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.



Compassion or Idiot Compassion?



I would love to kiss you, the price of kissing is your life. Now my loving is running after my life, shouting, what a bargain, let’s buy it!

This poem by Rumi, the 11th century mystic, is about an ego death, when we lose ourselves in love for all the right reasons; when it’s no longer about my life or your life, but loving life itself.

Yet sometimes we confuse this tremendous passion for how me imagine we are suppose to act.  When passion is infused wisdom it is called compassion. When passion is confused with how “I should be good” it’ called idiot compassion…and I had a really bad case of it!

The Rumi poem and writing above are the first lines from a TedxBoulder talk I’m giving in on Sat, Sept. 27, 5-9.  Please click on the link and come if you are in town. Otherwise it will be published about a week later on Youtube.

Hope to see you there!!!