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
Christine has graciously included a song with her feature. It’s a chant from the Congo which loosely translates as “come to the circle/party/song.”
What’s most meaningful to me is music. It’s an infinite composition I get to live. Sometimes I’m in harmony with other pieces and sometimes I’m a soloist. It’s less about what I play and more about how I become an instrument. What intrigues me is to march to the beat of my own drum, to find my rhythm, and to balance that uniqueness in harmony with others. To live in concert.
Rhythm is defined as the element of music pertaining to forward motion, so I often find that the drum shows up as people are changing and moving into a new phase. Percussion and drumming are universal. They’re a passport to indigenous cultures and even global diplomacy, in that the drum is used for communication. Drumming is accessible. It’s inclusive. Everyone can do it. It builds the morale of the team. It calms the child. It holds the mother’s heartbeat. Rhythm is a primal force.
In a children’s rehabilitation center in Iraq, there was a little boy whose legs had been blown off by landmines. He looked so depressed, slumped over in his wheelchair. But when I handed him a drum and he joined in our drum circle, his face brightened and his eyes started to twinkle. His family’s jaws dropped. After I collected the drums and was walking away, I heard a beat. I turned to see him tapping a pen on the side of his wheelchair. He was saying, “The beat is not in that drum. It’s in me.”
It takes courage to put yourself out there in music. You can’t hide. And sometimes I do get out of rhythm. For me, getting back into rhythm requires a pause, which is an element of rhythm. The silence between beats recalibrates my groove. Maybe I need to be alone and silent, or to sit and drum by myself, setting aside the idea that music is a performance and remembering that it’s transformative.
Music is inside us. Music is something we receive and give. So listen to music constantly. Pick music that inspires you and has a good message. Choose your music, and then be part of the music. Bang on the desk at the office. Sing in the shower. Let music go both ways.
We need music. Its powerful heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul connection transcends barriers. Music is the language of the future. How else can this many people have one common language?
– Christine Stevens