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

 

path

Tom Taylor Tom Taylor composer. muse listener. no-iPod-needer.

Guitarist/composer Tom Taylor and his wife, Stephanie, live north of Colorado Springs. His recordings feature the Kronos and Turtle Island String Quartets; mandolinist David Grisman. Tom teaches at Colorado College.

tom_taylor_feature

When the muse hits you with a 2 x 4, you’d better pay attention. I can only speak as an artist, but this must happen to anyone who possesses the creative spark. Creativity being an evolutionary response to adversity, this must apply to everyone.

I got whacked the first time on a third grade field trip to hear the Pittsburgh Symphony perform Vaughn Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves. The perturbations of the air staggered me, and I became acutely aware of the power of music. Something was directing me down a path I’ve remained on to this day. My prescient first grade teacher had written, “Tommy is very good with musical notes and doesn’t put things in his mouth.”

The next time the muse struck I was fresh out of high school on a backpacking trip in the Sierras. Sitting on a tangled pile of granite, watching the sun set, I dialed up a Charlie Parker Bebop tune in my head (still don’t need an iPod) and was dismayed that the music felt all wrong for the situation. I realized the temporal and spatial characteristics firmly placed it in a small, smoky nightclub around 1950. Didn’t work at all in the boundless openness of the Desolation Wilderness. At that moment my writing of Bebop tunes ceased. I had to find my own path.

Those events compelled me to create my own style of composition, a blend of Classical and Jazz that can trip up musicians. A few years ago I was in the studio recording my composition, Home, with the Turtle Island String Quartet and things weren’t quite coming together. Frustrated, the viola player started pounding out the principal theme on a piano, asking peevishly, “What’s with all these major 6ths?” I replied, “Oh, that’s my street address, 1,6,1,6,5.” Everyone broke up laughing, we were on the proper path, and the next take was the keeper.

A composer, as opposed to a songwriter, accepts that they work in splendid isolation and sometimes their only audience is them. Don’t fear the alone – ness (not loneliness) that comes from following your own path. Everything doesn’t have to be shared or posted on Facebook. Turn off the electronic devices and take a hike in the hills. Reacquaint yourself with the inexorable, slow rhythm that nature provides as you follow the path of your own life’s composition. And watch out for that 2 x 4.

– Tom Taylor

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