To quote from my Introduction to Rise and Shine, I wrote it, “…with the information I used to achieve my recovery, in order to share the knowledge that I wish someone had given me.”
But after publication of my inspirational memoir, and as is true with most new books, there was almost no publicity for it. Connie Martinson, member of the National Book Critics Circle and host of Connie Martinson Talks Books on local public television, recognized its merit and interviewed me. There was praise on a couple of blogs and newspaper websites. But my goal for Rise and Shine—to reach and inspire people with the possibilities of our minds, bodies and souls—fast faded before the reality that I had little access to media or the Internet, beyond websites I might create but few would find. The barriers seemed insurmountable, my book and its message of hope destined for obscurity.
Then, Lakshmi Pratury read my book, and came to LA to meet me for a lunch I’ll never forget. She enthusiastically invited me to the INK Conference, to talk about the role that technology played in my recovery, to show science-based treatments designed to yield measurable and repeatable results, that are not widely known or available.
With Lakshmi’s invitation, everything changes, bringing my ideas to a world forum for the first time. TED honors my INK talk with upload to TED.com, and Deepak Chopra invites me to his Foundation’s Sages and Scientists Symposium, with first reactions from children:
Dear Simon, I really enjoyed your talk! I am really inspired. I learned so much. Thank you so much! K. (Age 13)
And adults alike:
Please keep telling your story. It transforms all of us! T.
Almost two hundred comments post from the TED Community, with volunteers translating my talk into many languages, and hundreds of thousands finding it at TED.com, the INK Community, and Internet sites around the world.
Because knowledge in the medical world tends not to flow but instead pools around centers of excellence, and because I wrote Rise and Shine to release some of that information, INK and TED’s online audience inspire me to create a unique book website to illustrate some of its technologies and ideas: to add to the information in my talk and my book.
To build the site, I work with clinicians and others, who generously provide annotated 3-D reconstructions and PowerPoint presentations about our brains, our teeth and jaws, our pelvis and feet, to show the power and beauty of technology to those in search of the hidden path to self-knowledge.
It’s because of INK and TED that people can find my website, and thousands now browse it from every continent, and state in the USA.
More support, and a chance to interact directly with people with questions about my ideas, comes when TED enables me to offer an online Conversation on my topic, How do we make the most of our Consciousness?
This is scheduled for two hours and extends for two days because so many participate, from countries including India, the USA, South Korea and China. A TED viewer and reader of Rise and Shine is inspired to rise at 2:00 AM in Singapore to participate.
Another viewer and reader recommends my book to a journalist, to whom I give more materials and interviews for The Atavist, so I can use that online magazine’s multimedia capabilities in combination with my talk and book, to communicate aspects of consciousness from multiple perspectives.
Following this, I’m interviewed on National Public Radio’s Snap Judgment and KCRW’s Unfictional and The Business, available on SoundCloud or my website.
Word continues to spread. A viewer of my INK talk on TED, and then reader of Rise and Shine, flies from his home in Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles to ask questions about my book and discuss a speaking tour in the Far East, for he feels its ideas are so relevant in Malaysia.
Another reader in Switzerland who found Rise and Shine only because of my talk at INK and TED is so interested by my book’s ideas that he just posted seven chosen paragraphs from it to a support forum of which he’s a member for their discussion, and wishes I would visit to speak and answer questions.
In another INK and TED connection, LA Philharmonic first violin and TED Senior Fellow Robert Vijay Gupta who presented at INK2011, feels so passionately about Rise and Shine and its message of hope about music and the mind that he donates a beautiful performance at my most recent Book Talk at Westwood Library.
I’ve come to understand that we have the tools to develop a coherent program that optimizes learning from infancy to old age, and at this Book Talk I shared my goal to start a nonprofit to conduct a long-term international study, to explore new approaches to the processes of learning, to see how many in society may benefit from treatments and protocols I describe in Rise and Shine, that changed my mind and changed my life.
It’s been a busy first year since INK. My quest to give people more ideas beyond my talk continues. It’s a challenge each day to find advocates to continue my efforts to reach people, and the support of the INK and TED Community over the last year—including this blog—makes a world of difference. I feel so very fortunate to be offered these chances, on this journey that began with my book about a single shared moment in my life, and that continues through the INK and TED Community around the world.
Thank you all.
By Simon Lewis, INK2010 Speaker and author of Rise and Shine
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