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
My vocation is writing. Only with an open heart can I write and respond to others’ writing (not to mention love and live) at my best. Only then can my intuition act like a creative dowser as I pass it over written words and feel a pull into those places where there’s the most power and truth.
I was born with the skinless heart, über-sensitivity, and wild imagination of a writer. To survive childhood, I built a protective shell around my heart, which calcified throughout young adulthood and on into marriage and parenthood. In 1999, after that same heart was broken (open) by divorce, my children announced, in the kitchen, on Thanksgiving morning, that I was completely disconnected from reality, myself, and them.
I’d acquired so many and such varied tools for keeping safe – busy-ness, perfectionism, an eating disorder, Chardonnay, even my long-term daily meditation practice — but those protective measures had also cut me off. Even so, I was shocked! Me? Disconnected? They might as well have told me I was a Martian. That was my turning point. I could either stay safe or dare to change. Within a week, I’d started therapy.
Four years into my Tinker-reclamation project, I sequestered myself with a journal for a three-day retreat, to confront a lifelong fear of actually manifesting my desire to write professionally. I wrestled, wrote, meditated, cried, wrote some more. Surrendered. Opened my heart to answers.
Finally, my higher power – that patient, quiet spirit inside – let me know that sensitivity, a skinless heart, and an unfettered imagination are a writer’s greatest assets. I could use all my experiences – painful, joyful, sweet, and bittersweet – to communicate hope and transformation to others. Once I clarified this mission, the writing took care of itself.
We’re often too harsh with ourselves. We’ve internalized a hall-monitor-from-hell who blows the whistle at any tiny infraction, preventing us from hearing the whispers of the heart. When I get too busy, tired, or other-directed, what soon sets me straight are a good night’s sleep, a long walk, and – most of all – setting aside time alone to talk with my heart, sweetly and gently.
When we’re willing to stay open, every day is full of new shifts and understandings. So treat your heart like a baby bird, with gentle attentiveness. Nothing is stronger than exquisite vulnerability.
– Tinker Lindsay