Tedx Waterloo 2012

I knew it would be inspirational and moving. I didn’t think I’d need so much Kleenex.

You’ve heard of TedTalks right? Pour a coffee. Experience something worthwhile.

This week I went to TedxWaterloo. Every. Single. Speaker. was worth watching. I didn’t miss one single talk or performance. Yes, there were performances by amazing musicians and super jive swing dancers. Hats off to the organizers who must have the gift of innately knowing where interest can wane because the programming made for the best conference I have ever attended. It’s a tough balance. I know – I’ve done it. The food, conferences live or die by it, also rocked!

Narrowed down to the Top 3 most impactful for me, here they are in no particular order:

Shannon Blake

Beyond stage presence, Shannon brought me a gut feeling that she is always creating. And that that was a life truly being used for good and to it’s highest purpose. Her journey, creating a way, a path, that has not been taken before. I’m a virtual stranger to what might be vaguely called ‘Art Therapy’ but her dedication to marginalized humans and their self expression through theatre and how that can aid in healing and self evolution, struck a chord with me. Sometimes when no obvious way for self help can be found, a back door into the creative brain can let out a stream of expression typically squashed down by one’s Self editing or by a society made nervous by behaviours uncommon. Bravo Shannon for your work on it’s artistic (never ending) timeline.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish

My mother-senses raw and frayed. That is how I was left after Dr. Abuelaish’s talk. He is a model of a human being and I am proud to share this earth with a man such as he. His call for peace was so personal that no one could close their agape mouths at how he has used tragedy to transform his human journey into an epic crusade for capital P peace. After the talk, cheeks and shirt wet with tears, I thanked him for sharing his story. He said: ‘It is all of our story.’ I actually did that thing where you fan your face to keep back the fresh tears welling up. My pregnant first (and only)  thought was that my purpose on this planet RIGHT NOW is to teach my daughters Peace. Peace in thought, action & word. By being Peace. Being Peace for my daughters because Dr. Abuelaish can not. He can, and is, but not in the immediate way that I am blessed to do. Thank you Dr. Abuelaish.

Peter Katz

While not a speaker in the same way, Peter’s performance washed his tangy musical effervescence over us. I’m not being wordy. What made it so full of life was his connecting the finished songs with their history of how they came to be.  He doesn’t sing like sugary, dripping caramel or fake a musicians facade. You know when you can tell someone is being real? That. Or how exciting it is to see someone being who they truly are and fulfilling their potential? That. You know when someone is bringing you to where they are and then they send you out with a piece of that flow? That too. People sang together and even held hands. Had there been a campfire I likely would have hugged every single person there. I’ve already searched out his music on iTunes and literally felt in my guts a video podcast he performed on. I feel very weird admitting that I was not more familiar with his tunes.


There was no staying for the after party. The ride home was quiet. You’d think there would be heated chats about how to save the world. I needed to let it all marinate. Into my being. For we are what we take in. Through food, through what we watch on tv, through those that we choose to have in our company. Those choices make up who you are. It’s not an accident. Life doesn’t just happen to you. Perhaps the action we should all focus on a little more is good judgement in what we absorb.

We are made of this.

I’ve said nothing of all the potential connection and action that existed in that room. It was palpable. The future is bright. Thank you TedxWaterloo!


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