Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight, writes about her experience being conscious while enduring a massive stroke to the left side of her brain. As a Harvard trained brain scientist, she had an unstoppable curiosity during and after her stroke. This unique perspective led her to observe and understand what her new world entailed; a world where she had lost the ability to walk, talk and remember her life. The entirety of Dr. Jill’s story and road to healing is remarkable. But, what this journey gifted her with, is far more reaching than an appreciation for life. She discovered her connection to all things living, and her ability to maintain a space of connection and love. Her story touched me in many ways, today, I will explore just one of those.
After the stroke, lying in her hospital bed unable to understand verbal language, Dr. Jill writes about being completely aware of the energy of those who entered her space. Were they open, attentive, kind, nurturing, connected? She could not comprehend linguistically, but she could unquestionably feel and understand the difference between what she calls “energy givers” and “energy takers.” She was aware of the presence in the room, and knew when she was being cared for from a space of attentive love and when she was not. Her experience and reflections on this challenged me to think about my own responsibility for the energy I bring into a space and the energy I allow into my own life. Though discussions of energy sound a bit like a discussion of rainbows and crystals, a more scientific understanding of energy is available particularly in the field of quantum physics. But the truth is, I don’t need the popular discussions that “prove” the power of our emotions and thoughts to produce an energy field. I know it to be true for me, because I have experienced it. I think most of us have. You enter a room and can feel the tension. You see a dear friend and the energy they bring to you feels like an immediate anti-depressant. A person’s energy is often palpable without them having to say a word. I started to question how often I take responsibility for the energy I bring to others. Do I drag people into my anger when I need a battlefield companion? Do I search for someone to pity me and wallow in my sadness when I am feeling blue? This is not to say I must be happy and cheerful all the time. This would be a grave disservice to my authentic reality. But, am I conscious of being an energy giver more often than an energy taker? The conclusion I came to for myself was far from revolutionary. My answer…sometimes, but likely not enough. Every time my sweet furry puppy (she may be 14 but she is still my puppy…just a puppy with some wisdom) enters the room, my entire face lights up. My eyebrows soften, my eyes get wide and in true dog lover fashion I almost always exclaim “Hi my sweet Daisy!” Science tells me that my furry baby has measurable physiological advantages to my life. She slows my heartbeat, lowers my blood pressure and provides me with an overall sense of well-being. But why? I believe this is in part because sweet little Daisy brings me a loving energy every time she enters the room. Without a single word, she shows me an attentive, loving presence. What if I attempted to imitate Daisy? What if I was conscious of bringing a loving and attentive energy as often as I could throughout my day? Even when I was presented with an energy taker, what if I maintained my space, stood firm in my little energy bubble, and refused to lower my vibration to match someone else’s? What if I insisted on being an energy giver? What I discovered was that my own energy had the power to set the tone for my interactions. And when I paid attention, it became clear to me what energies I needed to move toward and what energies I needed to avoid. But perhaps most important, I realized, I am both in control of and responsible for the energy I bring into a space. As I became conscious of bringing a positive, loving energy to the spaces in my life, my life reflected this back to me. Now, I try to think about Dr. Jill lying in that hospital bed. I try to imagine how the energy of love was communicated to her without words. I have learned and am still learning that people want to be seen and acknowledged. This means being present. Taking my focus and bringing it into the moment I am in and onto the person or people around me. It means hearing them, seeing them with my eyes and my empathy, and coming from a space of loving energy. It may not always change the energy of the space, but surprisingly, it often does. And even when I find myself in room of low vibrations, where egos and insecurities are running the show, I can control one thing and one thing only…my own energy. I have decided that I want to be an energy giver. I am not perfect, I will certainly falter but my commitment to being responsible and conscious of coming from a place of love has freed my mind and my life of unneeded negativity and pain. I have discovered that owning my energy is a central step in owning my life. My new commitment is a journey and a beautiful new ride…won’t you join me?