“Every great inspiration is but an experiment”*

I spent most of the Christmas and New Year period in a state of deep meditation, processing much of the healing that I had experienced last year. Some of that time brought up pain: physical and emotional fear manifested and cleared quickly. By the second of week of January I needed to get out in the ‘real world’ and spend time being with people who are not part of the ‘healing world’ but give me a great sense of support, friendship and community.

Midwinter Picnic
Midwinter Picnic 3,  is the annual all day music festival I organise with my husband Chris T-T and a small team of volunteers. West Hill Hall in Brighton is a working village hall, so we can create an intimate atmosphere where people bring their own food and alcohol and we offer homemade cakes and tea. The high quality of the acts means we sell-out far in advance and get lots of positive feedback. However, we always slightly underestimate the amount of work involved in putting on an event that brings together an eclectic mix of acts from around the UK. In the end it was a really wonderful day, plus we raised a good amount for Amnesty International and WaterAid.

The TED conference in the USA is a huge live event where speakers from all disciplines give short talks: ‘Ideas worth sharing’. The TED talks are all filmed and are available online here, where you can search for inspiring, informative talks on just about any subject from world-class experts. One of my favourite talks is this one: ‘A Stroke of Insight’

TEDx Brighton
TEDx is a spin-off idea that anyone anywhere can organise their own event with different speakers, and allow it to be open and free to their community – under the TED guidelines. I was a bit cynical about the first TEDx Brighton event, because the ticketing involved writing about yourself and being ‘handpicked’ to ensure a diverse crowd. I was lucky enough to get a ticket and stayed for the whole day to see all of the speakers.

The most memorable included a young woman who rowed across the Atlantic with her mum, and an actor who visited five utopian communities in a year including Findhorn in Scotland and Christiania in Denmark.  A musician explained how clog dancing started in the Victorian cotton mills, where women developed the dance to keep in time with the machines, comparable (to the speaker) with electronic music of the 1980’s such as Kraftwerk.

The most inspiring talk was on human resilience from an academic who adopted three children, all with special needs. The theme of TEDx Brighton was ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ and certainly I came away feeling more connected to my fellow Brightonians and happier for it.

(*Quote from Charles Ives, American composer 1874-1954)

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