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.

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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.

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reconnect

Peggy Drexler Peggy Drexler mother. author. dog lover.

Peggy Drexler, Ph.D., is a research psychologist, assistant professor of psychology at Cornell, and author of two books about gender and family. She's currently working on a book about the impact of wealth on childrearing. [www.peggydrexler.com]

peggy_drexler_feature

I’ve always identified very closely with being Jewish. It’s who I am, the lens through which I have seen much of the world. Like Daniel Pearl’s last words: “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.” My parents were Jewish, and I always knew, from when I was very young, that I would marry someone who shared my faith.

At some point over the years, though, some of the traditions fell away, as they tend to do for so many modern families with jobs, kids, responsibilities. I still felt Jewish, but I didn’t think much of the religion itself, at least not on a daily basis.

That is, until the days after the shooting in Newtown, when I sat watching the news with my husband. He remarked on all the religious signs on display: “Please pray for Newton,” and “God will get us through.” Religious leaders led prayer vigils, and spoke of healing through faith. “How do you feel about all this religion?” my husband asked. I thought about it for a moment.

Seeing those signs, those calls to prayer, the reminder of God – all of it made me feel somehow safer and less sorrowful. “I feel really good,” I said, and I meant it.

I was three when my father died, an event that first cemented my belief in God. I had to believe that I would see him again. I needed a context in which to understand my grief, and try to cope. After Newtown, I felt that way again.

The very next week I returned to temple for Friday night service, as I’ve continued to do as much as I can. I think about God most days. I observe, and I participate. Americans as a whole are turning away from religion, which is too bad, because religion has never been more relevant. In the wake of Newtown, the recent shootings in Chicago, and all the other tragedies happening every day, we have to rely on some belief in a higher good; otherwise, such tragedies become unbearable.

At least for me. Reconnecting to my religion – really reconnecting – has given my life certain meaning. It’s comfort and stability in a world that’s full of change. It helps me feel safe and grounded. It gives me hope. Sometimes, we need a little more of that in our lives.

– Peggy Drexler

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