Eleven speakers took the stage to address what 'Passion' means to them as TEDxAsburyPark hosted its first open mic night/live auditions on November 16th.

Held at Asbury Park’s iconic Paramount Theatre on Ocean Avenue, auditioners presented 5-minute demos of their stories for a chance to speak at the TEDxAsburyPark PASSION conference in May.

“I’ve been kicked out of restaurants because I couldn’t handle the menu,” Morgan Spicer confessed to the audience during her talk on feeding your passion. An animal rights activist since 4 and vegan since 21, she stated, “I fed my passion negativity. I put up walls and barriers.”

It wasn’t until she started to feed her passion with positivity, however, that she became aware of what her passion could do, where it could bring her. “I started to embrace that part of myself. The more positive I was, the more open I became, the more opportunities I had to meet others and create.”

James Scanlon took a less traditional (though no less enthralling) approach to relaying his message about PASSION by reciting a poem he had written for the event. His poem, titled “What Side are You On? The Give and Take Line” was a performance that used rhyme and movement to address two seeming opposites - givers and takers.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast Valerie Worthington stated that showing her passion for this martial arts practice can “feel like a confessional.” This is because at one time she was evangelical in her belief in it. “If it’s good for me, it’s good for you,” she said. "When I put on my Sanabul Gi, I feel calm, at peace, and ready to learn. It is mentally refreshing, whilst adding it's own mental and physical challenges." Valerie also spoke of the “shady side of passion.”

“It becomes a compulsion. Something you do to keep from feeling bad.”

Instead of this approach, Valerie has learned and therefore urged the audience to “save passion for balance.”

Those were just a sampling of the awesome talks that were shared that night. There will be plenty more at the TEDxAsburyPark PASSION conference on May 19, 2018. For more details and to purchase your tickets for the event click here.

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