April 28, 2010
TEDx San Francisco: Courage & ResilienceTEDxSF was held at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences yesterday afternoon and evening. The idea behind TEDx events is to extend the spirit of TED, held for years in Monterey and now in Long Beach, with several simulcast events happening at the same time.
I attended a TEDx Berkeley recently and was planning to be on a plane to Japan in a week or so for TEDx Tokyo, but a handful of technology innovations I'm working on are keeping me stateside. TEDx a great idea and a way to bring TEDsters and other like-minded people into a room to share great ideas, network, grow and make connections, that can in turn, lead to other amazing initiatives that can make the world a better one.
Self organized, they are independent events. This week's line-up included movers, shakers, leaders, artists and creators like relationship expert Dr. John Gray, Guitar Hero co-founder Charles Huang, Fighter Nathan Quarry, counterterrorism professor Celina Realuyo, conservationist and whale lover Dr. Paul Watson and among others, advocate of the notion that genes mixed with choice can lead to success David Shenk, who I found amusing and thought: "this is someone I'd like to have lunch with someday."
Singer/songwriter Bhi Bhiman, born to Sri Lankan parents, sings his lessons. For the most part, he writes about struggle and injustice (here's a taste of his music), although he writes love songs as well as tunes that incorporate an odd sense of humor that might invoke an outburst of laughter when you least expect it.
He demonstrates how location, background, less than ideal odds and color do not need to get in the way of your passion, your dreams, your talent and your success.
I've met John Gray and heard him speak several times. I agree with his notion that women, particularly Type A, career-oriented women of the 2000s don't get enough Oxytocin. Yet, if you have not heard him speak before or read his books, he may have lost you at the the Venus and Mars book reference in his intro line.
Gray is spot on when he talks about the kinds of things that give women more oxytocin and let's be honest, we all need more of it. I know I do. The problem is that we (women) dig our own graves in that we often flea from precisely what gives us pleasure and what we really need because the hormone that gets results, particularly in business and competitive sports, is not Oxytocin, but testosterone, the steroid hormone that an adult male produces about ten times more of naturally, than a woman.
What's interesting is that testosterone lowers stress in men, but not in women. "Ever seen a man on a couch?" Gray asks the crowd and everyone laughs at the all too familiar visual, even those who have lived with CEO-type energies. "They're recharging their testosterone," he says. He adds an interesting 'updated' reference to the masculine cave 'need.' "Men used to go to their caves and come out after a recharge. Now, they're going to their caves and are not coming out." OR, they're coming out more slowly or much later.
It's not inaccurate, but it's also not that simple.
Part of the issue that women are starting to go into their caves too, but not to restore testosterone, but because the world around them becomes so overwhelming that when they're trying to deal with or attack it all, and the home is no longer nurturing, they need to figure out other ways, things and places to get that necessary oxytocin recharge that keeps them balanced and healthy.
He very quickly warms up, and brings amusement to his talk on inherited responses: Epigenetics, Courage and Resilience. He talks about the mystery behind gene expression and how sentiment has changed in recent years.
Shenk takes us from The Bell Curve to the modern day thinking of Michael Meaney.
Geopolitical and enterprise risk management expert Celina Realuyo expert talks about taking charge of our own personal 'risks,' and setting up a plan of action to deal with them, long before a crisis happens.
She walks us terrorism examples, snow storms and power outages. Her takeaways largely had to do with the same ones World War I and II children lived by: be prepared for anything. Don't we all have an Aunt Betty and Uncle Melvin who had basements filled with huge water bottles and dozens of canned baked beans?
Fighter Nate Quarry reminds us not to give up regardless of your odds. Sometimes it doesn't take much more than knowing what your priorities are.....for him, making sure he had time with his little girl (after a divorce), being fit, strong and financially capable enough to take care of her, and not losing in a ring with someone he mentally knew he could beat, is enough.
There's always a moment and it exists for all of us, when we know we must succeed, must rise above what we're capable of and do a downward bow to perseverance and courage because it's either the right thing to do, or something in us knows that if we don't, we'll never forgive ourselves for not taking the leap of faith.
Isn't it sometimes as simple as: Believing in something bigger than ourselves just because?
Julie Wurm on Being True to Ourselves.
Michael Warr touches us with his poetry.
LOOP!STATION entertains with an enchanting mix of dreamy vocals and cello.
Below are a few random shots taken at the event.
Michael Levit, Suzie Katz and Sumit Guha
Frog Design's Kristina Loring, Poet Michael Warr, Renee Blodgett
LOOP!STATION's vocalist Robin Coomer
April 06, 2010
Suffering, Heartbreak & Empathy OR Passion, Purpose & Contribution?Two very different personalities on the TEDX Berkeley stage this past weekend: Asma Abbas, who raised the notion of compassion, emphathy, suffering and heartbreak -- how are they related to politics? She suggested a correlation between how deep we can go with empathy and the degree of homogeneity in the society.
Enter personality number 2: inventor Ross Evans, who reached his audience through storytelling, and the idea that the combination of passion, purpose and contribution result in unlimited possibilities. Compassion and emphathy are blown open and now only are they contageous like Dacher Keltner suggests, but a must if we are to find sustainable happiness in our lives.
Political theorist Asma Abbas attempts to draw out of the crowd, posing a number of questions: what do you think of heartbreak and what it means? How do you think heartbreak relates to politics? She also talks about how heartbreak relates to suffering and what suffering means and how it plays out in less homogeneous societies. She asks, "what is it that you and I would die for?
Clearly emotional about the subject, she had a hard time bringing many of us to her central point. Moving in a direction many of us who have either lived abroad or traveled extensively can resonate with, I resonate when she says, "the amount of emtoion and the range I have for it when I return to the states, shrinks. She suggests as a response to what heartbreak has to do with politics - "doesn't it have to do with who our heart breaks for? Who is it that our heart goes out to and why?
She says, "this demand that someone can make on your emotion in a world where gratitude and emphathy are low, just doesn't work. We are making a mistake if we assume that everyone is working towards the same end." She continues, "there are many ways we confront suffering. As things become more homogeneous, it becomes harder to be empathetic and compassionate." What would death mean if there wasn't life? She asserts that some people can't give up 'living suffering' because it's a way to connect with the future.
Ross Evans, inventor of Xtracycle and founder of Worldbike, takes us on a journey to Africa, where we see the workshops they set up to show locals how to use these bikes as a way to alleviate poverty and get people to medical care in times of need.
Ross also created HoliShift, to promote and evangelize the belief that passion + purpose + contribution, will give you everything that you need in your life to not only be happy, but to create miracles.
Examples of HoliShift questions could be: what is sacred to you? what powers your spirit?
We all know passion: it's what we love. When we're doing our 'purpose,' we feel as if times goes away. We're completely in flow when we are living our 'purpose.' It's how we provide value to our own lives as well as others around us. When we provide enough value, the world simply takes care of us.
It's clear that most people want to make an impact in the world before the end of their lives. When we find that intersection between the three - passion, purpose and contribution, then we will create the most impact. We understand this intersection 'naturally' as children, but over time, it gets beaten out of us.
April 04, 2010
Asma Abbas: What Does Heartbreak Have to do with Politics?
Author and professor Asma Abbas who has received her doctorate in Political Theory and Social Thought asks the TEDX Berkeley audience: What do you think heartbreak is and what does it have to do with politics?"
Asma also talks about how it relates to suffering and what suffering means in the west versus more diverse, less homogeneous societies. She asks, "what is it that you and I would die for?"
February 26, 2010
The Sages & the Scientists: Spirit Meets ManifestationThis weekend, the Deepak Chopra, the Sages & Scientists Symposium event kicks off in San Diego, which is focused on the intersection of perennial wisdom with cutting-edge science…......where consciousness makes the impossible possible… where Spirit meets manifestation.
February 21, 2010
Daniel Siegel on Consciousness: Part IIIRigidity versus fluidity versus integration of the mind and what constitutes a healthy mind. What moves us towards consciousness? What can we do? Daniel Siegel continues to talk about what he learned from writing his book Mindsight, which just came out.
Daniel Siegel on Consciousness: Part IIHow do you define the mind? What is a healthy mind? A healthy mind comes from something he refers to as integration. Hear Daniel Siegel's perspective.
Daniel Siegel on Consciousness: Relational Nature of our Minds, our Brains: Part IDr. Daniel Siegel meets with a small group of us for lunch in Santa Monica last week to discuss the relational nature of our minds and our brains.....body/relational and how all of it connects to consciousness. His new book Mindsight explores it in further depth.
Continue to scroll down for part I of the interactive video.
February 01, 2010
Things in our Culture Change Quickly: How is it Affecting our Values?In response to Eve Blossom's post: Love - The Other Sustainable Issue and her posed questions: What is it about our culture that causes us to believe that fresh starts are better than building on a foundation we already have? Things in our culture change over time but should our values? Do we give up too easily? And I'd add, do we move on too quickly and why?
I think it's less what causes us to "believe" and more about the whirlwind we create for ourselves to keep moving and not feel. This is what keeps us locked into the non-present state, and in that non-present state, we create an automatic cycle to move away from our pain and run rather than deal with it head on.
Sit with it. Be it. Absorb it until it passes through us and doesn’t attach itself to us in a way that is controlling us rather than us the other way around. When the latter becomes the norm, we are free. We are proactively “creating” our desired state and making choices about what serves us and those around us. Ah yes, a more noble and joyous way to live.
January 30, 2010
Summit on Climate & Faith Change Brings Global Leaders TogetherEarlier this month, Faith leaders from around the world took part in a Summit without leaving their borders through use of client Zorap’s digital-rich collaborative technology.
One month after the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Summit leaders logged in from London, Washington, Nairobi, Jerusalem, Geneva and the Pacific Island of Palau, using Zorap, to discuss important issues around climate and faith.
Bishops and other faith leaders around the world encouraged people around the world to use Zorap to interact, discuss and collaborate on the topic of climate and faith change, rather than having to get on a plane to fly to London for the event. Zorap enabled countless more important leaders to join in a global discuss in real-time that couldn’t have happened otherwise.
Faith Climate Connect housed the various pieces of technology that were used during the event, including Zorap. Using tools like Zorap to engage on important topic matters such as the climate and faith, encourages leaders and the public to embrace technology to assist in decreasing their environmental impact, such as using virtual video conferences and media-rich chat instead of flying to events to meet with each other.
A facilitated video conference using Zorap was used for an interactive conversation between six significant leaders of the three different Abrahamic faiths located in different countries around the world.
The goal was to learn about, discuss and share their ideas about faith and information contained in the scriptures regarding caring for the environment. The Zorap conversation was projected onto a large screen for the audience in London and was live broadcasted through the Faith Climate Connect website for people to watch around the world.
There was also a question and answer session involving the audience posing questions to the faith leaders around the world. Each of these different elements highlighted how technology, particularly Zorap, can bridge geographical divides, bringing people together to learn from each other and decreasing their carbon footprint.
The Summit is the brainchild of the Bible Society, whose hope is to raise public awareness about the Biblical references and support for caring for the environment.
June 01, 2009
Domestic Terrorist Strike in Kansas
Read Huffington Post's Michelle Kraus on a domestic terrorist strike in the assassination of Dr. George Tiller.
She writes: (be sure to read the entire post)
"The murder of Dr. George Tiller is horrific. It is an act of domestic terrorism at its worst. Gunned down at his peaceful place of worship in Wichita, Kansas, Dr. Tiller was targeted as he served as an usher in church and his wife sang in the choir.
He was an unassuming man who did not choose his destiny. Rather he was drafted to fill the shoes of his father in providing desperately needed health services to the women of Kansas, and those across the nation."