It’s a New Year. Will you continue on the same journey? Or will the journey inspire a new path?
This was a theme of many presenters at the second TEDxSMU October confab – all high achievers in pursuit of a worthy goal. But pay attention to the views along the way and open your mind to new possibilities. Voila! The goal becomes a means to a new end.
Nature photographer Frans Lanting was on a mission to photograph distant animals and scenes. Along the way, he realized an ecological outcome. He was really a time traveler with a camera. Thus, he could tell the story of an earlier life through his lens — capturing primitive forms of nature in their pure element. He took the audience back thousands of years through views of life that still exist in remote global outposts.
Baba Brinkman is an actor and rap artist, who wrote a tongue-in-cheek hip-hop song on The Canterbury Tales. This prompted an overture by The Darwinian Society to commission a musical on the anniversary of the theory of evolution. “We want you to do for us what you did for Chaucer.” His research unearthed serious findings on youth gangs and violence.
Majka Burhardt is a writer and adventurer who traveled to Ethiopia to scale unexplored sandstone towers. Amidst the frustrations of the climb, she experienced the bounty of local coffee varietals and visioned the economic power of promoting the more than 10,000 Ethiopian specialty brews as a unique and prolific natural resource, the economic engine for future growth and quality of life. This became a new, productive mission that superceded the outcome of the climb — telling the story through a book, Coffee Story: Ethiopia.
But the standing ovation of the day went to Rabbi David Stern of Temple Emmanu-El on the topic of round-trip spirituality. Life is a journey, he said. We go up the mountain in search of knowledge and experience, but then it’s time to take what we’ve seen back to a world in need. He spoke of self-transcendence — feeling connected to something greater than self; the awe of nature; the wow of musical inspiration. We need something to pull us beyond ourselves.
And so the journey continues for all of us. Where will we go this year? More importantly, how can we share what we’ve learned with others — for the greater good?
It’s a bounty awaiting harvest — well worth celebrating.
Happy New Year to all!
January 1, 2011