Apr 1 2013

Baltimore Ignite #12: 17 unique speakers = thoughtful happiness


Last night, Roger and I watched Happy, the documentary by Roko Belic (a name with two four-letter potential crossword clues, for certain).  It inspired reflection about what makes me happy and how I want to move forward, with intention, through the remaining third to half  of my life. (It’s no surprise that these milestone birthdays get us in the thoughtful mood.)

The director analyzes happiness and identifies the component parts, one of which is the importance of gratitude, the attitude of being thankful for each day’s blessings, large and small.  The conscientious practice of gratitude can lead to more feelings of well-being and happiness.  Also, another important element of a joyful life is work and play that inspires “flow” (being fully involved in an activity).  I can’t describe happiness here as it is expressed in the movie–suffice it to say that you can see it on Netflix right now!

Ignite Baltimore, which held its 12th event last Thursday, is for me, the confluence of several ingredients of happiness.  Seventeen speakers, each armed with an idea, 20 timed Powerpoint slides and five minutes, speak about their own hopes, desires, discoveries, and ideas.  The only problem with being in the audience is that it’s like being at a tapas restaurant, a taste of many small dishes but a full meal of none.  It leaves me every time wanting to find these people and make them talk to me about their passions.

Held at MICA’s Brown Center, the tickets are an affordable $5 each, and the event has been a sell-out the last few times I attended.  In this session, we were excited to hear Roger’s colleague, Betty Walke, speak about her life-long interest in butterflies.  She described her childhood fascination with Lepidoptera and her recent journey to Mexico with her sweetheart and husband, Dan, to see the Monarch butterfly migration.  Walke, a master gardener, raced through a list of plants that will bring these creatures into our own yards and gardens.  I couldn’t write them down fast enough.

In addition, we heard Jason Briody, a digital forensic examiner, who spoke about how we do not realize the power of our phones, small computers that track our every word and move.  Unnerving?  Yes.  But Briody’s interest in his subject is as passionate as Walke’s is for butterflies.  Bobbi Macdonald, executive director of the City Neighbors Foundation, wrapped up the evening, speaking about teachers as change agents, a subject that hits very close to home for me.

How could I skip Garrett Bladow, a North Dakota native and cowboy, who, with humor and matter-of-fact facts enlightened us about the science of breeding cattle? Or Adam Ravestein, who envisions turning Baltimore blight into green space?

I urge you to visit the Ignite website and put yourself on the email list for notifications.  See you next fall.  I guarantee that when you hear these inspired speakers, you will be motivated to become an agent of change, too.  Did I mention that involvement in community and the world also leads to feelings of happiness?  Ignite Baltimore makes me crazy happy!