Photo: nosha

Moving forward out in the world takes shifting what is present on the inside.

A NEW YEAR brings forth ideas of change. Often, the focus is either on the internal self — changing bad habits, making more money, losing weight — or what we want to do in the world, such as getting more products out the door or volunteering at a local farm. But considering that some people believe that we are currently undergoing a shift in consciousness, I was interested in hearing people’s thoughts about what they plan to do in 2011 from an internal perspective that will have external repercussions.

Like Gandhi’s famous quote, “be the change you want to see in the world,” I believe we must first tend to our own hearts, minds, and souls before we can be effective outside of ourselves. Maybe that’s one of the biggest problems in the world right now; we pay too much attention to the external ideas of self-worth rather than feed what is found deep under our skin.

With this in mind, I asked leaders in the fields of spirituality, self-development, dreamwork, astrology, music, dance, and those who are bravely following their soul’s purpose what their personal goals for change in the world are for 2011. Here are their thoughts:

Jason Silva…

…intends to play at the intersection of science and art using technological advances.

Photo: Jason Silva

I’d like to spend 2011 piggy-backing on the exponential acceleration of technology and deepening human/technology co-evolution. I’m interested in the dance between science and art… there is an intersection there, a new age of wonder emerging. The artists of this emerging age will replace paintbrushes with genomes, software with wet-ware. Life itself is our new canvas; more than ever before, the tools to manifest our imaginings are in our hands…the entire universe will be made into designer art. Bring on the singularity!

Jason Silva is a Venezuelan-American television personality and filmmaker currently working as a Host and Producer on Current TV, the television channel co-founded by Al Gore and now the fastest growing cable network in TV history. He currently resides in Los Angeles. Read his article in Vanity Fair about immortality, Why We Could All Use a Heavy Dose of Techno-optimism.

Robert Moss…

…intends to develop his vision of a dreaming society.

Robert Moss

I am working to midwife a dreaming society in our time. I have developed an original synthesis of dreamwork and shamanism that I call Active Dreaming. It has three principal modalities. It is a way of talking and walking our dreams that makes it safe and fun to share inner experiences with others just about anywhere, get helpful feedback and be guided to healing and creative action. It is a method of shamanic lucid dreaming that enables us to travel into a deeper reality, wide awake and conscious, and to do this with partners. It is an approach to conscious living that prepares us to use coincidences as homing beacons and remember that every day we can choose our attitudes, and that this can change everything.

This approach is not only for individuals and friends and families, but for communities and for our deeper atunement to the cause of the Earth. Active dreamers become Speakers for the Earth, and rise to full awareness of the truth of the indigenous wisdom that we must be mindful of the consequences of our actions down to the seventh generation beyond ourselves. Active dream groups can offer a model of intentional community, and can foster a new mode of leadership devoted to empowering each member to claim her voice and play guide to others as they learn to speak and embody their own truth.

Robert Moss is the creator of Active Dreaming, an original synthesis of modern dreamwork and ancient shamanic techniques for healing and journeying. He leads popular seminars all over the world, including a three-year training for teachers of Active Dreaming and a lively online dream school. A former lecturer in ancient history at the Australian National University, he is a best-selling novelist, journalist and independent scholar. His eight books on dreaming, shamanism and imagination include Conscious Dreaming, Dreamways of the Iroquois, The Three “Only” Things, The Secret History of Dreaming, and the forthcoming “Dreamgates and Active Dreaming”. Visit his website.

Sean Aiken…

…intends to shift the current paradigm in work consciousness and help revolutionize our relationship with work.

Photo: Sean Aiken

I want to contribute to what I believe is a paradigm shift in work consciousness, a revolution in how we as a culture view work and our relationship with it. More and more people are refusing to accept the old paradigm of “work” – that work is not something we’re supposed to enjoy – and are choosing to seek meaningful careers that match their skill set, that is in line with their passions and values, and ultimately that allows them to make a positive contribution to society.

In 2011, I intend to encourage and contribute to this important dialogue — helping to move us closer to a time when having a fulfilling career becomes the norm rather than a rarity.

Sean Aiken started the One-Week Job project in February 2007, at age twenty-five, and finished his 52 weeks in March 2008. On his inspirational quest, Sean tried everything: Bungee Instructor, Dairy Farmer, Advertising Executive, Baker, Stock Trader, Firefighter, and more. The media covered the story extensively: The New York Times, Rachael Ray Show, Good Morning America, CNN, 20/20, CBC Newsworld, FOX News and countless others. The One Week Job book was published in spring 2010, and the movie was released later that year.

Check out our interview with Sean here.

don Miguel Ruiz and don Jose Ruiz…

…intend to help people change their own world, which is the first step in changing the outside world.

Photo: don Miguel Ruiz and don Jose Ruiz

I invite you to participate in a new dream for humanity, one in which all of us can live in harmony, truth, and love. In this dream, people of all religions and all philosophies are not just welcome, but respected. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in Christ, Moses, Allah, Brahma, Buddha, or any other being or master; everybody is welcome to share this dream. Each one of us has our own beliefs, our own point of view. There are billions of different points of view, but it’s the same light, the same force of life behind each one of us.

If you feel the truth in these words, then I invite you to open your heart and help me to change the world. Of course, the very first question is: How are you going to change the world? The answer is easy. By changing your world. When I ask you to help me to change the world, I’m not talking about planet Earth. I’m referring to the world that exists in your head. You will not change the world if you don’t change your own world first. The change begins with you. You will change the world by loving yourself, by enjoying life, by making your personal world a dream of heaven. And I ask you for your help because you are the only one who can make this change.

Wherever I go, I hear people say that we come here with a mission, that we have something to do or transcend this life. I believe that we come here with a mission, but our mission is not really to transcend anything. The mission that we have is to make ourselves happy. The “how” could be millions of different ways of doing what we love to do, but the mission of our life is to enjoy every single moment of our life. Sooner or later our physical bodies will no longer exist. We only have a few sunrises, a few sunsets, a few full moons that we can enjoy.
This is our time to be alive, to be fully present, to enjoy ourselves, to enjoy one another.

Don Miguel Ruiz is the international bestselling author of The Four Agreements (a New York Times bestseller for over seven years), The Mastery of Love, and The Voice of Knowledge. His books have sold over seven million copies in the United States, and have been translated into dozens of languages worldwide. For nearly three decades, don Miguel has shared his unique blend of ancient wisdom and modern-day awareness through lectures, workshops, and journeys to sacred sites around the world.

Don Jose Ruiz grew up in a world where anything was possible. From the moment he could speak, he became an apprentice of his nagual (shaman) father, don Miguel Ruiz, and his curandera (healer) grandmother, Mother Sarita. As a teenager, he traveled to India to study with friends of his father, and at the age of twenty-three, he became the successor to the family lineage. In the tradition of his ancestors, don Jose has dedicated his life to sharing the teachings of the ancient Toltec. For the past seven years, he has been lecturing and leading classes across the United States, and at sacred sites around the world.

Excerpted and adapted from The Fifth Agreement by don Miguel Ruiz and don Jose Ruiz with Janet Mills. Published by Permission of Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc., San Rafael, California.

Vicki Virk…

…intends to use dance to further her connection with humanity.

Photo: Vicki Virk

No matter how far I think I have come in my spiritual journey, I am learning there is always room to grow. 2010 has been a year of lessons, most of which were blessings once I truly understood the meaning. 2011 is going to be year of continuing that growth but with renewed energy and faith. Being able to teach dance has been such a gift. Words can’t truly express the gratitude I feel when I watch people lose themselves in rhythm and music. For those few moments, [the] only thing that matters is the beat that connects everyone. I think deep down everyone wants to dance because it frees your spirit and soul. In 2011 I want to dance with even more people, especially those that think they can’t move. Inside each of us is a dancer and my personal goal is to help as many people as possible to find the dancer in them.

Vicki Virk co-founded the San Francisco-based dance company, Dholrhythms, which highlights the ancestral and ethnic roots of the Punjabi dance form while pushing boundaries with contemporary influences. Dholrhythms hosts classes, workshops, and presents performances and events that celebrate this unique folk dance and Punjabi culture. Dholrhythms has been featured on some of the largest stages in the San Francisco Bay Area including Stern Grove Festival, Michael Franti’s Power to the Peaceful Festival, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Harmony Festival, and more.

Susan Miller…

…intends to enrich her understanding of the world and different cultures through travel in order to build stronger bonds with others that she believes leads to peace.

Photo: Susan Miller

My goal for 2011 is to reach out to the world and experience cultures I have not visited before. Last week, I returned from a wonderful first trip to Istanbul, as I write for Tempo magazine as contributing editor each month. The director, Ilhan Demiriz, made sure I would experience the sights, sounds, flavors, scents, and most importantly, the heart of the Turkish people while I was there. He staged many meetings, dinners and parties, not only with reporters, but with men and women doing good work in Turkey in charities and community projects. It was a wonderful, life-changing experience and I look forward to returning in the spring of next year.

I am particularly interested in world religions, and this visit to Istanbul was my first to a mostly Muslim country. The young professional guide (who is also a documentary film maker full time) showed me the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque (along with the Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace and Topix Square). He taught me things about the Muslim religion that were new to me. He is a Muslim himself, which added depth to all he explained. His vast knowledge and kind patience in answering my steady stream of questions made me hungry to know more about his religion. I am a devout Catholic, and I was struck by the similarities that existed between the Catholic and Muslim religions, ones that I never knew existed. After he had explained many things and answered many of my questions, I whispered to my guide as we stood in the Blue Mosque, “in the end, we are all much more similar than different from one another – that is the secret.”

My goal in 2011 is to travel more, but also to do a better job about learning about what is going on politically in the countries I work with internationally. I also look forward to digging deeper into the beautiful facets of each culture. Traditions and religions of a culture reveal attitude and heart, and learning about them provides a window to forge a closer, greater friendship. I want to know more.

I feel only by taking the time and becoming educated about others can we all work together to forge a stronger bond with others, which ultimately creates peace and mutual respect among all of us in the family of man. It all begins with a strong and heartfelt intention to learn – once that is made, success follows.

Susan Miller is an internationally known astrologer, author, columnist, and TV personality. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Fox and Friends, CBS’s Early Show, 20/20, The View, CNBC’s On the Money, Access Hollywood, and NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly. She is currently a contributing editor to Elle (USA), as well as Elle (Hong Kong), Vogue (Japan), W (Korea), Tempo (Turkey), and Lola (Brazil), writing each month on astrology, and special features for Russh (Australia). Susan has a regular television show, Susan Miller’s Horoscopes, which is produced by Center City Film and Video for Comcast video on demand. Her popular award-winning website, Astrology Zone® that she founded in 1995, is her pride and joy, and her most recent book is The Year Ahead 2011.

Melanie Edwards…

…intends to get down to her authentic and unguarded self which she hopes will spill over to those around her.

Photo: Melanie Edwards

As a musical scientist my calling in this life is to be the storytelling, experimentalist of the village. Luckily, with each new year, I’m able to learn from past lab results and apply those lessons for future analysis. So, for 2011, I’m aiming to test from a place of my most authentic, unguarded self. My hope is that creating in the raw will instill a sense of fearlessness, passion, self-respect and personal growth. The only real, eternal, tangible thing we have in this world is a pure thought, so the goal is to stay uncensored as the pen hits the page. My job is not to be the popular politician, but to surface the subtext, perhaps causing a societal spill-over reaction, that virally spreads from person to person, mutating into a new ‘be you, be real’ bug.

Melanie Edwards is a New York City-based musical scientist and founder of Melanie Edwards Laboratories. Melanie enrolled in the Suzuki institution and after winning a competition — in which she composed and arranged original pieces, on violin and vocals — took off to study theater and television at UNC-Chapel Hill. Melanie received her MFA in media and performing arts, from the Savannah College of Art and Design, with a concentration in musical theater. Melanie’s findings are usually notated via musical interpretation albeit not limited to one specific genre. For example, lab experiments can take the form of comedy routines, random speeches at dinners, or filling up moleskin notebooks at warp speed. Find her music at ReverbNation and visit her website.

Diotima Mantineia…

…intends to use her garden to progress her spiritual growth and keep her grounded in the beloved Earth.

Photo: Diotima Mantineia

I set some intentions to carry with me into the time of the growing Light. I will:

*Listen even more carefully to the voices of the Earth.

*Deepen my relationships with my spiritual allies, both physical and non-physical.

*Stay in gratitude for the beauty of life on this amazing Earth, for the gift of love, and for the indomitable human spirit.

*Nurture the cycle of life on our planet.

Where better to do these things than in my garden? So my garden will be, as it so often is, the primary focus of my spiritual work this year. It teaches me focus and discipline, flexibility, and an expanded awareness of other worlds. It keeps me grounded in the beloved Earth, and connects me with the Sun and stars. It speaks, so I can learn to listen, it opens my heart to beauty, and to the Love that is the Source of all.

Diotima Mantineia began studying astrology in 1968, taking classes from Zoltan Mason in New York City. In 1986, Diotima started reading Tarot, discovering that she is a gifted intuitive. In 1991, she began practicing both astrology and Tarot professionally. Her personal spiritual path is rooted in the Western mystery traditions, the principles of Yoga, and a profound connection with the natural world. She practices Wicca, and utilizes shamanic practices for healing and to live in harmony with Nature. Over 15 years of studying Chinese martial arts has given her a deep appreciation of Taoist thought, and she is currently learning an African indigenous spiritual tradition with Malidoma Somé. Visit her website.

Jamie Catto…

…intends to explore himself by paying attention to all his “edges and cliffs” and by listening more to the spaces in between “what’s happening.”

Photo: Jamie Catto

I used to remark jokingly “it’s all a mirror” after so many occurrences in my daily life that it became a kind of catch phrase, but the literal truth of that phrase becomes more astonishingly apparent with every day. My prayer for myself in 2011 is to truly experience all the challenges and excitements and even stabs of pain as the literal mirrors of me and ‘where I’m at’ that they are. So much less struggle and the possibility of more excitement, to explore the map of myself, all my edges and cliffs, played out for me in technicolor, posing as ‘my life’. I aim to trust more what I’m shown in 2011. Listen more to the spaces in between ‘what’s happening’ and read the 3D writing on the wall which, when I focus on it with openness to be educated and inspired, I get a chance to liberate myself. I am also not afraid to admit that I also ask for the education to be un-traumatic. I don’t want to be violent to myself any more.

Jamie Catto is the creative catalyst, producer, and director behind the global philosophy and music project ‘1 Giant Leap’ (The first 1 Giant Leap was nominated for 2 Grammys in 2003, sold over 300 thousand albums, and won numerous awards globally.) The new movie and album, What About Me?, released in 2009, has recently won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Red Rock Film Festival. Jamie is also a founder member, singer, art director, and video director of Dance Music super-group Faithless, whose greatest hits album was the fastest selling dance album of all time in 2005. Visit his website.

Check out our interview with Jamie here.

Connie Sobczak…

…intends to address the social justice issue of a woman’s right to love her body.

Photo: Connie Sobczak

Through The Body Positive, the non-profit organization I lead with Elizabeth Scott, I will do all in my power to change the world in 2011 by addressing the social justice issue of a woman’s right to love her body. By training young women to be leaders in their high schools, colleges, and communities, The Body Positive eradicates the self-hatred and low self-esteem that are crippling young women of the world. Through college and high school leadership programs, educational DVDs, online communities, artistic ventures, and more, The Body Positive provides girls and women with the tools and inspiration to help themselves and their peers cultivate self-love and confidence.

The revolution grows as these young women go out into the world as leaders of positive change and role models of self-love. Loving our bodies takes courage. The Body Positive helps girls and women discover this courage. As one young Body Positive leader said, “It’s all how you feel about your own body because this is home. And if you’re not comfortable at home, you’re not going to be comfortable anywhere else.” I make the choice every day to love my own body, and in doing so, I am an inspiration for others to do the same. It is great fun to live with self-love!

Connie Sobczak is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Body Positive. She has been working to prevent eating problems and improve the self-image of women and girls for the past twenty-one years. Connie produced and directed the BodyTalk DVD series on body image for youth, and recently completed her first DVD for adult women, “Discover your Healthy Weight.” She consults to secondary schools, universities, and community organizations to develop body image and eating disorders prevention programs.

Photo: Danielle LaPorte

Connie is a body image coach for adult women, and is currently writing a book to inspire people to move beyond body dissatisfaction into vibrant, creative lives. She has been featured in numerous TV, radio, and print stories, and was a 2008 semi-finalist for a Volvo for Life award honoring “real-life heroes”.

Danielle LaPorte…

…intends to help others realize what it is they really want.

I’m asking people what they want — what they really, really want. And I won’t stop asking until they hear themselves answer with undeniable resolve to go get it.

Danielle LaPorte is the creator of WhiteHotTruth.com, which has been called “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality.” She is the author of The Fire Starter Sessions: A Digital Experience for Entrepreneurs, an inspirational speaker, former think tank exec, and news show commentator. You can find her on Twitter @daniellelaporte.

Community Connection

OK. Your turn: How are you intending to help change the the world in 2011?