6 Influencers for the New Decade

Entering this new decade, I’ve been wondering who are the people out there for whom I have deep respect for each and every new offering they put out there. This list is, of course, by no means exhaustive. But let’s say they’re my top 6: four amazing women and two amazing men who influenced me in different ways over the last decade and I have no doubt will continue to influence me in the next. They cut across genres and talents, but each of them are clear beacons of light to me any many others besides.

Once you’ve read this, I’d love to know who your influencers are?

Cerys MatthewsRadio DJ & Food and Poetry Champion

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I am a huge fan of music of all genres. I don’t know how many years ago I started listening to former Catatonia band member’s 3 hour Sunday morning show on BBC Radio 6, but it is a very rare week that passes without me tuning in. With her trademark blend of curiosity and joie de vivre, Cerys curates the most fabulous playlist of eclectic music. She also has a cookbook and is a huge national champion for poetry and literature and after a few hours spent listening to her show, I feel like I’ve had a brilliant morning spent with a friend.

Click here to choose one of her shows to listen to.

Krista Tippett – Author & Podcaster

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As far as I’m concerned, Krista Tippett has completely nailed the art of how to ask a good question. You just have to listen to her in conversation to know what I mean – she is the most generous listener and open-hearted question-answer I have ever come across. In her own words, listening ‘involves a kind of vulnerability— a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity‘ – words I aspire to live by myself.

Listen to Krista’s hugely inspiring podcast On Being here.

John Bird – Founder of The Big Issue and Spokesperson for people living in deprivation

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For those of you outside the UK, you may not have heard of The Big Issue, though no doubt you have your equivalents where you are from. It is a magazine sold by homeless and vulnerably housed people from all across the UK for double the price they buy it for, turning each vendor into a micro-entrepreneur. The quality of the journalism is excellent and thought-provoking and I always make a point of buying a copy when I’m in town. John Bird is outspoken on a number of topics, for example his recent Future Generations Bill will help tackle the short-termism of governmental policies, putting the impact of future generations as a top priority.

Click here to read more about The Big Issue

Maria Popova Writer, Blogger & Critic

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Bulgarian-born and Brooklyn-based, Maria Popova began Brain Pickings as a weekly newsletter to friends to share some of her findings from her wide reading habits. Today, Brain Pickings reaches over a million monthly readers and I completely understand why; her warm and wise commentary on subjects as wide-ranging as life itself, all gleaned from her many hours spent reading, are hugely satisfying. In particular, Popova unearths some fascinating lesser-known voices from the past and I feel as though I have learnt so much from this remarkable young woman over the years.

Click here to take a look at Brain Pickings.

Robert Macfarlane – Author & Nature Advocate

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I first became aware of Robert Macfarlane several years ago when a friend lent me a copy of The Wild Places (a must read, by the way). Since then, he has carved his lyrical path into my consciousness with his array of deeply thoughtful writings that cut across genres from geology to poetry to history but underpinned by his love of landscape and the natural world. One of my favourite books of last year-and probably of all time-was The Lost Words (every household and school needs to own a copy of this book), written by Robert and gloriously illustrated by Jackie Morris.

Robert doesn’t have a website but if you’re on twitter and don’t follow him already, click here to read, amongst other things, his daily offerings of unusual nature words.

Tara Brach

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Tara Brach is a meditation and mindfulness teacher for the modern world – there is nothing esoteric or alienating about her teachings; on the contrary, she blends Western psychology with Eastern spiritual practices in a way that everybody can benefit from in their busy lives. Her meditations have proved vital for me through difficult times and her gentle, non-judgemental wisdom has helped me enormously.

Click here to explore Tara’s website.

So there we have it.

I think what all six of these people share and why they speak to me is that they are generously and unflinchingly living their beliefs through their words, through their pens and projects and music and after reading or listening to their offerings, I feel a sense of hope. A feeling that really, anything is possible if we act with intention and then from that place, we unite.

Do hit reply and tell me who your top influencers are ☆

Rebecca Stonehill

If you enjoyed this blog post, complement it with my delve into where ideas come from; the five books that have influenced me most in my life & Tips for aspiring writers.

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