Aug. 11, 2021

90 Seconds to Whole Brain Living with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

90 Seconds to Whole Brain Living with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

Our guest is Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. She is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist and author of Whole-Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life.

Our guest is Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. She is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist and author of: Whole-Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life. In this episode, she explains why we have much more power over what is going on inside of our brains than we have ever been taught. When we understand our Four Characters we gain the power to choose who and how we want to be in every moment regardless of our external circumstances.

Dr. Jill also debunks the myth that we use only 10% of our brain as well as the idea that our right brain hemisphere is our emotional brain, while our left brain houses our rational thinking. 

Her first book “My Stroke of Insight” spent 63 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list in 2008. You may also recognize her from the first TED talk that ever went viral on the internet, where she detailed her profound experience with her stroke. That TED talk has now received over 27 million views.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The 90-second rule to a peaceful mindset
  • Healthy Ways To Cope with difficult emotions.
  • How sleep, movement, good nutrition, and quality connections with friends can add quality to our lives.
  • What the Brain Huddle
  • How to choose who and how we want to be 
  • How to Become Acquainted With Your Own Four Characters
  • How we can use our Four Characters to help us manage our emotional reactivity gives us the power to control how we feel at any given moment. 



Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's Website

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[00:00:42] Jill: This is the fit mess conversations with world-class experts in the fields of mental, physical, and emotional health. And this episode, myth that we only use 10% of our brain. I can guarantee you pretty much if it's alive and it's in your head, you're using it. Now. Here are your hosts, Zach and Jeremy. 

[00:01:01] Jeremy: You only actually use 10% of your brain, the right side of your brain is your emotional brain.

[00:01:06] While the left side of your brain is for rational thinking. You've probably heard those ideas repeated throughout your life, as it turns out they're completely not true. That's according to our guests this week, we are so grateful to be joined by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, her first book, my stroke of insight spent 63 weeks on the New York times bestseller list in 2000.

[00:01:25] You may also recognize her from the first Ted talk that ever went viral on the internet, where she detailed her profound experience with her stroke, that Ted talk has now received over 27 million views today. Dr. Jill joins us to talk about her fascinating new book, whole brain living the anatomy of choice and the four characters that drive our life.

[00:01:45] I love when we do an interview and it sits in the bank for a few weeks and I come back to it to edit it a few weeks. And it just, it hits me right when I need it. It's the information that I'm needing to get over. The hump that I'm in. And this episode is an example of that. These last few days I've really been struggling.

[00:02:02] And it was just a couple of days ago. I was editing this interview and listening back and hearing her talk about the four characters. These are these four parts of your brain that are constantly battling for control. Really putting into perspective, a lot of the things that I've been struggling with and she'll get into the details of that.

[00:02:18] But as it turns out, I'm not alone. Zach, you had a similar experience listening back to this one. Yeah, 

[00:02:23] Zach: actually it was very interesting. It reminded me of a couple of people that we talked to in that like every time we listened to them or read their books, it means something different to me at the time.

[00:02:34] So I remember doing the interview and being fascinated with her and her energy was great. But then when I went back and listened to it, I was in a completely different space. And it just rang so much closer to home when I listened to it again, I think I talked about it last week. I quit my job. I'm new to starting a new job, but I'm just in this place where I'm in between.

[00:02:57] And the last six months of my job have been so toxic. And like all of these things are ingrained in me from those six months that really had me at a very low point in my life in general. And do you know just listening to her again? Yeah. The gratitude I need to feel when I wake up every morning, like just waking up and being thankful for the fact that I got up this morning, regardless of anything else that happens in the day or what happened yesterday, at least I get to start another day.

[00:03:26] And it was just really interesting how listening to this interview again, brought me back there to that place of gratitude and realizing that all of the stuff that's happened in the last 16. It's temporary. All I have to do is make my life different and it's going to change. And all of that is going to 

[00:03:47] Jeremy: go away.

[00:03:48] When we were talking a bit before we started recording about just even the last week for you and the sort of perspective shifts that you've had because of the things that you've been experiencing in the last, yeah. 

[00:03:58] Zach: We've had family in town that we haven't seen in 10, 15 years, all gathering together for my mother's Memorial.

[00:04:07] We lost her back in March, but because of COVID, we didn't do anything. So it's just been very interesting even a week for me, because I was wrapping up my old job. I got a little time between, you know, the, the hangover of my job is still there. Plus my mother's Memorial and all of this stuff. And it really, it, like I said, it just brought me back to this moment of holy shit.

[00:04:26] Just be thankful that you're waking up today. You have the opportunity today to make it a little better. And then tomorrow, should you wake up again? You can make it a little bit better. It just, all of these things came to a head in the last couple of weeks. So it's been a weird point in my life where I feel lower than I have in probably 

[00:04:46] Jeremy: five years.

[00:04:48] CSO. I wonder about that because I feel like I'm in a similar place as you, because of this period of transition where, you know, I've left my job and I've moved. And so there's been a lot to look forward to and a lot to, to work on, to get to this place. And now that I'm here, It's funny. I keep seeing this picture in my head because we kept talking about how, you know, this is taking a leap of faith.

[00:05:10] This is trusting that this decision that we're making is this huge thing. And part of me feels like, so part of this as we're selling our house in Seattle, and that, that process is moving along, but it's not completed yet. And so I feel like I jumped off the diving board. I took the leap, but on the way down I grabbed it and I'm still hanging on.

[00:05:28] And that hanging on is that I'm still attached to the house. Like literally today. Now forget it. We're going back. We still own that house, right? Like it's we could go back. So part of me is like hanging on by fingertips to this diving board. I haven't fully let go because I still have this connection there.

[00:05:46] And so the four characters that we'll talk a little bit more about with, with Dr. Jill here in a minute, I'm having these battles in my brain, between the ones that want to hang on to the past that want to hang on to all the fight or flight and all the trauma and all the history. And the ones that are like, no, let's explore, let's get creative.

[00:06:05] And then the ones that are like, here's what we need to do to move forward. But the character too, as you learn more about I'm learning is the powerhouse is the one that really controls everything. And the other three characters have got to hit the gym and have got to get stronger, to be able to battle and to knock my hand loose from that diving board that I'm still hanging on to so that I can just allow the fall to happen into whatever this experience is going.

[00:06:31] Zach: Right. Well, you need to think about it differently. You need to think about jumping off a cliff where you need to jump with full force, right? In order to clear the rocks, whereas the way you're doing it, now you hesitated at the end and now you're going to get to the water, but you're going to be all bloody when you get there, bounce off the rocks.

[00:06:50] Jeremy: So just think of that, right? Cliff, not diving forward. Cliff, not diving 

[00:06:54] Zach: board every time you're like, huh? Hesitation. Just picture yourself. Rolling down a cliff face. 

[00:07:00] Jeremy: Yeah, bloodied and beaten. Your 

[00:07:02] Zach: whole brain will be demolished whole 

[00:07:04] Jeremy: brain. Interesting. You mentioned that because that is part of the title of the book.

[00:07:08] It is called whole brain living the anatomy of choice. And the four characters that drive your life. We had a chance to talk to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, about that book and about how we can use her strategies for better emotional intelligence. And our conversation started with the story really that made her, 

[00:07:26] Jill: I had a brother who's.

[00:07:28] I still have a brother who's 18 months older than I am, uh, who would be diagnosed with schizophrenia when he. And he was only 18 months older than me. So he was my introduction to life in the world. And I noticed at a very young age that he and I would have the exact same experience, but walk away having completely different definitions about what just happened.

[00:07:53] So I became fascinated with body language, intonation of voice, facial language, just the whole human animal. And what am I and what is normal? Because it was clear something wasn't right here between the two of us. And so eventually I grew up to study the brain and I was teaching and performing research at Harvard medical school.

[00:08:17] And I was serving on the board of directors for NAMI the national Alliance on mental illness to help people like my brother and my research and the lab was all about how does our brain create our perception of reality? Because what was anatomically different about my brother's brain in comparison to mine.

[00:08:37] So I was living in a very meaningful life. And then I woke up at the age of 37. And I had an, a major hemorrhage in the left half of my brain. And over the course of four hours, I watched my brain completely deteriorate in its ability to process all information. Eventually that afternoon I could not walk, talk, read, write.

[00:09:01] I had no recollection of my life and I essentially had become an infant in a woman's body. And it then took eight years for me to recover all those functions. And then I wrote a book, my stroke of insight, a brain scientist, personal journey. And then I gave a Ted talk and that exploded me into the world.

[00:09:23] So Ted and I became famous together and it's been a wild ride since then. And so that's, that's the history 

[00:09:32] Zach: that is quite the ride. I'm not sure. I hope you were wearing your seatbelt cause that's. Bumpy, but there's, there's all these things that we hear about the brain that, you know, may or may not be true.

[00:09:43] I feel like a lot of what we do hear about the brain is wrong. Like the thought that we only use 10% or whatever the percentage is. Can you talk a little bit about that? Their brain works. 

[00:09:54] Jill: Thank you. First of all. Yes, the, the it's a myth that we only use 10% of our brain, the way neurons are. They live in network and they're very social creatures.

[00:10:05] Network. And when S when something happens like a trauma and they no longer are receiving stimulation, they tend to roll up in a little ball like we do when we have the flu and they either stay withdrawn or they die. So I can guarantee you pretty much if it's alive and it's in your head, you're using it.

[00:10:25] And when you consider that it's not a very big organ and it has the capacity through these tiny little cells to manifest our, our perception of being a real entity with a defined boundaries, with all these magnificent skillsets. And we think that we're real and that we exist. I mean, it's an amazing phenomenon.

[00:10:49] The other major myth is, well, there are several one is that it's fully, you know, it's not going to grow anymore after your childhood first two or three years, that's not true. We know neuro-plasticity is real. And even in this moment, as we hear new things and make new associations, We're making associations because neurons are making new synaptic connections up to a rate of 1.8 million new connections per second.

[00:11:17] I mean, they're very busy in there. And another major myth is that the right hemisphere is our emotional brain and our. Brain is our thinking rational brain. That's just absolutely incorrect. So I love 

[00:11:32] Jeremy: the way you described the four characters and how they overlap the two hemispheres. Can you walk us through what those four characters are?

[00:11:39] Jill: So as you look at a brain, the, in a burrata model for you, so at least you can see it. When you look at the brain, clearly divides into two hemispheres that do communicate with one another. Well, we have a limbic emotional tissue in the left hemisphere, and we have thinking tissue in the left hemisphere and we have emotional tissue and thinking tissue both in the right hemisphere.

[00:12:05] And these are groups of cells, modules of cells that function as a subset of our brain. And so each of those things. Modules of cells in each of those emotional modules of cells, they perform very specific functions and the right hemisphere is right here right now. So it's going to be the emotion of the present moment and the thinking of the present.

[00:12:34] And the left hemisphere is a time machine, if you will. And it has an identity of me, where do I begin? And where do I end? How do I define the boundaries of Jill Bolte? Taylor? What are the details of my life? And it's so that's my ego. So my ego has. Time span. So it's thinking of the past and projection into the future and the emotions of the past and our projection into the future.

[00:13:05] So we have these four very specific modules of cells that actually result in four different subsets of, of skillset. And they all, they, each of them has a very specific character personality that hearing you 

[00:13:19] Jeremy: describe the four characters. I spend way too much time with character too, in my, in my, on my journey to spend more time with character for, I want to let go of the past.

[00:13:31] I want to let go of the trauma, get out of the fight or flight. And I want to spend more time in, in that God universe place. I've been there a few times through breath work through meditation. It is a beautiful place, a place that I fear if I were able to stay, I will. So how, how do we sort of balance these four characters in our relationship with them?

[00:13:51] And, and how do we know? I guess when we're spending a little too much time in the GODPLAYS and maybe a little too much time in the fight or flight fight or flight place, 

[00:13:59] Jill: you know, it's very, first of all, that's very big of you to recognize that you spend too much time in your unhappy, emotional past. And you know, that and other people are probably aware of that and we all have this part of ourselves.

[00:14:16] And the question is how much time do we spend in each of these four characters? And the ultimate goal is whole brain living and finding the balance and the relationship between those characters. So as you move into your feeling, your character to your, in your trauma from the past, the emotion of the past, the discontent, uh, the, I have an expectation and it's not being met.

[00:14:41] Uh, so I'm going to blame somebody or something. Maybe even the cell. There is a deep sense of gratitude. I think that the easiest way to access that character for, and you're absolutely right, you know, it's great to visit, but it is a completely non-functional part of the, we are because it's just blissed out and euphoria.

[00:15:01] It doesn't define the boundaries. There's no definition of me, the individual. And so if that's all I have, which is all that I did have after that major hemorrhage. It's fantastic to be there and to know who that is and that that's underlying all parts of me, but it is come holy lay non-functional. So if you're going to be a living, being, having the left-brain character functional in the world, very important.

[00:15:29] And then the emotion of the present moment is experiential and playful and creative and interested and innovative. So, so we have each of them. These parts. And if you want to hook in to that character for always seek your gratitude, because when we move into a sense of gratitude that, oh my gosh, I'm alive.

[00:15:52] And all the difference between me having any thoughts or any emotions or any physiological responses is not being here and being deceased. I have a life and simply hooking into the idea that. I can celebrate bright and be grateful for those beautiful cells that, that give me sight or give me sound in the ability to communicate or hands and digits that allow me to manipulate the space around us and the legs.

[00:16:23] I don't have to stand in the presence of you. If you're bringing me an energy or something that I'm not comfortable in, I have legs I can choose to walk away. And walk away, we get to pick and choose show, try focusing on there's all in this amazement that we exist at all. And, oh my gosh, we're alive. I mean, these are settles how absurd that 50 trillion beautiful like killer geniuses got packed together and created a year.

[00:16:54] We are this incredible on inspiring miracle of life. And when you allow yourself to wake up in the morning and just lay there with your eyes closed and think, well, wow, I'm awake, I'm awake. I'm not even sleeping anymore. I'm awake and I'm alive. And, oh my gosh. Wow. I, I have, I have life. I, and I know I go on and on about that, but to me, it's clearly this amazing phenomenon and people kind of overlook how wonderous we are.

[00:17:27] And it's like, well, you know, look in the mirror and remember this miracle of what you are. And build from the miracle. Don't look at the life outside and say, say, oh, that that's, that it's like, it's not about that. It's about me. And, and in this moment I can bring my curiosity and I. Color outside of the lines.

[00:17:51] Cause it doesn't care about the lines the left brain does. And it's about innovation and, well, I can use this for that. And it's like, who cares? What the rules are when it comes to, you know, a pencil. It's a great backscratcher when I've marked gap a little, but it took me pen scratcher. I mean just, just the awareness, not to go back to remembering the awe of that I existed at all.

[00:18:16] And I can guarantee you if you wake up in the morning and you go to sleep at night and you curl your hands and you curl your toes and you think to yourself, I'm alive. What does that mean? I'm alive and 50 trillion cells are making a life form somewhere in there should seep in a real sense of appreciation.

[00:18:36] Wow. 

[00:18:38] Zach: Have to say that my day has been pretty bad almost all day, and you've just completely turned it around for me. Like, I, I, that was amazing. Like my entire mind just shifted into a new, a new realm. So first thank you for that. I really do appreciate that you deliver that with such passion. I really liked that.

[00:18:58] I do want to ask though about those with mental health issues and how whole brain living. Uh, how we should be doing whole brain living with, with mental health issues. I run on really high on the anxiety side. Jeremy runs high on the depression side. Can you talk a little bit about, you know, depression and anxiety and whole brain?

[00:19:16] Jill: Absolutely. Well, first of all, anxiety is an easier one to address because it's actually the alarm alarm alert alert of my past. And it's a group of cells that little character to the motion, the limbic system cells of the past. And, and you're, you're bringing information in and you're, it's fueling into that group of cells.

[00:19:38] And, and those group of cells are looking at your past and saying, is there any reason why I should feel danger? Is this, should I push it away? And it's looking moment by moment for any reason to push it away and. We have this amazing thinking ability and the difference between human and other mammals is that we have this neocortex, this thinking tissue on both the right and the left.

[00:20:06] And so we have the ability to bring our mind into the present moment, look around and say, okay, in this moment I am feeling anxiety, but I'm feeling anxiety. Not because I'm in danger, I'm feeling anxiety because. I'm running a group of cells on a loop and they're, , they're designed to save my life, but I keep rethinking of font.

[00:20:31] If you examine and you reflect on what's at the core of that anxiety, there is a thought that is stimulating this emotional. And then something gets dumped into your bloodstream. It floods through you and it flushes out of you naturally in less than 90 seconds, but you're, if you keep rethinking the thoughts that keep moving you into that alarm alarm alert, alert, you keep running that circuit over and over again in eventually you become drained and exhausted and depleted because you're not designed to be an alarm alarm alert, alert all the time.

[00:21:10] So then the question is, well, what are your choices? And your choices are going to be, I have these other parts of my brain. I have the ability to bring my mind into my work life. What do I need to do? Throw myself, distract myself. If you will. Like we would a toddler who's, who's throwing some. Yeah, distract that toddler with something interesting.

[00:21:33] So go to work, do your to-do list, get some things done or shift into those two characters in your right brain. Move into the emotional group of cells in the right brain, which is curious and interested and decide, you know, my trauma from the past. It is real. It will never go away. And my relationship with that trauma, that character profile it is.

[00:21:58] And it is always available. And I do have the ability to say, okay, I'm going to set this part aside just for a few moments and I'm going to go play and do something fun and interesting. And, and then I can always tap right back in there and say, okay, am I still feeling my unhappy or my anxiety? Oh yeah.

[00:22:18] And then you feel a root in her eyes again, and it's like, okay, good, glad it's available if I need it, but I don't need it right now. Go distract or something with something else. And we have all these beautiful cells and we do have these, each of these characters. And if you practice the characters and you recognize, yes, I'm in my one, I'm not feeling all of that anxiety or yes, I'm, I'm playing basketball with my buddies and, and I'm not feeling in this instant, all that anxiety recognize which of these parts of your brain, which character you're embodying.

[00:22:55] And then create relationships between them and learn to, to first of all, recognize they're all there, but also become then fluid in shifting in and out of them. Anxiety is not bad. Chronic anxiety is painful and it's a horrible experience. It feels horrible, but we don't have to run constantly on that anxiety.

[00:23:21] Now, depression is another issue because they're all there's depression from all sorts of different reasons. Am I chronically depressed? Which means that a group of cells in my brain actually have gone quiet and they need to be re stimulated. That's one. There's I just lost someone I love. And so I am grieving and so I am depressed and I, I, you know, I, I just I'm, I'm just, I'm just drained.

[00:23:48] I'm just down. I'm just, there's no joy. So there are different kinds of depression. And so depression may need to be treated with a medication. Or you may be able to find that it's not a chronic depression and that you can find some relief by embodying the different characters inside of your brain. 

[00:24:12] Jeremy: That was something I wanted to get a little deeper on is, you know, as someone who suffers with depression, there are times when I recognize I am depressed and I want to take control.

[00:24:21] I have, I've got a tool toolbox full of things I can do that I, I know will make me feel. But it's almost like this, like the depression as a separate entity that says, ah, you're, you're not going to do that. You don't, you don't need, you want to feel this way. You don't want to go feel better. And it it's, it almost feels like I'm being physically restrained from pursuing relief from that depression.

[00:24:42] So when you talk about making a choice to go to a, a different character in the brain that I know right now, that sounds amazing. I know what I'm wanting to hide in the dark for three days, that's going to sound like an impossible task. 

[00:24:55] Jill: Yes. I, I, you know, I get that, but what you just described was beautifully was a conversation between the different characters in your brain.

[00:25:05] The character Juan is saying, look, I have a list of things right here that we can do in order to feel better. And that's your character, one coming online and saying, I'm a fix it machine. I'm here for you, but you're letting the character to dominate. And the character too is, is invested in its own disillusionment with life it's invested in it, it, it, it is humbled by it.

[00:25:35] It is lost in it. So just don't let it make the decision, get up, get in the shower. Go for a walk, eat something healthy. Prepare yourself. Let your character one prep you for being a healthy one and a healthy three, and a healthy. Prep yourself, set yourself up for success. I mean, I live out on a boat.

[00:26:03] Here's a little example. I live on a boat out in the middle of nowhere. And so I have people bring me food. I have one person who brings me food, but she's on vacation. And so today I'm scrounging through the refrigerator going, this is all I got. Right. I gonna have to get off my bed. And I didn't set myself up for success.

[00:26:28] So if I don't have enough food on this boat for today, I'm going to feel exactly like you feel in your character too. I'm going to use my energy. I'm going to feel depressed. I'm going to not want to do anything. And I could have set myself up for success better. So. Remember, you have all this brain, you have this big, beautiful brain.

[00:26:55] You have all of these characters, let them have conversations with you. Just start with conversations. So if you're going to go and you're going to be depressed, chronically depressed, and you're going to hide in the dark for three days. Okay. I think you might. Big chronic, and you might need some medication might help with that level of extreme that's extreme.

[00:27:20] And at some point you're going to have to recognize you have other parts of you, who do you want to be and who do you want to lead with? And that character too can scream louder than anyone. It can be more overwhelmingly embodying than anyone and new need to know you have these other characters and somewhere in there, you need to set them up for success so that you can set yourself up for success.

[00:27:55] I 

[00:27:55] Zach: love that. I think you just referenced it, but my, my next question was going to be around the brain huddle, what it is and what can you, can you elaborate a little 

[00:28:03] Jeremy: bit more 

[00:28:04] Jill: on it? Absolutely. So I have very strong character. One who is my age type personality. She goes to work, she gets it done. She gets me here on time.

[00:28:15] She's fantastic. You know, she keeps my life ordered my character too, is my unhappy self in relationship to my past. My past is not my present my past. It is a consciousness that does not exist in reality. First of all, isn't that an interesting concept? All of our pain from the past doesn't exist anymore.

[00:28:38] It's gone. It's past it's behind. So how much of my consciousness do I want a fuel into that character in order to let it take and steal my present away? Well, I'm not willing to do that very often. So I'm moving to my character three, which is my emotional. Right here right now, experiential curious, innovative, playful self.

[00:29:01] She's also a young character. And then my character four is my biggest, the universe, no definition of where I begin and where I in at nature and in relationship with the all of old it is. So I know these characters very well. And then that's my brain team. And I say, Periodically throughout the day. And I tend to do it 20 or 30 times a day because I want it to be very well-practiced so that when I move into my little character too, they know how to come online and she knows how to let them in.

[00:29:37] Right. Because when we get unhappy and we shift into our past, it's like all the energy in the brain is going to that one character. So I call it a brain huddle. It's the brain team teams have huddles. So I called the brain huddle and I say, okay, in this moment, let's have a huddle. And so what that means is I pause and I breathe.

[00:29:58] I bring my focus to my breath. That's the first thing we do when we born. It's the last thing we're going to do when we die? I hope so. It's like a train going along and it's like, okay, I'm jumping on the train of the present moment, which is my book. So I focus on my breath. I become present. I become aware and I invite my other characters into this huddle.

[00:30:25] And so B stands for breath. It's B R a I N. Huddle for the acronym. B is breath, go to the breath, bring your mind to the present moment or is recognized, which of the four characters cold the brain huddle. So if it's my little unhappy self, then that's my little character too is saying I'm calling a huddle.

[00:30:46] I care about this. I want to get out of my pain of the past and I'm going to bring myself to the present moment. Will y'all come back into my consciousness so I can be aware. Are is recognized who called the brain huddle and they all can call the brain huddle at any time. Hey is depreciate that no matter who called the brain huddle, I have four of me in here and they're all online right now.

[00:31:11] Okay. I'm pausing. I got my gratitude. Can I feel my gratitude drive and gratitude? Gratitude. I feel my gratitude. Okay. Playful. Can I move into my little playful self? I tend to start bouncing the energy of our little character. Is big and energetic pay attention to the vibration of the energy you're feeling because it's like a train ride that you can jump on.

[00:31:37] So if you're in your little two, I know a two feels like two feels like bomb. Harville I am not happy. I feel low. I feel small. It's just like, life's a bummer. What the hell are we doing here? But feel that energy level. And make a decision. No, I know what it feels like to be like shooting baskets, shooting baskets, shooting baskets.

[00:31:58] I keep going to basketball because I'm from Indiana. I can't help myself. It's enough, you know, we're shooting baskets. And then, and then my one, my one is like, yeah, we're here, we're on it. We're doing something. So they're all in there. Recognized. Who calls it a is appreciate. I got four and then in choir.

[00:32:17] Okay. We're all here. Which one would I like to have a taste of for the next moment? Who should I like to be in the next moment? Do I have to make a phone call and go be my character one? Or can I like go for a run around the boat and get a little energy in my body and be a character three or where I can just days out and shift into the tho the breeze.

[00:32:40] The leads. I mean, I am become a character for, I can do all of it. They're all available. And then in is navigate moment by moment by moment, because life is this continuum of moment by moment by moment. And that's the brain huddle. And, and what that does is it brings the whole brain online. It says I've got all four of me now.

[00:33:04] Who am I going to listen to? Who am I going to give the microphone to? Who am I going to let dominate in the next moment? Now, if you're feeling like you want to go call and crawl in a cave for three days of darkness, it's like, I want to give my two. Now I can say to you, at some point you need to have a real heart to heart with you.

[00:33:25] And you need to say to your two too. I love you now. I don't mind if I miserable as long as I can appreciate the fact that I'm miserable and I'm capable of being miserable because I'm this magnificent collection of beautiful cells, but this is not living. And life is going by because I'm caught in my past pain.

[00:33:49] And I would like to have some relationship with the present moment. I would like to help myself and I have these other characters. So let's let character one make a phone call and make an appointment so that maybe I can either talk to someone or maybe I might try a, an uptake inhibitor. Am I willing and if I'm not willing, then I really need to have that conversation every time I wake up, because then I'm letting myself really crawl into a cave and die.

[00:34:19] That's 

[00:34:20] Jeremy: powerful. I love your description, uh, of, of what happened when you, when you had the stroke and sort of going to LA LA land. I love when, when the wool blends with science, that that is my jam. I love that I'm so interested in character for, because I've tasted it. I've been there. And your description of it.

[00:34:39] It just, it sounds to me like, like what I imagine is the place we go when we die. There's just this sort of, sort of absorbing back into the universe. So his character for it. I guess what I'm asking is is God, is the universe not, not in the physical universe, but the spiritual universe. Is it a construct in our brain or are we able to sort of connect to it through our 

[00:35:02] Jill: brain?

[00:35:03] I believe, I believe that the consciousness of the, of the cosmos call, then God call that I'll call that whatever your belief system matches. I believe that is the consciousness that think about this. When we are first conceived in our mother's womb, we are an egg still dad's DNA comes in and we become a single zygote cell.

[00:35:31] The ZigBee. And the zygote, then it has an awareness. It has some kind of knowing, even if it's, you know, written up in the DNA, there is an energy, there is movement and there is information and that single cell is separate from the womb within which it is. Then that cell is going to multiply its DNA, repackage it, multiply the DNA, repackage it at a rate of up to 250,000 new duplications cells per second.

[00:36:09] Not per minute per second. It is, it is. It's on fire, right? So there's a consciousness. There's an energy that is directing this to be what it is. And I believe that. Is the consciousness of the cosmos. I think it's the same as the universe. And so every cell of our body has an awareness within itself of what it's doing, its own world.

[00:36:35] I mean, these are worlds. And then in relationship to its external, whether it's a liver cell packed up cramped against a bunch of others, making a barrier for, for irrigation and filtration or whether it's a vision. In the brain, whatever it is, it's a beautiful cell in relationship to all these other cells.

[00:36:57] So I personally believe the consciousness of that universe is in every cell of our being and then that we have access to it as well. Thinking tissue in the right brain, because the right brain, you have to have a group of cells in your left brain that define the boundaries of where you begin and where you end.

[00:37:16] So I know that this is my face, but I know that these biases are not my glasses because the holographic image in my left hemisphere that defines the boundaries of me. Doesn't have those glasses on. Even though I wear them all day long. So I know that I am me because of a small group of cells in my left hemisphere.

[00:37:37] Take those away. And you are big as the universe. You're an energy form that is in this cellular dense structure within which life is my life. And, but there's no boundaries for energetically, so I can take my energy and I can go wherever you are in the world. And if you open your heart and you open your consciousness to the possibility of bringing that vibration into you and letting that.

[00:38:06] Feel inside of you then, um, then we merge, I mean, this is what we're doing is living beings, but because we have that group of cells, we think we're separate from one another. And, and, you know, that's, that's our perceived reality, even though it's not the reality of the universe. So that's a big answer to your question, but that's what I.

[00:38:29] That's 

[00:38:30] Jeremy: that's a great answer. Uh, your energy and passion are inspiring and amazing, and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to talk with us. This has been a ton of fun. 

[00:38:37] Jill: Thank you, Jeremy and Zach, and so good to look at you.

[00:38:49] Jeremy: That was Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, her new book, whole brain living the anatomy of choice and the four characters that drive our life. I love. The picture that she has now put in my head of these four characters, these four sort of personalities of the brain. Uh, and as I mentioned, going into it and in the interview, the character too, seems to be driving the bus.

[00:39:10] And it reminds me a lot of our conversation with Dr. Marc Brackett. When we talked about name it detainment, right? Once you can put a label on something, you can start to get a better handle on how it works. And I have this picture in my head of character, too. He's been hitting the gym since he was four, right?

[00:39:26] Like he, he knows his way around. He can lift anything. That's heavy can do anything, but he's the one that holds me back from being curious, being creative, being happy, fun, exploring, driven. Yeah, 

[00:39:40] Zach: he's really strong, but the only tool he has is a hammer. So he sees everything he does now and just 

[00:39:44] Jeremy: smashes it.

[00:39:45] Yeah. Like, oh, you want to do it? Oh, you want to explore it? Nope. Oh, you want to be happy? Nope. It just, and, and all the other, whereas the other three characters like, oh yeah. All right. He's the strongest. So I guess we'll just do it. And so it's been really interesting to have these conversations with myself and it hasn't worked yet.

[00:40:02] It's a muscle that I'm still developing, but being able to think of it that way. And when I can feel character too in charge and wanting to be depressed and wanting to be angry and pissed off all day and all that I can visualize this conversation. Like she suggests and think about it in terms of saying thank you for, for what you're trying to warn me away from what you're trying to steer me away from whatever.

[00:40:24] Don't need it right now. We're trying to do something good and it's helping a little it, but it's new. It's like you to doing your squats at CrossFit. It's the PVC pipe right now where I'm like, oh, this is too much. I can't do it, but I'm gonna, I'm going to keep implementing this into my daily routine and hope that I can get the other three characters a little stronger and start to fight back a little bit more.

[00:40:47] Yeah. And 

[00:40:47] Zach: that's what I need to do too. And that's what I was referring to at the beginning around gratitude and just having. That ability to make my life better. And that's flexing those other muscles, the other three pieces, because I've been in such funk for six months because of various things. It's time for me to turn that around and start bringing the other parts of my brain to the gym.

[00:41:10] Yeah. Been lacking there a 

[00:41:11] Jeremy: little. Yeah. Uh, I also love the point that she made about how pain from the past doesn't exist anymore. How it's, it's just sort of this concept. That we hang on to, and for me that his character too, he's been hanging on to that cause he's been driving the bus for a long time.

[00:41:26] And so whenever things do trigger me, it is just this, oh, this is the water slide all the way down. Like we know the fast track to the bottom of this one. And so it's just a really interesting concept to think about all of those things that they connect the dots and create that pain and make me relive that difficulty.

[00:41:43] They don't really exist. It's just this artificial concept that has guided far too much of my life. Yeah. To your memory of it. Yeah. Interesting stuff. It is. 

[00:41:55] Zach: That's a little too deep for me right now. 

[00:41:59] Jeremy: Hanging out in the shallow end of the pool today. 

[00:42:01] Zach: Oh yeah. Yeah. Like the whole myth about the 10% of your brain and was like, I'd be lucky if I used half percent today, 

[00:42:08] Jeremy: but 

[00:42:10] Zach: just taking it easy across the board.

[00:42:13] Again, I mentioned we had family, we had a whole bunch of things gone in all the family left and today's the first day of school. And I'm just wiped out. Yeah. Like just, I haven't been sleeping and there's the emotional toil of everything that ended in the last two weeks is just, I'm like, I just feel like laying down, sleeping for two days, but we both know that'll only last for about four hours and then I'll figure out something else to do.

[00:42:39] But all of that pain that I experienced over the last six months, Dover, like the pain is not there anymore. And all I can do now 

[00:42:45] Jeremy: is just get better. That is weird when. There is something heavy like that hanging over your head for that long. And then when it is suddenly over, it can be jarring to be in that space of, in between.

[00:42:58] And because of all the uncertainty that's ahead and all of the pain and struggle you've been hanging on to. And when you're just floating in between, that's a weird place to be this, 

[00:43:07] Zach: but you know what? I'm going to fill it with M and M's and 

[00:43:10] Jeremy: not potato chips at 10:00 AM this time. No. 

[00:43:13] Zach: We were in New York city the other day, and we went to the M and M store.

[00:43:16] There you go. They have all these weird, not weird, but they have different flavors and you can build your own bags. So we may have built a really big bag. Are you going to 

[00:43:24] Jeremy: pair any of those m&ms with an athletic brewing beer? 

[00:43:27] Zach: I did last night and I will tell you I had to keep the M and M's I needed to clean the palate for sure.

[00:43:33] Then I had the athletic. That would be a weird chocolate and beer, not my favorite. It, it definitely followed after 

[00:43:40] Jeremy: the m&ms just something that has been helping me avoid traps like that. Like your M and M and beer combo is, uh, an admittedly. These guys are a sponsor of the show, but inside tracker is a really cool tool that I've been using for the last few weeks.

[00:43:54] As Zach mentioned at the beginning of the show, it's a system that really helps you track the choices you're making and the things you're doing to improve your performance, stay healthy, whatever it is that you're working. And the thing I love about it, and this is something we've talked about a lot on the show is how customized it really is.

[00:44:10] It isn't just a, here's a generic 10 page plan on how to improve your life. They literally come to your house, take your blood and report back specific things you can do to improve your health. And I've been implementing every week. I add one or two different things. I've turned into you. Zach, I'm taking a fistful of supplements.

[00:44:31] Ha. Yes, because of the recommendations I'm getting out, I'm moving a lot more because of the recommendations I'm tracking and working on sleeping better. And all of these things are making me feel better and I'm seeing improvement on the scale. There's a lot of things that are going well for me, because of these steps that I'm taking.

[00:44:47] And it is because of using insight tracker. It's just, I love how customized it is, how personal it is and, and how it really does. It turns you into a biohacker. It helps you really track what you're doing. Improve on it to accomplish your wellness goals. So like Zach mentioned, there is a promo code you can use right now go to inside, or hit the link on our website, that and get 25% off and start trying it yourself because, uh, I'm loving it so far.

[00:45:15] And I'm really looking forward to how these changes that I'm making now over the last few weeks, how much farther they're going to go over the next several years? And so with that, we will wrap things up for this week. Thanks so much for listening. Thank you to our guests, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, you can find out more about her on our website, in the show

[00:45:33] And while you're there, subscribe to the show on whatever podcast player you're using and sign up for the newsletter. So you never miss an update about the show, but that's it for now. We will be back next Wednesday with a brand new 

[00:45:47] Jill: We know this podcast is amazing. It doesn't seem to lack anything, but we need a legal disclaimer.

[00:45:52] Prior to implementing anything discussed in this podcast is your responsibility to conduct your own research and consult your physician. You should assume that Jeremy and Zach don't know what they're talking about, and they're not liable for any physical or emotional issues that occur directly or indirectly from listening to this podcast.


Dr. Jill Bolte TaylorProfile Photo

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor


Dr. Jill is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist. 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.