1. What motivates you?
Learning is one factor that motivates me; learning that comes from reading, from adventure and engaging with others, and from my students. Time often has little meaning when I’m reading. I can easily lose myself in book that sweeps me into the story. I have also had many opportunities to travel and try to take full advantage of my travels to learn of the culture, history, and magic of the place I’m visiting. As importantly, I’m motivated by the perspectives and opinions of the students in my various courses. I take every opportunity I can to learn and incorporate that learning in some way into my life.
2. Why are you excited to speak at TEDxWinnipeg?
I have been watching TED talks for many years, and for many different reasons. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve been inspired to open my mind to a full range of concepts or ideas I had not previously thought of. It is exciting and an honor to participate this year, and to talk about an issue that is a passion of mine. I’m looking forward to hearing the talks of my fellow ‘2018ers’, and to engaging with those who attend. I know it will be a rich and rewarding day.
3. What’s the best thing you’ve read in the past year?
The (2013) book by Martin Pistorius, titled Ghost boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body. It is a story of pain, destruction, and regret, though more importantly resilience. A truly remarkable story of Martin, a 12-year-old boy whose life and family were interrupted and nearly destroyed as a result of his mysterious illness. His horror continues years later when his mind begins to awaken only to find that his body is unable to cooperate. As a result, he and his mind sit dormant for many years until the young man behind the seemingly vacant eyes is rediscovered by a therapist working with him. Martin’s storytelling can only begin to convey his emotional struggles as he rebuilds his life. And rebuild he does; not merely by extending who he was prior to his illness, but creating a new identity filled with hope and love. A truly inspiring reminder that identity can take many forms and regardless of the physical body, identity demands respect.
4. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I do set high expectations for all that I do. Sometimes this works to my advantage, sometimes not as I also have a tendency to expect the same high standards or expectations of others. I have tried to incorporate mindfulness into my life in a more focused way over the years and I find this assists in putting things into a more realistic perspective.
5. What is your most treasured possession?
I have a ceramic, inspirational tile a friend gave me many years ago. It reads, ‘Life is a journey…not a destination.’ She gave me that tile when she was nearing the end of her own journey with cancer. I try and live by those words every day, taking advantage of every opportunity to learn, share and grow as an individual, a mother, a wife, friend, and professional.
6. Which famous historical person would you most like to meet at a dinner party?
I would most like to meet Milena Maric Einstein, the first wife of Albert Einstein. Found documents (i.e. letters exchanged between she and Albert), as well as reported conversations, strongly support the view that she, herself a brilliant scientist, was an equal, though unacknowledged participant in Albert’s scientific work and writings. History suggests she was a victim of women’s oppression in the last 1800’s and this continued throughout her adult life as a student, later as a scientist, and to the time of her death. Her accomplishments were legendary, though went unrecognized because of gender. While women and men over the years have contributed to the changes we see today, the journey continues.
7. What TED Talk do you think everyone should see?
I have viewed many, but find Brene Brown’s June 2010 TEDxHouston talk titled “The Power of Vulnerability” particularly enlightening. She is witty, sincere, and so originally ‘real’, as she shares her research and the impact of her findings on her personally. When she truly immersed herself into her research, erasing any preconceived notions, she was able to explore a deeper understanding of a concept she had not anticipated – vulnerability. Her conclusion that we will find calm and peace in our lives when we allow ourselves to accept that ‘we are enough’ resonates in much of the professional work I do with people, as well in my teaching. So many people live in fear of judgement, some to the point of being immobilized. But if we can understand that personal acceptance gives us permission to move beyond our fears and assumptions, and instead be more deeply present in life and in relationships in a way that we may not have experienced before, we we be more emotionally available to truly explore all that life has to offer.