But for survivors of stroke, surgery
is never the end of the story. In fact, it’s
really the beginning of a long and challenging road to recovery.
“For me, it was a decision,” she
explains. “Once I made the decision I was
going to recover, then I was on the road.”
“I never went back and did higher
statistics or probabilities,” she says,
although she believes she has the capac-
ity to re-learn it.
“It’s just not where I’m choosing to
put my time,” she says.
Instead, she spends her time talking
to audiences about her experience, what
she learned from it and how others can
apply her lessons to their own lives.
Prior to her stroke, Taylor
audiences on topics
related to mental
illness as a part
of her job.
she delivered an
at the TED
the video of her
talk was shared
worldwide via the
Internet. She was
named one of TIME
magazine’s "100 Most
Influential People in
the World" that year and
became a highly sought-after speaker.
After experiencing a stroke, she
approaches the podium in a new way.
“When I presented before, it was more
of a me-to-them experience,” she says.
“Post-stroke, I view speaking as an oppor-
tunity to go on a journey together.”
She is also less intimidated.
“The most important thing is that I
have no fear,” she says. “I see my post-
stroke life as a tremendous gift. I call
this ‘gravy time’ because I almost didn’t
get this time. I’m aware that I have a
limited amount of time in this body
with this voice.”
Instead of worrying about attendee
numbers, Taylor says her focus is squarely
on honoring her guests by giving them
the very best of herself.
“I show up for them 1,000 percent,”
Taylor says. “I don’t waste anybody’s
time. When I treat their time as precious,
they respond to that.”
A Message of Insight
Taylor writes about the experience of her
stroke — and its impact — in her book,
My Stroke of Insight.
Her left hemisphere had been
dominant, but when the stroke
suppressed those functions,
she found that her right
hemisphere flourished. She
developed artistic talents,
But even more significant: Taylor's
when she lost her
left brain’s categorizing, organizing,
brain’s “circuitry,” she shifted into pres-
ent-moment thinking and found peace.
“The insight boils down to the fact
that deep inside my brain's right hemi-
sphere, which is which are always turned
on and always running, there is the expe-
rience of a universal peace that connects
me to my fellow human beings,” she
explains. “The insight was I am eternal
peace. I am universal peace. And this is a
circuitry I can choose to run at any time,
at any moment, and so can you.”