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Dose of Sanity for Living La Vida Loca: You're up next...

“Cris, you’re up next ...”

That’s the last thing I heard before going on stage to give my second ever TEDx talk.

As I peeked through the curtain at the 800 faces of those who came to the Fargo Theatre for last week’s TEDxFargo event, my heart was beating so fast I hoped the audience wouldn’t think the noise was part of my introduction music.

I was so nervous, yet filled with deepest gratitude for the volunteers and visionaries who put this compelling event together for our city.

In that moment, my mind went back to the first time I heard about TED – a nonprofit founded in 1984 with the mission to spread ideas in the form of short, powerful talks.

It was almost nine years ago. I was a Brazilian fish out of the tropical water, spending my first winter in Fargo. Winter seemed to be an unending season for me. I felt isolated and disconnected, and it was difficult to break out and meet people.

Then, a friend of mine introduced me to this website called and its “Ideas worth spreading,” filled with amazing speakers from all over the world sharing new and inspiring ideas.

I would wash dishes or change dirty diapers while listening to talks from my “new BFFs” – and it made winter not seem so lonely anymore.

During that time, I was on a journey to discovering natural ways to overcome the postpartum depression and weight battles I was facing, and some of those speakers’ ideas inspired the process of my healing – a challenging process that led me to develop the wellness program Diva Dance and prepared me for one of the greatest seasons of my life.

But if you told me back then that one day I would be one of those TEDx speakers, not just once, but twice, I would say you were out of your mind! Not just because I was a foreigner stay-at-home-mom hibernating from the cold, but because English is my second language. Back then, I was terrified to simply talk on the phone with people I didn’t know and couldn’t fathom speaking to hundreds of strangers.

Last year, when I was speaking at TEDxYouth@Hollywood, one of the speakers asked me how long it took me and how many times I had to send information to get into a prestigious TEDx event.

I answered, “I honestly never sent anything. They invited me after discovering my work with teenage girls.”

The truth behind my answer was that I never dreamed of having the opportunity to share my ideas in a TEDx event, not because I didn’t want to, but because it was a dream so beyond my beliefs that I didn’t dare to.

But I am grateful life proved me wrong and showed me that many times when we don’t have high dreams for ourselves, someone out there does.

Today, when I look back, I realize the moments we feel isolated, lonely or disconnected can be seen as life’s invitation to embrace the cold, dark “winters of our lives” – a moment when we can warm ourselves with new ideas, fresh perspective and uncovered wisdom, so we can be ready for the greatest season yet to come.

I don’t know which season you are going through your life right now, but in case you are going through the “winter of your life,” my hopes is that ...

“You’re up next!”