TED, Neurological Time Outs and A Secular Sabbath

I’m working to get images from TED posted onto this blog, in the meantime, a thought about hemispheric time outs: Stroke or Rest?

I mentioned Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED 2008 talk on hemispheric activity and now after a New York Times article on “secular sabbaths,” a brief plug for a hemispheric time out. Rather than wait for the stress of living to force a neurological shut down, NY Times author Mark Bittman confesses to the benefits of a “virtual” out, that is, countering his own OCD addiction to high tech interface with a “secular sabbath.” I don’t think it’s just technology that holds us neurologically and psychologically captive — it’s the need to step off the wheel of “samasara” as the Buddhists call it, the grinding cycle of life that becomes an imprisoning routine when not embodied.

My mentor and Contemplative Movement teacher Barbara Dilley has been talking about “self-retreats,” e.g. a designated time out that gives us a chance to breath and feel our feet on ground, to listen to the sounds of silence, to look up at the stars, free of social obligations and techno-gizmos — laptops, phones or even electron telescopes (revealed at TED and ironically speaking now on the WEB!). Dilley’s suggestion echoes Bittman’s p.o.v.

The benefits? We should ask Dr. Taylor about the effects of stress on stroke victims vs the effects of hemispheric time outs.

Also see Sharon Begley’s discussion on neuroplasticity, meditation and stroke recovery.

Sending breath your way!

M. A. from L. A. a.k.a. Dr. G.

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2 Responses to “TED, Neurological Time Outs and A Secular Sabbath”

  1. Krista C Says:

    Wow!
    I love this idea!!! I’ve had at least three conversations I can remember over the last six months concerning this very topic. My friend P. and I had resolved to bring back the sabbath and subsequently discussed what a difficult task it was once we actually tried. Then another friend who practices in the evangelical community mentioned that this was a problem for her and others in her faith as well. It’s not that they didn’t want to; it’s that “our world seems set-up against it.”
    Indeed, I admit I’ve felt this way too. I always wish for the rare moments when I can sit with my breath or even just stare at the wall a little. I know that ultimitely this is my responsibility, and that involves saying no sometimes to things and people with the knowledge that it’s for everyone’s “own good”. Looking forward to watching Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk!

  2. jcseitz Says:

    I am an autistic adult. I was born with classic autism (head banging type child) because of this I know about families wrapping themselves around a disability. Stroke, like autism is a family affair. I am also a bit of a savant, my gift understanding the human body.
    4 years ago, a doctor asked me if I would apply my skills to a patient of his, Dick Clark who was reaching the six month point in his recovery. You can read the rest of the story from the cover story Stroke Connection Magazine. I work everyday with stroke survivors. My disability is my gift and my compassion comes from my own dealing with the rest of the world around the disabled individual.

    Here is a youtube video of what I do.

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