Home Finding Happiness What TEDx Wilmette Women Taught Me About Happy Moving

What TEDx Wilmette Women Taught Me About Happy Moving

by Ali Wenzke

When my friend, Chris Beer, asked if I wanted to volunteer for the inaugural TEDx Wilmette Women event, I jumped at the opportunity. My job? To work as one of several speaker coaches to support the inspirational speakers. As with most volunteer activities, I got much more out of it than I put into it. Here are 10 Happy Moving lessons that I learned from TEDx Wilmette Women:

  1. When a volunteer opportunity piques your interest, just do it.

I know you are busy. Everyone is busy. If you are in the midst of a move, you may be not be able to volunteer at this moment in time, but it will be the most rewarding activity you do after you move. So, start thinking about ways to get involved in your new community and sign up before the move. If you take the time to research opportunities and you commit to them now, you are more likely to follow through after the move happens.

Working as a TEDx speaker coach gave me the chance to collaborate with a passionate group of talented people. While I already knew I loved speaking about Happy Moving, I discovered that I love editing other people’s speeches – maybe even more than giving my own talks. I found the partnership, the back and forth, and the bouncing of ideas intoxicating. You won’t know how much you love something until you try it.

  1. If you follow your interests, the passion will grow.

Many of us don’t know what we want to do with our lives and we’re told from a young age to “find our passion”. Beth Drucker, environmental activist and community organizer, says that’s the wrong way to think about it. There are many paths we can take. If you’ve been agonizing over your move, you’ve probably figured that out already. The paths are limitless. So, how do you find your path? Drucker advises us to follow our interests, whatever they may be. Test out a few different interests and see where they lead you.

You may even stumble upon your passion accidentally like when the owner of Curt’s Café inadvertently signed up for a restorative justice class. This “mistake” led Susan Trieschmann to create Curt’s Café, a restaurant that improves the lives of at-risk young adults through work and life skills training.  As you follow your interests and get more involved, your passion will grow from there.

Follow your interests, the passion will grow.

TEDx Wilmette Women photo credit: Lee Klawans

To view Beth Drucker’s TEDx Wilmette Women talk, click here.

  1. Go with the flow

Life will throw obstacles at you . . . like the move you are going through right now. There will be turbulence. You can either choose to fight it or go with the flow. Amy Segami is an engineer turned artist. She studies flow from a scientific perspective and translates it into art. Her life’s work is mastering the complexity of change, and there are few things more complex than restarting your life in a different place. Segami shows us that without turbulence there is nothing new. Besides, turbulence smooths out the rocks. Segami’s advice? Dance with the turbulence.

Dance with turbulence.

TEDx Wilmette Women photo credit: Lee Klawans

To view Amy Segami’s TEDx Wilmette Women talk, click here.

  1. When it comes to children, predictability is the enemy of success

Great news, parents! You are doing everything absolutely right by moving with your kids. You are preparing them to be resilient, successful children. But, don’t take my word for it. Hema Trukenbrod, CEO of PediaSource, is a recognized expert in pediatric behavior and development with over 20 years of experience in the field. Trukenbrod describes how unpredictable situations can lead to discomfort, then motivation and innovation, which results in success. Trukenbrod explains that teaching children to be courageous in the face of unpredictability motivates them to cultivate inner tools and this helps them to achieve their dreams.

Your family’s move is the perfect opportunity to create unpredictability and, ultimately, success for your child. If you are not moving, Trukenbrod outlines ways to create unpredictable environments for your child in this overly predictable world. (Does anyone else tell her child what time she will be picked up to the exact minute?) Trukenbrod encourages us all to create our own path and to lean into the unpredictable.

Lean into the unpredictable.

TEDx Wilmette Women photo credit: Lee Klawans

To view Hema Trukenbrod’s TEDx Wilmette Women talk, click here.

  1. Take a moment to breathe, to stretch, and to find your healthy balance

Stop thinking about your move for just a minute and take a moment for yourself. Breathe. Stretch. Move your body. Svetlana Baklanova, an evolutionary trans-fitness coach, encourages us to mobilize our bodies in order to transform stress into productivity. Moving is the perfect time to do this because:  a.) you’re stressed and b.) you need to be productive to get everything done before moving day. So, after you’ve gone through the exercises that Baklanova teaches in her TEDx Wilmette Women demonstration, keep the party going. Turn up the music and dance while you pack those moving boxes.

Mobilize your body to transform your stress into productivity.

TEDx Wilmette Women photo credit: Lee Klawans

To view Svetlana Baklanova’s TEDx Wilmette Women talk, click here.

Light art projection “Hydrofilia” by MEK Design Studio, Inc

  1. Be radically visible

Sky Cubacub walked onto the TEDx stage with a patterned, vibrant outfit with strong shoulders and a pink and rainbow headpiece. Cubacub describes it as body armor. Sky Cubacub is a non-binary disabled Filipinx queer and the creator of Rebirth Garments. Cubacub is the pioneer of “Radical Visibility”, an unapologetically colorful disabled queer dress reform movement. The clothing line uses bright colors, exuberant fabrics and innovative designs for disabled queers of all sizes. Cubacub reminds us to be radically visible and to use our body armor as needed. When we move somewhere new, it’s easy to feel hidden or to feel the need to assimilate. Instead, show your neighbors who you are. They’re going to love you.

Be radically visible.

To view Sky Cubacub’s TEDx Wilmette Women talk, click here.

  1. Generosity is a way of living, not an act of giving

Ami Campbell, co-author of Love Let Go: Radical Generosity for the Real World, describes how she won the birth lottery. Campbell was born in Vietnam and her family moved to the U.S. when she was a child. As an adult, Campbell sponsored a child, Nganashe, in Tanzania. Campbell met Nganashe’s mother, Nasaru, during a trip with her church to Tanzania, and it was then that the realization hit Campbell. There was no logical reason that Campbell wasn’t in Nasaru’s shoes. Where Campbell grew up was pure luck and Campbell knew she needed to pay back this invaluable gift. It has become Campbell’s life’s work to practice radical generosity and she encourages others to do the same.

Nasaru, the mother in Tanzania, performed a remarkable act. Even though she owned little, Nasaru continued to pay it forward by giving money and supplies to the local school for a new roof. As you move, consider the reasons you are grateful and think of what you can do to practice radical generosity. Campbell asks us to write down how much we donated to charity last year. This year, increase it by 1%. That’s it. Imagine what a difference it would make it if we all joined together to be radically generous.

Practice radical generosity.

TEDx Wilmette Women photo credit: Lee Klawans

To view Ami Campbell’s TEDx Wilmette Women talk, click here.

  1. Take center stage in your life

Ellen Taaffe is a clinical professor and the Director of the Women’s Leadership Program at the Kellogg School of Management. Taaffe describes being at a presentation filled with brilliant men and women.  And, yet, only the male audience members raised their hands and spoke. Taaffe looked around, willing the women to speak up and have their voices heard. Unfortunately, this is a common situation, which is why Taaffe encourages us women to take center stage in our lives.

I often see this with families who are moving. Moms will make sure that their kids are signed up for their afterschool activities and that the household is in order. However, when I ask moms what they are doing to prepare for their new life, I always get the same response, “I’ll worry about me later.” Don’t put yourself last. Raise your hand. Speak up. Decide what your goals are in your new life and go after them. Take center stage.

Take center stage.

TEDx Wilmette Women photo credit: Lee Klawans

To view Ellen Taafe’s TEDx Wilmette Women talk, click here.

  1. We are all connected

There’s comfort in knowing that we are all connected, especially when we move to a place where we don’t know anyone. Charlie Branda, founder of Art on Sedgwick, talks about how the pavement we walk on connects us to our neighbors. Branda lives in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood where Sedgwick Street divides the subsidized housing on the west side and the luxury condominiums on the east side.

One evening, a young African-American father was shot and killed steps away from Branda’s home. Branda wanted something to be done, and she believed an art center would benefit the divided community. However, since Branda wasn’t an artist herself, she wondered why somebody didn’t create an art center. Then, a voice in her head said, “But, you’re somebody.” So, she created Art on Sedgwick, a nonprofit art center that uses art to connect people across racial and economic divides.

Branda emphasizes how art is a language that creates shared identities and how you can create miracles with your hands. It can be difficult to make friends when you move somewhere new, but you have more in common with your neighbors than you may think. Get involved. Take classes at an art center. And, if you believe something is missing in your community that you can create, remember that you are somebody, too.

Art is a language that helps diverse neighbors create a shared identity and a better future.

 TEDx Wilmette Women photo credit: Lee Klawans

To view Charlie Branda’s TEDx Wilmette Women talk, click here.

  1. Vulnerability is endearing. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.

To watch any TED talk, and the TEDx Wilmette Women event in particular, is to be inspired. You discover bold and brilliant ideas from some of the world’s greatest minds. However, I found the best moments were those when the TEDx Wilmette Women speakers demonstrated their vulnerability. Sometimes a speaker exposed her feelings through a pause and a deep breath. Other times tears reached her eyes as she told a story that changed her life. Some speakers expressly stated their anxiety and continued to share their story regardless of the nerves they felt. The TEDx Wilmette Women were authentic and they moved me.

It’s in our nature to put on a happy face and tell people we are fine. I see it all the time as a moving expert, or as I think of myself, a moving therapist. When I meet with people who are moving, the tears start to flow. Moving is hard. It’s stressful. Yet, when we talk to our friends about our move, we tell them we’re okay and that we don’t need any help. Put your guard down. Allow people to help you. They want to be there for you. Let them. To be vulnerable is human. We need one another to make it through the turbulence that life throws our way.


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1 comment

Heather February 23, 2020 - 4:30 pm

Love this blog!! Preparing for a move and feel better knowing I have this resource.


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