Laugh, Cry, & Reflect with Ted Talks by Carol Alexander

With Autumn comes the changing of leaves, shifts in weather patterns, and a cold/flu that never fails to seep within my household. Between sniffles, hot soup, and naps, I came across these two very interesting, poignant Ted Talks, and would like to share. Bundle up (or take that much-needed break), and take a gander.


1. Candy Chang’s Before I die I want to ___

A powerful Ted Talk on the importance of community and public space, and their beneficial elements within the human experience. I won’t spoil too much for those of you who will be watching for the first time, but would like to highlight two of my favorite passages from this piece:

On creating the blackboards:”Neglected space became a constructed one. And people made me laugh out loud, tear up, and they consoled me during my own tough times. It’s about knowing you’re not alone, it’s about understanding our neighbors in new and enlightening ways. It’s about making space for reflection and contemplation, and remembering what really matters most to us as we grow and change.”

“Make better places…lead better lives…How powerful our public spaces can be if we’re given the opportunity to have a voice and share more with one another.”


What would your blackboard message say?

2.  Sue Austin: Deep Sea Diving…in a Wheelchair

This poignant speech explores Austin’s journey of self discovery and transformation in the face of limiting preconceptions of her quality of life in a wheelchair. By choosing to create her own narrative in the face of stigmatization, she finds joy, among other fulfillment. A few highlights include:

“I was seeing myself not from my perspective, but vividly and continuously from the perspective of other people’s responses to me.”

-“By creating our own stories we learn to take the texts of our lives as seriously as we do ‘official’ narratives”.–Davis 2009

“I now call the underwater wheelchair a ‘portal’, because it has literally pushed me through into a new way of being, into new dimensions, into a new level of consciousness.”






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