightful journey for me, and then it ended up being insightful for the world.
Wow. And you know, I was only list because I was researching a couple of interviews and, and everything. One obvious thing that shines through is your positive.
Yeah, you’re happy.
You’re always optimistic. You’re always happy. Yeah. Which is but but you speak around the eight years. So joyfully, to a degree, like you’re very positive about it. Yeah, the event itself did
not die that day guy. I did not die that day. And because I did not die, I have lived it with a sense of gratitude. That anything else I have in time, whatever my condition is gravy time. I mean, this is extra. This is bonus, I did not die. So how can I How can I woe is me or be unhappier be sad when I have the most precious thing that exists in the universe. I have life. And whatever that life is, it’s magnificent. And it’s completely different. If I hadn’t if I hadn’t if I had died that day. So yes, I live moment by moment, instant by instant whatever’s happening in the circumstance. I’m alive to witness it. Wow, what a gift from the universe.
Amazing. And after those eight years, because you’re if I’m not mistaken, a neuro anatomist. I had to look that up. But it’s the study of the cells within the
anatomy of the cells of the brain,
the anatomy of the cells of the brain, and after those eight years and that experience, like and I’ve usually speak as well, because once you have experiences you’re actually learning from inside. It’s like you’ve seen it from the inside out, but it’s not just from a book game or an exam. Make sense of the brain. And so you have an embodied experiences. What was it then your mission to go? Well, I’m sort of scientists version 2.0 of neuroanatomy that I’ve had the sense No,
no, I had zero intention. I have growing up to be whom I was or do what she did? Well, because she died that day, that character, that ego, that Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor at the Harvard level, she died that day, and I had to let her die because I would never ever I was so detached from Normal Reality. I that could not be my standard or I would just, you know, I mean, it’s just like ridiculous. And, and I look at me now. And of course, I have what when I lost the left brain, I lost the details, the verbiage, the language of my life and of my academics. But what I retained was the three dimensional experiencial perception and understanding of the present moment. So my right brain could have sculpted for you because I was a gross anatomist, a body anatomist as well as a neuro anatomist. And I could have sculpted for you and abdomen perfectly, but I could not have named for you the three parts of the stomach, because that was language in the left brain, but my body I understood the three dimensions. So I retained an incredible volume of information. But then I had to go back and re learn all the terminology through the books again. And and of course, I was a quick learner, because I already had the three dimensional understanding, which is the hardest part for people to learn when they’re studying the body or the brain. So it didn’t take that long. I mean, within a couple of years, and then I was back to teaching at a medical school level, neuroanatomy and gross anatomy, but I never, that was never my goal. I really thought I would, I wanted to be a landscaper for yards, I love playing in the dirt. And and it was like, Well, you know, somebody offered me an opportunity to teach. And I said, Well, you know, I’ve had a stroke, right? And I said, Yeah, so we’re thinking you’re okay, and it’s like, so I had to relearn all of my neuro anatomy and all of my anatomy quickly, in order to teach it again. So, so you know, it was a people treated me with grace, and really set me up for a successful and complete recovery. But at the same time, even though I say that, I did not give power to the character of my left brain, to run my life. And, of course, the two hemispheres have very different value structures. And what I gained in the experience of the right brain was the collective whole of humanity, and loving one another, and being open and expansive with one another and nurturing one another. And, and that sort of tribal connection of humanity, as opposed to the hierarchy. Where do I stand on that always trying to get ahead, competing with others, materialism, needing a bigger house, and whatever toys and you know, so so I completely lost the left brain value structure and gained the right value structure and then held on to that.
Beautiful, and we were speaking off air as well. Because you you had this complete right brain experience. And then you had to figure out, you know, you come back to create, get back into the left a bit and you know, and function in society. But you said the most common question for you was a I’m completely left brain I’ve completely bought into who I think I am. And yet, how do I get into a bit more right brain action, to create some of those states and be a bit more balanced with life? Is that what is that why you decided to write it is? Well,
it is, you know, the first book my stroke of insight, it was an amazing book, it is an amazing book for anybody who’s interested in learning more about the brain, how it organizes our perception of reality, what it felt like, I take you moment by moment by moment through the morning of the stroke and what I needed in order to recover. And then what did I learn in the meantime? And then after the TED Talk, literally over 300,000 people writing and saying, Well, how do I get some of that? I want that piece. How do I get that? And it was like, that was a hard question for me because I was slapped out of my left brain with that stroke in to the right brain, which doesn’t have language, the right brain has no language in it is the present moment experience. And it is rich, and it is experiential. And it is very different than what’s going on in the world of the left brain. So even though I because I knew what skills I have lost, I could hook back into those and I was very blessed to have my mother who could pay attention and realize what’s the next option Tickle in the way of her attaining the next goal. So I was very blessed to have my mother and, and then I got my left brain back. But what I realized was that people pay, I was giving a presentation, you’re a public speaker, I’m a public speaker, and I was given a presentation. And I said, you know, back in the 90s, it was really hard to talk about the brain because nobody everybody would like, look down. And it’s like, don’t call on me, I don’t want to hear about the brain. But now everybody’s really excited about the brain. And they they know the language, they know, we have amygdala, and they know we have the hippocampus. And I said, but the fact of the matter is, we have two amygdala. And we have two hippocampus. And there was this audible gasp in the world in the room. And I thought, they know we have one, but they don’t know we have two. And what that means is they think they have one emotional system. And that’s why nothing makes sense. Because you can’t have one system in conflict with itself, you have to have two separate things in order to be binary in order to have conflict. And so then it was like, Oh, my gosh, if the world understood that we have our you know, we were taught the right brain is emotional, the left brain is rational. And that’s not true at all. The both of our hemispheres are have an emotional group of cells, groups of the limbic system. And then each of the hemispheres has thinking tissue, it just so happens that the left thinking tissue is the rational mind that it relates to the external world. So that means we have four different modules of cells. Left thinking left emotion, right emotion, right thinking, they’re separate from one another, and they create different skill sets. But on top of different skill sets, what I realized, when I was recovering the left emotion in the left thinking groups of my brain after the stroke, was that they had personalities, they had characters, and it was like, Oh, my gosh, we have these four very distinct characters inside of our brain based on the anatomy, and no one there is not a good psychological paradigm that relates to the anatomy of the brain. And it’s like, well, why not? I mean, the psychology comes from the anatomy. So if we think about the anatomy of the brain, what can we learn? And what assumptions Can we make? And how can we better differentiate who and what we are as human beings based on the anatomy of the brain? And so that’s why I wrote this book.
Wow, makes so much sense. Because when I think about what governs our lives, it really is how we think how we feel. And we get caught in these perpetual cycles. And then we get told that there’s always something I found in my life, something underneath, like nagging me said, No, you need to do that that way. Exactly. Yeah. But yet the other part of me is like, Oh, no, you can’t, you’re not, you know, and then all the beliefs kick in. So So what you’re saying is that this is a structure and, and a learning that we can learn, understand and adapt, and then start to apply that into our lives to deeper understand ourselves. So we can then start making more content, similar choices.
I mean, that’s the beauty of the four characters we all have. It’s simple, okay, you’re ready. Okay, now, I want you to name these characters as we go along. And I want you to name them because they like having an identity. And once you start naming them, then you realize, Oh, I’m being this part of me, or I’m being that part of me, or I’m being this part of me. And that part of me is nagging me, right? Because now you’re going to recognize them constantly. You’re going to recognize them in yourself, you’re going to recognize them in your spouse, or your partner in your parents and your children and your co workers, you’re going to notice these characters everywhere. And simply by understanding which part of ourselves is interacting with which part of another person, we have the power to choose moment by moment, who and how we want to be. And this is the key to doing it. You ready?
yeah, I’m ready. Number one I call so if you take a human brain, it looks like this. And then you open it up like this. Then your, your thinking tissue in your left hemisphere, it’s character one. Character two is the left emotion. Character three is the right emotion. And character four is the right thinking tissue. Okay, now character, one left thinking that you’re Rational brain, that’s the ego that your name where you live all the details about your life. It’s It’s It’s your world in the external. It likes to control people, places and things. It likes to organize everything. It cares if you don’t put your that staple back where it belongs. It creates order in the world it thinks methodically, in methodically it thinks, hierarchically. It knows where it is on that hierarchy. It uses language to communicate. It’s our type A personality. Do you have one of those guy?
His name I do. His name, Bill, okay, remember?
Okay, I call mine, Helen, hell on wheels, she gets it done. Okay, mine talent. Character number two. Now, the thing about the left hemisphere is it has our past and it has our future. It is designed to have a past a present and the future, the right hemisphere doesn’t have that. So that’s all right here right now. Character number two is the emotions of our past. Any resentment we have, it’s in our past and a guilt we feel it’s because of something that happened before any shame we feel. It’s because it happened in another time. These cells actually bring information in from the present moment. And they take it immediately and compare it to our past experience. And it is our alarm, alarm, alert, alert, whatever here is reminds me of something in the past. And I want to push it away and say no to it. And it’s not very happy. And it’s like always looking for a reason to push away and say no. And it is completely dependent on circumstances from the external world. Because it has a past a person and a future and it has the ego. And now it’s all about takes things personally. It blames others, it doesn’t like to take responsibility. In So do you have that part of yourself guy? What do we get his name?
So what came to mind? bill for the first one, I pay
you for that? Okay, so I call my little emotional character two babby for short for abandonment. And I think the moment we were all ejected from the womb, and we’re in the womb, we’re in this magnificent liquid environment. It’s warm in there and soft. We’ve grown from a single cell into this mass at a rate of some 250,000 new cells every second. I mean, we are a part of Mama, we hear the heartbeat we have the muted sounds. We don’t have any light in our eyes. I mean, it had to have been beautiful there and then bam, right? We’re born. Oh my god. Right? disconnect abandonment. I’m dealing with lights. I’m dealing with noise. I’m dealing with poking and prodding and all Yeah, do it in a horrible moment. You know? I go for air jerking. So anyway, I call mine Abby. Okay. Character number three is now the right brain. It’s all right here right now. Right right here right now. And right here right now is pretty perfect moment. And less, something’s flying at you. And you need to dodge or you know, alarm alarm alert and alert. So character three is the emotion of the present moment. And it’s not so much the intense emotions related to our past, or our fear of the unknown in the future. But it’s the experience of the present moment. How did your clothes feel on your body? How is the sun feel on your face? How how much humidity is in the air? What does it feel like to have your glasses on your face? So so the experience up? So this little character is our adrenaline junkie. It likes high risk because it likes to be thrilled in the present. It’s curious because it’s looking for similarities and possibilities. It’s open. It’s it’s joyful. It’s it’s, it likes other people because I don’t have an ego in my right hemisphere. So I’m just loving in the world. You know, that little part of yourself? Whether we gonna call him
I do. I do. The names that come into mind is Fred.
Read show. So there we go. And then the theme tissue of the present moment when we are in the present moment. And we’re not having a An experience of emotion. And we are in our purity of thought we are and there is no boundary of where we begin and where we end because that’s a group of cells in the left hemisphere. So we’re not bound by language of the left hemisphere, we’re not bound by a group of cells defining the boundaries of where I begin with a holographic image. So to my right brain thinking tissue, there is no boundary of where I begin and where I end I am energy and molecules and in just in motion and in space, and the energy of where I am here in Indiana, and the where you are on the other side of the planet, it is just one bullet, big ball of energy. So what we experience here, we know we have a ripple effect on the other side, because we do energy has no limitation. So it is our wisdom. And that’s the part of me that survived the stroke. And it’s that part of me that said, I am alive, I did not die that day. And that character for lives with a complete sense of gratitude that I exist at all and all those details that the rest of my my, my character three, character two and character one are all caught up in, in the cellular loops that they’re running. And I I yeah, that is on top of this consciousness of peaceful, blissful gratitude that I have life. And that’s your character for and I know, you know, that part of yourself. So what would you get? What would you name him? Wow.
I love that character. But the name says, Sir, my, my, my thinking was, was to make sure I remember the names first. So I went Fred, and then for the last one, Barney, but I think I have to address my old phone. restudy they have to be meaning to describe so
my little character three, the emotion of right here right now. playful, joyful, curious, creative. I call that one pig pen. Do you remember this Scholz cartoon where there’s Snoopy and Charlie Brown. There’s a character there called pig pen. And pig pen is always in a dust storm, right? There’s always a mess. And he’s right here. He’s in the present. And he’s always a mess. And he’s good in his mess. And he’s curious, and he’s interested in he’s fun. So I call my little character three pigpen. And I’m always a pig that I mean, you know, I’m rarely looking clean. So you caught me on a good day. And my say my character when came online and said, Jill, you got to talk to guy this afternoon, you can’t go out be a pig pen. And then, and then my character for I call her Queen toad. And I call her Queen because I’m a queen of the universe. We all are. And, well, you’re a king of the universe. But I’m a queen of the universe we all are. And I’m a toad. Because I’m a little bit Goofy, and half my life. I live on a boat, which is my lily pad on a lake. So I call mine Queen toad. And they are very distinctive characters and personalities. And one of the really interesting things is that when you look at those four characters, Carl Jung’s archetypes fall exactly, on those four characters. So we may have a predominant one. But we all have all four. And when we get to know all four, that’s when it gets really interesting. Because then, moment by moment, I have the power to choose who and how I want to be. And if that little character too, comes online, and she’s not happy, I can come in with my character one, and I can say, Am I safe? Are we safe? Is there danger here? And if there’s no danger, my character for can come in and self soothe my own character, to my character to your character to everyone’s character to when they get unhappy? We are our own responsibility. No one owes us and nobody really has the capacity to fix or heal that character to except for our own little parts. So our character four can come in and say, little little Abby, I got you. We’re here. We love you. When you’re done raging are worn inside of yourself or feeling negative or feeling whatever we got you were right here. If you’re feeling anxious, if you’re feeling angry, if you’re feeling her, whatever it is. We got you Little then eventually, the little character feels nurtured and loved. You have a child, you know what it’s like, when your little child is unhappy, what do you do you swoop in with your love. And then they feel held and they feel heard and they feel comforted. And then it’s like, okay, now I’m ready to go play again. So little character three comes in and says, Okay, let’s go, let’s go play out back, you know, let’s go to the art space, let’s go for a walk in nature. Let’s go do something fun. And moment by moment, this is what’s going on inside of our brains. And when we pay attention, and we can differentiate, oh, my God, everything, it gets easier when you can differentiate. Beautiful, and it’s simple.
made amazing. Yeah, absolutely. It is. But the, what sprang to mind then is that by having this framework, you’re giving people permission to go Hey, it’s okay to think like that. It’s okay to feel like that. Like it’s, it’s quite normal. Because we I think we can often punish ourselves for being thinking a certain way constantly, especially if we have traumas in our lives and and different areas that have led us to this point in life. But what you’re saying now is that we can actually start to dissect this Yes, I
call it a brain huddle.
I think you call it a huddle. So
let’s say something happens. And I would normally, I could take something personally, let’s say you say something that may and and I’m thinking, Well, that wasn’t very nice. And you know, my feelings are hurt that. And I have a choice. It’s like, No, you know, I don’t need to have that automatic response, I don’t have to live inside of my automatic habitual reactivity and circuitry. Every ability we have, we have because we have brain cells that perform that function. So whatever I’m feeling, or whatever I’m thinking, it is cells in action. And if I know that, then and I trust that, then I don’t give all the power to the thoughts, or all the power to the emotions, I look at it, like the the emotions that we feel in the thoughts that we have are like leaves on a tree, and they’re out there waving in the breeze, which is our behavior, right? So I think thoughts and I have emotions, and I have behaviors. But at the root of that tree, if you’re having problems out there, which is our mental health, mental health is completely dependent on the brain health. And if we want to heal what’s going on out in our thoughts and emotions, and we go to our brain cells, those are the roots. And when we understand the roots, and how it’s simply organized, and that I don’t have to take those thoughts too seriously. I don’t have to take those emotions too seriously, I recognize that every thought and every emotion and every output of the system is a product of those brain cells. So and then one other thing is that from the moment you think, a thought, let’s say I’m gonna think a thought about somebody. And every time I think that thought it stimulates an emotion. And then and let’s say, I’m mad at them. And I’ve been mad at them for 20 years, right? Because we do, right? So I think about that person and stimulates that same old circuit, it runs the same old emotional circuit, I’m going to be angry. My physiological response then hits automatic and dumps noradrenaline into my bloodstream, it floods through me and it flushes out of me, right? It’s a loop. It’s a cellular loop. I think about them, I run the emotion, I have a physiological response from the beginning of the thought, to the time that is completely out of my bloodstream takes less than 90 seconds, less than 90 seconds, right. But I can probably stay angry for much longer than 90 seconds. But what I’m doing is I’m just rerunning the loop. I’m rethinking the thought re stimulating the emotional circuit, re stimulating the physiological response. And then it’s out of me again. So that’s how then we can get distracted away from our negative emotions, because another circuit came online. And I got, I went off to that one instead. So the brain is this magnificent collection of cells, but we have so much more power over what’s going on inside of our head than we have ever been taught. And it’s beautiful. I mean, it’s so beautiful. You know, I really think by understanding this people will find more peace simply by knowing that their anatomy, they’re these different characters. They don’t have to take them all so seriously. They can choose which one they want to be. Wow, I mean, to me, this is personal freedom.
Absolutely, and that’s massive, isn’t it? The game changes once, once, once the penny drops, you know, and I speaking from my own life as well, once I knew, I was like, I can actually consciously start to entrain, this, have you found from your, you know, everything, you know, I guess I’m just speaking to the listeners to put them at ease is that if let’s say I’m constantly in a certain area of my brain, like the left thinking quadrant, and that’s, I’m thinking all the time and I’m in those states, like you’re saying, you have these 90 seconds of, of that adrenalin infection or stress or whatever it might be before it flushes, and then we’re repeating over time, if we will in to be become more conscious and present and break those patterns daily, that we can train the brain to become more whole living, and it becomes
exactly right. And it all begins, you know, that’s the ultimate world. And I truly believe that that is the evolution of humanity. When you when you think about how biological systems evolve over time, it began, you know, the reptiles had, essentially our brainstem level of tissue, and it was mostly on off switches, I’m hungry, I eat, I’m not hungry anymore, I want to make I made, I’m good, I don’t need to make it anymore. You know, those kinds of on off things. And then new tissue gets added on top of that. And then you have the mammal. And so that emotional tissue is the limbic system. And again, it’s bilateral in each hemisphere. And so then, you know, over time, the kinks get worked out between that emotional tissue and the reptilian brain, and new tissue gets added on top, which is the thinking tissue. So this is a progression, a natural progression of the evolution of the mammalian system with us having that thinking tissue. And so now what we’re doing is we’re working the kinks out between our thinking tissue and each of the hemispheres with the underlying emotional tissue on both sides, we are working the kinks out between the thinking in the left brain and the thinking in the right brain, through that corpus callosum, some 300 million axon all fibers that go between the two. And we’re working the kinks out between our two emotional groups of cells. And eventually, and this is the ultimate goal of whole brain living. When we know all of those characters, and we create that huddle. They’re all in communication with one another. And we have the power to pick and choose moment by moment. Which one’s going to come out next? What is my next best conscious choice of how I want to be in the next moment?
Yeah, brilliant, I’m gonna become more present. What do you do have any rituals, routines, practice, keep this going for yourself, what was it
I just live in now. Because I lost the left hemisphere, I became the right hemisphere, I gained those values, I gave them that purpose. And it was my agreement with myself that I would recover as much as I needed in order to communicate with, with humanity again. But I would not sacrifice, I was not willing to sacrifice the driving force of my connection to the universe. I mean, I became so clear that this is what we are, I will never step away from that. And, and I know that at the time of death, when you look at death, and how the brain breaks, it starts to, to break itself down, our worlds get smaller and smaller, the left brain slows down, because it’s no longer managing all that external detail. And it shifts into the present moment. And then it shifts into the experienced true blissful experience of the right here right now, connection to all that is, so it’s essentially we build up away from that experience of euphoria. But I see it as that experience of euphoria is a consciousness that is in every cell in our body. When we were that single cell, the energy of that single cell was the same as the consciousness of the universe. And that energetic then multiplied that single zygote cell, literally at a rate of 250,000 new cells per second. I mean, there was a lot of genetic differentiation going on. But boy, you know, the brain wasn’t doing that work. The brain was being Created by that and so by the time an infant pops out, we’ve got this consciousness that’s connected to everything that is, look at the innocence and the beauty and the love of a newborn in amidst a bunch of screaming, don’t we, and that, that were that is that consciousness and then we learn to to connect to the external world. And we develop the skills of that left brain so that we can have a rational mind that understands and can relate to information in the external world. So So I look at us as a braid of consciousness, we have these four different consciousnesses, the one is kind of the one holding this braid of three other consciousnesses. And they’re distinct from one another. But you know, we can switch like this from one to the other, or some of us are just like a really strong character one, and that’s where they are. And they the disrespect there don’t like that other character. So I think one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is, is how well how do these characters get along inside of our own brain. And it’s so important that our left brain which comes in with all that judgment, and that rigid thought of what is right and wrong, and what is good and bad, that that allows respect for the playtime and for the openness because as living beings, we can push, but we have to pause, fine breath, we inhale, and we exhale, there’s a push and a pause. But if that left brain just drives, drives, drives, drives, pushes, pushes, pushes, pushes, it exhausts itself, and that’s the stress circuitry inside of our brain. And that just dumps cortisol all over these beautiful cells making up our form. And it is not healthy. It’s simply not healthy. So So it’s important to remember those thoughts and those emotions out in the leaves. What is that actually doing at the level of the brain cells? And how do we spread ourselves among those brain cells, so that they really are at work together.
I’m going to make sure I listened back to exactly what you just said, again, it’s almost I wish everybody could hear that and start to understand that and make such a difference. Because I think, pulling it back to my life, with so much fear going on in the world right now. And there’s so much stressful situations really tainted our perception and how we view things. And that becomes a reality very quickly. But if we are willing to pause and willing to understand how we operate and come back to that, life changes, like I’ve never felt more a peace in my life, Jill, at the moment, you know, and and I and I give myself that time now to pause, especially since having a daughter, I take her in the stroller every day. And that’s unlike my old self would have been pushing. But now I’m like, I want to be present for a while. And, and then I have these opportunities. And my reality, what I start to see in every moment and every day changes so much to the actual narrative that we get pushed on to so much as well. And the message you bring is just so important. And if there was a way that we could get every health practitioner and people have worked in wellness to go, Hey, we need to understand how we function first so we can start to make the right choices that actually influence better health, or well being that is exactly
right. So the title of the book,
I’m all for
the anatomy of choice, the anatomy of choice, and the four characters that drive our life. It’s, it’s, it’s it is once you start once you’re willing to watch your own circuitry to watch your own behavior, your own thoughts and your own emotions. And create some kind of a structure like this, the four characters that make sense. And you start realizing I spend a whole lot of time in my character too. And, or I spend a whole lot of time in my character three, or my partner spends way too much time and character three, and I really wish she’d spent a whole lot more time and character went to hell by right. So now we have I’ll tell you the story. So I have this these couple. They’re beautiful people. And she is a school teacher. And she’s very character one very a type personality organizes everything controls everything she has to she runs her classroom, she runs the kids half of our zoo. Half of them are you know in the classroom today, and she’s very, very strong. One with a strong three, which is a dominant one. Her husband is working from home because of COVID. And he is a very strong three, but he’s got a strong one, right? So she can now call him up on the phone and say, Honey, I’m coming home. And if you can give me 30 minutes of character one, then we can be character threes the whole rest of the evening. And he’s going, Wow, I know exactly what that means. And so he can do that he can say, great, you know, because he’s gonna get his needs met, she’s gonna get her needs met, and then they’re gonna play together. So if, if, based on that language, now, they know they have communicated at a core level of what what do we need? Now she could otherwise she could come home, and she could you know, he’s ready to play. And she says, No, I can’t do that yet. And I need you to do this, that and the other and he’s gone. Well, I don’t want to do that. I want to go play tennis. And she’s going, Well, no, I need your help. And now we got two twos ruining their evening together, right? Instead of this really clear form of languaging. And I just love it. I love using it in my life. I use I love all my friends who know the material, we communicate, I can call a friend up and and I said okay, before before you tell me about your character three, how is your character one, and she tells tells me what she’s doing? And then I said, and how’s your little too? And so, you know, she says, Well, you know, it’s kind of tough with COVID, and cousins got it and somebody else’s cell and and I said okay, yeah, and then she goes, but my character three, and then she’s telling me all of her character three part and her character four is just kind of peaceful euphoria. So I mean, it’s like, wow, oh, it’s a big Wow.
That’s awesome. You could save a lot of marriages potentially. We learn our characters start to communicate. Yeah. Yeah, that’s pretty good. I am I got one last question for you. Before we wrap things up, Jill. And I asked everyone this on the show. But with everything we’ve covered today,
we have the power to do anything you’d like my listeners to ponder and how we want to be in the world. If we’re willing to listen to ourselves, pay attention and interact with ourselves. We have the power to choose. And we all have that power. Yeah.
Absolutely. Yeah. Amen to that. will be available.
Yes. It’s already available. Yes, I’ve already read it. Awesome. Audible come out on a limb. I don’t think you can preorder the audio. Say yes, it’ll be on audio.
Yeah, no, I’ll be getting both. I find it.
There’s a chapter on character one. And then there’s a group of questions for you to ask yourself about your character one things like how much time do you do you know, this character? How much time do you spend is this character give this part of your your brain a name? Who likes this part of you? Who doesn’t get along with this part of you, etc. So you really think thoroughly about your character one because this isn’t about my four characters. This is about our four characters. And when you really can identify it and that’s why it’s important that you name your four parts, meaningful names for you, so that you can just pull you know Helen Helens on it. You know, everybody knows Helen My friends call and Helen answers the phone they say hi Helen, can you call us later. And so you know, I’ll wait until the evening and then I’ll call them as pigpen because that’s who they really want to chat with. Unless they need something done. And then they talked to Helen. It’s amazing. It’s amazing.
Got it. Got it.
It is I’m really excited to read your book when it comes out. So and thank you for coming on the show. It was truly an honor. Talking to you everything that you’re doing and putting out to the world. It’s amazing and I appreciate his podcast.
Well I appreciate you guys.
People out there as well. And
if you want to talk down the road, let me know. Because I know you get it and I love that I just I wish you all the all the best you know with a little daughter now. Model In for you all the characters. It’ll take a little while for the character one to hook in. But two is strong. Three is strong, and four is always there.
Thank you guys.
Yeah. Beautiful. Thank you so much. Thank you. There we go. hit stop.