Alternative MethodsConventional Methods

Cornel West

Confirmed Luminary

Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.

He is the author of 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, provides an unflinching look at nineteenth and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies.

Dr. West often appears on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span and Democracy Now. He made his film debut in the Matrix – and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He also has been featured in over 25 documentaries and films
including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk and Stand.

He has produced three spoken word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and the late Gerald Levert. His spoken word interludes are featured on productions by Terence Blanchard, The Cornel West
Theory, Raheem DeVaughn, and Bootsy Collins.

In short, Cornel West has a passion to communicate to a broad range of audiences in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.

Recommended luminaries
Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra is an Indian-American author and alternative-medicine advocate. A famous person in the New Age movement, his books and videos have made him one of the best- known and wealthiest personalities in alternative medicine.

Chopra studied medicine in India before coming to the United States in 1970, where he completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in endocrinology. As a licensed physician, in 1980 he became chief of staff at the New England Memorial Hospital (NEMH).
In 1985, he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and became involved in the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement. Soon he resigned his position at NEMH to establish the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center. In 1993, Chopra gained a following after he was interviewed about his books on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He then left the TM movement to
become the executive director of Sharp HealthCare's Center for Mind-Body Medicine. In 1996, he co-founded the Chopra Center for Wellbeing.

Chopra believes that a person can achieve "perfect health", a condition "that is free from disease, that never feels pain", and "that cannot age or die". Seeing the human body as undergirded by a "quantum mechanical body" composed not of matter but of energy and information, he thinks that "human aging is fluid and changeable; it can accelerate, slow
down, stop for a time, and even reverse itself," as determined by one's state of mind. He assures that his practices can also treat chronic disease.

JP Sears

He's amusing – and confusing – millions of people around the world, but internet sensation JP Sears likes it that way.

On one hand the American is a headband-wearing, namaste'ing yoga tragic who has attracted a cult-like Facebook and YouTube following for his Ultra Spiritual comedy video series.

At Sears' last count, the series had garnered about 100 million views via Facebook, and another 30 million or so on YouTube.

His videos on conundrums facing the modern-day hippie, such as "How to take photos on Instagram", and "How to become gluten intolerant" have earned him something of a cult following.

J.P. Sears is confusing and entertaining audiences and followers, while making a real profit.

Sears' most popular video, "If meat eaters acted like vegans", went viral, and has been seen about 64 million times across his social media platforms – and at least 60 million times beyond that.

But the 35-year-old also runs his own serious life coaching and "emotional healing" business, with no shortage of clients paying $US200 for a one-hour Skype session.

So is he the real deal, or just having a laugh? Sears happily admits many people are "terribly confused". "It amuses me. I think as a society, we love to categorize people, including me – I'm guilty of it," he says.

J.P Sears' "Ultra Spiritual" videos went viral. "People ask: 'Are you sincere, or are you humorous?' My answer is 'Yes, I'm both'. It's like asking, 'do
you have a right hand or do you have a left hand?' " The back-story is that Sears has been involved in coaching for about 15 years.

He says his clients often come to him with similar issues: they might feel stuck in their career, relationship or in reoccurring patterns. They might also be facing grief, depression or sadness.

"I really teach what I need to learn," says Sears, who jokes: "Years ago I was just deluded enough to project that upon other people."

He was already creating serious videos, when he decided to start making funny videos about 18 months ago. The first, "How to be ultra spiritual", went gangbusters without him even trying.

"Someone just stole it off my YouTube channel and uploaded it to their Facebook page. It was getting millions of views," says Sears.

He likes to think that his humorous videos come with a deeper message, but says he had no real plan in mind.

"I wanted to do it because it was a creative tickle that I wanted to itch. It became a very nice bonus that the world received it well."

He used to run serious client sessions – he has clients everywhere from Australia, to the US, UK and Canada – up to six days a week.
But the unexpected success of his new videos has turned his one-man business into a speeding train that he's struggling to keep up with. Sears has since cut back his client sessions to three days a week, and taken on a manager and an assistant.

He's also been snapped up by a book publisher, and has partnered with a production company to create a TV series that he hopes to sell to a network.

"The funny videos have created worlds unto themselves," says Sears. "I also get tons and tons of speaking engagement bookings where I'm in character, doing comedy," he says.
In Australia, that's included the Byron Spirit Festival (he notes there "are some incredibly delightful, weird people" in Byron), and the Wired for Wonder event in Sydney and Melbourne this November.

Business is booming in many different facets for Sears, who now makes almost a full-time living through his YouTube earnings alone.

But it has to be asked, are his videos essentially, well, just a piss-take of his own life and career?

"Everything that I parody in the videos is a part of my life – either now or in the past," he says.

So, is he a vegan? "I eat a vegan diet, but also I eat a meat-eater diet," he deadpans.

As for life coaching, and the skepticism many people feel towards the industry, Sears takes no offence.

"I do believe people are skeptical of life coaches, and I advise a healthy skepticism of life coaching," he says.

"It doesn't ever mean that this person is going to be a good fit to help you in your life. And there's no guarantee this life coach has their life together."

Instead, he advises hiring a life coach based on your connection with them.

In Australia, life coaching is undoubtedly a growing industry – but it's still an unregulated one. As such, it's virtually impossible to quantify how many people are calling themselves a life coach, or what level of training they've had.

But arguably, there's no one here quite like JP Sears, who says he'll keep making his comedy videos – "probably until the internet goes out of business, or I'm abducted by aliens – whatever happens first".

Abbey Sharp

Abbey Sharp

Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), food writer and blogger, author, TV and radio personality, new mom, and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.

Abbey has a BSc. in Applied Science for Food & Nutrition Studies, has completed an accredited dietetic internship, and is currently regulated as a registered dietitian by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She has also completed a number of continuing education culinary courses through George Brown College.

Abbey’s core philosophy is that a pleasurable relationship with food, your body and your self is the fundamental secret to good health. She has infused this outlook into Abbey’s Kitchen Inc., a multi-faceted food, nutrition and motherhood media brand and consulting company developed with the goal of celebrating the pleasurable eating experience. From delicious healthy recipes, digital video content, real mom truths and cheeky nutrition myth busting, the Abbey’s Kitchen blog and Youtube channel have become popular spaces for garnering buzz about nourishing food.

In December 2018, Abbey released her debut cookbook, The Mindful Glow Cookbook, published by Penguin Random House. This book was awarded the Taste Canada Gold Medal award in 2019 and has become a best-seller!

As a leader in the food and nutrition media sphere, Abbey also launched her own media school, Sharper Edge Media Training with a series of e-courses and small group trainings for dietitians and food bloggers looking to work in social and traditional media.
Most recently, she also launched the Millennial Mom’s Guide for Mindful Meal Planning, a Facebook community with over 1400 users for inspiring healthy meal planning ideas for their family.

Abbey has 10 years of experience working as a celebrity Spokesperson for dozens of popular food, health, mom and lifestyle brands such as General Mills, Quaker, Pampers, Jamieson Vitamins, Walmart, Kelloggs, Kitchen Aid and Starbucks – to name only a few.
She has regular editorial columns in Best Health Magazine, Healthline, Greatist, Self and Eating Well Magazine, among countless other print and online publications.

Abbey is an expert regular on Canada’s number one lifestyle program, The Marilyn Denis Show and has created an international presence with her appearance on Dr. Oz.

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