Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]
Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]
Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]
Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]
Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]
By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]
Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]
Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]
Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]
Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]
Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]
Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]
Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]
Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]
Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]
Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com
As I look back on my life, I see two scenes. One is that I’ve always been deeply spiritually connected, whole, and all of those things we all want to be, but then there was also a human part of me that was small, limited, frail, and afraid. The divine part of me has always been divine but the human part of me has evolved.
There’s a wonderful expression: “Pain pushes and vision pulls.” I find that most people are jarred into a spiritual life by a painful experience: divorce, financial set-back, abuse, or something else that’s so hard they can’t make sense of it with their current belief system, so are forced to dig deeper and reach higher. They find a yoga class, a church, or a healer. They discover a belief system that has more meaning and they step into it.
Simultaneously, people have moments of clarity, insight, and love. People fall in love, get a dog, see a movie that inspires them, or get a flash of enlightenment through meditation – and it’s so exciting! The bigger picture is, in fact, so exciting that the little picture doesn’t have much attraction anymore, so they head for higher ground.
We all feel the juxtaposition of being non-physical, spiritual, and illuminated beings who are, at the same time, walking on the Earth. When I look at the hardships we’re going through, like the tumbling of governments and economies, it says to me that the world, which we were taught is solid, real, edifying, and authoritative, is none of that. Shifting to a greater paradigm that includes that, but isn’t at all limited to those things, is something I reach for.
For many years, I’ve been meditating, praying, and doing yoga every morning. That helps me keep my head on straight. Even if I don’t wake up feeling good, it aligns me with a higher power, which is a huge course correction.
Sometimes stuff comes up in life – people cut me off or insult me – but if I can go outside and walk in the forest or go to the beach, it’s very healing, soothing, and clarifying. Nature is my church.
– Alan Cohen