Category Archives: Inspirational People

A look at the lives of some of the people who inspire us to do and be better, and make this world a better place for all who live in it..

Pope Francis, the new face of Christian Leadership

Pope Francis, The People's Pope

Pope Francis, The People’s Pope

Pope Francis is a man with many hopes and aspirations.But most of all he’s a man on a mission. And the mission here being, in his own words, to “repair my church in ruins. ”

Ever since he was elected into “Popedom” in March 2013, Pope Francis has made concerted efforts to come down from the high horse of the pulpit, and associate with the common man in ways that have left indelible impressions in many. Whilst he has not changed fundamental Church doctrine, within a very short period of his election, he has been able to breathe fresh air into how the Church is being perceived both within the flock and without. He is seen in various quarters of society as the people’s Pope, a man who walks the talk, someone who is able to identify with the average man or woman on the street. Whether it’s sneaking out of the Vatican at night to feed the homeless, openly denouncing judgement of homosexuals, or ammending Vatican law to make sexual abuse of children a crime, the new Pope has been increasingly making an impact not just in a jaded Christian institution losing the faithful in droves by the day, but the greater world at large. Time Magazine have voted him Person of the Year 2013, and so has The Advocate, a leading gay rights journal.

Some excerpts from his recent speeches:
“Because Muslims, Hindus and African Animists are also made in the very likeness and image of God, to hate them is to hate God! To reject them to is to reject God and the Gospel of Christ. Whether we worship at a church, a synagogue, a mosque or a mandir, it does not matter. Whether we call God, Jesus, Adonai, Allah or Krishna, we all worship the same God of love. This truth is self-evident to all who have love and humility in their hearts!”
“In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children. Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! For conservatives and liberals, even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God.”
“Racism today is the ultimate evil in the world. When Italians, Spanish or French turn back the boats of African migrants seeking a better life, are they not like the inn keeper who told Mary and Joseph that there was no room for them and the infant Christ? These migrants are children of God and we are commanded to love them!”
“The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God.”

Pope Francis has brought a new face to Christian leadership. And this time it’s one which depicts renewal, resurrection and hope for a truly harmonious world where all people have faith and are able to love and receive love, the kind of love that Jesus Christ talked about. And I’m voting him my Inspiring Personality of the Year 2013! 🙂


Cookie Monster on Living in the Moment


Cookie Monster on Living in the Moment

Me thinks Cookie Monster has got it all figured out…what do you think? 🙂

In Conversation with the Mystic Sadhguru


Sadhguru J. Vasudev has been recently named as one of the 50 most influential people in India. He is a contemporary mystic equally at ease skydiving off of airplanes as he is addressing countless spiritual podiums. His approach is thoroughly refreshing, vastly entertaining, and most importantly profoundly moving. Let’s hear what Sadhguru has to say in this delightful discourse. In conversation with the motorcycle guru himself.

Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga Workout


I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for workout videos! Simply because I get the benefit of a complete exercise experience without having to venture anywhere beyond the warm confines of a place called home. I don’t have to go through the trouble of picking out workout gear, getting myself ready, finding my way to the gym, making sure I look fairly presentable before and after..blah blah blah. 🙂 In other words, way too much hassle for something that’s actually supposed to be enjoyable!

Bryan Kest

Bryan Kest correcting a student’s posture in his Power Yoga Video series

In today’s post, I’m absolutely delighted to feature a full Power Yoga workout courtesy Bryan Kest. I stumbled upon Bryan’s video on youtube a few days ago, and I’m so completely delighted with it’s look and feel. Bryan has been practicing yoga since 1979, and has been teaching from 1985. He is also fundamentally known as the creator of Power Yoga, and is additionally also a pioneer of donation based yoga classes( Super like!).

“My primary objective”, says Kest, “besides turning more and more people on to a healthier, more peaceful lifestyle that continually challenges them to grow, is to teach a system of exercise that fully integrates the body, mind, and spirit.The combination of body and mind creates an incredibly broad range of fulfillment, including top physical condition and a calm, peaceful, clear mind.”

It’s really vital when you do yoga that you have a good teacher. With a good teacher, it’s easier to get your foundation to the practice set up correctly and properly. For the uninitiated , yoga is not just about twisting and contorting yourself into different postures , but it at it’s very roots, is a very complete and satisfying system of approaching life, and navigating it’s many ebbs and flows with calmness and equanamity.You learn how to breathe properly, develop conscious awareness of your body, expand your ability to focus and turn inwards, and also, as a happy afterthought ( it could even be your main goal) develop a lean, firm body with consistent practice and application.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I do. Like everything else in life, success comes with consistent practice. Go through the video initially, once or twice to familiarise yourself with the format , instructional style and visual presentation. Start slowly, and go only as far as you can go with comfort.  Stop when you can’t do any more.  With time, you’ll be able go further and experience yourself in deeper ways. Have fun and let me know how you’re getting along. Namaste!

Bryan Kest Power Yoga 1 :

Bryan Kest

Bryan Kest as he is today.

The Business of Being Beautiful


Today, I would like to share a truly inspirational story about a young girl who at one time , on YouTube, was called the Ugliest Woman in the World.  Lizzie Velasquez  has been suffering from a disorder so rare, that only 3 people in the world including herself have it currently. As a consequence of this disorder, she is unable to gain weight. At age 23,  she only weighs about 60 lbs and has an overall body fat percentage of zero. She is blind in one eye and also has limited vision in the other. Doctors think Velasquez has neonatal progeroid syndrome, a condition that causes fat loss in the face and body, aged facial appearance, sparse hair, and a prominent scalp amongst other things. Yet despite being saddled with a label that would scar and dehumanise the rest of us for possibly an entire lifetime, Lizzie has gone on to become a motivational speaker and writer. She has become someone that we can all admire, respect and emulate for the grace with which she has conducted herself, and for the way, through her story, she informs the rest of the world, what the concept of real beauty is all about. To read Lizzie’s story, please refer to the link as featured in today’s Shine From Yahoo.

What do you feel when you look at Lizzie’s picture in this post. Do you feel she deserved to be called The World’s Ugliest Woman. Is it right for anyone to be making a judgement on someone just because in their eyes she looks unacceptable. What kind of person would go so far as to call someone ugly, especially someone whose looks are a result of a rare illness. How would you feel if someone called you the Ugliest Person in the World.

The truth is that our concepts of beauty are not really our own. From the time we are young we are bombarded with images of cosmetic beauty which most of the men and women living in the real world do not really match up to. We see on the television, in the movies, and in the magazines perfect compositions of demi god like males and females with impossibly perfect bodies and made for the camera good looks. In actuality, many of these models really do not look as perfect in real life. With similar lighting, and airbrushing even we’d look like stars. Beauty apparently means confirming to certain size specifications and aesthetic qualities and a lot of us find ourselves disappointed when we do not look remotely “beautiful” in this sense of the word. In addition to this, the cosmetic beauty industry, where most of our concepts of perfection come from, operates a multi billion dollar empire feeding off of our desire to emulate what they purport as beauty perfection.

Think about it.

We are fed constantly streaming images of what we should look like. Then we are fed images of products that can help us achieve the advertised look. And for maximum impact, it is implied that should we buy xxx product and become truly beautiful, we really can be happy, find the perfect man, get rich and be successful forever.

What kind of world have we created where beauty is all about looking a certain way. Should we be spending all our time priming and primping ourselves to fit a notion of aesthetic beauty that aside from making a lot of people with vested interests rich, really does nothing to elevate us as human beings. Beauty is more that skin deep. It is a reflection of all that is true and beautiful in a person. When we can really look at someone and see the qualities of humanity that shine out from them and love them for who they are, that’s when we’ve truly arrived as a race. And when we can step out into the world , truly respecting our bodies for they way they serve us and for the way they look in the here and the now, that’s when we can really say we are truly beautiful.

Far from cowering with shame at being called the World’s Ugliest Woman, Lizzie has made it her life’s mission to spread the important messages of developing your self esteem, overcoming obstacles and finding and realising the beauty that is inside of you. If you’re the one, amongst many, struggling with body confidence issues today, know this.

You are an incredible creation wrought by the hands of God. If you only knew how truly beautiful you are in the eyes of the One who made you , you will never have reason to call yourself anything but beautiful ever again.  When God loves you just the way you are, you deserve to love yourself and others too.

God bless.

© Irene Lopez  and An Urban Mystic’s Blog, 2012.