Inspiring People


An Inspiring Voice

The human spirit is remarkable. Take Musharf “Mushy” Asghar, a high school student who gained fame on the British reality TV series Educating Yorkshire. With a serious speech obstacle to overcome, Mushy exhibits a powerful combination of courage and will. Add a teacher, Matthew Burton, who simply won’t give up on his student, who is open to sources outside the typical curriculum for inspiration (in this case, the Academy Award-winning film The King’s Speech), and who is committed to educating in the purest form – i.e., raising up and bringing forth the......

Continue Reading


Mesmerized by Kate Tempest

Every so often you see an artist’s performance that is truly mind-blowing. A tour de force so mesmerizing and breathtaking, you know you’ll never forget it. This was my experience when I first heard 29-year-old poet and raconteur Kate Tempest perform her widely acclaimed spoken-word work,?Brand New Ancients. Since taking London by storm with it, she’s also written plays (Wasted and Hopelessly Devoted) and recorded rap lyrics (Everybody Down). Listen to the kinetic wordsmith offer up a portion of her Brand New Ancients masterpiece here: With her turbulent, tragic, violent, passionate, beautiful......

Continue Reading


Devon and Leah Still's Thrilling Moment of Victory

I love this photo of NFL star Devon Still and his daughter Leah! How can you not? Both their faces are filled with love and joy, their body language projecting strength and fearlessness. It’s moving on so many levels – and that’s before you factor in their circumstances. Leah was diagnosed last year with stage 4 neuroblastoma. And now, initial testing indicates that the four-year-old has no active cancer in her body. If that isn’t cause for celebration, what is?! You can understand why I – and hundreds of thousands of others......

Continue Reading


Take Your Next Steps at Your Own Pace

Besides breathing, there may be no more common activity than walking. The movie Journey to the West (based loosely on a classic Chinese tale) first arrived in our country with an acclaimed Tribeca Film Festival premiere, and it’s an extraordinarily unique film – well, actually, it’s not a film as we typically think of scripted movies, but more a meditation on walking as a spiritual practice. And I’ve never seen anything like it. Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang filmed an exquisite series of 14 long takes that follow Lee Kang-sheng, donning a bright......

Continue Reading


An Exchange with a Hero

There’s much about social media that degrades conversation and exacerbates polarization. But, like every technology, it also empowers us and offers opportunities to speak across boundaries and borders. Tim Byrd, a veteran of the war in Iraq who fought in Mosul, is a juvenile corrections officer in Washington state, a husband and a father of five. I met him on Facebook, where we connected after he heard my guest spot on Glenn Beck’s show. Tim and I have very different politics, and live in very different communities, and we continue to learn......

Continue Reading


Some People Need to 'Stay Weird' to Stay Alive

When I was 16, I tried to kill myself.” As one who lost a beloved relative to suicide almost exactly one year ago to the day, I was moved more than I can say by those words, uttered so gently and so sincerely by The Imitation Game screenwriter Graham Moore as he accepted his Academy Award. Moore’s words touched hearts and minds across the nation, and around the world. How could they not? Coupled with his advice, for anyone who feels so odd or out of place that life seems unlivable, to......

Continue Reading


Finding the Joy in Your Job

How excited are you about your job? Watch this recent clip of Boston weather reporter Jim Cantore experiencing repeated strikes of “thundersnow” and you’ll see an adult expressing childlike zeal about his job assignment in a way that can’t help but make you smile. How often does a Weather Channel segment go viral like this one has? I’d never even heard of “thundersnow,” and I know nothing about being a meteorologist, but I sure want to have whatever this man is having. While it’s possible that all the white powder falling around......

Continue Reading


Can Ruth Bader Ginsburg See the Future?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was at the University of Michigan recently to give the 2015 Tanner Lecture on Human Values. A U.S. Supreme Court justice of more than 20 years, Ginsburg talked about topics ranging from gender equality to campaign financing to family life, as well as her nickname, Notorious RBG (a play on the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.). In discussing her most memorable cases – impassioned dissents that helped pave the way for prohibiting racial discrimination in voting, and banning employment discrimination based on race, religion, gender and national origin – one......

Continue Reading


Bob Dylan Uncovers Sinatra

Bob Dylan’s new album of ballads from the American Songbook is remarkable, heartfelt, and vulnerable. All ten tracks have one thing in common: they were interpreted and made popular by Frank Sinatra. Yes, the enigmatic ’60s counterculture icon, the raspy-voiced rebellious rocker, is rendering songs made famous by one of the smoothest nightclub crooners of all time. But I don’t think Dylan is selling out.?Shadows in the Night reveals an irrepressible, creative spirit once again upending expectations. Ever idiosyncratic, Dylan does what he always does – arranges, appropriates and interprets to create......

Continue Reading


What Defines Winners and Losers?

In the last week there were two big sports stories that invite us to think about what defines winners and losers. The Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots were accused of deflating footballs in their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game. Especially in the cold and rain, underinflated balls (did I really just write that?) are easier to handle. Though Patriots coach Bill Belichick and star quarterback Tom Brady denied any knowledge of underinflated footballs, or of breaking any rules, football players past and present believe it was......

Continue Reading