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Have you heard about Pecha Kucha? It's a new forum for sharing our lives, passions and interests -- like a mini-'Ted Talk' in 20 slides -- in over 700 cities around the world.

- sent in by Dr. Glo McArter, New Westminster, B.C.
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SPIRIT IN ACTION AT PECHA KUCHA
 
Recently I attended my first Pecha Kucha evening in my home community, a suburb of Vancouver, B.C.

At these meetings, each presenter shows 20 slides and speaks about each one for 20 seconds. And the topics are as diverse as life. The concept began in 2003 with an architectural company in Hong Kong, and currently takes place in over 700 cities around the world.
 
As I listened to the words of the speakers and enjoyed the visual effects to support their talks, I felt as if in the presence of a unique and powerful force. What creativity! What passion!

I heard about a project begun by a man who was told by his doctor that, to manage his depression, he was to connect with people. He now talks with strangers he meets while out walking. They are not strangers for long as he encourages them to describe their lives – their challenges, strengths and plans to contribute to make a difference in their world.
 
Another talk was about a novel idea of “pop-up” libraries, built by a couple who invite folks in family-oriented neighborhoods to bring their books and exchange them for others of interest. And oh yes, the touching story of a woman who had meningitis as a child, lost her hearing, and at 21 had a cochlear transplant. Wonderful to hear and see her joy and surprise as she adjusted to a world of sound! And more... including presenters who are mentors for the young, as they use the mediums of paint and sculpture to express themselves in their world.
 
Many of the speakers described physical and emotional challenges that could have kept them stuck in self-pity or victimhood. Instead they chose to contribute, participate and support others to learn and grow, while providing us with an evening of enjoyment and meaning.

The room was packed with individuals, some much younger than I and undoubtedly wiser about the effectiveness of social and new media to disseminate a message. However, I felt included and part of a group that was sharing the common bond of witnessing "Spirit in action." 
 
At dinner just prior to the event, a friend and I were in conversation with the third member of our party – a woman I met that evening for the first time. She asked about my work and I explained that, as a counselling therapist, I invite spiritual conversation and awareness to be considered as a helpful resource. She asked me how religion and spirituality differ -- to which I responded that, from my experience, religion is one of the many ways that humans express their spirituality. Other ways are in nature, the arts, music, care of self and others, paid and volunteer work, social justice causes, relationships and in the meaning given to life.
 
Those comments were echoed less than hour later at Pecha Kucha. As I sat in awe and wonder at the quality and depth of the stories told in the ten presentations that night, I felt the presence of an active and loving Spirit. This energy moved through and around me, and among all of us who listened, while vitalizing the presenters and their message.

I was grateful to experience Spirit in the creativity of Pecha Kucha. And I invite you to join me in trying something new this year - as we accept such opportunities that honor the positive energizing force of what makes for a meaningful and worthy life.
 
Dr. Gloria McArter 

More about Pecha Kucha at http://www.pechakucha.org.
(Click on "Attend," at the top left, for a meeting near you.)


 
 
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