One of my favorite poets died yesterday. Woven in the flurry of memorial and tribute to truly creative and expressive people like Maya Angelou, is a story of life — one where a brain grows, develops, wires, re-wires, and adapts. Lurking beneath the surface we can find those factors that allowed this extraordinary brain to generate the work of this extraordinary person — a body of work that will outlast all of us.
I talk, a lot, about how to maximize well developed brains. Be active, be social, be engaged, and be purposeful and you continue the nourishing cycle that supports long-term brain functioning.
Here is what we don’t talk about enough…. What happens when a brain, from moment one, does not have the needed stimuli and nourishment to grow and develop? How many creators of spectacular written imagery like Maya Angelou or artistic visionaries like Judith Baca, creator of the Great Wall in LA or musicians who paint scenes with words and melody like Joni Mitchell never had the chance to develop because no one helped them nourish their brains?
That happens. A lot. All over the world. I started thinking about a conversation I had a couple months ago with Michele Gran from Global Volunteers. Her organization is on the ground floor of a movement to change a condition. The shift is this — create an environment where brains have the opportunity to reach potential and not “by limiting factors that limit the growing mind.” Here is that position – in a 100 second video.
As with just about everything else, once the process has started, we all have choices and we all have a path we walk. What Michele and I spoke about was changing that basic condition and providing the building blocks for choice to take hold and that conversation changed how I viewed my role in all of this.
We can’t all do this kind of life changing work but we can all find a way help in some small way to ensure that the next Maya Angelou has the building blocks for the brain she needs to make every life she touches better. Find how you can make your impact.