Ruminations from a TEDxMileHigh Volunteer

By Andrea Enright / Categories: / June 28, 2015

Maybe it was all those Millennials, hashtagging and huddling in twos and threes — curiosity and angst resting comfortably in their dimples.

Maybe it was doing the wave with Kris Boesch—communal energy flowing like a thousand carafes of wine– which made me feel like I belonged.

Maybe “making my own sauerkraut” just had a nice ring to it.

Maybe I liked having a badge and carrying my smart phone in my boot.

Maybe discussing ideas, instead of people or things or schedules or food, made me feel one tiny step closer to enlightenment.

Maybe amidst my parenthood years, I had forgotten that a live show blows the polka dotted pants off a YouTube viewing.

Whatever it was, TEDxMileHigh is still hovering in my subconscious.

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Peter Lynch, with some crazy charisma, convinced people that they could do a start up their own way. His energy was like fresh squeezed orange juice — full of pulp and so very sweet.

Emmy Betz shocked the heck out of us with statistics on suicide, vehicular fatalities and guns. Her sobering message took just 6 minutes. Every syllable had to count. And it did.

Eric Kornacki reminded me that there are people starving for a nutritious meal just a dozen intersections away. I was inspired. And maybe ashamed? Because in my circles, farmers market vegetables sometimes feel like an overpriced way to feel cool.

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Jesse Zhang confused me but I followed along as best I could with furrowed brows and slow nods. Conclusion: Some people are just very smart. And nobody is too young to TEDx.

Lovable Heidi Ganahl kept my jaw dropping. She must have helped dozens of people in that audience—whether they were post-car accident or post-chemo — pick up the pieces with more grace. It’s all about attitude. How many times do I have to hear this to make it stick?

Jen Lewin, I swear to the universe, lifted everyone a few inches off their chair. Her rule-breaking, think-big blend of art and science convinced me that modern magic was alive and well.

Mike Vaughan made me question our safe, traditional and somewhat stagnant style of learning. Am I afraid to contradict or question? Do I tend to simply confirm facts which already fit snugly into my own comfy little cloud of knowledge?

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Esmé Patterson’s unassuming crooning made me wonder what other classic messages are sorely missing a woman’s perspective. What defines a feminist?

Teju Ravilochan reminded us that TEDx talkers are human beings that get turned down, too — and reintroduced the power of possibility. And he made me laugh. A lot.

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When I heard Mandy Straight’s vibrant message about space and stuff, my heart exhaled. I have suspected this all along. Validation is lovely.

Theo Wilson’s poetic stream-of-consciousness on the human condition dug way down into the wooded, brambled, backstairs of my heart. Weepy.

Chris Hansen got analytical about happiness and behavior in a warm, fuzzy, makes-me-feel-intelligent, Malcolm Gladwell sort of way.

Catharyn Baird made ethics seem human and non-corporate. And anyone who’s been on a mass conference call while watching a please-poke-me-in-they-eye PowerPoint knows what I’m talking about.

I was downright thankful that Joel Comm explained, with multiple metaphors and anecdotes, that the more fallible you are, the more people like you. Please, more like this!

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But regardless of the message, the delivery was the same. A voice. A vibration. A presence. A passionate rise and fall. It’s all human. All humming with life.

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Words: Andrea Enright  // Images: Kelly Shroads Photography