Love and Movement Building- TEDxUtica

"Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know love we have to invest time and commitment...'dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love -- which is to transform us.' Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them and immediate and sustained high. They wish to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling.”

― Bell Hooks

Last fall I did a TEDx talk that was an attempt at articulating the importance of love in our movement making, social justice, and leadership development. It also entails a great deal about being a child, sexual and domestic violence, and ends with a poem about my daughter in an attempt to articulate why I feel so deeply about love and many of the other virtues being vital to justice. The talk gets close, but just in case, I want to share the core text written by bell hooks that explore this concept of love further as it relates to justice:

This article Towards An Worldwide Culture of Love by bell hooks was vital to my understanding of love for movement building. The quote below is transformative for pursuing this work:

"Because of the awareness that love and domination cannot coexist, there is a collective call for everyone to place learning how to love on their emotional and spiritual agenda. We have witnessed the way in which movements for justice that denounce dominator culture, yet have an underlying commitment to corrupt uses of power, do not create fundamental changes in our societal structure. When radical activists have not made a core break with dominator thinking there is no union of theory and practice, and real change is not sustained. That’s why cultivating the mind of love is so crucial. When love is the ground of our being, a love ethic shapes our participation in politics." - Bell Hooks

At lunch today with a friend, I realized that a pursuit of love, courage, character, and an exploration of faith were all attempts at touching a truth that we both and imagine and sense as real (and it is real), but can't yet feel. My deepest hope is the talk might connect the dots for you and others.

Here's the video:

Limitless Love - TedxUtica

TedxUtica is a week away. My topic is something I'm not an expert at: Love.

I've been with the same partner for 10 years, but that isn't the main inspiration for the talk.

I have 3 beautiful children who I hope exude joy and love, but their only a small part of sparking this idea.

My parents were married for close to 18 years, but their relationship isn't front and center either.

I'm writing and speaking about love for social change and community building.

For ten years, I've been trying to convince all sorts of people to volunteer, teach, and contribute to their community. For five years, I've been trying  to convince social workers and impact entrepreneurs to work smart, lead better, and innovate faster with mixed results. No matter the group a few key observations have emerged:

1. Many people spend most of their time talking and thinking about their relationships and how it isn't going the way they want it to go.

2. Many people say relationships either stop or inspire them to take on a challenge.

3.  Many people I encounter seems to have been hurt by a relationship that they haven't let go of (romantic and platonic).

4.  Sexual and domestic violence are prominent and evil aspects of our culture, especially for men as perpetrators.

5. Most people aim to not get divorced and look good instead of be happy in marriage and get better.

All these observations have led to my Limitless Love idea:

If we want a thriving society  how to have a limitless relationship is important information to share.

If we want to have a thriving society, a distinction must be made between limited love (abuse, violence, etc.) and limitless love (appreciation, intimacy, hope).

If impact leaders and people apply the ideas of limitless love with courage, we may get closer to a thriving society where relationships do not define our existence, but serve one of many meaningful foundations for our lives.

You can watch the talk this Friday via a streaming link here:


Speak Like A Pro

Speak Like a Pro—a free virtual conference with Jenny Blake—streams August 25 through August 29
I'm excited to be featured as one of 25 conversations with authors, TED speakers and the world’s leading experts on influence and behavior change on what it takes to Speak Like a Pro.
Through this conference, you will learn to master an art form as old as time; whether in a setting as intimate as an important meeting or as big as speaking on center stage, learn how to find your confidence, hone your message, and manage your nerves to nail your delivery and inspire positive change in others.
What You Need to Know
When: August 25 - August 29
Where: Online
Cost: Sign up for free here Speak Like A Pro Ticket