Non-Fiction

Patchwork Labyrinth®

The brain gets the lion’s share of research attention into human cognition, yet more than the head is involved in learning. Bodily movement fuels learning too, because thoughts are physical, not just chemical. My book, Patchwork Labyrinth, is a story within a story. It tells of brain trauma; it tells of cognitive resilience. My interlocking stories personalize and synthesize key discoveries made in neuroscience since the 1990s, and why you should care.

The lessons of embodiment began for me in 1993 when a collision altered my abilities to read and write. Dreaming stopped, and my perceptions of color, space, and time changed. (Click to hear how improvement took months.) Some concussive symptoms did not get better, so I started tracking how different activities, environments, and food affected them. My training as a forest scientist gave me the patience and tools to look for patterns in what was happening to me and how it felt. Because a revolution was underway in brain science, I also paid close attention to advances in neurology.  Like neuroplasticity, which means neurons in the human brain can change into adulthood, and the free-energy principle, which implies that perceptions and actions are reciprocal. Behavior and thought intertwine throughout life to affect neural change.

After nearly twenty years, new diagnostic tools helped doctors identify the origins of my ongoing symptoms, like amplified hearing and poor balance. So, in 2012, surgeons patched several tiny holes inside the bony labyrinth of my skull. After surgery, my earliest observations about healing from brain injury were reinforced. Repetitive use of my hands and feet –for crafting, walking, and writing –boosted my learning and memory. By 2023, more discoveries are yielding evidence to explain why. Like somato-cognitive action networks, which offer evidence for the physical basis of thinking and learning.  Questions? Contact me here.