My top 5 TED talks

I love TED talks. So many interesting things to learn in 20 minutes or less!! Here are my top 5. So far.

1. Learning to be Vulnerable

Bréné Brown’s research on shame and vulnerability has transformed my approach to relationships. I discovered her talk when I was doing work with a style consultant. I thought I was trying to look more “corporate” in order to move my career forwards. In fact, I ended up learning how to dress so that people saw me, instead of my clothes.

Which meant that I had to be okay with being seen.  With being vulnerable. To shine a light on the dark corners where my shame and my “not good enough” voice lurks. To practice authenticity and to live and love whole-heartedly. In fact, the banner for my blog page is my beach drawing of whole-heartedness.

 

2. The Power of Secrets

Frank Warren asked people to send him their secrets on a postcard of their own making. The results are simply stunning.  Some of the secrets are funny. Some take your breath away and some will break your heart.

Every week, Frank posts some of the postcards on his blog Postsecret.com and I usually start my Sunday morning with a coffee and a sharing of the secrets. Some of them are hard to believe. Some of them are so much like my secrets that I feel like I could have written them. Or, maybe should have. The courage and bravery is inspiring.

 

3. A Stroke of Insight

Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain researcher, gives a beautiful and eloquent talk about the process of having a stroke. Of her having her stroke.  Of the two halves of her brain becoming separated from each other. The half that is in the here and how, fully in her body. And, the half that transcends the physical and becomes fully integrated into the universe. And of the possibilities around learning to move more between the two. And, the audience reaction to the moment where the stage hand walks out with a real human brain is priceless.

I have a Jill Bolte Taylor quote on my wall as you come into my home which says, “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.”

 

 

4. Texting is not our downfall

Have you ever listened to anyone bemoan how texting will be the death of the English language?  How young people aren’t learning to communicate properly?  Well, here’s your ammunition to prove otherwise. John Mcwhorter gives a great explanation of how texting has the characteristics of a new language. One that can better represent human speech than written English can.

If that doesn’t convince you, maybe the long list of people who have complained about the degradation of the state of the written language going back several thousand years might at least make you feel better.

 

5. The stress of being creative

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the best-selling book, which was turned into the blockbuster movie, Eat, Pray Love. And then she had to produce her next piece of work/art.   She talks about how the pressure to produce good art (writing, music, painting, whatever) takes it’s toll on the modern artist. From alcoholism to drug abuse to depression and mental illness, it’s no wonder we don’t consider going into the arts a good career choice!

So she goes back to the Greek and Roman idea of the creative inspiration, the genius, and looks at the idea that creative inspiration lies not within us where we are responsible for it, but outside of us. And that our job is to do the hard work of writing or painting or playing music and rely on the muse to show up. If it’s crap, it’s your muse’s fault. If it’s genius, it’s not you, it’s your genius!

I am a fledgling artist with my photography, my glass art, my music and my writing.  I can put the stress of creativity aside, and just do my art work.  Sometimes, genius and inspiration are there. Sometimes, it’s just a practice session. And, that’s okay.

 

So, those are my top 5. For now. What are your favourite TED Talks?

Thoughts on turning 45

Last week I marked my 45th birthday and I discovered something neat. I actually really like me.

I have always found birthdays slightly stressy. On the one hand, all the birthday greetings and love from friends and family are wonderful. They remind me how blessed I am. I have been whisked away on surprise trips, had birthday parties and I usually treat myself to an extra long massage session. I mean, pretty blessed, right?!

But then there is that niggly feeling, that “still not good enough” gremlin. Still not married. Still not thin. Ungrateful for what I have. And, somehow the “middle of the decade” birthdays seem worse. Somehow, 35 felt closer to 40 than 30. Time slipping away into another year of failure. And, 45 has brought 50 into view for the first time.

So, while I love celebrating my birthday and being reminded of all the great things about my life and especially all the wonderful people in my life, I find myself unconsciously bracing myself for the emotional blow of “not good enough”.

When that didn’t fall this year I was left a little like a stranger in a strange land. It was a new place, a new landscape. I felt my shoulders gradually begin to loosen from their tenseness of the anticipated blow and I realized –  I am so okay with where I’m at this year. Life is full of wonderful things which I am ever grateful for. And, yes, it still has the struggles that I still keep chipping away at. That’s what exploring is. Enjoying the journey, the view and the scenery while facing the unknown and doing my best to change directions when I need to, with honesty, gentleness, compassion and fierce loyalty to myself and my path.

On the day of my birthday I took myself off to the glass studio for some creative time. And, I made myself a heart. This was only my second try at making this kind of pendant and I absolutely love how it turned out.  I’ve been working on pieces for other people over the past while but I decided on my birthday I would make something just for me.

Only later did it occur to me that I had made myself a heart.  A manifestation of love for myself.

Self-love is a pretty awesome gift at any age.

 

 heart_pendant

 

Dancing on the edge

The last 5 days have felt like dancing on the edge of a pothole.

There is a really great poem called Autobiography in Five Chapters in which life is described in 5 beautifully short chapters of the process of learning to make changes. From falling into a pothole, learning to get out, learning to avoid the pothole and then, finally, learning to take a different route.

I love this poem because so often depression feels like falling into a pothole for me. Last week, the pothole opened in front of me and I have been dancing on the edge  of it ever since.  I keep trying to figure out what causes the pothole to appear. I know that depression and loneliness are doing their own little dance around the edge, intertwined in their downward spiral that often takes me with it.

I try to pull them apart, to separate their co-dependence. To convince my heart that the depression will pass no matter how much it hurts right now and that loneliness is not proof that I am unworthy of being loved.

And then I try and do my own dance of healing. Staying away from numbing comforts that sideline me in my own life (hello internet!), reaching out for support, writing about it, getting out for a walk, eating well. Trying to be gentle on myself and reminding myself that I am not a failure as I do each of these things imperfectly.

Trying to take the word “just” and “should” out of my vocabulary. Cracked.com had a great article recently on the 5 most useless pieces of advice ever given. Number 5 was adding the word “just” to your advice. You know, “you just need to snap out of it” or “you just need to eat less and get more exercise”.  If it was that simple, trust me, I would have done it by now!

I know that this will pass. And, that like a dance, it is complicated and dynamic and changing. It is a chance to understand myself better.  A chance to figure out how to adjust my sails in the wind.

As I dance around the edge of the pothole, I know that this time I didn’t fall into its depths. And, if I do, I know I can get out.

Maybe someday, I will know how to walk down a different street.

aliceinwonderland