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
One of my life heroes, Chief Sitting Bull, said to his adversaries who had sought to destroy him, “Come, let us put our minds together to see what kind of lives we can create for our children.”
If we all took time to look into the eyes of children, to see the hope and yearning and simple innocence their hearts reveal, we could never in good conscience lift our hands against each other.
I’ve heard so many stories about children that have opened my heart. But, in truth, each child’s life tells the same story: “Please be gentle with me. I want to trust you.”
Our lives go astray when we mistake the illusory values of life, like success, fame, or even personal happiness, for true meaning. All our lives have moments of jagged anger and sadness, and every day the busy activities of daily life overwhelm us. We become lost when we let these closer, louder events control our emotions and our responses to the mysterious gift of life.
It takes only a look into a child’s eyes to be reminded that life is a gift and a miracle, and that we should bow our heads before its mystery.
I have a dear friend who recently attempted suicide. Life was too overwhelming, he said, and there was no way out. My heart broke for him and his despair, but I could not embrace his reasoning. As long as we can hear a child’s laughter, the world is alive with hope. It may not be hope for us as individuals, but it is hope for us as a species and as a reflection or embodiment of the divine.
Native Americans call God “The Great Mystery.” As children of God, we’re a part of this Great Mystery. Nowhere is this mystery more fully revealed than in the innocent wonder of the children we see every day. It remains a miracle to me that all across the world, in all times, and even in all species, the love and protection of children has been at the heart of our best impulses.
When life disappoints us, or when we become overwhelmed with the immediate problems and obligations surrounding us, it serves us well to go among children. Children are the embodiment of hope, and the laughter of a child is the sound of grace.
– Kent Nerburn
Explore More Meaning
multicultural leader. laureate poet. inspirational transformer.
Lucia De García is the founder, president, and CEO of Élan International of Newport Beach. She founded the Multicultural Institute for Leadership and has been recognized for her achievements in international business and multicultural advancement. [www.luciadegarcia.com]
actress. book dweller. literature cheerleader.
Lauren is the Founder and Program Director of Reading Opens Minds (ROM), an organization that brings the Book Club experience across Los Angeles. A graduate of Juilliard, Lauren has appeared on numerous stages and television shows. [www.ReadingOpensMinds.org]