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It has been a while since I wrote a blog. There are some very good reasons for this, some of which I can go into here and some of which I can’t.
One thing that I do want to share with you is a masterful bit of manifesting which has restored my faith in my own creative power. On Winter Solstice 2016, as the year turned and we began moving back to the light, I wrote a blog saying that I had asked the universe for miracles with a side order of joy in the coming months. I performed a ritual that was about letting go of the pain that had hampered me for nearly two years and inviting miracles to show up in its place.
Well, I am pleased to say that the first miracle has shown up, giving me hope for the others to come.
A couple of weeks after writing my Winter Solstice blog, I met up with a couple of friends who I regard as expert manifesters. They suggested that I be a bit more specific in my request to the universe, rather than simply asking for miracles without specifying what I wanted them to look like (you can read that blog here). So I thought about what might constitute a miracle for me and came up with a list of some of the deepest secret longings of my soul. As much as I love soul-baring, I won’t be sharing the whole list with you but at the top was a desire to share something of lasting value with the world in the form of a TED talk. I will be achieving my ambition this Friday when I give a talk at TEDx Totnes – the first time I have done anything remotely like this.
The journey to becoming a TED speaker has unfolded with surprising ease over the last few months. I have been burning to share this process in my blogs but, bound by the need to maintain confidentiality, coupled with a certain superstition about not wishing to jinx my chances by saying too much, I decided to stop blogging for a while. I found it impossible to write with honesty while withholding a really important part of what was going on in my life, so better not to blog at all.
The process of becoming a speaker began with a friend recommending me, along with a whole list of others, to the TEDx Totnes organisers at the end of last year. At this point I only had the seed of an idea, which had germinated from my recent journey through despair and my thoughts about the role clothes played – and continued to play – in my gradual recovery. I knew I wanted to talk about clothes and freedom and self-expression but that was about as much as I knew.
I was invited to meet with the TEDx organiser for a coffee. Over the course of a couple of hours before the meeting I wrote what turned out to be the framework of my talk. It is no exaggeration to say the idea flowed through me like water. Throughout my life, when I am truly in the zone with my writing, I hear words in my head before I write them. This is how it was with my talk. It truly felt as though none of it came from me, that I was simply the conduit that allowed it to flow through me.
I read my talk to Gillian, the organiser, and she seemed to really like it. I was invited for a second meeting, this time with her and a colleague. This meeting felt not so much like an interview/assessment but more like a lively discussion as we threw the idea around and explored its multi-faceted possibilities. They then asked me to crystallise and clarify my ideas and to come back with a single core message and a list of the key arguments that the talk would propose.
Such was the level of inspiration I felt following our discussions that the following day, everything fell into place and, within a couple of hours I knew exactly what I wanted to say. Once again, I heard the words dictated in my head before I wrote them.
I forwarded my synopsis to the organisers and waited to hear. As much as I wanted to be chosen to talk I felt surprisingly unattached to this as an outcome. The process of simply developing the idea and realising what I had realised in doing so felt like enough. Still, I can’t tell you how good it felt to receive an email telling me I was through to the next stage of the selection process and inviting me to have a telephone conversation with the TED speaker coach who would provide an objective assessment of my idea (and me too, I guess!).
This conversation also proved to be inspirational and uplifting. The coach, Danielle, was warm and encouraging and seemed genuinely interested and intrigued by my idea. I found myself able to speak with passion and a clarity that surprised me. I wondered where all this inspiration was coming from to be honest because it didn’t seem to be originating from me.
A week or so after, I heard that I’d been selected as a speaker and thus began a process that has taken me into parts of myself that I’ve never seen before…
In case you’ve never heard of TED, its tagline is Ideas Worth Spreading. Having struggled all my life with a profound sense of worthlessness, I find it ironic – and frankly amazing – to find myself being invited onto the TED platform to speak about something that is important to me and that the organisers clearly feel is important enough to share with others. It feels like an extraordinary privilege and I still can’t quite believe that it’s real.
Every year for the last 10 years at least, I have developed a throat infection so severe in January/February that I have lost my voice – sometimes for weeks on end. I’ve often wondered if this recurrent problem is linked to the profound sense of voicelessness that I’ve had since childhood. I have often felt unheard or as though I have nothing worth saying. In groups, my tendency is to listen and not say very much. For the first time this year, even though my stress levels were sky high, I got through the whole of the winter and early spring without a throat infection, in fact, not so much as a cold. Coincidence? My intuition tells me not.
So, let me quickly tell you about the clothes I’m wearing today. I love this colour, described by some as teal and others as sea green. I found this dress in a charity shop for £10. The label had been cut out so I’ve no idea of the make but I can tell you it is cotton jersey and parachute silk. I’m wearing it over a lined petticoat by Heart (which make similar petticoats to Bohemia but in a more exciting range of colours). The jacket is by Bohemia – one of my favourite of their designs – and the hat is a favourite by talented felt artist Peet Leather who is based here in Devon. The necklace is one that I inherited from my grandmother, made of carnival glass beads in peacock colours of blue and green. I felt really, really myself in this outfit today.