Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Oct 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Opening Up

news2TEDx Santa Cruz speakers discuss deeper connections with the world

During the TEDx Santa Cruz conference, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 15, poet and author Albert Flynn DeSilver shared his experience of living with alcoholism, an endless cycle of shame, and a cult whose leaders tied him to a tree in the woods. DeSilver says he experienced a revelation while tied to that tree.

“If I ever get untied from this tree, I am going to open myself to creativity, service, and love,” he remembers thinking.

The theme of this year's TEDx—the second to be held in Santa Cruz—was “open.”

Seventeen guest speakers took to the stage at Cabrillo College's Crocker Theater to share stories about their industries, technological innovations, life callings, and personal experiences. Their topics ranged widely but all connected back to the theme of “open.”

John Perry Barlow, a former Wyoming rancher, Grateful Dead lyricist, and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, talked about what he learned many years ago from a down-and-out hitchhiker on the edge of a small, Midwestern town: the importance of opening yourself to people's love.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Martha Mendoza, who began her career in Santa Cruz, discussed her passion for the Freedom of Information Act and how she has held government and corporations accountable for their actions by using the law to open records.

“The truth always matters, and the truth sets us free,” she said.

While the interpretations of the theme varied and were applied differently by speakers, a common idea emerged: breaking down the walls that we erect to shield ourselves from others, the world, and risk.

The diversity of presenters in this TEDx event was intentional, says organizer David Warren, who is a retired professor of Digital Media at Cabrillo College.

“The world is opening in many dimensions. Through the rapid development of technology, we're approaching the idea of openness from the global, to the local, to the personal; through poetry, art, and the intellectual,” he says. “We're trying to bring as many dimensions into this theme as possible.”

TED is a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for people with “ideas worth spreading,” he says. It started more 20 than years ago in Monterey, Calif. and grew over time. The original TED Talks (TED standing for “Technology, Entertainment, Design”) tend to focus on more global issues. A TEDx conference is different from a TED in that TEDx is independently organized and produced and focuses on local voices.

“This is really about finding interesting people in your community and giving them a stage, and not just locally but globally,” Warren says.

When Warren says globally, he is referring to the requirement by the TED organization that TEDx events record all speakers and post the videos online for the whole world to experience. Another TEDx requirement is that presenters refrain from religious, political, or sales agendas, he adds.

Director of the Museum of Art & History Nina Simon spoke passionately about her work reinventing the museum to more fully engage the community. She described her goal in creating a space where people share their stories, connect more deeply with others through artifacts and artistic activities, and contribute in ways that make the museum a reflection of the people who make Santa Cruz what it is.

Whitney Smith, the CEO of Girls for a Change, told a story about personal growth and opening after a tragedy—a story she said she had never shared. Her mother was murdered by someone close and her family was devastated. Smith compared the experience and the aftershock to what happens when a heavy stone is thrown into still water, causing the surface to ripple open and expand outward.

She spoke about her experience of feeling wounded after her mother's death and how her feelings of connectedness with all the people around her grew stronger.

Years later, it was the words of the midwife who delivered Smith's baby that helped her come to terms with her pain. While she was in labor, the midwife told her to not try to block out the pain, but open herself to it.

Smith's decision to share her story at TEDx, which she says she almost backed out of several times, was entirely in tune with the theme of openness, and the audience let her know that it resonated with them.

Warren explains that the curation committee chose the theme “open” because they believe that in order to address the biggest problems in the world today, people need to become more open to constructive change.

“We're feeling a lot of stress in the world today,” he says. “There's upheaval and uncertainty. We're going through a major period of change. We thought of 'open' as a way to think about how we can better address the challenges in the world today.”   

Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Onagh Ash, September 24, 2012
Whitney 's story is amazing and her work in helping thousands of young women change is a wonderful result of her personal story. I am one of her board members with GFC (girls for a change) and was not aware of her pain. Thank you for sharing

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Field Work

Santa Cruz Mountain winemakers explain how the harvest works, and what kind of wine to expect from this year's crop

 

Libra's Two Choices

Libra (our last week) is the sign of creating right relations and values. In Libra we are asked to choose how to be, our identity in the world. We can maintain a hermetic sealed-off attitude (my life, my work, my money, etc.) or we can gain knowledge of world events and learn more about those in need. Libra is a group sign—self with others. Here are some events occurring in our world this week concerning food, poverty, spirituality, values and global realities. The UN (a spiritual experiment) each month places a “light” upon world problems. This week a light shines on Rural Women, Farms, Food & Poverty. Before we choose to respond we must have knowledge. “So we can each do our part.” Oct. 15 - International Day of Rural Women (unrecognized with few resources); Oct. 16 - World Food Day & Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth; Oct. 17 - Eradication of Poverty Day (international). During the month of Libra (with Saturn exalted), we pause, contemplate and assess what it is we know, don’t know, and need to know. Libra receives and distributes Ray 3 of divine intelligence, right relations, right choice and right economy (Venus). Use your intelligence “tips the Libran scales” in terms of being able to see and then choose between the two paths Libra offers (return to the past or step forward into Scorpio’s Discipleship). Libra (the oscillating light) prepares us for the great tests and conflicts in Scorpio. In Libra we are subtly tested as we learn the nature of polarized energies (s/he loves me, s/he loves me not). In Libra we learn more about ourselves through others. Libra’s Ray 3 asks us to become more adaptable and skillful. And then we are to teach each other what we know. In Libra, we all become teachers. In all these ways love is cultivated.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Docs Without Borders

United Nations Association Film Festival showcases documentaries from around the globe
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Nut Kreations

Co-owner Craig Olsen goes nuts over nuts

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Friends who are wine club members of Martin Ranch invited us to the winery’s fun and festive annual barbecue, where the wine is flowing and the food just keeps on coming. Music and dancing are part and parcel of the action, and a good time is guaranteed.

 

Beer Bus

Santa Cruz’s new Brew Cruz, award winning ales, mole by el Jardín, and Wildcat Ridge Chardonnay