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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Donna Goldstein: Teaching Others How To Take Shape For Life


by Cyrus Webb

Donna Goldstein and I were introduced to each other in late 2011, and the work she has done both in her own life and that of others is really something to be applauded. During our conversation on the radio show I asked her what it was like to know the impact she has had in the lives of so many. She told me it was a real blessing, but her own journey was one that did not begin easily.

Donna had been overweight for over 30 years, but after a series of injuries she was told that if she didn't lose 50 pounds she would never walk well again. This was a real wake-up call for her, and she went about looking for a way to make the changes that she needed to in order to be her best self.

It was during this time that she was introduced to the program Take Shape For Life. Donna learned not only how to eat but how to make a decision to make not just a health change but a life change as well.


Thanks to the program she has gone from a size 16 to a size 6, and has kept the weight off for over four years! The transformation led others to asking what she had done, and this was the beginning of her coaching experience. Donna told me that her personal clients have lost over 5k pounds over the past few years. One of her proudest achievements has been giving people their life back, allowing them to be the person they have always dreamed about becoming

If you were looking for motivation as to how you could begin to take control of your life, I think what Donna has been able to achieve should not only inspire you but propel you forward to begin making the necessary changes now. Find out more about Donna and the great work she is doing by visiting http://drdonna.tsfl.com/

Donna Martini: Sharing The 10 Commandments of Divorce


by Cyrus Webb

As you know from reading Conversations Magazine or listening to me on the radio I have never been married. But I think you don't have to have entered the union in order to realize that sometimes it works and unfortunately sometimes it doesn't. For those who are experiencing the latter, however, it doesn't have to be the end of the friendship just because the marriage is over.

A great example of this can be found in how Donna Martini handled her own divorce. She was looking for a way to share her experiences with the masses and the result was her first book THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF DIVORCE. Using what she calls positive manipulation she was able to look past her own pain in order to find the good with her ex-husband so that they could do what was best for the children. What I got from Donna's book is that we all have the power to control how we react to the circumstances we are in.

Donna told me in her interview on Conversations LIVE in 2011 that she found a way to manipulate her thoughts and to create a positive energy that helps others as well. This has led to a much better environment for her and assisted her in getting the most out of her life. How was this really possible? Well, Donna made a conscious decision to look for the good. When you do that, she told me, the way you look at the person changes.



Donna says that she hopes we realize that we are responsible for the way we live our lives and handle the situations we are confronted with. Don't take blame or feel at fault. Instead take responsibility so that we can have control. We can manipulate ourselves to be the best all of us can be.

Find out more about Donna and the 10 Commandments of Divorce at www.donnamartini.com.

Kip Kreiling: Learning To Move Forward, Leaving THE IMPOSTER Behind


by Cyrus Webb

Don't think it is possible for certain people to change? Then let me introduce you to Kip Kreiling. If you had met him growing up you would have probably believed that as the case. In my interview with him on Conversations LIVE in 2010 he told me that although he was not trying to earn the worst childhood award, his was quite painful. Picture it: he was arrested three times before he was 10, 11 times before he was 14. He was also a person who because of the world he found himself in got involved with drugs quite early as well. That is not the person he is today.

The Kip Kreiling that you meet today is a successful executive who has earned the respect of his peers and has even founded his own non-profit foundation called Transformation Help (see www.transformationhelp.org). He is helping others to take their lives into their own hands and realize their own value.

Like others who have gone through a dramatic shift in their lives, Kip didn't share his background for quite some time. In fact it wasn't until his book THE IMPOSTER? was released that he began talking openly about his past. Doing so has not only been inspiring for others but liberating for him as well. In his book Kip writes this: "I believe that our mind is the mechanism that determines what we do and who we are. By changing our mind, we can change who we are. (p. 220)"

When asked what he hopes readers take away from the book and his story, Kip says this: "I want people to know that they can completely change." He went on to say that things might seem impossible until you do it. That is such a great lesson for all of us who might be looking at obstacles in our lives and wondering how we can ever move them. Kip shows us that if we are being authentic and don't give up we will find the way to make the impossible possible.

Visit www.kipkreiling.com for more information about Kip and the book.

Rod Harvey: 'Cracking' Through The Pain To Find The Love

by Cyrus Webb
I first heard Rod Harvey's story in 2010 when I read his book CRACK, LOVE N PAIN, a powerful memoir about his fall due to addiction and the road to redemption that followed. It was during his first appearance on Conversations LIVE, however, that gave me a larger perspective not just on where he had come from but where he saw himself today.

Rod shared with me that after a dishonorable discharge from the Navy his life was really a mess. The catalyst of the mess was drugs, but he had to realize something more before he was able to fully battle what he called 'the monster' that had gripped him.

The book that I had read, he shared, may cover 20 years but it took him 10 years to complete because he was still fighting his demons during the writing process.

The man many have gotten to know online through Facebook and his book is not the man who seemed to reach his lowest of lows before he was able to pick himself up and talk anew. In fact Rod told me that he hadn't lifted himself up. God had.

Though many had come and gone through his years of drug abuse and consequent times in jail, his mother never gave up on him. In the book Rod tells readers that though he was a crackhead he was his mother's son first. This meant that he kept the lessons that she tried to instill in him close, even though he didn't always apply them.

What finally helped Rod to turn things around? Rod remembered his mother telling him that you can't help someone who doesn't want to help themselves. That told him that this 'help' had to come from someone greater than him. He had to change the way he was thinking in order to change his life. And that was something that he knew God would have to step in and do. "I had to make a concrete decision that i needed help," says Rod. "I needed God. This (the addiction) was something that was more powerful than I was. My thoughts became my actions, so I had to change my actions. None of that could happen without God."

What was really telling about Rod's story is that it is really the story of so many people today. The road to drugs didn't begin in his home while growing up. He told me in that radio interview that he was offered drugs one time by a friend and was hooked. That one time is all it took to cause havoc in his life that would affect not just him but those he said he loved.

The great lesson, however, is that not all has to be lost. When you realize what the problem is in your life you can change. You can make the decision that you want better and that you deserve better. It worked for Rod, and it will work for any of us who are willing to do the work. This doesn't mean there won't be problems, but it does ensure that no matter what comes out way we don't have to go through it alone.

You can find Rod's book CRACK, LOVE N PAIN online on Amazon.com and on his website www.createspace.com/3394947.

Sean Anderson's Transformation Road


Our conversation with Sean Anderson, author of Transformation Road.

Sean, first congratulations to you both on your personal transformation and the book. Let's start the conversation with where you are now. What is it like to know that a personal decision that you made has inspired so many people when it comes to their own lives?

It certainly wasn't the plan in the beginning. It was something that happened naturally and gradually over time. The self-honesty required made the blog very real to people – relatable. I guess that's why people started seeing themselves in what I was doing and what I was writing day by day. Really, I'm often perplexed by it. It has been the most unexpected blessing of this entire transformation. And it happened in the best way that it could have: naturally and gradually.

What was unintentional in the beginning has become very intentional. When I hear from someone and I hear them tell me that my words have inspired them, it fuels my passion even more. This is truly all I want to do for the rest of my life – Write and speak about the dynamics involved. And I know from experience you can't do it for anyone so that's not what I try to do because it's impossible. Everyone must find their own "click" within. But what I can do is I can communicate with them in such a way that it can possibly shift their perspective just enough to help them finally, once in for all, facilitate their own "click." My message is very simple: You can choose change before change chooses you and I'm living proof.

Not to sound dramatic, but yours was a life or death decision. What was it for you that helped to put it all in perspective and know that you had to make real change in your life?

Naturally you would think it was the fear of death but it wasn't, because dying young is something that happens to other people. I could find the outs – If my blood pressure was too high there was a pill that would make it better. If I thought I was having a heart attack, and then discovered it was just indigestion, it would buy me more time. So it wasn't death, Cyrus, but it was everything else falling apart. I was on the brink of losing my job, losing my family and possibly losing a leg. At over 500 pounds my body was slowly deteriorating at about the same rate as everything else in my life that was important to me. So when I started, I wasn't afraid I would die, I was afraid I would lose everything else which doesn't make sense because when you die, you lose everything anyway. But again, dying young is something that happens to other people. But losing everything else is something that I could see happening to me and quickly if I didn't grab control.

Love is something we discuss a lot in this publication, especially when it comes to one loving oneself. Was loving yourself part of the transformation and how has it changed the way you look at yourself and your purpose?

If you were to ask me if I loved myself at over 500 pounds I would have said "Yes, of course I love myself," but I know now that real, genuine love isn't communicated verbally but in our actions. At over 500 pounds, I was and had been my own worst enemy my entire life. My actions would later be described by my wife at the time as a slow suicide by food. So if loving yourself means making the choices that turn everything around then yes I can honestly say I love myself and without that genuine love for self this transformation wouldn't have been possible.

Your book, Transformation Road, is more than just about losing weight. It is about changing the way you look at life. Why is that just as important as the way you look at food?

The most important shift in perspective isn't about food or life. It's all about what we think about ourselves. And if we think better of ourselves we naturally think better about the world and life and at that point it's much easier to make good choices when it comes to food. Without this internal shift, the fundamental changes we're making with food will be temporary; at least it always was with me. Because if we put our most intense focus on the food we run the risk of over-complicating and frustrating ourselves and while we're busy doing that, we're completely ignoring, refusing to acknowledge the behaviors within us that led to our obesity in the first place. It's a temporary diversion of who we are, and Cyrus, that's why we've always heard how hard it is to lose weight. It's not hard to lose weight. It's harder to force ourselves to be something we're not. And with some of these temporary diversions, the pounds will fall off while putting all of our focus on the food and the plan – the pounds will go away, and it all sounds like exactly what we dream. But without this truly internal investigation and change, losing weight will be a struggle the entire time. And the weight will come roaring back as soon as we revert to the behaviors we refused to acknowledge in the first place. I'm not the first to discover this dynamic, but I could never see it or believe it, until now.

Sean, what do you hope people take away from this road that you have traveled?

If I could design and market the best weight loss product in the world it would simply be a box. And on the outside of the box it would say, "Inside this box you will discover the secret to lasting weight loss once and for all." Then people would open the box and find a mirror. I want people to discover what I've discovered. They already own everything they need for real change. It's not something that can be purchased at the grocery store or the pharmacy. You don't have to have surgery and you don't have to deprive yourself. You don't have to have the latest plan or fad. You simply have to look in the mirror and get very real with yourself. There just isn't a substitute. This self-exploration and honesty is imperative. Without it, everything else is temporary. Cyrus, I've never spent a dime to lose this weight. I've never taken a pill, I haven't had a surgery and I've never been selected for a special weight-loss television show. And there's a large portion of the population who, just like the Old Sean, wonders, "Then how did he do it?" I simply looked in the mirror.


Any advice for individuals who are reading this conversation and want to start making changes in their lives beginning today?

Keep it very simple. If this process is hard, you're the one making it that way. Simplify, simplify, simplify. I finally realized that I wasn't going to wake up and change a lifetime of food addiction, compulsive emotional eating overnight. Although my old actions and past weight loss attempts would suggest that's what I thought. It was always "out with the old and in with the new." But these real changes we desire must be a gradual evolution of good choices. So many times we want to be perfect from day one. And striving for perfection is the quickest detour to insanity. I've never been perfect and I don't want to be. And I've still lost nearly 300 pounds and dramatically changed my life in every single way. I want them to realize if I can struggle near, at, or above 500 pounds for nearly two decades and then once and for all really do it, so can they. They'll realize they are the only ones that can do it for them. And then they might choose change before change chooses them, because change is coming. We're always changing. God willing, it might as well be on our terms.

Thanks for your time, Sean. How can our readers find out more information about you and your book?

My website is www.transformationroad.com The home for my book and eventually it will be much more, as its developed into my internet home covering every aspect of my future hopes and dreams. I also maintain a very open line of communication on my facebook page, www.facebook.com/seananderson505 I also have a facebook account for the book, www.facebook.com/transformationroad And of course, my blog The Daily Diary of A Winner Loser can be found at www.losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com or by simply clicking the "blog" link at transformationroad.com I can also be contacted by email: sean@transformationroad.com Cyrus, thank you for the chat!

"Tough Love" by Meg Collins [Relationships]


Hi everyone and welcome to Meg Collins column on relationships, dating, and many other facets of your lives that may be pertinent in 2011 and in 2012 for you, personally and professionally. Whether you are a woman or a man, this column is for all eyes in any industry. "Patti Novak, one of America's toughest matchmakers, says you may be to blame for your single status. Patti says that her years of experience have taught her one thing—millions of women have missed the mark when it comes to love." Patti continues with this comment that I would like to discuss with you today, "Somewhere along the line, and I'm really not sure [when], we lost our common sense," she says.

Ladies and gentlemen, when did we drop the ball on being of civility in dating and giving things a chance in our lives? There are many women and men that I have interviewed that clearly state, "I have given up on dating and am fine being single." Others comment that going to a local bar, attending golf matches, going to tea at elite restaurants, and going to happy hours are the best way to go in meeting a person of civility and one that may complete you as an individual. I tend to disagree with some of these comments. To meet a person of good character, you must first be a person of good character in your life. It is The Law of Attraction, in that if you put out good energies and are a person of good character and carry joy in your lives regularly, you will hence attract someone of equal goodness in your lives. Are you playing at the wrong soccerplex? Change it today. Are you hanging out with friends and colleagues that carry wisdom and a sense of good knowledge and self-esteem? As they stated in the olden days, "You are who you hang out with in life." Patti Novak definitely knows what she is talking about and is an expert in the area of dating. My question to you is what is holding you back from meeting someone and staying with them in your life or is that you are completely and utterly terrified of having someone in your life because you do not want to change habits and adapt to newness, one that could represent true love in your lives?

A few comments that I have received from people are the following, explaining why they are fearful or what obstacles they have run into in the dating process recently:

"The biggest obstacle is the lack of honesty. People need to tell the basic truth. True story- I met a gentleman on a dating site, I thought that he was attractive, seemed intelligent, employed and enjoyed the arts. After several weeks of communicating I set up a meeting. I'm not sure who showed up! He was at least 20 years older than picture, ah maybe the dated eye wear should have told me something. I'm not objecting the age as much as the dishonestly. Be proud of who you are and quit trying to be what you are not in life."

"My biggest is rejection, especially as we get older and the chore of going through the entire relationship process."

"I have had men in my live that have not claimed, until later, to be residing in an RV and recently separated, one man who was wearing an old UPS jacket and never worked for UPS as well as was driving regularly his Grandmother's car, one man picked up by SWAT team at his home due to stealing money at his job, another man who lived in a hotel and cried heavily on my recording after the first date, a man who carried a man purse, and many that were 20 years older than myself as well. The retail value of the phone headsets retailed more than the shirts on these men. Another one had a breathalyzer in his car and jogged home from a first date. I am not even sure if I should date at all at this point in my life and I am 43 years old."

"Getting all dressed up. High heel shoes hurt my feet."

"I have a lazy eye which is correctible and can be controlled, but once, on a blind date, the first thing my date told me was, "You know, you can get that fixed," and that my friends ended the date.

Let us gather together and trust our own intuitions in our lives, as 9 out of 10 times, our gut is right in life. Sharing your lives with someone is important and I truly agree with that in general. Have you started going to an elite hospital or a library lately to meet someone of true measure or done volunteer work simply because you would like to give back to society as a whole? Try something new in your life and share it with me when you embrace that different experience, as I will with you as well. Have a blessed day and enjoy your pursuits in the dating arena, as we all have a shelf life and are not certain of life's expiration date. Enjoy those around you and celebrate your life every single day and simply be who you are meant to be in your lives; enjoy the abundance of doors that burst open for you in 2012!


Sincerely,


Meg Collins


Columnist, Radio Show Host, Author, Poet, Editor, and Ghostwriter.

The Transformation Of Gary Goldstein


by Cyrus Webb

Thanks to this platform and that afforded me by Conversations LIVE I am able to show people all around the world that no matter what they have done in their past, they don't have to be defined by it. That is exemplified by Gary Goldstein. He is an individual who made his mistakes but has gone on to do powerful things and affect people's lives in a positive way.

Think you have gone too far in the darkness and not able to see the light again? Read this interview, and I believe you might just change your mind. 

Gary, congratulations to you on not just what you have accomplished but on the new book JEW IN JAIL. Before we get into the book, why don't you tell our readers what exactly led to your being incarcerated in the first place.
Thanks Cyrus. I was incarcerated, upon my plea of guilty, to three counts of Robbery in the Second Degree, due in large part to my past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling.

I had the pleasure of talking with you on Conversations LIVE recently about how you have used your experiences to help others. Why do you think the challenges in your life have actually made you a stronger person?
The many things that I have gone through in my life have caused me to appreciate all the things that we, as human beings, tend to take for granted, like health, family, friends, love, respect, and common decency. In addition, just freedom, and the simple pleasure that entails, like peace of mind, has also brought me inner tranquility, so that I have lots of self-esteem now, and enjoy life, as well as helping other addicts and people in general.

Through your book JEW IN JAIL you have said that you wanted to let others know what is possible with hard work and not giving up on yourself. How easy has it been for you to forgive yourself and not let your mistakes define the person you are?
Well, at first, it was very tough, because I have always been my harshest critic. However, after sharing my story in the many AA, NA, and GA meetings I attended while incarcerated, I began to
see and realize that I was not alone, and that it is human to make mistakes. Then, as time continued to go on, and I began to feel better and better about myself both physically, mentally and spiritually, and my family and friends stood by to fully support me too, I became intent on turning my life around through dedication, discipline and sheer determination to, not only get my book, "Jew in Jail" published, but to pass the message of hope to others. Today, I am a totally different person than when I was first incarcerated, and am now defined by the example I have become to others by how I currently live my life.
Our theme for 2012 is New From The Inside Out. I really believe that in order to really transform our lives it starts with knowing that we deserve the very best. When you do share your story with others, how do you try to help them see their own worth?
I simply tell others that they have greatness in them, and that in order for one to be their very best, it is up to each to discover what it is that makes them happy and strive to be successful at that. I truly believe that each and every single one of us possesses at least one talent, and by reinforcing this, I drill into them that the sky is really the limit, and that NOTHING is impossible through hard work and dedication!

Making the strides you have is one thing but writing the book is a totally different achievement. I asked you on the radio show what advice you had for others who felt as though they had a story in them. What would you share with them now?
I believe that everyone has a story to tell, so the first thing I would say to them is to write, write, and write some more! Any time a thought crosses their mind, even if it happens in the middle of the night, they should write it down, so that it becomes documented, and isn't lost. They should also determine a theme of their story, meaning what do they want to say, and to whom do they want to say it to, as far as a target audience is concerned. If one is passionate about something, then writing about it does not seem like a chore, but a personal accomplishment that nobody can take away from them when it is completed.
Happy New Year and thanks for taking out the time to talk with us, Gary. Looking forward to seeing where this journey you are on continues to take you. How can our readers find out more information about you and get their copy of the book?
Thank you for this opportunity to tell my story Cyrus, and Happy New Year to you too. Information about myself and my book is available through my website, http://www.jewinjail.com/, or from Amazon.com other retail websites, or through my publisher, https://www.createspace.com/. They can also simply email me at Gman18nyc@aol.com as well.

Patrick and Hollie Quinn: Choosing Peace Over War


by Cyrus Webb

Patrick and Hollie Quinn are like no other couple I have profiled in the six years I have published Conversations Magazine, and in many ways that is a shame. What the two of them have been able to do together is really remarkable, and I think as you get a snippet of their story in this interview you will see what I mean.

I love learning new things and beginning to look at the world and the things in it differently. This couple caused me to do just that, and I think as we are looking for ways we can enhance our outlook of the world, you might be able to glean a thing or two from them as well. The lesson? How not to go to war with cancer but learn to be at peace with it. Sounds impossible?

Here is the conversation.

Thanks to the two of you for taking out time to talk with me. I enjoyed our conversation on the radio show,but i thought this would be a great follow-up. Hollie, you have definitely taken a different way of looking at cancer and what has happened to you. Tell our readers how your view of the disease has evolved now that you are a survivor.

When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 at the age of 27, Patrick and I knew next-to-nothing about cancer, and even less about non-conventional medicine. Following an intense period of research, I came to realize that the science behind conventional-only treatments for breast cancer was weak at best. The treatments being recommended to me following my surgery (chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy) were part of the "standard of care," which is a one-size-fits-all, conveyor-belt approach to treating cancer. However, cancer is nothing if not unique, and I realized that I needed a customized treatment approach, and even more importantly one that would address the underlying reasons that my cancer developed in the first place. Conventional-only treatments don't do anything to deal with the source of cancer, and are in fact carcinogenic and mutagenic themselves.

Unfortunately, there is so much information that is hidden from view, and this can have devastating consequences. For example, in some cases chemotherapy may be a necessary part of a treatment plan.

But few patients know about (and few doctors will agree to) something called chemotherapy sensitivity testing, whereby one's cancer cells are tested against numerous chemotherapy drugs to see which ones will be effective and which will be ineffective. There is an excellent book devoted to this entire topic, including addressing the reasons why most doctors will not recommend or agree to this test. It is called Customized Cancer Treatment, by Dr. Ralph Moss, PhD., and it's the #1 book we recommend to anyone with cancer (more so than our own book!).

I have come to realize that as patients, we need to stand up and demand smarter, safer, individualized medicine. Patrick and I believe that integrative medicine—as opposed to a conventional-only approach— is the way to get better patient outcomes and improve quality of life (the latter being a topic that gets virtually zero attention in the realm of extremely toxic conventional therapies like chemotherapy). "Citizen scientists" have done this before—for example, to protest unnecessarily destructive and over-used mastectomies—and with good results in bringing better practices to cancer treatment. We believe that we're in the midst of another epidemic of over-treatment with chemotherapy and radiation, so the time has come again for patients to demand something better. We're so grateful to have found what we think is a much better approach, and that's why we share our story.

Patrick, you were not only having to think about losing your wife but you were a new father as well. Talk to the guys out there for a moment about how this struggle really affects the entire family.

This was really the worst possible time for a cancer diagnosis. I don't recommend it! All kidding aside, I had a new bride, our first home together, and our first child on the way. Cancer couldn't have been farther from our minds. And as terrifying as the diagnosis is—everyone thinks the same thing immediately, "Is this the end?"—it turns out that this horrible fear of death isn't the worst part about having cancer. It's the treatments that are still, for the most part, and even in the 21st century, just as bad as the disease itself. I braced myself for what I thought would be the same experience for us as we'd heard about from so many others—devastating side effects from the treatments themselves that would bring Hollie to the brink of death, and would traumatize me and our new daughter for years to come. But we were going to be "brave," just like all the other "soldiers" in this so-called war on cancer. And then, this amazing thing happened. We found out you can declare peace on cancer. You don't have to go to war. You don't have to endure all that suffering, for the patient, and the caregivers and families alike. If I had one message for the guys and other caregivers out there, it would be this: Don't get 2 opinions. Get 6. Or 8. And make sure at least half of those are non-conventional cancer experts. This is your life that's at stake here. Don't settle for the conventional-only approach. Don't give in to being drafted into a war you didn't start. There's a better way.

Hollie, you corrected me on something during the interview that helped me to think about cancer a little differently. I referred to the fight of the disease, but you have a different perspective of going to war with it. Share that with us.

I have always been uneasy with the war language commonly used to describe the treatment and survival of people with cancer. The notion of waging war on myself seemed counter-intuitive to my goal of getting well again. Once I began to understand what cancer was—i.e. not some foreign invader but instead my own cells gone awry due to the failing of my immune system—I realized that I didn't want to battle or conquer my body. I instead wanted to identify the weaknesses and imbalances in my body, and heal those areas, while at the same time creating an internal environment that was inhospitable to the growth of cancer. The seemingly simple act of just changing the language used to describe my cancer from words like "kill" to words like "heal" instantly began to create the first feelings of calm for me after weeks of non-stop fear.

One of our favorite integrative oncologists says it this way: We've become obsessed with finding (and destroying) the "seed" of cancer, but we do nothing to tend to the "soil" of cancer. That's the essence of my treatment approach—make the body inhospitable to cancer by creating a soil in which cancer cannot grow. In our view, this is a much more complete approach to cancer, and it's definitely safer than the toxic conventional-only options.

Patrick, what do you hope readers will take away not just from your personal story but the book You Did What?, as well when they begin thinking about what is possible in their own lives?

The thing that stands out to me the most, from our entire experience over the past decade, is that Hollie has said she's no longer afraid of cancer. That's amazing to me. And the reason for this is that she has treated the "soil" of her cancer, and in doing so has made her body bio-chemically inhospitable to cancer.

It's curing cancer in 100 ways, from every product you put on your body, to every morsel you put in your mouth, to the way you manage stress. And it doesn't result in collateral damage or side effects, but rather just the opposite—collateral health benefits. (Hollie cured all sorts of other ailments during her integrative cancer treatment.) It's been a beautiful thing to watch, and I'm so honored to be married to a woman who has helped to blaze a trail to smarter, safer cancer treatments. I think more and more people with cancer will be inspired to move in the same direction, and that's when we'll reach a tipping point to where all cancer treatment will integrative, and complete. What motivates me to share our story every day is the idea that in doing so we could help inspire even just a few people to reach for a better way to treat cancer. That's my hope.

I believe every author hope their words will be accepted and able to affect the lives of the reader. Hollie, what about you? What do you hope people take away from the book?

My main purpose in writing this book was to show people that, contrary to what they may be told by their doctors, they do in fact have a choice when it comes to the treatment of cancer. So much of the initial fear that enveloped my world following my diagnosis was due to the fact that I felt helpless, and that I had no say when it came to how I would get well again. I was told repeatedly by the dozens of conventionalonly doctors that I met with that I had to undergo aggressive chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy, or else I would die. It was presented to me as my only option, and yet it made no sense to me once I began to study the research deeply. It also felt wrong to me on an intuitive level. Once I realized that there were indeed some scientifically valid integrative treatment options available, and ones that resonated with me, I experienced a tremendous exhilaration because I no longer felt helpless. In our mission to share our story, we're trying to shed light on smarter, safer treatments. It's my hope that our readers will hear the central message of our book, and of my story—you do have choices when it comes to getting well again.


Thanks again to the both of you, and congrats on what you are doing to raise awareness about the alternatives out there. How can our readers stay in contact with you online and get their copy of the book?

Readers and others interested in our mission can follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/YouDidWhatBook) and/or Twitter (www.twitter.com/YouDidWhatBook ), and can also subscribe to our blog at www.youdidwhatbook.com/blog. And we also love to correspond via email with anyone who has questions or comments for us: authors@youdidwhatbook.com

Reiko Brown: More Than Just A Product Of Her Environment

(Photo credit: Paula Joy)

by Cyrus Webb

When I think of the theme "New From The Inside Out" it is hard to have the conversation without mentioning Reiko Brown.

Just a couple of years over 50, author Reiko Brown has seen more than a lifetime's worth of heartache and pain, yet to meet her today you would never imagine the horror she has faced or the lows she has had to experience to get where she is. She chronicles her journey through abuse, drugs and the everyday challenges of life in her book Product Of My Environment. It was the book that brought her to my attention in 2010, yet it has been her desire to use her life as a lesson for others that has kept us connected.

What has life been like for her since the book's release? "It's been an incredible roller coaster," she says. When referring to the Reiko that we learn about in Product she adds: "People today aren't worried about that girl. They are more concerned about the woman they see today. They can't believe we are the same."

Brown is candid about one of the most hurtful chapters of her past, that being her relationship with her mother. Her mother being the very woman who called her the Devil's Child. "I loved my mother so much," Reiko says. "I would have done anything to be accepted by her." The absence of that love and affection contributed to the choice that young Reiko would make.

Another subject that Reiko discussed with me on the radio show in 2011 was her abortion that she had before she was even in her teens. In a conversation called "A Look At Abortion" she shared what was without a doubt one of the most powerful shows I have hosted in the eight years that I have been on radio.

Though there were outside influences that may have cause her to do some of the things that she did, Reiko doesn't point the finger at others. As she relates her experiences, she feels a sense of relief. "Everyday I have to speak about the book it gets me more and more towards gratitude," she says.

That in itself brings up another point about Reiko's journey. She believes that she has lived the life she has so that others don't have to. That is why she feels as though she has to share it with others. In many ways, it's like her ministry. "I wake up thinking what can I do to make your life better," she says.


Regardless of what we are going through, she believes each choice has a lasting affect. "The choices you make today are going to direct you the rest of your life," she says. "We all have a purpose. Every single person has a purpose."

For Reiko it is all about what we choose to do with the life and chances we have been given. It's plain to see what path she has chosen. The rest is totally up to us. Today you can find her making a difference in the lives of young people in Florida by sharing her story and giving them a platform where they can feel safe enough to talk and know they are being listened to, not judged.

To find out more information about Reiko Brown and her book Product Of My Environment, visit www.productofmyenvironment.net.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Conversations' Presents Its Top 150 Books of 2011


It is one of Conversations' most anticipated events of the year: the revealing of its picks for Top Books. Book Club President and Founder Cyrus Webb always looks forward to sharing his list, however, this year he ran into some challenges.

"Normally we do the Top 100 Books of the year," says Webb, 36. "I just couldn't do it this time around. There were so many great titles that we had to expand the list to 150." Webb personally reads each title and has interviewed almost every author on his radio show Conversations LIVE, making the list even more personal. "It's a privilege to talk with the authors and get to share what they hope readers take away from their work," he says. "It also helps me to introduce individuals to authors they may have only heard or read about."

This year's list like each before it features books that have been released by major publishing houses, small presses and even self-published outlets. It has been Webb's goal to give everyone the same treatment as he gathers this listing, and he hopes it will also shine a light on books that are worthy of exposure but may not get alot of attention.

Conversations' Top 150 Books of 2011 will be featured in the Dec./Jan. issue of Conversations Magazine coming out Mon. November 28, 2011. Enjoy and make sure to add as many as you can to your own reading list.



Nonfiction Titles --- (Listed in no particular order)
1. "Never Give Up", Ruthe Rosen (Cypress House)
2. "The Playful & Powerful Warrior Within You!", GJ Reynolds (Beachlifestyle Publishing)
3. "Instant America", Lawrence Salone (LSS Publications)
4. "Spiritually Rich & Sexy", Pamela Jo McQuade (DreamSculpt Mindful Media)
5. "Practical Glamour", Constance Dunn (RLD Publications)
6. "Teddy Bear: Stolen Innocence", Loren Due, Ph. D. (JL King Publishing/Dr. Due Books)
7. "Georgia Justice," Jackie Carpenter (Xulon Press)
8. "The Handbook of Love", Bruce L. Thompson, Jr. (unknown)
9. "The Warmth of Other Suns," Isabel Wilkerson (Random House)
10. "Raised Right", Alisa Harris (Waterbrook Press)
11. "Rise Above", Greg Little (Dog Ear Publishing)
12. "The Life and Times of Willie Holloway", Minister Willie Holloway (Christian Services Network)
13. "Miracle Man: 100 Days with Oliver", Robert B. Haas (Bascom Hill)
14. "I Beat The Odds", Michael Oher (Gotham Books)
15. "Lost Edens", Jamie Patterson (Beaver's Pond Press)
16. "Irrepressible: The Life & Times of Jessica Mitford", Leslie Brody (Counterpoint Press)
17. "The Inspired Life," Susyn Reeve (Viva Editions)
18. "Enlightenment of Evil", Don English (unknown)
19. "Death & Oil", Brad Matsen (Pantheon Books)
20. "Moxie For Managers", Ann Tardy (Fishhead Publshing)
21. "Walking In The Deep End", Susan Parker (Silver Threads)
22. "Beyond Success," Jeffrey L. Gitterman (Amacom)
23. "Chili Pimping In Atlantic City," Michael "Mick-Man" Gourdine (Strategic Media Books)
24. "Who Is She & What Is She To You?", Pretty Tony (World Movement Records)
25. "Let My People Go," Lynn D. Cawthorne (Inkwater Press)
26. "Where Am I Going?," Michelle Cromer (Balboa Press)
27. "Smarter, Faster, Cheaper," David Siteman Garland (Wiley)
28. "Le Freak," Nile Rodgers (Spiegel and Grau)
29. "Straight From The Hood," Ron Chepesiuk & Scott Wilson (Strategic Media Books)
30. "Gridlock," Pardis Mahdavi (Stanford University Press)
31. "Evel," Leigh Montville (Doubleday)
32. "The Veil of Victory," Yorli Huff (Engendering Strength, Inc.)
33. "All I Know About Management I Learned From My Dog," Martin P. Levin (Skyhorse Publishing)
34. "How Could My Husband Be Gay?," Ondrea L. Davis & J'son M. Lee (Foresight Publishing)
35. "The Disease of More," Eleanor R. (Take Charge Books)
36. "Theology For A Violent Age," Woody Carter, PhD. (iUniverse)
37. "The Available Parent," Dr. John Duffy (Viva Editions)
38. "Once Upon A Recesssion," Selwa Hamati (3L Publishing, LLC)
39. "One Isley Brother's Daughter," Elizabeth Ann Isley (Xlibris)
40. "Start It Up," Kenrya Rankin (Zest Books)
41. "One Minute Mindfulness," Donald Altman (New World Library)
42. "A Book Of Miracles," Dr. Bernie S. Siegel ( New World Library)
43. "The Soul Solution," Jonathan Parker (New World Library)
44. "The Paper Garden," Molly Peacock (Bloomsbury)
45. "The Long Hello," Cathie Borrie (Nightwing Press)
46. "Bad Dog (A Love Story), Martin Kihn (Pantheon Books)
47. "It's OK To Tell," Lauren Book (Prospecta Press)
48. "The Stovepipe," Bonnie E. Virag (Langdon Street Press)
49. "The Persistence of the Color Line," Randall Kennedy (Pantheon Books)
50. "Arrival City," Doug Saunders (Pantheon Books)
51. "Manufacturing Hysteria," Jay Feldman (Pantheon Books)
52. "One Bowl: simple Healthy Recipes For One," Stephanie Bostic (CreateSpace)
53. "New York Fashion Week," Eila Mell (Running Press)
54. "Pervis Principles," Pervis Taylor III (Right Angle Entertainment)
55. "Sharing The Victory," Jill Ewert (Summerside Press)
56. "The Neelys' Celebration Cookbook," Pat & Gina Neeley (Knopf)
57. "The Third Wave," Alison Thompson (Spiegel & Grau)
58. "Rise & Fall of a Track Star," Omegia Keeys (Passionate Writer Publishing)
59. "Passion = Success," April Pickering (Two Harbors Press)
60. "Something Inside of Me," Chitoka Webb (Emerald Book Co.)
61. "Life Is What You Make It," Carl Mathis (Tate Publishing)
62. "Equal Verdicts," Antonne M. Jones (Clear Vision Publishing Co.)
63. "Mr. Date Night," Cary Farley (3L Publishing)
64. "It's Always Personal," Anne Kreamer (Random House)
65. "Love Shrinks," Sharyn Wolf (Soho Press)
66. "What A Wonderful World," Ricky Riccardi (Pantheon Books)
67. "Be Different," John Elder Robison (Crown Publishing)
68. "Expand This Moment," John Selby (New World Library)
69. "I Had Every Excuse To Fail, But I Chose None," Sebastian K. Young (Skybash)
70. "How I Broke My Addiction To White Women," Skip Masters (Masterful Books)
71. "Master of Disguises," James Benjamin (Authorhouse)
72. "Breakthrough," Shea Vaughn (Health Communications, Inc.)
73. "Eat Naked," Margaret Floyd (New Harbinger Publications)
74. "Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot," Guy Magar (Sea Script Co.)


Fiction Titles (Listed in no particular order)
1. "Half-Past Dawn," Richard Doetsch (Atria Books)
2. "Just Wanna Testify," Pearl Cleage (Ballantine Books)
3. "Aloha!", Stephen A. Enna & Dennis J. Wootten (Authorhouse)
4. "Now You See Her," Joy Fielding (Atria Books)
5. "The Kitchen Daughter," Jael McHenry (Gallery Books)
6. "Allegro," Adora Bennett (Genesis Press)
7. "Split Second," Catherine Coulter (G. P. Putnam's Sons)
8. "Money Can't Buy Love," Connie Briscoe (Grand Central Publishing)
9. "Contrary Creek," Tom Walker & Mary Walker Baron (Wheatmark)
10. "Damned," Chuck Palahniuk (Doubleday)
11. "Caught In The Middle," Jennifer Luckett (nHouse Publishing)
12. "Come Sunday Morning," Terry E. Hill (Urban Renaissance)
13. "Strategic Moves," Stuart Woods (G. P. Putnam's Sons)
14. "Blood On The Pen," David Huffstetler (Wild Child Publishing)
15. "Feed Me," Nigel Barto (unknown)
16. "Bridge of the Single Hair," Candida Pugh (Langdon Street Publishing)
17. "A Good Excuse To Be Bad," Miranda Parker (Kensington Books)
18. "The Stormchasers," Jenna Blum (Plume/Penguin)
19. "Beneath The Surface," Roy Glenn (Escapism Entertainment)
20. "Aleron," Kane (Passionate Writer Publishing)
21. "The Safehouse," T. Thomas Ackerman (Outskirts Press)
22. "Pimpin Ain't No Illusion," Mississippi Slim (Struggle 4 Mine Publications)
23. "Justify My Thug," Wahida Clark (Cash Money Content)
24. "Witches Of East End," Melissa de la Cruz (Hyperion)
25. "The Murderer's Daughters," Randy Susan Meyers (St. Martin's Griffin)
26. "The Revelation Gate," Brian L. Thompson (Great Nation Publishing)
27. "The Hum & the Shiver," Alex Bledsoe (Tor Paperback)
28. "Murder Mamas," Ashley & JaQuavis (Urban Books)
29. "The Butterfly's Daughter," Mary Alice Monroe (Gallery Books)
30. "A Dream Before Dying," Tony Scott Macauley (Dancing House Publishing)
31. "Riding The Corporate Ladder," Keith Thomas Walker (Genesis Press)
32. "The Kykuit Bunker," Steven Janke (Landgon Street Press)
33. "The Last of the Good Guys," Ernesto Patino (L&L Dreamspell)
34. "Survivors," James Welsey, Rawles (Atria Books)
35. "Family Storms," V. C. Andrews (Simon and Schuster)
36. "Finding Frances," Janice M. Van Dyck (Winston Higgins Press)
37. "The Collectibles," James J. Kaufman (Downstream Publishing)
38. "The Albuquerque Turkey," John Vorhaus (Crown Publishing)
39. "Exposure," Therese Fowler (Ballantine Books)
40. "Chain Reaction," Ross E. Goldstein (unknown)
41. "The Robbin' Hoods," Ericka Williams (E-Sharan Publications)
42. "More Boy Than Girl," Tony Lindsay (Penknife Press)
43. "Scattered Lies 3," Madison (Influential Writers Publishing)
44. "Journal of a UFO Investigator," David Halperin (Viking)
45. "He Beat Past My Skin," Jessica Green (iUniverse)
46. "Soul Trapper," F. J. Lennon (Atria Books)
47. "The King Of Diamonds," Simon Tolkien (Minotaur Books)
48. "I Take This Woman," Chamein Canton (Genesis Press)
49. "Transitions," Cathy Jo (Twisted Word Publishing)
50. "Dancing Her Dreams Away," Alretha Thomas (Diverse Arts Collective)
51. "The Dog Who Knew Too Much," Spencer Quinn (Atria Books)
52. "Water's Edge," Robert Whitlow ( Thomas Nelson)
53. "Good Graces," Lesley Kagen (Dutton)
54. "The Winters In Bloom," Lisa Tucker (Atria Books)
55. "The Dawn Country," Kathleen O'Neal & W. Michael Gear (Forge)
56. "The First Law," Richard L. Ragle (MedArt Publications)
57. "Postcards From Nam," Uyen Nicole Duong (Amazon Encore)
58. "The Disgruntled Wives Club," Portia A. Cosby (Distinct Publishing)
59. "Blitz," Ebonee Monique (Peace In The Storm Publishing)
60. "Altamont Augie," Richard Barager (Interloper Press)
61. "Later With Myself: The Misadventures of Millie Moskowitz," Sheryl Sorrentino (unknown)


Top Books Designed For Our Youth
1. "Growing Pains," K. P. Smith (Doin It Publishing)
2. "Of Thee I Sing," Barack Obama (Alfred A. Knoff)
3. "Stuck," Rhonda Martin (Jabberwocky Books)
4. "Hunka Chunka Monkey Shapes Up," Sam E. Bromley (Jabberwocky Books)
5. "Before There Was Mozart," Lesa Cline-Ransome (Schwartz & Wade Books)
6. "The Sons Of Liberty: Death & Taxes," Alexander & Joseph Lagos (Random House)
7. "Baby Barbells," Joshua Levitt, ND (Running Press)
8. "Mr. Pish's Woodland Adventure," K. S. Brooks (Cambridge Books)
9. "The Fenway Foul-Up," David A. Kelly (Stepping Stones Books)
10. "Of Mouse & Magic," Allan R. Gall (Two Harbors Press)
11. "Trouble In Troublesome Creek," Nancy Kelly Allen (Red Rock Press)
12. "Hothead," Cal Ripken, Jr. (Random House)
13. "The Berlin Boxing Club," Robert Sharenow (Harper Collins Publishers)
14. "The ABC Field Guide to Faeries," Susanne Alexander-Heaton (Friesens Corp.)
15. "Teen Girls Need L.O.V.E.," S. Dodson (Mahogney Ink Publications)

For more information about Conversations' Top 150 Books of 2011 make sure to visit www.thebestbookclub.info. Have questions about titles or interested in getting your book on an upcoming list? Contact Cyrus Webb at cawebb4@juno.com or 601.896.5616. CONVERSATIONS: Feeding your love of life!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mary's Motivational Message: THAT DARN WEED


Last Month while watering the flowers under a large tree that sits in my front yard, I noticed a large weed nestled amongst my beautiful flowers. Normally when I spot weeds I eagerly remove them. However, on this occasion I decided on a different approach. Out of growing curiosity, I decided to continue watering and fertilizing the weed and allow for it to take its natural course. After some time had passed to my surprise, I noticed that it had blossomed into something absolutely breath taking.

So many times we fall into this dangerous habit of bestowing titles and labels. We also tend to place a value based on that title or label.  Have you ever thought about why some plants are viewed with esteem and others are deemed weeds to be discarded? Why is there a standard, who sets it, maintains it and why do we buy into it.

What I just shared may be viewed as trivial by many of you but I do believe that on so many profound levels, it is reflective of life.

Dictionary description of a weed:  "a plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one growing where it is not wanted, as in a garden."

Well, in this case that darn weed was exactly where it was meant to be, amongst the other beautiful plants.

Peace, Joy and Love to you this Holiday Season,                                                                                                                         

Mary E. Gilder, author of A Misrepresentation of Myself

www.maryegilder.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                  bookclubs.maryegilder@yahoo.com                                                                                                                                                                                 meg@maryegilder.com

10 Recording Artists That Shaped Our Year

by Cyrus Webb

Since the Conversations brand began in July 2003 with the radio show it has always included music. Why? Because music is a part of our lives like few things can be. It can reflect our moods, inspire us and in some cases spur us to action.

In 2011 there are lots of musicians that appeared on Conversations the radio show as well as in the pages of the magazine, but in the December issue I wanted to recognize 10 recording artists that have inspired me by their work ethic, their creativity and the music they have produced.



1. LADY GAGA: If I had an artist of the year for 2011 it would have to be the one and only Lady Gaga. In 2011 she has not only continued to push the envelope, but allowed her talent for writing and performing amazing music to shine. Whether it was the anthem BORN THIS WAY or the reflective YOU AND I, she tops my lists as an artist that is at the top of her game. www.ladygaga.com

2. DASHAWN: This R&B singer is more than just what you see. He sings and gives from the heart. I have profiled Dashawn a few times on the radio show and the magazine mainly because he keeps reaching for the stars and taking his fans along for the ride. Look for Dashawn on the cover of the music issue of Conversations Magazine that will be re-released in January 2012. The songs that have gotten people talking, singing and slow dancing (if not more) have been CAN YOU HANDLE IT and LATE NIGHT SHOW. http://www.reverbnation.com/dashawn

3. VICKIE WINANS: Who doesn't love Vickie Winans? She has inspired people literally around the world not just with her music but her love for life and others. When I first interviewed Ms. Winans in 2009 I saw it as an honor like no other. She was promoting her single HOW I GOT OVER at the time, and that song still speaks to me when I am feeling down. This year she also gave the world RELEASE IT, another great testimony to help those holding on to things that are sure to bring them down. She is definitely a go-to for anyone looking to be reminded of the love God has for all of us. www.vickiewinans.com

4. SHANNON MICOL: Once I heard the song CAN YOU SAVE ME IN THE MORNING I knew I was going to be a Shannon Micol fan for quite some time. We have featured the Canadian singer/songwriter both on the radio and magazine this year, and her album NO MORE CINDERELLA is still one of those I can put on, press repeat and just take the journey with her. I think we are just beginning to see where her talent will take her. If I were you, I would get on board now. www.shannonmicol.com

5. TOMAS DONCKER: Tomas Doncker does everything from the heart, and that is evident with each and every album he releases. It was first LUCKY DAY from his Small World album that got me interested in him, and from there I have been one of many that have now come to know what I believe he has known all the time: Tomas has a gift that was meant to change the world. His new album Power of the Trinity is just as thought-provoking, and the single ONLY THE FAITHFUL is sure to be another hit. Find Tomas at www.tomasdoncker.net.

6. JULIE GELLER: I first learned about Julie last year through a mutual friend, Dafna Michaelson, because of her song WHEN YOU BELIEVE---and I have been hooked since then. On her album You're With Me we get a feel of the folk singer's ability to sweep the listener up in her spell through powerful lyrics and melodic tones that just make you smile. The stand out tracks from the album are LET IT BE LOVE, YOU'RE WITH ME and I MISS YOU. www.juliegeller.com

7. MIN. MARCUS JENNINGS: If there is a cd that I listen to from beginning to end more than once a day it is Due Season by Min. Marcus Jennings. In songs like PREPARATION and I EXPECT we are able to see that no matter what we are going through, our Heavenly Father is there and able to provide a way out. Whether you are looking for songs of praise or inspiration, this is one of those artists that meets you where you are. www.marcusjenningsmusic.com

8. ADELE: Wow. She had me at CHASING PAVEMENTS, but with the new album 21 I have become an Adele fan for life. It's the voice, the words, the music all creating the perfect storm of what I see as perfection. ROLLING IN THE DEEP was one of those songs I thought I related to like none other...that is until I then heard SOMEONE LIKE YOU. Everything about her rings genuine to me, and that is why Adele continues to affect people around the world the way she does. Her musical presence is definitely a blessing. www.adele.tv

9. KAREN BRIGGS: Her album The Soulchestral Groove was introduced to me by a mutual friend named April Mahoney, but it is now on my playlist at least 3 times a week. Karen Briggs is a gifted interpreter of music, and takes you into the world she is able to creates through the notes she plays. Simply a talent that deserve all of the greatness coming her way. http://www.myspace.com/karenbriggs

10. JUSTIN CASH: Just because he is last on my list makes Justin Cash no more relevant or inspiring as the others that I've profiled. He has the ability to make you feel. What a gift! I was introduced to Justin by our Assistant Music Editor Stanley Clark, and I was won over right away. After inviting him on the radio show to discuss his journey, I knew this was someone that was going to affect the way people feel just by being himself. And then there is the title track from his album BEAUTIFUL WORLD that just really sealed the deal. If you want someone who is authentic and really rocks, Justin Cash is your guy. www.gojustincash.com

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Learning From Visionaries


by Cyrus Webb

I am someone who has always been inspired by the creative process. When I look at the road map that others have taken, how they have dealt with disappointments and the challenges they faced, it has always helped me to remember that success may not come easy but hard work and dedication does pay off.

Through the new series Visionaries on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network we are given a rare glimpse into the brilliance behind some of the most creative individuals around. Included among those profiled have been four influential men: Tyler Perry, Tom Ford, James Cameron and Will.i.am. Each of them seem at the top of their game, but the journey that got them to that point wasn't always an easy one.

I think by taking a look at the road they have traveled it will give us some insight into what we can do in our own lives.

IDENTIFYING THE DREAM: This is one of the most important steps for a visionary because it's the point where you actually articulate what you want. Each of those profiled on the series had to figure out what they wanted before they could actually start the process of achieving it. This doesn't mean that it won't change or even expand, but it has to begin somewhere.

KEEP IT YOU: This was something that really stood out to me. In order to make sure you don't tire of your dream and abandon it, you want to keep it true to who you are and what you can best represent. Nobody likes a phony, and if it appears you are just doing something to please others or what you believe others will want then it will be difficult to be authentic while doing it.

NURTURE THE BRAND: You can't just sit idly by once you have gotten a taste of success. It is a continual process that will require some long nights, difficult decisions and the drive to push yourself again and again. None of those in the series has been content with just one triumph. I believe it is because they realize that they are only as good as their last great idea.

As she has always done in her career Oprah Winfrey has given us a series full of inspiration and encouragement for those destined to see dreams come true. The work for us will be committing to the vision and doing what it takes to bring it to life.

Resolving To Be The Best You Ever!


Everybody wants to be good at something.

For children they seek approval from those around them that will say "That's great!" or "Good job!". Adults also want to be praised for what they do. It might be accomplishing something at work or getting a task completed around the house. No matter who it is we all want that pat on the back or the acknowledgement that someone appreciated what we had to contribute.

This leads in many times to setting goals or as many people do this time of year, the making of resolutions for the year to come. What about you? Have you given any serious thought to the person you want to be? Though you might decide against writing down a list of things that seem impossible, what about resolving just to be the best you?

'The best me?' you might say. Yes, the best you possible! Throughout this year I have tried to highlight individuals that were finding success and happiness by simply being who they were. It doesn't mean they have achieved everything they set out to do, but they were fulfilled in just following their passions and seeing how far their hard work could take them. That is what I want for you.

Instead of beating yourself up about what you haven't done, congratulate yourself on all that you have been able to do already. This by no means is to say you should stop trying to do more and strive higher, but you don't want to overlook all that you have accomplished by focusing on what seems left to do.

This is a message that I try and share each and everyday online: you are enough just where you are right now. We all are a work in progress, but that doesn't mean we can't love ourselves just the way we are. What I want you to do is stop and say to yourself that what I have doesn't define who I am.

Regardless of what you may have done and where you come from your greatest days are still ahead. Join me in resolving to be the best you ever, beginning right now.



Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief
Conversations Magazine

Learning From Oprah's Class Of A Lifetime


by Cyrus Webb

It goes without saying that I am a huge fan of Oprah Winfrey and the programs she puts forth to help individuals live the life they were destined for. Earlier this year I did a profile on Oprah and how she has impacted so many aspects of our lives, including in her support of our 44th President. The latest creation from the Queen of Daytime Talk is her Life Class series that premiered in October 2011. The goal? To help viewers over the course of five weeks to identify areas in their lives where they could improve, make adjustments and ultimately realize the power we all have within ourselves.

Some dismissed the premise right away, but for me there were times when I found myself not just listening to what Oprah was saying but actually searching myself for ways that I could apply the principles that she was sharing.

I was not alone in believing this way.

Each week I was communicating with individuals from across the country through social media asking them how Oprah's Life Class was affecting them. Here are just a few of the responses I received:


V. McLeod, CEO & Chief Executive Facilitator of www.ConversationswithV.net : "In early Summer I learned about Oprah's Life Class, I immediately knew it would be a strategic, life-enhancing experience for me so I imagine I was one of the first to register. Although many of the guests thus far have challenges in the respective show focus area, I am actually living a rather abundant life ~ yet ~ the Life Class has already inspired and empowered me to an upward shift in my outlook {& inward-look} for even greater success and pervasive life prosperity!

"Each night the classes are so prolific! Especially the Webcast... It is just an overflowing well-spring of wise, insightful, success-building empowerment! The global Facebook family has already formed a community of mutual support which is the bedrock for personal growth, development and maturation. Men and women from around the world are working to, as Oprah so powerfully says, 'become the best, fullest expression of your most authentic self.' "

Lynnis Woods-Mullins, CEO and Founder of Praiseworks says this: "The main take-away I got from the Oprah classes came after the second day. I run a health and wellness company. We were discussing the Oprah classes and suddenly I found myself typing away on what effect these classes had on me thus far. I mean I must have typed for a good thirty minutes straight it was just pouring from me.

"I discovered while I didn't have any deep anger at anyone, I was suffering from a profound hurt that my mother had died before she could see that I would be successful as a wife and mother. My mother was killed by a fire truck on her way to work. I had just seen her two hours before. I had stopped at her house to pick up my clothes from her dryer (mine was not working) with my 5 week old daughter who I was taking to childcare because I had to return to work since my husband wasn't working (I had a total of three girls at the time) my car was on the blitz and my phone had just been turned off. I was 31 and I felt like I was a total failure and was sure that was her observation also.

"Well my Mom was dead two hours later. She never got the chance to see that everything did turn out okay, in fact more than okay. I now have four daughters, went on to get my MBA, divorced my first husband, married my second husband a wonderful guy, had a wonderful career in Corporate America making a six figure income, and started a successful business. For twenty-two years I had been hurt because I could not hear her telling me she was proud of me...after all she is dead. I have taken that hurt with me all these years, killing myself with long hours, both at work and at home trying to be the perfect mom, daughter, wife , sister, and citizen waiting for my mom to tell me she was proud of me. Of course that is never going to happen. I was hurt over something that was never going to happen, something that was basically impossible!

"Oprah's classes helped me to begin the healing process with this truth. I called my father who is still living and we had a long talk and he told me how proud my mother was of me before she died. He told me things I didn't know that she had said to him about my strength, character and potential. I had no idea she felt this way, she may have told me but I always thought that I still wasn't good enough and that I was really going to show her how great I could be. But as it turned out I felt she was taken from me before I could show her how "great"I was capable of being.

"There has been such a 'lifting' since I discovered this. It has given me a sense of peace that my mother will never know what I am doing now but that is alright, because I know what I am doing. I am proud of myself, I am aware of my accomplishments, I know that I have overcome many obstacles, and I know I am the woman my mother raised me to be. That is enough."

Powerful testimonies, aren't they? So what is it about Oprah's ability to connect and draw out such results that continues to benefit individuals like myself and you? Dr. Fran Walfish explains it this way: "Oprah has the gift and capacity to motivate people. She uses herself as an example, almost a template, for sharing personal flaws and embracing oneself - flaws and all! She is the quintessential picture of the least likely person to have made it. Yet, she used her childhood mistreatment and hardships as the gasoline to drive her to the top.

"Everyone can relate to her because all of us carry a history filled with parental errors. No one had perfect parents The sooner we can forgive our parents for the disappointments they brought us the faster we can embrace ourselves. Once we do that, we can accept the limitations in those we love and have intimate relationships with including a partner/spouse and our children. Oprah and her Life Class do this better than anyone else in our American culture."

Didn't sign up for Oprah's Life Class or may have missed some of the lessons. Don't worry. Visit www.oprah.com/own to catch up and begin transforming your life today.