2014 Honoree

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

Neuroanatomist, Founder, Jill Bolte Taylor BRAINS

“Teaching our children to be whole brained in their thinking will be a key to a different future.”

Who inspires you the most?

I am inspired by people who use both the left and right halves of their brain. People who use their voice in the world in a powerful, yet compassionate and loving way, and who use their energy and money to help others.

What do you now know about yourself that you wish you knew ten/fifteen/twenty years ago?

That I would fully recover from the stroke if I just stayed out of my own way and let the healing happen naturally.

Fill in the blank: You can never have enough ______.

Really good friends who love you no matter what.

What city best describes your personality?

Bloomington, Indiana. It is both academic, with Indiana University, and yet functions at the speed of a sane community. It’s big enough to prosper well and small enough to be a well-integrated community.

What gets you through even the toughest days and what are you most grateful for?

My awareness that I have the power to choose moment-by-moment who and how I want to be in the world. I can always choose to be more compassionate with me, and those around me, or I can choose to rile things up…but it is my choice.

What socio-political women’s issue do you care about the most?

Abortion and a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body and her future.

Do you feel that women are typically presented fairly in the media? Why or why not?

I don’t think anyone is presented fairly in the media.

We live in a society that is driven by sensationalism and wild story, these are the values of our left brain. Compassion and love are the values of our right brains, and although we can find stories of this type, it is not the dominating value. As a result, we live in a left dominate society and success is driven by the value structure of the left brain, which is driven by financial reward.

Despite separation between Church & State, religion still seems to govern decisions regarding women–abortions, birth control, etc. How do we shift power over women’s bodies to women?

We look at the whole brain and how our arguments are driven by our left and right brain value structures. Our political lines are clearly drawn based on our hemisphere value structures. The left brain is all about right and wrong and good and bad and the need to be right. Teaching our children to be whole brained in their thinking will be a key to a different future.

What is your best read?

My Stroke of Insight, of course. It’s a story of commitment, drive, adversity, recovery, growth, and true personal success. It’s a real page-turner!

Favorite character you would most like to be?

Myself. Of course, my life is my first and greatest blessing and I walk through the wonder of life with complete gratitude. But, if I were a cartoon character I would be Tigger–with lots of enthusiasm for everything!

What will it take for women to be viewed as equal to men?

A shift from our left brain value structure to our right brain value structure.

What was your best decision to date? Worst decision?

I chose to recover from the stroke. I chose to endure the agony of the real world, to reconnect with it and become a part of it.

Well, whatever it was, I’m sure it was related to either love or fashion!

Social media has exploded. How can women use it to market themselves without seeming narcissistic?

Narcissism is in the mind of the receiver; however, there is a fine line between what comes off as self-promotion (left brain) versus message or purpose promotion (right brain). I don’t promote myself, but I do promote an understanding of the brain and how that expands our ability to use this marvelous instrument inside our heads to make not only our lives but our world a better place.

Write a fortune you’d like for all women to receive in a fortune cookie.

You are perfect, whole, and beautiful just the way you are.

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

I would be able to cast a vibration into the air that people would breathe in and instantly shift into the more loving and compassionate selves of their right brain.

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