Originally published August 14, 2017 at 12:00a.m., updated August 16, 2017 at 10:56a.m.
“There is something about what I went through that made me understand I needed to do something for good,” says Forrest Leichtberg. While struggling with health issues, he came to realize he needed to do something for the greater good and stop thinking so much about himself. And thus was born The Consciousness Network, a nonprofit organization that aims to uplift, support, and strengthen our sense of community, personally, professionally, and collectively. Forrest, who is only 24 years old, has been organizing powerful monthly gatherings where he brings together representatives from the environmental and health communities with social activists to discuss subjects ranging from care of the environment to care of your health. The events have the components of an expo and culminate with a symposium featuring impactful speakers. One of the network’s upcoming guests will be Byron Katie, whom Time magazine called “a spiritual innovator for the 21st century.”
“Our actions and choices have consequences,” says Forrest. “The Consciousness Network is a call to come together with compassion.” The first event took place in February 2016, with about 70 people in attendance at Unity of Santa Barbara. Through his passion and dedication, the monthly gatherings have grown to 150 attendees. “If [they] continue throughout the year, [they] nurture more communication within this community,” he tells me.
Born in Westlake Village, this impressive young man came to Santa Barbara to study at SBCC. “There’s a lot of interest here in Santa Barbara about living a conscious life,” Forrest explains. “Santa Barbara is an eco-friendly city — health conscious — there are all these different groups in this community, and I wanted them to come together once a month and see what happened.”
Forrest Leichtberg answers the Proust questionnaire.
What do you like most about your job?
Creating something that has never been done before, and the innovation that is required to bring something forth that is new in the world. I also love the connection to the community and developing relationships with the public! This is my passion and love, so I also get to pour my heart into the most meaningful work to me that I envision myself doing at this time.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My personal healing journey from major illnesses to significant levels of well-being in the major areas of my life. I continue to participate in this healing journey, and the work I do, which I find very meaningful, supports me in that.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Love and relationships, personal growth, service, connection to a higher power, and a life of purpose and passion. True happiness is the result of a recipe of various factors that are implemented for the long term with self-discipline.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear for some time now has been that I will be a failure. It has driven me to be more of an achiever than I would otherwise have been, which has taught me to develop a stronger work ethic and sense of drive and direction, in alignment with my life’s true purpose.
Who do you most admire?
I admire the force that brought us all here. I attribute my successes to the support that this force has shown. Whatever we choose to call this higher force or higher power, and whatever those of us who believe it in perceive it as being, I am very inspired by it!
What is your greatest extravagance?
I work too much for my own good and don’t take enough time for myself or my social life. We are all learning!
What is your current state of mind?
On the positive: passion, hope, purpose, drive, service, unstoppability, gratitude, faith, certainty, love, inspiration.
On the negative: perfectionism, worry.
What is the quality you most like in people?
Open-heartedness and purity of heart and intent. Much can be accomplished with the courage of an open heart!
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Insensitivity and indifference to hurting others. I have a hard time understanding this mentality!
What do you most value in friends?
A supportive connection that has a positive feeling behind it. Somebody who I can trust to share very openly with.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I feel on fire with determination to maximize my potential and make the extraordinary happen! I also have a lot of good and pure intent, and wish for the greater good of all life.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I’m not sure about short phrases that I overuse, but here is an affirmation that I use during my daily exercise routine, which helps me develop more emotional strength, a requirement for a holistically successful life, and the faith that I can manifest my highest possibilities:
“The Universe’s wealth is circulating in my life! Its wealth flows to me in avalanches of abundance! All my needs, desires, and goals are met instantaneously by Infinite Intelligence, for I am one with it and it is everything!”
Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to lead people personally and human beings collectively to their ideal lives. I would love to also love to help lead human beings to the ideal kind of world of well-being that most of us want to create.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Impatience. I will manifest my highest destiny all in good time. I must learn to enjoy the journey on the way to what’s possible.
Where would you most like to live?
I am not sure yet. I have yet to explore and travel the world enough to be certain about this answer. However, I do love living in Santa Barbara!
What is your most treasured possession?
My reservoir of psychological strength and my emotional set-point in life — where I live emotionally, in an empowered way.
Who makes you laugh the most?
My twin sister! She can find something in anything to laugh about. Amazing! A great reminder not to take too many things, or myself, too seriously.
What is your motto?
I don’t have a motto, but I love the following quote:
“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows."
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I don’t know! I look forward to discovering this as time goes by. However, I do feel inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Jesus, and the Buddha.
On what occasion do you lie?
I value honesty and practice it to the very best of my ability at all times. I believe in karma, cause and effect. Lying has a direct negative effect on our personal and professional lives. If I do lie, it would be in a situation where I feel particularly insecure and defensive about something and quickly react with an untruthful answer out of my own anxiety, or if lying would accomplish something such as saving somebody’s life.
This story was updated to correct the spelling of Forrest Leichtberg's last name.