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
Every time I find myself unable to see meaning in my life, or whenever self-awareness becomes excessive self-scrutiny, I simply need to send a loving intention to another person to become re-enchanted with the world again.
I do this by losing myself in wishing another person happiness or self-realization. In doing so, I experience the joy that comes from remembering that my true nature is not exclusive.
Earlier in my development and my quest for self-discovery, I entertained the notion that perhaps if I did enough service I might pay off my karmic dues and escape to bliss out in a cave somewhere. Not surprisingly, this hidden agenda to escape from the rest of humanity and keep others’ suffering at arms length set up quite a lot of internal conflict.
However, since the birth of my daughters I’ve had to confront the self-absorbed part of me that wanted to stay separate. Their zest and appetite for life calls me forth to connect with many different people – some of whom share my values, but many don’t.
I’ve discovered that the only meaningful way to connect with people is to want for them what I want for myself. By sending them the loving intention that they’re equally deserving of the happiness and self-realization I want for myself, I move beyond our differences and am able to open my heart to our common connection.
The result is not the acquisition of “spiritual merit,” but simply the pleasure of rediscovering that others also hunger for this same opening of the heart, this same connection to Other, this same sense of belonging.
Today, I’m widening the practice, turning a ripple of loving intention into a wave by sending loving thoughts to people I don’t know and have little chance of meeting – including those in the public eye who have perhaps been vilified or harshly misjudged. What I’m finding is that the more of humanity I’m willing to wish well in this way, the deeper my sense of belonging grows.
This is the freedom I was always looking for, but which I mistakenly believed could only be found through an imaginary escape hatch out of the human experience. Of course, that’s not how the story ends.
The ending, if there is one, comes when no one is left behind, when everyone’s right to happiness and self-realization is included.
– Nick Kettles