My Quarterly TED Reflections: Q2-2016

Have you looked at the TED Thursday posts I made yet? If not, I invite you to do so now; you can follow the links I have included for easier access. In my post Mindful Realistic Plans not Resolutions I explained my process of planning and reviewing my progress and goals on a regular basis. Well, now is the time for “2016 Second Quarter Review’ aka “My TED Reflections”

Since I have made a habit of choosing a TED Talk to share every week with you, I thought it should be included in my analysis. Furthermore, as you have been part of it, dear readers, I have decided to share with you the reasons I selected a TED Talk and how they have touched/enhanced my life.  In a lot of cases, I went in without knowing who the speakers were; only discovering afterword that often I was aware of them already in some way or another. Without further delays, let’s reflect…

I want to talk about the thirteen TED Talks I chosen for the second quarter of 2016, but I don’t really know where to start, and how to say what I have in my mind. I can say that I was able to divide all the insights I got under three distinct categories/title heads: “art as an adventurous endeavor”, “how people connect and communicate”, and finally “some ideas about myself”.

“Art as an adventurous endeavor”
I have been an avid reader all my life; I like to learn about new things, I like to be transported into other worlds and live other lives. I lived in a small town growing up and my early access to art was through the books I would borrow at my small local library. I discovered artists that still hold significance to me to this day such as Hieronymus Bosch, Sandro Botticelli and John William Waterhouse. M. C. Escher opened my mind to the world of optical illusions and more than likely has planted the seed of curiosity that grew into my passion for puzzles, enigmas and tricks of the eye and mind. I am ecstatic that, in addition to books, people now have access online to some museums from all over the world. You can visit them virtually, check out visual details on particular art pieces, learn about them….

“How people connect and communicate”
Friendship can be communicated in so many ways… It can be lifelong, it can be for a short time, in can be deep and rich or it can be light and casual. It can be long-distance, I have learned to appreciate its various flavors; I am not as attached to my prior notion that all friendship must be of epic nature to be worthy of the name.

I am much more at peace with the fact that I cannot be in synch with everyone that crosses my path or read my words. As long as I can touch the lives of a few kindred spirits, the detractors that might come out as I put myself “out there” will lose their power over me. It is what it is; there are bullies of all ages and all kinds. They try to hurt people and diminish them; that is what they do. But I am not letting this thought drag my spirit down! There are so many great people out there; the type that reach out to others and imagine amazing projects and enrich others’ lives.

“Some ideas about myself”
– I am not my past failures: I am learning that I have to let go of what I would conceive are my past failures; they do not define who I am. They are moments in time, they are missed opportunities; they are not me.

– Generalized anxiety disorder doesn’t have to be the enemy: I know the generalized anxiety disorder (G.A.D.) is something that is with me. I can manage it, but it is highly unlikely that I will ever completely be rid of it. I have accepted this. My paradigm about it has been slowly shifting with the passing years. Approaching it differently allows me to not so easily be taken over by it. I am able to observe my mental and physical reactions and redirect my automatic thought that something is amiss to thoughts of a more positive nature. From feeling as if all I embodied was pure weakness to now viewing G.A.D. as simply a different cognition of the world.

– Labels can be enlightening and empowering: I have a still evolving relationship with them. At the same time that I simply want to be myself without putting myself in a box, I do feel like I need labels for a few reasons.

(1) To help myself to understand and visualize better who I am: I do need that sense of belonging. I think it’s vital for everyone to feel that you are part of a group. Even if it’s more as sense metaphorically belonging! In my quest to find myself, I panicked a few years back. I had convinced myself for some reason that I wasn’t part of anything. LastArcade reassured me: “You are a geek and a gamer” he said to me when he saw my distress. And with that, the anguish melted away. Since then I found a multitude of labels that apply to me and give me joy without being a restraint.

(2) To “own” those labels: I will not suffer other peoples impression of me… As the character Tyrion Lannister says eloquently in Game of Thrones: “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

– Taking some time off from “the world” is a good thing: I have felt so bad in the past, every time someone would inquire as to where I am currently working. I would timidly answer that I was taking some time off and then I would quickly look away. I had that notion that it is a rule of life that you have to always work, always be employed no matter what. That this is how you gain even a basis of worth within society. So, for years, I have worked job after job, some were very well paid and with excellent prospects, without ever taking the time to breathe or think if any of it made me happy. I wasn’t cognizant of my state of mind, I didn’t know that I was surely destroying myself. I remember spending my free time going out to clubs and partying in the hope of keeping tomorrow at bay. I know now that I was doing it because I was so deeply unsatisfied and that my soul was slowly wilting away. Eventually, both my body and mind alerted me to the fact that I was miserable; my health started to degrade. Yet, I did not listen at that point, only took a short break then went back into the workforce. I had developed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and eventually got on antidepressant as well as anti-anxiety medication. It took me to end up in the hospital for a stay of several days because of a kidney infection to step off the treadmill. Actually, I did try to go back to work even after that but, within the first day of being back, I was heading for a relapse.

With feeling ill, anxious and glum all the time, there was no time or energy for creativity, certainly none to reflect with intent and consider what could bring me joy. There was no place for me in my own life… It’s good to take time off to recharge and rejuvenate yourself. It was essential to me. Without the constant demands and pressures, I eventually was able to be clear minded enough to contemplate my wants, my needs, my goals and dreams (and know what I didn’t want in my life as well). In order to get on a path of wellness and happiness, I did end up changing my lifestyle completely! And now, when someone does ask me where I am working I can happily say that (essentially) the traditional workforce dynamics were not conducive to my wellbeing, that I have carefully considered things and that I am doing it my way.

I do have so much more to say on the subject but that’s a post (actually a series) for another time…


If you want to look at the details for each TED Talk individually, please continue to read.

April 14, 2016 – Week 14: TED Talk Remixed “Joe’s Intro to hitRECord“ with Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Why I selected this TED Talk:
I tried something different that week; going outside of TED for an interesting video. I had just gotten reacquainted with his website “hitRECord” and wanted to talk about it.

How that Video touched and enhanced my life:
“HitRecord (often stylized as hitREC●rd) is an online collaborative production company founded and owned by actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The company uses a variety of media to produce such projects as short films, books, and DVDs. “(source: Wikipedia)

I have been a member since 2012 but so far I had only been lurking from time to time, but never participated in any projects. For some reason at the beginning of April I stumbled back on the website and I guess it was simply the right time. With having been doing the Creative Challenge posts regularly every month since the beginning of the year, I felt that maybe I could join in the collaborative fun. So far, I have created only one piece with material from another member from hitRECord (The Dreaming Squid of Capella Three). I expect that in the future I will do more. I am following a few projects that I am interested in participating in and I accepted a few challenges as well. I am still trying to find my footing and how I can incorporate hitRECord into my life. Visit


April 21, 2016 – Week 15: Experience Stress Differently “How to make stress your friend “with Kelly McGonigal

Why I selected this TED Talk:
I selected this talk because she brought to my attention a different outlook on stress and, by extension, maybe additional tools for managing generalized anxiety disorder (G.A.D.).

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
One point in particular in her talk was of interest to me. Stressing about anxiety is something I have done more than once… That’s not good! Believing that stress is bad for me has just been putting me in a vicious circle. So I have started to change my mind about stress; and it has been changing my response to it and anxiety. It’s quite a change of paradigm; to think that those physical and mental reactions I normally associate with anxiety (like my heart pounding, my body getting tense, etc) are actually helpful instead of a sign that I am losing it. Viewing my muscles tensing or my heart beating faster instead as a message that my body is preparing to jump into action has been something beneficial to me.


April 28, 2016 – Week 16: To This Day (NSFW) “To This Day … for the bullied and beautiful “with Shane Koyczan

Why I selected this TED Talk:
Because it made me smile, because it made me cry…

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
I put a “Not Safe for Work” (NSFW) warning because I thought that just like with me, it might cause other viewers to display emotions deemed inappropriate in the workplace. I was blown away; it is a beautiful and passionate performance of the poem. Paired with the backstory to it, by the end of it, I had streams of tears running down my cheeks.

May 5, 2016 – Week 17: On Friendship “A hilarious celebration of lifelong female friendship“ with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda 

Why I selected this TED Talk:
I have admired both of these women since first seeing the movie “9 to 5” and have been watching their show on Netflix “Grace and Frankie”.

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
I have reflected quite a bit about friendship in the past few years. From what the word means nowadays for people, to what it is in fiction. I have asked myself difficult questions about friendship and was able to define more clearly what it is for me. My heart swells with all kinds of emotions seeing these two woman sitting there, being interviewed. They were laughing, teasing each other, being so at ease and obviously close even after decades of being friends. It made me happy. I will talk more about the subject of friendship in a future post.


May 12, 2016 – Week 18: We all Matter (NSFW) “Everyone around you has a story the world needs to hear “ with Dave Isay

Why I selected this TED Talk:
I thought the project that is discussed in the TED Talk is a wonderful undertaking and quite an interesting idea.

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
At first I was simply interested by the concept itself. After a few moments, it became apparent that it could do a lot of good. Then the feelings came; the facilitators of StoryCorps are really allowing people a moment of closeness, of openness. Being able to interview a loved one in that setting, I don’t know, it touched me. With the StoryCorps app being available, anyone can become an interviewer. I am thankful for the Great Thanksgiving Listen it illustrates beneficial use of this project.


May 19, 2016 – Week 19: Living in Synch “This is your brain on communication“ with Uri Hasson  

Why I selected this TED Talk:
I have a great interest in communication, languages and how ideas and concepts can be shared.

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
Watching his talk, reminded me how it is wonderful and easier to communicate ideas to kindred spirits. Because you are connected and in synch, the message can just flow from you to your listener. Hasson says that “We can communicate because we have a common code that presents meaning”.


May 26, 2016 – Week 20: Beautiful Misfit “How a misfit found her voice“ with Lidia Yuknavitch

Why I selected this TED Talk:
That lady had it rough… Yet she found her way to a life that fulfills her now.

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
It’s often difficult to change your mindset from what you have been used to instinctually think. It’s difficult to accept that you can have a life that you enjoy, and that you can be that person you want to be. It’s often difficult to truly believe that you even deserve it. Self-acceptance is hard… Lidia Yuknavitch hit rock bottom, missed out on amazing opportunities, but she found herself one day… I found her quite inspiring; a very uplifting message she delivered to all the misfits and anyone that may have let past failures be how they define themselves.


June 2, 2016 – Week 21: Connecting and sharing ideas “TED’s secret to great public speaking“ with Chris Anderson  

Why I selected this TED Talk:
Because I think that ideas in this talk could apply to any public speaking situation.

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
I have been thinking about a couple of things that involve me being on video on the internet… Maybe on YouTube, maybe on Twitch, possibly both. I need all the guidance possible to make sure I create compelling content for you! This is something that I find scary, but I want to do it. If I have the right tools and knowledge, I imagine that it will help to alleviate some of my worries. Now, there is that matter of not feeling as self-conscious about being in front of the camera and doing a broadcast/video.


June 10, 2016 – Week 22: Art Accessible Today… “Every piece of art you’ve ever wanted to see – up close and searchable“ with Amit Sood  

Why I selected this TED Talk:
Because it’s just that cool and I think everybody should know about it!

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
I will very seriously setup blocks of time for myself to visit museums virtually. It’s good for me because I crave that type of stuff, but I can see how it can benefit anybody. So much art to see, so much knowledge to discover. We live in an awesome time I think to myself…


June 16, 2016 – Week 23: The power of reading “How books can open your mind“ with Lisa Bu

Why I selected this TED Talk:
Because I love reading, and I liked the story of her experience with books

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
I have always been an avid reader from a very young age. I actually have a lot of trouble to understand how it is possible that some people just don’t read. You can explore so much, discover so much, learn so much. It could be finding a role model, or reading about someones life that mirrors your own in some way. It could be a tool for self-actualization, it could be a way to see the world differently, it could be a way of dreaming. It could be just plain fun! I do like Lisa Bru’s idea of reading books in pairs and will surely try it in the future. For example, as she said, it could be books written by people that were involved in the same event, friends with shared experiences or similar stories from different cultures. My love for books is something I want to share with others. I have been a librarian on Goodreads for a while now, I have rated thousands of books, but until now I have held off doing reviews. This talk nudged me to share my opinions on books, so you will start seeing some here on SoapBoxArcade!


June 23, 2016 – Week 24: A Way to Creative Rejuvenation “The power of time off“ with Stefan Sagmeister

Why I selected this TED Talk:
Simply because it spoke to me…

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
Time off, if it is well planned, is an excellent opportunity to renew yourself creatively or otherwise. You have a freedom to pursue things you might not have allowed yourself to otherwise. It is good for the soul. I will be, in future posts, revisiting the subject. It’s all about the Art of Living!


June 30, 2016 – Week 25: The Complexity of Self “Who are you, really? The puzzle of personality“ with Brian Little  

Why I selected this TED Talk:
Because I thought Brian Little was very funny and I am always interested in watching or reading anything that has to do with personalities and self-actualization.

How that TED Talk touched and enhanced my life:
I just love doing quizzes and tests, finding what type of this or that I am. What type of animal symbolizes me, where do I place in in the Myers-Briggs chart, etc. But I do realize now that I am not just only one set of traits; it’s a lot more complicated than that! So yes, labels can be useful to have a better understanding of what makes you so unique yet makes you belong to a certain type of people, but you have to be open to the full spectrum of who you are.


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