Making My Choice

My daughter, Emily, told me about a book she recently read.  It was My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor.  Dr. Taylor, a brain scientist, suffered a stroke.  In the book she details the things she experienced during the stroke and tells the story of her recovery and attempts to live fully, using both sides of her brain.  Emily really enjoyed the book.  I am planning to read it soon.  Amazingly, just after she told me about the book, I came across this TED Talk by Jill Bolte Taylor and decided to watch it.

As I listened to Dr. Taylor talk, I became very excited.  What she was saying about her experience of her stroke resonated with my own experience of grace since my vision began to deteriorate.  The physical occurrences were different, but there are a lot of spiritual and emotional similarities in our stories.  She says that her stroke was a great gift.  I believe her when she says this, because my vision loss has been a great gift.  With the left hemisphere of her brain damaged by the stroke, her right hemisphere was able to bring her to a sense of being connected with all the energy in everything around her.  She calls the place of peace that she attained “Nirvana.”  When I achieved this same sense of connectedness and of peace with the world around me, I called it “grace.”  Moments of grace were occurring all the time because everything, every second, every experience filled me with amazement.  I could no longer see clearly, but I could SEE in a new way.  I had a new insight into people and the beauty in everything around me.

In the last few days or weeks, I seem to have lost that sense of grace and beauty.  I have become stressed by the steady drip, drip, drip of mundane daily tasks.  I guess I began to take the amazing wonderfulness of my life for granted.  I have become more focused on the “losing vision” and less interested in the “gaining insight.”  I stopped looking for the silver lining in the cloud.

I am so thankful that Emily mentioned Dr. Taylor to me and that I took the time to watch the TED talk when I saw it.  This talk renewed in me the spirit of gratitude that I lost along the way.  I remembered that God has not blessed me a little bit, but has blessed me exceeding abundantly.  Dr. Taylor reminded me that I have a choice.  I can choose to live the way I have been living the last few days, with worry, with my “internal chatter” stressing me out and listing all the items on my to do list.  OR, I can choose to search out all the grace and beauty that is so abundant in the world.  I can open my eyes and heart to the blessings all around me.  One of my blog readers once commented that I have a “fairy tale life.”  I want to return to having a positive attitude, to having the sense that something wonderful is just around the corner, to believing that everything really will be okay.

I recommit myself, tonight, to looking for the blessing no matter how strangely it is disguised.  I recommit myself to finding the rainbow, seeing the silver lining, uncovering the grace in any situation.  Already, having written this, I can feel my spirit lightening.  I can feel myself smiling.  I can feel myself believing that I have, indeed, made my choice.  Today is going to be a great day.  Tomorrow is going to be a great day.  I will be looking for grace everywhere.  I know that I will find it.


11 thoughts on “Making My Choice

  1. I have to share that I wrote to Jill Bolte Taylor and told her how much her story meant to me. She actually responded. Here is our exchange:

    On Jun 9, 2011, at 9:46 PM, Belinda Brasley wrote:

    > Dr. Taylor –
    > I recently saw your TED talk. The story of your experience during your stroke really resonated with me. I am losing my vision and this has actually turned out to be a great blessing in my life. Before I was diagnosed, I was a “glass half empty” kind of person, but my vision loss has transformed me into a person who looks for and finds grace and blessings everywhere. I never knew how much beauty there was in the world while my eyes were still functioning normally. Now, I find beauty in unexpected people, objects, places, and experiences.
    > I really appreciate you sharing your story and I thank you for reminding me that a positive attitude is a choice. I can allow myself to slip into “logical” (pessimistic) thinking or I can look for the best in people and situations. What you call finding Nirvana, I have experienced and call it grace. It is the most glorious experience to realize that something that my inner voice told me was a curse is actually a blessing. Looking for these blessings has brought me to a place of great peace and energy and connectedness..
    > Peace,
    > Belinda Brasley

    Later that same evening, Dr. Taylor replied:

    amen, congratulations, I wish you all the very best, Jill

    Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
    Author, My Stroke of Insight
    (Penguin 2008)

    “Stay soft and the world will soften with you.”
    ~ Kat Domingo ~

  2. Thank you Belinda. I also live with a lot of anxiety much of it is due to my poor vision. Your words made me aware that anxiety can rule our lives as leave us feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, and afraid.

    I am trying to do one thing each day that challenges me after reading your post the other day. It actually is helping me a lot.

    Anyway, your words inspire me.

    • Two for the price of one! Thank you , thank you , thank you for your kind words. You know, writing my posts helps me so much and I am just so happy to hear that you find them helpful too. Thank you so much for your comments. 🙂

      • Hi Belinda, Oops, The first time I posted I could not get it to submit or so I thought. So, I ended up writing again. So, you received tow post from me today.

  3. Thank you for your encouraging words. I live with a lot of anxiety that is mainly due to my loss of vision as well. Some days it can really affect my day and leave me feelling discouraged and afraid.

    I have bee ntrying to do one thing each day since Iread your post the other day that challenges me to keep pushing forward and feel less isolated. For example, Wednesday I contacted a chruch and decided to join a prayer shawl ministry. A good thing came out of this. The minister of the church invited me out to lunch next week. Hopefully this will ead to new frienships and ways to serve other people. If I had not read your post I may not have taken this risk. Because, when I have taken risks such as this before people have not reached out. I think helping others throug hthis minstry will help me feel ,pre [rpdictove/ Today, I went outside and ran. This was something I had stopped doing for many months. This also felt good.

    • Teresa, I have to tell you that your comment made my day. I am so happy that you decided to join a prayer shawl ministry. I have a friend who does that and she loves it. Isn’t it nice to think that your hands will make a shawl that will bring so much comfort to someone who really needs it? I am so inspired by the steps you are taking. You are great! Congratulations and keep on going.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is so what I need to hear. I’ve been in a lil’ funk lately. After reading this, I too am going to begin being more positive. I Love you so much and am very blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for your wonderful insights. ~ Sheila

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