Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Tomorrow is a big day. Today I’m waiting for the HVAC guy to show up and fix my furnace. Fires are going in both fireplaces and fleece is making a big comeback in my wardrobe. Luckily it’s sunny so getting out of my warm and cozy bed wasn’t quite so bad. I’m reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things which means the temptation to stay under the covers this morning with book and  coffee in hand was nearly insurmountable.

While hovering slightly above 60, thinking about Friday keeps my fingers typing. Bob and I will join the Richmond cousins on the Historic Downtown Mall for Cville’s first ever TEDx conference. You’ve probably watched a few YouTube videos from TED, somebody walks onstage to talk about ‘ideas worth sharing’ –  they are usually very bright people, distinguished in one field or another, and you’ll come away from the requisite 18 minute TED lecture on your laptop feeling a bit smarter. I admit I’ve shared a few of these videos myself. Now I want to know just how all this smart talk got started.

In 1984 Richard Saul Wurman, an architect, writer and designer, came up with the idea for a conference that would synthesize three areas: Technology of business; Entertainment industry; and the Design Professions (TED).

…things that seemed to be interesting to me, had the other two involved. If there was a seeming technology project, it had entertainment, and design involved (when they were good). Certainly, you can look at the first Macintosh — which was shown at my first conference, in ’84. Later on, Google was announced at my conference — a combination of technology, entertainment, and design. When Google Earth was called Keyhole, it was first shown at my conference. And then Google bought Technology Entertainment Design. So that was pretty good. People seemed to like that.

Initially, speakers were very Silicon Valley,  but during the ’90s scientists, philosophers, musicians, religious leaders, and philanthropists all got on board the TED train. Tomorrow we’ll hear from distinguished UVA professors, some alumni and even a few community members, including someone I wrote about once with her Dirty Barbie show. I’m looking forward to hearing from a 3rd year student, Hawa Ahmed. who started her life as a refugee from Chad, and now is studying Politics and Middle Eastern Studies. http://news.virginia.edu/content/local-ted-talks-feature-uva-faculty-alumni-and-student-s-unique-journey

TEDx branched off about four years ago as a kind of repertory company for the rest of these United States and it has now sold out in Cville. Ted.com has been viewed over a Billion times around the world! I believe even my current crush author, Elizabeth Gilbert, expounded once on creativity. http://ed.ted.com/lessons/your-elusive-creative-genius-elizabeth-gilbert And you know I had to just watch this again right?

But after listening to oceanographers, brain researchers, educators and physicists online, sitting in the beautiful Paramount Theatre tomorrow for some 3D inspiration should prove illuminating. And hopefully we won’t end up snoozing simply because we’ll be nice and warm.   IMG_2139

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Yesterday afternoon, a little boy was visiting so I turned on the TV to find the Disney Channel. Up pops CNN with a rugged, red-faced swimmer leaning on the arms of others, and everyone in my living room was instantly transfixed, even the three year old. We leaned in to hear her words, and in the middle of her second message (or “rules for life” let’s call it) our satellite went out. Maybe I didn’t hear her words in real time, but Diana Nyad spoke to me online with her three rules. I figured if a woman my age could swim from Cuba to Key West, I could listen to her.

I have three messages. One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you’re never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team.

This woman swam for 53 hours, without a shark cage and with only a silicone mask for her face at night to protect her from jelly fish. But what really got me, even beyond the fact that this was her FIFTH try to swim 110 miles, was that her strokes-per-minute never varied, she was a slow and steady 50 strokes per minute!

We’ve all heard of inspiration boards on Pinterest, and inspirational speakers who like to talk about their time as dare-devil Navy pilots landing on aircraft carriers at sea with only a 500′ runway. Yes, I sat through that one. But an inspirational swimmer, now that’s something!


I just read about a woman who has a picture of Joan of Arc in her bedroom, she figures if Joan could change the course of history before the age of 18, she should be able to get out of bed.

I’m hanging a picture of Diana Nyad on my study wall. So what if I torqued my spine in water aerobics, so what if my yoga studio closed its doors, so what if my knee sounds like crepe paper. No more excuses! After all, if Nyad could swim from Cuba to Florida, I can…what? Dance again, maybe like the Flapper did after our Year of Living Dangerously. One beautiful stroke at a time.

Perseverance is a critical quality. Like the Love Bug crawling every day to the dog’s water bowl even though she finds the door to the mud room closed most of the time. She gets out of her giraffe chair, puts on her goggles and dashes across that kitchen floor in the blink of an eye. IMG_1786Still, she crawls. I think of Maya Angelou’s inspiring words:

“Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.”

Diana Nyad

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