TEDx Winnipeg 2017

I love TED…I love listening to “ideas worth spreading”.

TED has changed little things in my life:

TED also has changed my life in a fundamental way.  It was through a TED talk in the fall of 2009 where I first heard Brené Brown present her research about shame and wholeheartedness. Things that my clients had been telling me for years, that it felt like I had always known-she now presented the research to confirm what my clients and I had taught each other. Brené wrapped the concepts of joy/authenticity/pain in language that I could learn and restate what my clients were telling me in ways that heightened and clarified their words to me.

I went on to go to Texas to get training with Dr. Brown and her team, and now deliver The Daring Way™ and Rising Strong™ workshops, and topics on mental health that use the concepts consistent with her research. Her style gave me courage to be vulnerable with the groups I lead, and I learned how to better tell stories as a way to transmit ideas.

So…I’ve been waiting for TEDx Winnipeg 2017 ever since they told me I could come!

And it lived up to my every hopeful expectation.

Some of my highlights of TEDx Winnipeg 2017:

Joel Carter, a pain physician who works with patients at the end of their lives enjoys asking the question, “What is your most important story?” We loved to hear him tell about how a woman brightened at the question and spoke of how she had been a grocery store cashier and had been worn down by a customer to go for a Guiness with him. They became husband and wife and he now sat beside her bed as she lay dying.  The resident noted that her telling the story had more of an effect than morphine on her pain. The two physicians dashed out to get this couple one last Guiness to enjoy together. 😉

Joel recorded the stories people told, and he quickly recognized that the important stories those that are dying tell are about the interactions between people, and the special moments they have shared.

When not much matters, what does matter is the sacred space of connection. Dr. Joel Carter spoke this words as part of his TEDx Winnipeg 2017 talk

He says, “When not much matters, what does matter is the sacred space of connection.”

Simply beautiful.

Ali Saeed spoke of his experience of being in prison, first in Ethiopia, and then in Somalia.  7 years and 4 months in 11 different prisons. Tortured for wanting his country to be a better place. He told stories–extremely graphic stories–of the sorts of injuries he witnessed. He sold his shirt and pants for 7 cigarettes, leaving him in only underwear, because his death sentence was to be carried out imminently. His voice broke, not when describing the horrors inflicted on him, but on others. He repeated, several times, to imprint the ideas that, “No one wants to be a refugee”, “Being a refugee is not a choice”, after he described torture, fleeing, dangerous border crossings. It would have seemed odd for him to repeat such obvious lines, except our culture often wonders otherwise these days.

Ali described red revenge as torturing people, denying their humanity and rape as red revenge.  Hateful violent revenge is red revenge. Ali believes in green revenge:

  • Opening your heart
  • Unfolding your hands and open your doors
  • Make the other feel safe, respected, understood

He believes in telling stories for those that have no voice, for speaking the secrets of the refugee into being.  His own green revenge includes personally sponsoring 100 refugees to come to Canada.

Yep.  He’s brought over 100 refugees himself.

We all quickly and complete fell in love with Ali–his courage and gentleness, his perseverance and his compassion… and we gave him a standing ovation that went on and on. We clapped and clapped…he had to come back on stage so we could thank him. He’s living a redemptive story where good comes out of evil, hope out of darkness, truth out of lies, and light out of darkness.

Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself. Quote of Thomas Jefferson spoken at TEDx Winnipeg 2017 by Ali Saaed.

Sonya Ballantyne is a beautiful woman who is Cree, growing up in Northern Manitoba.  She started off by telling us that she was told that as “an Indian and a girl”, she could never amount to anything.  She loved movies and story and was inspired by her parents to read and discover. She looked to superheros and books to be inspired to find her dreams. She realized there was no aboriginal characters in these movies–no one like her. She longed to see First Nations people in interesting and creative roles in movie and television. She wanted to see her people as super heros–so she created Thunderbird and put the superhero in a movie.

Don’t we all need to see what the possibilities of who we can be by imagining ourselves in the stories we hear? By being able to see ourselves in the stories we watch?

And when you can’t find yourself in the stories, what does that do to a person? She described the effect of children watching her films…seeing strong and courageous characters who are First Nation.

Jon Waldman spoke about the male experience of infertility. Yep, that’s right–he did! I know, hard to believe right? That was his point, too.

He lamented how, in the group of couples that had gotten to know each other through an infertility clinic, the conversation was so different between the men and women.  Women would speak over here about the tests, the heartbreak, and the emotional drain of infertility, while men spoke over there about sports, renovations, financials and jobs. These men, who knew each other through the infertility journey, didn’t know how to talk about infertility…or anything else personal.

At one point, he was asked to do a radio interview about the topic. After he agreed, realized he had never spoken publicly about his experience of infertility to that point. He did the radio interview–anonymously. Interestingly, that gave him the courage to begin to open up to talk to his wife, and go on to be able to share more widely with friends, family, and the broader community. He begged men to work towards being able to tell hard, personal stories.  He spoke of the value of sharing stories.

Mike Johnston, a scientist/poet, reminded us of the intricacy of community. He spoke of the value of learning through our head and our hearts, of exploring the world through science and through art. Then Mike gave us all a demonstration that will not quickly be forgotten.

TEDx Winnipeg 2017 shared ideas worth spreading

…and some of the talks were around planning our cities better to make this world a better place, realizing how little we work, practical and scientific talks. Almost every topic touched on ideas of empathy, connection, community, social justice, story. Almost all speakers wrapped their “idea worth spreading” around a personal story…Johanna Hurme used her extensive and creative shoe collection as a framework for talking about urban design as an architect.

We do better together.  We do better when we share our stories to inspire each other to become better versions of ourselves.  We do better when we listen carefully and create an interdependence where my life is enriched when I hear the stories of others.

Thanx TEDx Winnipeg 2017!!

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