Project Inspiration

Nine days until the election. Heat’s on. I need a diversion. And I’ve got a good one. I’ve decided that today, and over the course of the next eight days, the best use of my blogging energy would be to write about incredible people who are gracing our lives with theirs. People who are on the planet today, enriching it with deliberate acts of intelligence, love, courage and integrity. People whose names are neither Barack nor Michelle Obama.   

Why? Because I was watching Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) performing Peace Train on youtube last night. And as I moved to the rhythm, waving my arms above my head, as I began to daydream about the ecstasy I will likely feel if Barack Obama possibly becomes the president-elect in less than 2 weeks, I realized that I needed to avoid feeling desperate in the coming days.

When I heard Yusuf sing, “Out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train,” it occurred to me to focus on 9 different people who bring light to the world. After all, no matter who the U.S. president is, the peace train perseveres. 

Some rules for my little inspirathon: 

  1. One hero per day for the 9 days leading up to the election. 
  2. No household names like Oprah or Angelina.
  3. No people who have been mentioned on this blog before.
  4. Selections must be currently alive.
  5. The list is in no particular order. 

Okay, so, after a year of fairly regular blogging, most of the people I think of as being inspiring – who remain in the flesh – have already been mentioned in previous posts: Marianne Williamson, Ishmael Beah, Kathrine Switzer, Wayne Dyer, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dick and Rick Hoyt, Firoozeh Dumas, Tony Robbins, Taryn Hughes, Peter Singer, Jackie Chan.

When I set out to do this, I had only one of my nine honorees in mind. I went on faith that some positive web browsing would lead me to the other eight. I began my search by googling the words: most admired humans alive today. The #1 result was “Marge Simpson Named Most-Admired Mom” from While I agree there is no measure of the joy The Simpsons have brought to the Milky Way Galaxy, this was not what I had in mind. I’d have to look harder.

I hope you’ll be as inspired by the results as I am.

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