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
Life only makes sense to me when viewed in the context of love. Between work, chores, and an endless to-do list, I can start to feel like a “doing machine,” just waiting for a time when life will be more meaningful. When my heart is closed, all the mundane actions of daily life feel like a burden. But when I let myself be moved by love, I don’t need a peak experience to find meaning. When my heart opens, the meaning of life is obvious.
So that’s my practice: opening my heart in the moment, even if I don’t want to, even if I’m upset or busy or disappointed or lonely. Sometimes it hurts to open. When I feel resistance, it usually means there’s pain I don’t want to feel. But when I’m willing to open and feel it anyway, the knot in my chest releases and life feels beautiful again.
This is an intense practice. Life isn’t always fair, and none of us escapes having our heart broken. So many painful things have happened to so many good people that we each have reasons to shut down and become jaded about life.
But this is where we have a choice: We can either be “reasonable” and stay closed or we can open anyway. That’s when I ask myself, “What would love do?” Because love doesn’t need reasons to love. And choosing love in spite of our reasons not to works a kind of magic on our souls that makes us feel whole again.
So ask yourself, “What would love do?” and answer it minute by minute.
When I ask myself that question, these are the answers I get:
- Love would tell the truth, no matter what.
- Love would dance with abandon, not caring how she looked.
- Love would sit with others’ pain, and let it crack open the protective shell around her heart.
- Love would risk rejection to say, “I love you, I like you, I want to be close to you.”
- Love would give up being “appropriate” in quest of her desires.
- Love would honor her heart, her body, her boundaries, and her time.
- Love would claim her big, bright wildness without apology.
- Love would sit in the fire of her fear, shame, and loss until she finally realized she had nothing to hide.
– Alexis Shepperd
Explore More Meaning
narrative multitasker. life saver. creative activist.
James Lecesne has been telling stories for over 25 years, though acting, writing, and teaching. He's one of the creators of The Trevor Project, an organization focused on suicide prevention among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. [www.thetrevorproject.org]