Thursday, April 10, 2008

Be Here Now, Courtesy of a Stroke

I have a chattering mind. When we're not actually doing the things we should be, we're thinking about all the things we should be doing. Should, should, should--it can stress you out.

Today I was ruminating about a situation at work and my husband said, "I want you to take four breaths. Breathe in and feel the air. Listen to what is around you. Feel the earth pushing up on your feet."

Grrr. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to hear that kind of thing--I want to ruminate and fix the problem. But he's right of course. I'm usually not in the present moment. I'm always thinking about my future and past self. It's only when I'm really in a state of flow, like if I'm working on crafts, or writing, or working on a spreadsheet that I can lose myself. I'm sure everyone can relate, except maybe not to the spreadsheets.

So I find it interesting that being in the moment might be tied to our brains. When neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had a stroke, she kept mental notes of what was going on in her head. My aunt, a proponent of meditation, sent me this article about Taylor from the NY Times last week. You can also watch her 18-minute lecture at TED. It will give you a unique perspective on what it would be like to lose that part of you brain that keeps you from being here now.

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