Monday, 6 May 2013

of exploring, and taking, my place: TEDxAdelaide Part Three

The final part of the TEDxAdelaide day was drinks and nibbles at the University Hub. But before that, there was one more talk. Mine.

As Kristin introduced me, she said it was a privilege to do so, and her excitement and anticipation of this story to end the day was both challenge and reassurance that this place on stage, this moment, was for me. It was both honour and responsibility, but I also took confidence from knowing that this is what I do; I gather people, I tell stories, I send us out again.

I had been nervous in the days leading up to this event, but after Friday's visit to Bonython hall to rehearse, meet Kristin and some of the other speakers, I settled into sheer excitement and anticipation of my own for what was shaping up to be - and indeed was - a fabulous day of stories and ideas shared in a generosity of spirit.

Photo: Moira Deslandes
with Pip, AUSLAN translator

As I spoke, I could see people doing what I had been doing, engaging, responding, connecting - tweeting. Afterwards, it was affirming, humbling, delightful, to read these responses and connections; and to continue to meet with people over a drink (and still today, to receive emails) and to hear the way the story had resonated, moved them.

When I tell the story 'The Sweet Sound of Grace' in church communities, everyone sings the first verse of the hymn with me at the end of the story. But even though it is reasonably well known through jazz and blues singers in the wider community, only a handful sang with me on Saturday. So I ignored the vulnerable and exposed feelings that come from being an untrained singer singing on stage in front of hundreds of people, and went with the moment. In rehearsal in my little church on Friday, I had been missing the top note every time. This time, in the moment, with the audience before me for whom I was telling this story and singing the song - no worries. Gratitude abounded! And none of them knew I couldn't sing - or thought I couldn't sing - so I discovered the truth in the cliche of pretending confidence in order to gain it. In every moment is an opportunity for discovery.

sarah tells stories is by no means well established in its natural Christian community context, but I have been telling stories and helping others to discover and tell stories in that context for a number of years. this was a new step for me, and an important one in the growth of sarah tells stories: out into the wider community, participating in conversation and the sharing of ideas with folk from many different contexts. I did so clearly and unapologetically from my own context of Christian spirituality. I did so as a performance artist. And as each of us brought our selves and our stories, we did, as I talked about, create a moment of grace, of gift, together, for each other.
The founders of TED are to be applauded for their vision and their commitment to bringing people together.
The TEDxAdelaide team are to be commended for their thoughtful shaping of a day of exploration, that surprised and delighted us all.


1 comment:

Michelle Coram said...

Thanks for sharing this Sarah - yes, was checking twitter from the Opera House and I loved getting a sense of the Adelaide TEDx story. Well done you for sharing your voice and your thoughts - and bring on the youtube video!