Is Anybody Out There?

Yesterday I had the great privilege to speak at a TEDx event in Mississauga. If you have never heard of TED they are committed to Ideas Worth Spreading and provide videos of people speaking on an insane amount of different topics.

Here in Mississauga our theme for the day was REBEL which provided a perfect opportunity to deliver the True Rebel Challenge to the 400 (or so) youth in attendance; Love, Dignity and Respect for every person.

One of the themes that I've been keying on lately is the idea that VIOLENCE IS THE NOISE OF PAIN. The violence of bullying alerts us to the sound of pain in someone's life; as does the violence of racism, abuse, sexism, addiction, homophobia, self-harm, new studies showing that 10% of teens are smoking pot 20+ times in a month, and, of course, the violence of suicide is the ultimate noise of pain in someone's life.

These violences only deepen the void and abyss that pain creates in our lives. My friend and colleague Robin does an excellent interaction with youth (and anyone) where we write down on blue stickies things that we have been called or lies that we have believed about ourselves; things like FAT, STUPID etc. It is heartbreaking the HUGE amount of blue stickies that end up saying things like, "NOT GOOD ENOUGH", "DON'T BELONG" and other labels that suggest how many people feel utterly alone and that they don't measure up to those around them.

It is incredible to watch and participate in tearing down those blue stickies and then replacing them with yellow stickies where we have written and read aloud the truth about ourselves; "BEAUTIFUL", "FUN", "LOVED"... the harder part is actually believing the truth over the lies.

This week I heard this new collaboration by K'naan and Nelly Furtado for the first time. It really struck me as a song that attempts to express that 'blue stickiness' that we so often feel. "I am alone." The True Rebel Challenge at its very best is an attempt to create new communities where there is love and acceptance for all, a safe place for people to be themselves, so that no matter what colour you are or culture you come from, no matter how you dress or what music you listen to, whether you find someone attractive or not or they are skinny or heavy, whether someone has an evident physical or mental disability or not, whether straight or gay, ALL are ACCEPTED, ALL are INCLUDED, ALL are LOVED!

When this happens people have a place to bring their pain. Not only their pain though, but their hopes and their dreams, and their silliness too... we get to be ourselves without fear of judgment, ridicule or isolation... too big a dream??? I don't think so, every once in a while I get to see glimpses of that dream coming true.

When the dream does come true, the violence of bullying subsides, the violence of racism, sexism and homophobia begin to fade away, the violence of addiction, self-harm and suicide are stopped in their tracks because the pain and fear behind this violence finds a place of love where healing from that pain and fear can take place. And the answer to the question of this song, "IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?!?!" will be met with a resounding YES!!

spoken like a true REBEL...

spoken like a true REBEL...yes

I was at the Tedx Conference

I was at the Tedx Conference and heard Ken speak,. It was really inspiring and helped show me that I need to fix some things in my life and to help others to be the best they can be. I also learned to show Love, Dignity, and Respect for all smiley

Thanks Terrence! That day was

Thanks Terrence!

That day was a lot of fun!

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