Speaking up 50 years later: TEDxBoulder

Deborah Bowman

Deborah Bowman

As a shy sixth grader I often imagined myself speaking to the masses.

I wanted justice for all and for people to love one another. I wanted to shout it from a podium like Martin Luther King.


My fantasies were a compensation for living in the shadow of an over achieving sister and a brother who crashed motorcycles. And because my mother valued racial equality.


I grew up in Ferguson, Missouri.


This last September I crossed the TED talk off my bucket list…..to see more click lessons in public speaking.

I wrote this article for elephant journal…yes, all lower caps. A great online zine devoted to personal and spiritual growth.  It helped me connect the dots of my past to present, seeing how my early dreams are manifesting today.

The talk is titled Falling into Grace, about how a near death experience became an opportunity to grow in awareness and compassion. The TEDx speech could have been titled How I was an Idiot and Survived to Tell the Story or even I Love Being on Stage and Almost Died to Get There. Whatever confessional twist you put on it, I am so glad to be alive and to have learned from my experience.  That story is worth telling.



Nowhere that is not a Wisdom Hall

final shots bangkok, 11.1.07 006_lzn

I still recall, how with my bag on a pole,

I forgot my yesterdays,

Wandering the hills, played in the waters,

went to the land of the clouds.

The lift of an eyebrow, the blink of an eye–

all of it is samadhi;

In this great world there is nowhere that is

not a wisdom hall.

~ Ziyong


This poem by the 18th century Chinese nun, Ziyong, provided the anchor for the faculty commencement speech I gave this year the Naropa University.  I spoke about the lessons I learned from a climbing accident I barely survived in 1979. It taught me to look for the wisdom in every moment!  Please check it out by clicking on: 12 minute speech

In gratitude,


P.S. I took this photo at Wat Arun in Bangkok.  He reminds me of the joy of living.


The Female Buddha book

The Female Buddha book