Money and health problems create an amazing reason to feel down, look at the negatives, and give up. Recession proves it daily. In the midst of hopelessness, we admire folks who find ways to lead innovation, and spot solutions. We’re drawn to those who guide others to a finer place. It’s often lonely to look for lights in so much dark!
Paul Bach-y-Rita, famous for his work in neuroplasticity, tells of his father’s crippling stoke in New York. After a month’s therapy and little progress, medical experts assured the family that no more could be done, and suggested Bach-y-Rita be sent to an institution. Brains cannot repair themselves every medical leader argued and nothing else could help their 65 year old father to walk or talk again.
The scholar went from well respected professor at City College in NY to complete dependency on others for his basic needs.
One son George brought his Papa back to Mexico and began to teach him to crawl again. Using the wall to support his limp shoulder, Bach-y-Rita, inched along clumsily for months, as he and his sons created marble games to play on the floor that required a reach and movement. Cynics in medical schools warned that this was wasted time, and neighbors criticized the Bach-y-Rita family when their papa crawled outside, saying, “They are treating this old man like a dog.”
With every spark of progress, the boys persisted more to help their papa do acts on the opposite side of his weakness and loss.
Then progress began to show, as the brain reorganized itself to take over where damaged parts destroyed abilities. After many more months of crawling and learning to talk again, and through the same painful building of new neuron pathways for language to take over where damaged brain cells failed, Bach-y-Rita returned to teach at City College in New York, at 68, and three years after his stroke.
We can improve our lives in difficult areas, and reshape prosperity, when we recognize the brain’s proclivities to progress. When we simply act and persist on the other side of loss.
Younger son, Paul’s life was shaped by what he described as seeing with our brains and not our eyes, as his papa’s brain reorganized itself for new directions. He went on to explain a great deal of the foundations that move research forward today in areas of plasticity – or the brain’s ability to rewire and find solutions when cynics and naysayers shout words of doom and disaster.
What areas are weakest for you in this tough climate of loss and change? How could your brain’s plasticity help to reorganize itself to become the solution you seek today? How might you find inspiration to move forward, as one Mexican family did in their worst of times?
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Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset