An Idea Worth Sharing, “Disabled Thinking.”

The opportunity to deliver a TEDx Talk was such a great experience. I was able to express my “Idea Worth Sharing” on a international global stage. What I wanted to share with people was the idea of “Disabled Thinking.” This was a concept that came out of a discussion I had with my Buddhist Teacher, Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche. We were talking about what it really meant to have a disability. “Is disability in the mind or is it in the body? It was through many conversations and discussions the idea of “Disabled Thinking” unfolded. When I had the chance to share an idea on the TEDx platform, disabled thinking was the title.

After this initial conversation many past contemplations fell more clearly into place. One example was seeing the vintage film clip from Tod Browning’s 1932 movie called “Freaks.” I saw Prince Randian, known as the Human Torso,” who was a famous limbless sideshow performer of the early 1900s roll cigarettes and light them from a wooden matchbox with his lips and tongue. I took one look at this guy, looked down at my one-handed body, and then thought to myself, I think I can do a little more!” I was inspired by this man who had no arms and no legs and could roll and light his own smoke. When I was at a younger age people were always impressed when they saw me roll my own cigarette. If fact, when I was in college one of my roommates had me roll his cigarettes because he said I did it better than he did. Often people would said how they could not “roll their own” with two hands after they watched me do. Then I would tell them about the man with no arms and legs roll and light his own cigarette.

Prince Randian, Human Torso, Amazing People, P.T. Barnum, Disability, Adversity, Human Oddities, Freaks

Prince Randian, known as the Human Torso, is about to light a cigarette he just rolled with his lips and tongue using aa match from a matchbox. This is footage from Tod Browning’s 1932 movie called “Freaks.”

There so many cases of people doing so much with less “parts” than most people. In the 1990s there was the one-handed professional baseball pitcher and player named Jim Abbott. There is John Wesley Powell who last his right arm in the Civil War. There is the story of Surfer Bethany Hamilton, who’s left arm was bitten off in a shark attack. The film “Soul Surfer” is based on her experience. In India, there is a famous painter and artist named Swapna Augustine. And lastly let me refer to Musician Rick Allen who lost his arm after being involved in a street racing accident in 1984. Despite the injury, Allen still drums for Def Leppard. These people and countless others living today and throughout history have done so much with less body parts than most people. I am always inspired when I see this quality in people. At the same time it arouses deep contemplations in me about what it really means to be “disabled.”

Over the course of this life and culminating with my conversation with my Buddhist Teacher I have always pondered what it is to be disabled. After many dialogues with Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche we came to the term, “Disabled Thinking.” It is not just a physical thing. It is more a mental thing. We concluded it has to do with our thinking. The questions he asked me was, “is your thinking disabled? What would you rather have, a disabled body or disabled thinking?” I said, “a disabled body.” From that moment I have been formulating this concept of “disabled thinking” as a vehicle to help people better understand the power of their thinking and the potential to overcome an self imposed limitation.

TEDx, TED Talks, TEDxBoise, Blog, Speaking, Disabled Thinking

AlejAndro delivering his idea worth sharing at the 2015 TEDxBoise event.

(The below paragraph is the TEDxBoise program description for my talk.)

“Disability usually refers to something physical. But in this dynamic and inspirational talk, AlejAndro Anastasio makes a case that nothing is more debilitating than disabled thinking. And who better to speak on disabilities than the one-armed, 3rd Degree Black Belt, self-proclaimed, ‘Champion of Life,’ himself? By changing “disabled thinking” he has transformed his life for the better and helped others to do the same.”

To hear about the process and inspiration which lead me to the concept of “Disabled Thinking,” I invite you to listen to my One Hand Speaks Storytelling Podcast Episode OHS046.

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