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

 

invitation

Maggie Wheeler Maggie Wheeler friends alumna. folk singer. harmonic connector.

Maggie Wheeler is a mother, actress, voice-over artist, and co-director of the Golden Bridge Community Choir. Through her vocal workshop, Singing In The Stream, she invites people to step into to the joy of singing in community. [www.maggiewheeler.net]

There’s a fantastic moment when the boundaries between us dissolve through the vehicle of music and we’re able to come together and create something greater than the sum of our parts. In that moment, not only is something of great beauty created, there’s also a profound sense of connection with those present. That’s a wonderful gift that washes away feelings of isolation and allows us to feel our deep connection.

Starting when I was eight, I spent my summers in Vermont at a summer camp run by Pete Seeger’s brother John and his wife Ellie. It was a haven for folk music and musicians. That was my saving grace. In that community, life felt very real and very beautiful. There were musicians everywhere and we sang a lot. We took ownership of the songs we learned and I left those summers with a vocabulary of music that carried me through.

In my twenties, I felt very drawn to African music and to spiritual and gospel music. I began to explore those genres and that led me to a workshop taught by Ysaye Barnwell, who sings base for Sweet Honey in the Rock. That was an absolute life-changer. It was the first time I sat in the presence of someone I felt was truly a teacher. She gave me a wealth of information, but she also showed me what’s possible, what real leadership can look like, and what a gift that is.

What Ysaye Barnwell demonstrates and provides is an invitation. She invites people to reach a level they maybe previously weren’t aware they could reach. All the people who’ve inspired me have done that. They’ve set the bar higher and said, “You can come up here. I’m inviting you.” They awakened the sense that I had something in me I could work with or expand or grow.

Struggling and striving to be other than where we are causes so much pain. On days I wake up and feel that I’m not enough, what works for me is staying present in the moment and realizing how much I have to be grateful for. Gratitude is frequently the cure, as is service to others and the reminder that we’re beautiful, we’re enough, we’re exactly where we’re meant to be in this moment.

All we really have is this moment. If this moment is a complicated one that brings you unhappiness or makes you feel ill at ease, remember that you only have to handle this moment. Just focus in and taste what’s on your plate right now.

Maggie Wheeler

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