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I am so nervous. (Laughter)
Tammy didn't mention
the National Enquirer article either.
(Laughter)
So you get to go put it all in perspective.
I want you to take a moment,
I mean we've been talking about sustainability,
kind of retooling ourselves,
rethinking about what we want in the world.
And I want you to take a second
and think about what new purchase,
what item
would you want to hold in your arms,
as you die.
What favorite room in your house,
or a space,
could accommodate that last breath?
Can you imagine how our consumer patterns would change,
and how small our houses would shrink
if we asked those questions a little more often?
But that scares us.
We don't want to talk about that stuff.
It's the yucky stuff.
Our mortality,
we'll deal with that at another time.
But I've got some experience with this,
so I want to share with you.
And I'm really nervous to share it
because we don't go there.
So I'm looking out and I'm asking you guys
to just hold me for a moment.
Several years ago,
I was diagnosed with heart muscle disease,
cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure.
And if you're not familiar with what happens with congestive heart failure,
your heart starts to beat erratically,
and then it gets harder to pump,
it's working hard, but it's rigid.
All of a sudden, your liver, your kidneys,
they're not getting oxygenated.
Your brain is not getting oxygenated.
Your lungs start to fill with fluid,
and you die.
That's my fate. Maybe.
Two million people die every year.
You never know.
But it's the thing that scares me,
and I have to be honest,
it's not the idea of being dead that frightens me.
It's the couple of weeks,
or couple of days leading up to it,
that scare the crap out of me.
I have this fear that I'm going to end up
in one of those hospital beds,
in my friend's living room.
All the sudden, I'm going to have learn
what it means to have true humility,
and true gratitude,
as they change my diapers,
and they feed me,
and they change my clothes, like I'm a baby.
I'm going to have to discover
true love,
as they tell me that
they're so glad they've had this time
to walk with me.
It seems to me it's going to take great courage
to die in my friend's arms.
So how do you deal with that?
Seven years ago,
my answer was to build a little house.
I got rid of my mortgage,
got rid of most my personal possessions,
and downsized myself into a little tiny house.
One bedroom,
four wheels,
seven windows,
84 square feet of living space.
It's got everything I need:
place to cook, place to pee,
place to hang out,
place to be Dee Williams, (Laughter)
place to sleep.
My kitchen is not really elaborate,
I'm off the grid.
So I don't have a refrigerator, I have a cooler.
Beer half-and-half, what more do you need?
(Laughter)
And that's it. That is really true. (Laughter)
Specially right now,
it's like I had to have in this morning -- coffee, --
that I'm really looking forward to a beer.
My kitchen has a one burner stove.
I've never been a good cook,
I will never be a good cook.
I let go with that mess.
I don't need a chief's kitchen to make me happy.
The bathroom.
So you walk in my house, I've got my kitchen layout.
The bathroom is directly across from it.
One thing you'll notice is missing,
It's the little flushy part of the toilet.
I have a composting toilet which --
OK, feel the love, Portland, it's a bucket.
(Laughter)
So I shower at my neighbor's house or at work.
I don't have water coming into my house,
that way I don't have to deal with water going out of my house.
This is my living room,
and it's gotten an 11.5 foot ceiling.
So even though it's only about a six by six foot space,
it's got a lot of room.
You know, it's got this skylight up above it,
I can see everything that's going on.
It's an awesome place to hang out.
What I don't have
is enough room to do the Bollywood dancing,
that we're going to do later. (Laughter)
But I wasn't very good at it, anyway.
(Laughter)
My sleeping loft.
So every night, and especially in winter,
I carry my dog up a seven foot ladder into the loft.
And, you know, I can't stand up upstairs,
which is fortunate because, you know,
how many times have you cracked your toes on a doorjamb?
(Laughter) On the nightstand?
I don't have the health risk involved with it,
(Laughter) a room that you stand up in.
This area, this space in my house is my favorite space.
You know, looking out that skylight window,
I can see the ever expanding universe.
And I don't know what it is
about being elevated up above,
you know, everything else that's going on around you,
but, all of a sudden, something shifts,
and your problems start to look like little ants,
which is really fortunate.
And the rest of the world
starts to kind of have a stretch to it,
a nice horizon,
and everything seems to expand out in a way that gives you
enough time and space to kind of contemplate
why you're here.
Are you doing the work that you can do?
Are you being the person that you can be?
Are you learning about really important things
like humility, gratitude, grace,
how are you living that?
I've been really surprised,
just shocked actually at how much
nature has played into my life.
You know, I've always been an outdoor person.
I love being outside, but I didn't realize
that there are 9,000 different ways
that it rains in the Pacific Northwest.
Having a roof directly over my head,
a metal roof,
has changed the way that I feel about the rain.
And I want to just give you guys an idea
what it sounds like.
Just rub your hands together.
It's a little light rain, little light rain,
maybe even sleet.
Then it starts getting a little harder,
that's more like November,
probably December, (Laughter)
stretching into January.
Thank you, thank you. (Laughter)
That's more like January, February, March, April,
most of May this year. (Laughter)
Isn't that awesome?
We're so lucky that we get that much rain.
(Applause)
Exactly, exactly! (Applause)
This a picture of frost.
I sleep without the heat on,
in part because I'm afraid --
I have this little propane heater and I'm afraid
that it's going to explode in the middle of the night.
So it scares me.
So this is frost on the window.
I also get treated to wind in the eaves.
I know exactly where the sun comes up in the morning,
in the summer time,
and where it sets in the evening in the winter.
And I didn't have that relationship before.
And I think that's opened some stuff up for me,
in order to deal with
and to help me understand my place in the world.
The other part of it is I live in community.
My house sits in somebody's backyard.
They've gifted me the opportunity to live with them.
We have three households that share the same garden space.
My friends, Kue and Anny, and their kids live in one house.
Hugh's elderly and Rita live in the next house,
and together our three households make a common compound.
And, you know, I've learned a tremendous amount
of what it means to live in community,
by letting go of my autonomy.
Something changes for you,
kind of fundamentally shifts for you
when you have to ask for water everyday.
So that's been a tremendous gift.
I have so many other things I want to say,
but I need to stop.
I'm not done yet, but I do want to stop.
So this is my heart,
and this is something we all have in common.
This is something we all share.
Today our hearts will beat eighty two hundred thousand times,
pumping three tons of liquid through little tiny dime-sized openings,
filling out 30 miles of vasculature,
animating all of our human bones,
firing a billion brain neurons,
making it possible for us to get up in the morning,
brush our teeth, and say hello to our lover,
and get in the car and go wherever we're going to go.
Our hearts are a powerhouse,
a miracle.
And they do all of this work without much thought from us,
without much help from any bit of human technology.
And we get this one shot at life.
We get this one chance to discover our soul.
This is something we all share.
And I double dog dare you guys,
as you move forward in your day,
as you move forward in your life,
to access what it means to be human and alive today.
Gratitude, humility, grace,
there's not enough of that going around.
Gratitude, humility, grace.
Double dog dare.
(Applause) (Cheers)
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【TEDx】TEDxConcordiaUPortland - Dee Williams - Dream big, live small

106303 Folder Collection
Ashley Chen published on October 17, 2014    呂念臻 translated    Sunny Hsu reviewed
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