Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

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 Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

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 Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

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 Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

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 Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

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]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

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Sophie Chiche Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

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]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

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Liz Phair Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

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Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

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]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

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 Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

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 Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

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Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

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]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

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]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

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

 

imagination

Michael Meade Michael Meade master storyteller. mythology scholar. mosaicist.

Michael Meade is a master storyteller, a scholar of mythology, and an author. He founded the Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, a network of artists, teachers, and activists fostering community. [www.mosaicvoices.org]

As a mythologist, I think a lot about beginnings and endings. One of the old ideas is that everything that exists must first be imagined.

Nowadays, people think of history as something outside of us that we’re reacting to or being affected by or trapped in. There’s another old idea that says history is made in the depths of the individual soul. What will be history that others look at from the outside is actually inside the souls of those of us who are alive right now. History is in the soul in the form of deep imagination that’s trying to rise up, become conscious, and enter the world.

I think a lot about how to bring more imagination to a world that’s increasingly becoming flat again. We have tremendous horizontal extension, through the Internet and social networking, but in many respects the world now lacks vertical imagination. What’s often missing is imagining the highs of big ideas and the depths of soulful connection and love.

People are so caught up now in the fear of everything falling apart, which adds to the flattening of the world. One of the ways of stepping out of that is the ecstatic. It’s part of what’s missing in modern culture. Ecstatic means to step out of the static place into something deeper and more transcendent. It doesn’t mean leaving the body in the old place, but stepping out of a stance. The body is the vehicle for being in the new place.

People talk about happiness and satisfaction, but the ecstatic is about joy and transcendence without letting go of the body. It involves imagination and deeply embodied feelings and thoughts. It’s spirit embodied. The body is included rather than relinquished.

Doorways to the ecstatic come in all kinds of ways. Certain types of study and writing, for instance, can suddenly open up ecstatic, visionary places. I try to be aware, to find and notice where beauty appears and what deep feelings arise. Then I stick with beauty’s attempt to enter. I stick with the emotions, which usually carry with them images and imagination which can lead to other doors into the ecstatic.

The key to the ecstatic as opposed to other kinds of spiritual experiences is that the body is not only included, it’s the vehicle. And so it’s very healthy. It brings vitally into the body. When we fully experience an ecstatic occasion, we release the weight of the world.

– Michael Meade

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