TEDx Dirigo Delivers Stories of Hope

Posted by A. Smith on Sep-19-2011

Sometimes the world throws us curve balls. Other times it gives us exactly what we need. Last week, I needed a dose of optimism. TEDx Dirigo delivered. I walked into this amazing event seeking renewal; I left with that and more.

The TED movement, which has spread worldwide, invites people to take the spotlight for 18 minutes and tell their stories – to share ideas worth spreading. It’s magical. But, it’s not just the stories that I love. It’s the unspoken vibe, the energy and passion that fills the air and ignites souls.

Whenever I participate in an event like TEDx, I feel inherently blessed. I literally walk into the room and think, “These are my people.” It’s hard to fully comprehend or articulate my thoughts, I just feel at home. I am comforted by my surroundings and know that I am in the right place with the kinds of people I want to take center stage not just for the day but also in my life.

As I listen to their stories, I sit in awe. I lose myself realizing I am part of something much bigger. I get over myself, gain perspective, and temporarily crave community on a heightened level. I celebrate the world we live in – embracing the beauty and the suffering simultaneously acknowledging we can’t have one without the other.

While both good and evil are revealed, I cling steadfastly to the positive. I pause and examine my life and question how I can be better, how I as an individual can help tip the scales. I get lost in thought, and as stories continue to unfold, my head begins to fill. I am overwhelmed. I am okay with this; I actually love it. After all, I’ve always been one to dance on the edge of chaos and to reframe disorder as order.

The day ends. Reflection begins. I am desperate to make sense, to figure out how I can animate the lessons I have learned. As I scan the day – now nine days later – I quickly uncover a common theme: PEOPLE.

TEDx Dirigo featured 15 speakers from all walks of life. We heard from musicians, professors, trauma surgeons, and puppeteers talking about everything from wind power to South Africa to gardens, but as I flip through my Moleskin notebook and relive the moments, I realize the underlying WHY of each and every storyteller: It’s all about people.

Their stories are about saving patients, supporting women in business, sharing hope among refugees, and, ultimately, giving people permission not only live but also to dream, to flourish. This makes me happy. This is why I give up a beautiful Saturday with my family in Maine without question to attend events like TEDx Dirigo. This is why I feel at home.

Once again, my mind is full. I am flooded with ideas and want to keep writing. I will save it for another time. But, I will leave you by inviting you to take time out, to pause and authentically connect with and validate every one you come in contact with today. We are all human. We all have a story. Perhaps it’s time we get to know each other.

It’s all about people. And, there is power when we bring people together.



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