On December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven- year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. As she observed her mind deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Taylor alternated between the euphoria of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace, and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized she was having a stroke and enabled her to seek help before she was completely lost. It would take her eight years to fully recover.
For Taylor, her stroke was a blessing and a revelation. It taught her that by “stepping to the right” of our left brains, we can uncover feelings of well-being that are often sidelined by “brain chatter.” Reaching wide audiences through her talk at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference and her appearance on Oprah’s online Soul Series, Taylor provides a valuable recovery guide for those touched by brain injury and an inspiring testimony that inner peace is accessible to anyone.
In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, intimate connection draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.
In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
I have started walking during my lunch hour at work. I like this new routine. It feels good to stretch my legs, reset my brain with some fresh air, and spend a little time in nature: if even through an urban lens. I especially love to watch the seasons change through the leaves and trees.
My sister has always encouraged me to explore the wide world of podcasts; she is a big fan and listens to them voraciously throughout her day. I have always liked the idea but never made the time. Walking at lunch is now providing me with the opportunity to try it out as a new hobby.
I am mostly exploring podcasts focussed on creativity and innovation. A few of my favourites so far are: TED talks; CBC Writer’s & Co.; and Magic Lessons. This week, I listened to interviews with artists and writers like: Glennon Doyle Melton; Elizabeth Gilbert; Sharon Olds; Zadie Smith; and Leonard Cohen. All of these talks have been very inspiring. It is wonderful to listen to people talk about pursuing their passions. Each and every one of them knew what they were born to do. To create. They then pursued this path relentlessly: despite facing much opposition and many odds.
A thread connecting each of their stories is the fact that a creative life is not an easy one. Even the most seasoned artist or musician has experienced years (and sometimes decades) of rejection and disappointment; but they. kept. going. Not for fame and fortune. They are all simply compelled to create their work and then offer it out to the world. And then create more and do the same again. Over and over and over. It is such a raw and vulnerable choice to make. To put your innermost thoughts and expressions on paper and then place those new-born thoughts and ideas into a public space for critique and discussion.
And this brings to why I started this blog. I, too, am driven to create. It makes me feel alive and connected. I enjoy observing the world around me and sharing what I see through the written word. I always have: ever since I was a little girl. When I was seven years old, I wrote and illustrated a book. It was not my first book; but it was my favourite and I was very proud of it. I worked on it for weeks on end and I then took it into my school library. I asked the librarian to add it to the collection. I wanted my work to sit on those shelves; and I wanted other children to read my book. It was my dream. I wanted to be a writer and create beautiful things with words. But as the years passed, I stated to waiver. I believed what I heard around me. That is not a career path. Pursue something more stable. Be realistic Lora.
And so I did. I listened to everyone else and I followed many long and circuitous roads. They all led me back here. To this place and this passion. Thirty-four years later, with the same dream beating strong in my chest. So now I must write and stop being afraid of failure. I will write and write and write to see what happens. I will try to create some magic on these pages and to bring people together through my words and my dreams of beauty, love and light.