Maria Shriver

Inspired: Elizabeth Lesser

Image: Elizabeth Lesser
Elizabeth Lesser Courtesy Omega Institute

What inspires those who inspire others? That’s the question we’re asking in this feature and the answers may surprise you, delight you, and in turn provide their own inspiration.

Elizabeth Lesser is the best-selling author of “Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow,” and the co-founder of the Omega Institute, a nonprofit, lifelong learning and wellness center. For more than three decades, Lesser has devoted herself to the worlds of healing, spiritual development, and cultural change, and dedicated herself to empowering women and protecting the environment.

Here, Lesser shares the music, architecture, and deep sisterly love which have been a source of inspiration.

I read Good Night Moon for the 10,000th time the other night. This time to my 1 and 1/2 year old grandson. After reading it to three sons, and now three grand babies, I marvel how that simple children's book about a little bunny going to bed continues to capture the imagination of generations of kids all over the world. At our core we are all so similar! We want a peaceful and lovely life for our children. Everyone wants that. And everyone deserves it.

I saw Bruce Springsteen perform recently for the umpteenth time. Something about this concert made it my all time favorite. Maybe because he's 64 and didn't stop giving it his all for more than three hours of nonstop, hard rocking music. Bruce creates a cover of love and throws it over the crowd. Everyone falls in love with each other: policemen, hippies, kids, grandmothers, jocks, name it. He inspires me to throw that cover of love over my world too.

Image: Bruce Springsteen
FILE - This Nov. 7, 2013 file photo shows musician Bruce Springsteen stands on stage at the Stand Up for Heroes event at Madison Square Garden in New York. A handwritten working manuscript of Bruce Springsteen's 1975 hit "Born to Run" will be offered at auction on Dec. 5 in New York. Sotheby's said Wednesday, Nov. 27, the presale estimate is $70,000 to $100,000. (John Minchillo/Invision/AP, File) John Minchillo / AP file

I visit Omega Institute's environmental education center on a regular basis. It's a totally inspiring and beautiful building, built to meet the highest standards currently available in sustainable architecture. It houses the Eco Machine, a system that treats all our wastewater--for more than 20,000 people annually--without chemicals. It’s a model of what the world could do to save water, remediate pollution, and conserve energy.

Image: Omega Institute
The award-winning Omega Center for Sustainable Living is the first building in America to achieve both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certification. Courtesy Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

I experienced being the donor for my sister's bone marrow transplant and felt like I won the lottery when I found out I was a perfect match. What an honor to have been able to give life to someone I love as much as I love my sister.

I heard something the other day that sounded like a scream, but I wonder if others are listening: A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable. What will it take for governments to wake up and work together on addressing climate change?

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