Making Peace with the Portrait – Kelly Mellos at TEDxSanDiego 2016

What is it about the human face that is so engaging and powerful?

You often hear that someone is the face of a movement, or the face of change. But what does that really mean? Does simply looking someone in the face, really taking a moment to study that person’s face – at the surface and beyond – have the power to bring about peace?

Artist Kelly Mellos, who left her life in the corporate business world to pursue a career in portraiture, toyed with this concept when she brought together a group of Palestinian and Israeli students and asked them to sit face-to-face and draw portraits of each other.

For Mellos, painting brings about a presence. When she runs her pencil or paintbrush over a face, she “softens into feelings of lucidity and deep reverence within the light of (her) subject.” Could the same feelings be stirred up in those who have been taught to be enemies?

“I thought there might be a possibility of transforming helplessness into hope,” she said. In a portrait workshop group through a peace program called Hands of Peace, Mellos got to test out her theory among teens who rarely get to meet and get to know one another.

The resulting workshop was an intriguing look into the power of humanity and the human face.

Kelly Mellos Website

Hands of Peace

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How Dive Bars Can Change Your Life – Ellen Goodwin at TEDxSanDiego 2016

“Most people think that the only thing that you can learn in a dive bar is that the more stickers on the wall, means the more surly the regular clientele is going to be. But this is where I think you are wrong,” said Ellen Goodwin to start her talk at TEDxSanDiego 2016.

And when it comes to knowing about dive bars, Goodwin, who by trade is the CEO and procrastination expert. Back in 2010 she and a neighbor started a “dive bar of the month” club, and have since visited more than 60 in the San Diego area. In the process she discovered some interesting truths about human nature that we could all adopt as life lessons.

According to Goodwin, dive bars are teaming with life lessons. Among the 10.5 life lessons she has learned:

1. Be kind to everyone.
2. You’re never to old to make new friends.
3. The camera never lies.

And for the rest, well, you’ll just have to see for yourself.

Ellen Goodwin Website

Ellen Goodwin on Twitter

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Wings Are Just a Detail – Lex Gillette at TEDxSanDiego 2016

With your eyes closed, imagine your highest potential. What does that look like? But more importantly, how do you get there?

“Sometimes in life, we’re afraid to take that shot in the dark,” says Lex Gillette.

For Gillette, dark has a different meaning than most. As a young boy he began losing his eyesight at the age of eight, which he eventually lost completely.

Despite this lack of sight, Gillette imagines himself “running, jumping, flying.” He’s holding an American flag on a medal stand where he’s winning gold, silver and bronze medals. He imagines himself “flying as far as (his) mind would carry (him).”

And that’s just what he has done. Gillette is now a four-time Paralympian and medalist who has four silver medals for the long jump, and is the only totally blind athlete to soar more than 22 feet in the long jump.

Gillette regaled the audience with stories of his triumphs at both the Paralympics and World Championships, which he said were a direct result of taking shots in the dark.

“Even in the blackest of blackest nights … never be afraid to take a shot in the dark.”

Lex Gillette Website

Lex Gillette on Twitter

Lex Gillette on Facebook

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