Watching TED Talks is a popular pastime at CN&CO. We visit regularly to clear our heads, have a laugh or get inspired. TED Talks open our minds, spark new ways of thinking and can lead to some very interesting conversations. Each week we pick a favourite and publish it on a Tuesday, because we like how “TED Talk Tuesday” sounds. This week’s talk was selected by Josie Dougall. Here’s why she chose it:

The very first TED talk I ever watched in 2011, is still my favourite. No matter how many times I watch it, I gain something different. Each time I get goosebumps and tear-stained eyes in equal measure.

It reminds me of my mum. And I love my mum. She taught me that life is beautiful, and real, and that the more you love, the more you can get hurt, but that you should just do it anyway!

Poet Sarah Kay talks about what she would teach her daughter in a poem titled “If I should have a daughter”. I listen to this poem often, and now as I have become a mother at the same time as slowly losing my own to a terminal mental illness, it gives me more than just goosebumps and tears. It brings back lessons from my mum, and reminds me of the most important role that I have ahead of me, as I raise my own daughter.

This is a line from Sarah’s poem that I just love

“She’s is going to learn that this life will hit you hard in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach, but getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air”.

Wow… isn’t that a beautiful, realistic yet positive way to look at the world?

For me, the lesson is that life does suck, it is hard, and it is unfair. You hurt, you see suffering, you feel fear… but, if you love hard enough, and you let down your guard and just bloody well experience it all, you will receive an equal serving of joy, and freedom, and laughter, and happiness that bubbles up and just explodes out of you.

If my mum was still around, mentally, as she was before, I know that she would just love this poem. She would listen to it as many times as I do, she would goose-bump and cry and love it for the same reasons as I do. Her version of this was from Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran. And I have pasted a version of his words from his book The Prophet below. I see similarities between his message on parenting and Sarah Kay’s.

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Mum had this book next to her bed and we would often read bits of it together.

I hope you enjoy this TED talk and the spirit of the beautiful, real woman who performs it.

Here is a photo of me and my mum, and another of me and my daughter.