December, 2013

I think it’s time to take a chill pill.

It’s 2am and I have to admit it’s not just the wild Wellington winds that have awakened me. Even though Wellington is, I think, the only place in the world where you wake up wondering “was that an earthquake or just a gale force gust?” because your bed can shake you awake during both.

And both happen pretty regularly.

No, the reason I’m conscious at the moment is that my subconscious is apparently on overdrive. It’s filled with words and some high level anticipation because in one week I’m taking the stage to give a TED talk. Well, a TEDx Women talk, to be precise. I describe it as a “baby TED” – just the very first rung of that ladder to the top, where you find the deepest insight and the most motivating inspiration.

I’ll bet even the big speakers have a few sleepless nights.

Speaking on a TED talk stage is a dream come true for me. And one I doubt I would have had if I hadn’t moved to New Zealand. There seem to be a few more ‘firsts’ to be claimed down here. This is the first TEDx Women event in the country.

No pressure.

There are several tickets left to sell. One of the big name speakers got cold feet. And there is of course a 12-13 minute speech to be able to share without notes – a first-ever for me! So, I’m sure I have a few raw nerves that are stirring my synapses at night. In the mornings, I keep waking up with the last few frames of dreams as wild as the winds outside playing in my head. Just one? Me asking President Obama if his kids eat fast food.

I don’t know where that last dream fits into the whole picture but thought I’d mention it in case anyone else has any insight.

When I woke up tonight, I went downstairs to get a glass of water and wash down a preventative vitamin supplement (to keep my immune system strong – it tends to flag when I am stressed), I had a fleeting thought: “I’m awake, so why not practice my speech again?”.

Hence the first line of my blog. Forget the vitamin, time to take a chill pill.

Yes, it’s a dream come true and likely a once in a lifetime opportunity. Yes, I read somewhere that ideally I should get about 50 hours of practice in before the big day. But really. There’s a limit. I must be a little more anxious than I realised.

It’s eye-opening, getting a brief peek behind the curtain of consciousness.

So maybe it’s a blessing that last gust and bed shake brought me to my senses. It’s better to be clear about what’s going on inside isn’t it? I’ll call it my own “stroke of insight” although, like my planned talk, nowhere near as deep and inspiring as Jill Bolte Taylor’s iconic TED talk.

But, also like what I plan to say on stage, this moment of insight opens to the door to some practical steps I will now take.

Taking a walk through the Botanic Garden can clear my mind faster than anything else I’ve tried, so I’ll aim for a stroll a day. And even though I haven’t mastered meditating, managing to quiet my chatterbox brain for just a few minutes is better than doing nothing. I should also probably cut back a little on the coffee – just in case that’s as much to blame for waking me up in the middle of the night… That will likely be my biggest challenge in this craft-coffee culture here in “the coolest little capital in the world“!

Also important to remember? One of my mantras: life is about enjoying the moment.

That means, I’ll go and see my friend perform in her play this weekend, enjoy the challenge of my new profession by focusing mainly on my work next week, and on the big day next Saturday I’ll relish the once-in-a-lifetime sensation of setting foot on the little round rug on a TED talk stage.

And I’ll have fun doing it, no matter what happens.

Which is pretty much “My idea worth spreading”, the TED Talk raison d’etre. Maybe I just had to prove it to myself once again before daring to share it on a Wellington – and maybe even a world -stage.

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