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.

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 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.

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 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.

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 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.

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 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

 

family

Mike Riera Mike Riera speaker. author. parental philosopher.

Mike Riera, PhD, speaks and writes on the topic of understanding teenagers and children. [www.mikeriera.com]

PostRIERA

Family is with us for a lifetime. They grow with us and we grow with them. They hold the perfect mirror up so we can see ourselves. I like to joke that there are two ways to attain enlightenment – one is to retreat for years and meditate nonstop, and the other is to be fully conscious as we raise our kids.

When we raise our kids consciously, we see how different they are from us, we see their struggles and their beauty. When we have strong relationships with our kids, they help us see the world from their perspective. Sometimes that’s tough, but sometimes it’s hilarious, joyful, and fun. They play out the human drama right in front of us on a daily basis. As in the Taoist tradition, it helps to be in the moment and take it for what it is.

What do I do when I see my own behavior reflected back to me through my kids? When it’s a something I like, I’m careful to let them cart it away as their own, to let it lead them somewhere else, even perhaps somewhere I wish I’d gone. When it’s something I dislike, I try to make sure my response is appropriate rather than an overreaction based on something else, like a tendency I don’t like in myself, or stress I’m feeling in my life. Our own stress can get in the way of being able to see our kids as they are.

One way I’ve found that helps with seeing kids as they are comes from my years of practicing martial arts. It’s the idea of looking with soft eyes, of looking into someone’s eyes and taking them in, seeing what’s going on right now. No judgment. Just being okay with who they are. The beauty of looking with soft eyes is that when I do it I always feel my shoulders relax and I spontaneously take a deep breath as I soak in the person I’m seeing.

What drives people crazy about teenagers is that they tell us what they see. Often, it’s something we don’t want to admit, something living in the shadows of our denial. When that happens, instead of simply saying, “You’re right,” it can be easier to say, “Don’t take that tone with me.” But we can learn, too. We can ask ourselves, using their reflection, “How can I do it better?”

A family is always evolving. That means I’m always evolving, too.

– Mike Riera

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