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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Branden Nicholson's "31 Days of Inspiration"


Conversations Magazine is excited to share daily words of encouragement from celebrity model/fitness trainer Branden Nicholson of B. Nick Fitness in California. The purpose? To encourage the reader to be the best of themselves each and every day.

Take out time to visit our website each day to find a daily dose of motivation and visit Branden online at www.brandennicholson.net.

Day One:  New day, new attitude...Take control, stay positive and be great!
Day Two:   The reason why people give up so fast is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have come.
Day Three:  If you're not growing, then you're not living. You should never be the same person two days in a row. Make it your goal to get better!
Day Four: When you are going through something hard and wonder where GOD is, remember that the teacher is always quiet during the test.
Day Five: Don't give up on what God has called you to do. The end result is worth the pain. Keep the faith.
Day Six: Today is all about choices. Choose to count your blessings rather than your problems!
Day Seven: You may be the only one that can see your vision, but if you can see it that's all that matters.
Day Eight: Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
Day Nine: The same people that are hoping you fail will be the same ones that will have to watch you succeed. Never stop. Always keep going!
Day Ten: The WRONG people in your life will keep the RIGHT people out. You've only got a few spaces so choose well!
Day Eleven: You are where God wants you to be at this very moment. Every experience is part of His divine plan.‪
Day Twelve: All liabilities must be let go! If they aren't building you up then they're tearing you down.
Day Thirteen: An original is always worth more than a copy. Be original!
Day Fourteen: When you focus on problems, you'll have more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you'll have more opportunities.
Day Fifteen: People who judge you by your past don't belong in your present.‪
Day Sixteen: Look around...Is this where you wanna be? If not, now is the time to decide to change it! The power lies in you.
Day Seventeen: Don't let your thoughts talk you out of the changes you want for yourself. Your body can do anything. It’s just your brain you have to convince! ‪
Day Eighteen: Get up & Go forward! Let go of the past so you'll have a free hand to open the door to your future!
Day Nineteen: They can copy you but they can't be you. Just keep being a better you and get a kick out of them trying to keep up.
Day Twenty: There are quick fixes for everything in life, but greatness is not achieved in one day. It is a process that each of us must experience.
Day Twenty-One: Don't let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.
Day Twenty-Two: You can't expect to live a positive life around negative people.
Day Twenty-Three: I Will NEVER lower MY standards, to RAISE someone else's!
Day Twenty-Four: Direct your thoughts today because your thoughts will direct your day.
Day Twenty-Five: ‪Temptation doesn't surrender. You have to come ready to fight everyday!
Day Twenty-Six: If you don't invest in yourself then your dreams will go bankrupt.
Day Twenty-Seven: Not everyone's opinion should be relevant in your life. Stop making irrelevant people relevant.
Day Twenty-Eight: Never let your,"mind"bully your body!
Day Twenty-Ninth: One day, you'll be just a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.
Day Thirty: Want to see your biggest opponent? Look in the mirror.
Day Thirty-One: Don't stress. Do your best. Forget the rest

Tony Lindsay Presents... Octavia Butler

In literature, as in other disciplines, there are trailblazers. Writers that are ahead of others, writers whose works offer a foundation for future writers to build upon; Octavia Estelle Butler was such a writer.

In her novel, ‘Parable of the Sower’ she writes of a near future, a time where most water is sold, and a time where people live in gated guarded communities to survive. She writes about a time where American greed replaces compassion, a time when most labor only garners one enough to live, a time when people not behind the walls of gated communities survive by murder, theft, the use of drugs, prostitution, cannibalism, and slavery. She introduces the reader to this world through the eyes and heart of a fifteen year old protagonist, Lauren Oya Olamina.

Lauren is allowing a new religion to form through her observations and experiences; through journaling she is creating the beginning of EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING which is the text of the forming religion. Raised as a preacher’s kid in a time of few morals, Lauren has a different perspective on life, and the reader quickly understands that their guide through this world is more than a teenager,
At least three years ago, my father’s God stopped being my God. His church stopped being my church. And yet, today, because I’m a coward, I let myself be initiated into a church. I let my father baptize me in all three names of that God who isn’t mine any more.
My God has another name. (7)

Butler’s ‘Parable of the Sower’ is disturbing in its possibility. The novel begins in the year 2024 a future close enough to be recognizable, and that is the gift of the novel; it works as a warning,
I brought three of the cheap, multipurpose sleepsacks-big, tough storage bags, and the preferred bedding of all the more affluent homeless. The country was full of people who could earn or steal food and water, but could not even rent a cot. (174)


            Literary reviewers and critics hail Octavia Butler as an award winning author; she has won the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Langston Hughes Medal, and Nebula and Hugo awards. There is no denying her talent. In addition, she is the first African American author to gain international prominence in the science fiction genre, a genre dominated by white males. Octavia E. Butler was truly a trailblazer.  

Tony Lindsay is an award-winning author and adjunct professor at Chicago State University. His book ONE DEAD DOCTOR was chosen by Conversations Book Club as one of its Top 100 Books of 2012. Lindsay was named Conversations Author of the Year 2012-2013.  His new book EMOTIONAL DRIPPINGS is available now on Amazon.com. He can be reached at tonylinsay7045@sbcglobal.net or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tony.linssay2.

There's No Place For Ego In Healing

by Jeff Donovan, RMT

As a Reiki Master with a large following, people often come to me and ask me to heal their pain, heal their ailments, fix their finances or cure their addictions. I hate to tell you, but this isn't how it works! A 'healer' doesn't actually provide the healing, but instead provides the pathway for the healing to take place. It doesn't matter what kind of healing you're talking about, the concept is the same. If you break your arm and a doctor sets your injury, you aren't healed are you? Of course you aren't but he certainly did lay the foundation for the healing to occur. The same can be said about energy healers. The body is a perfect machine, designed to heal itself. It is sustained imbalances in the energy field, which causes illness and/or dis-ease. An energy healer is nothing more than a channel and/or facilitator to help bring the energy field back into balance so the body can heal itself. I don't need to know what is wrong with my client to deliver an effective healing. I am, after all, not the healer. I am merely a vessel for healing.

Teaching people to get out of the way and drop their attachments to the outcome of a healing is for me, the hardest part of teaching Reiki. I can teach anyone how to do a healing, I cannot however, teach someone to drop their ego...that is a journey each person, healer or not, must take for themselves. And that is really what we are talking about when we are trying to direct a healing...Ego. We essentially are assuming we know better than God, Spirit, Source, the Universe or whatever you want to call it when we try to direct the healing.

 When someone gets a headache and becomes stressed, they'll often take an aspirin to treat the symptom. That is the world we live in, treat the symptom, but what they don't understand is that the underlying cause (the stress that caused the headache) is still there. Similarly, if your client comes to you with a headache (and unbeknownst to you, their appendix was about to burst) and you try to direct the healing, focusing only on their headache you as the 'healer' would be getting in the way of what it is that they really need...at this point, you're doing the client a disservice.

When we are new to healing, we so badly want to see results that we become tied to the outcome. It's ok to get excited when we see results. It is normal to want to see people heal through our efforts, but at some point, we must learn that we can't heal everyone. There are many things that factor into a healing taking place. Besides the fact that we are not actually providing the healing, people must be willing to heal. They must co-create and participate in their healing as well. I hate to say it, but some people don't really want to be healed. They might think they want to heal, they might say they do, but at a deeper level, it isn't always true. Some people become so attached to their illness, so attached to their story and the attention they receive by telling their story, that the illness actually becomes their identity. I once did a healing for a woman with lupus. After the healing, she raved, telling me that she had spent more than $100,000 in treatments and never felt as good as she did in that moment. I encouraged her to learn Reiki so she could empower herself, take charge of her own health and feel that way every day...she never called me again. Why? I can't say for sure because I'm not in her shoes, but the fact remains, she found something that worked and didn't pursue it.

There is also a bigger issue at hand as to why some people do not heal. We do not know what anyone's life path is. We don't know when someone's time is up and we don't know what their life lessons are. Some are here to overcome and learn from their illness, some are here to learn by succumbing to their illness, while still others sacrifice themselves early so others can learn, or to clear a karmic debt. There is no apparent rhyme or reason why some die young while others live to be very old, why someone smokes two packs a day for fifty years and dies of natural causes while someone who never smoked dies of cancer...actually, there is a very good reason as to why, but few of us actually have the insight to make sense of it. But the point is, we don't know anyone else's destiny, so we must learn to detach ourselves from the results, and we certainly cannot play God and try to force a healing.  Forcing a healing is nothing but ego.

Experience has taught me we don't need to know what someone's issue is to deliver an effective healing. The best thing we can do as healers is to deliver the healing, get out of the way and let Spirit deliver the very best healing for each person at that moment in time. A healer after all, is just a vessel for the healing...a healer is not really THE healer, so drop the ego and do your best. That's all anyone can ask.

Jeff Donovan has been a student of energy since 1993, began studying Reiki in 2001 and received his Reiki Master's certification in 2003 and has been teaching ever since. In addition to Reiki, Jeff has studied DNA Healing, Reconnective Healing, Crystal Healing and more. He teaches Reiki in person, but primarily through his Home Study Course.  www.HomeStudyReiki.com

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul's Amy Newmark

by Cyrus Webb

I have only been enjoying Chicken Soup for the Soul for about the past 10 years, but for those who want to know how it all began they have re-released the original book from 20 years ago with a little something new as well.

The book allows us to not only enjoy the original stories from the first inspirational book but gives us a nice commentary from Jack Canfield on how the series original began, what the hope was and where it is today. Definitely great for those of us who didn't know the history. Along with Jack's words are bonus stories that give you an amazing look at the world and what is possible through it.

One of the ones that struck me from the bonus stories was from the series Publisher and Editor-In-Chief Amy Newmark. She takes us into the two words that she avoids, and shows us how by not living a life of regret we are able to look at life in a totally different way. I had a chance to talk with Newmark on Conversations LIVE about the book and what it has been able to see the growth of the series over the years. For her one of the most powerful aspects is how they stories have affected people's lives.

In the afterward of the book she writes this: "The overarching theme in this book is positive thinking...It's our job at Chicken Soup for the Soul to focus on finding stories for you that are positive and uplifting and helpful. Before I became publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul five years ago, I spent six months getting to know the company, and I read 100 of the old titles. After reading all of those books and tens of thousands of stories submitted for our most recent books, the thing that has struck me the most is the resilience of the human spirit. We try to show you that in all our books."

Newmark says "What I've learned is that we are all capable of handling a lot. And our ability to handle things seems to expand when we need it to."

She shares these seven tips that she has gleaned from the thousands of stories Chicken Soup for the Soul has published:

1.     Pursue at least one of your passions.
2.     Do something that has meaning to you and gives you purpose.
3.     Count your blessings.
4.     Smile at everyone.
5.     Keep learning.
6.     Take the long-term view.
7.     Take some time for yourself.

The 20th Anniversary Edition of the new Chicken Soup for the Soul volume also includes new stories by Dr. Oz, Deepak Chopra, Anthony Robbins and don Miguel Ruiz are also included, but the other account that stuck with me after reading the book was by Tory Johnson. She shares in her story how she had become comfortable in her success at her place of employment until all that she knew was taken away. After taking stock of her situation and her life she realized the real power in embracing the power she has been given and keeping her destiny within her own hands.

There really is something in this book for everyone, and whether you are just discovering the series or been a fan for some time you can't help but find this book to be a valuable resource. Find all things dealing with Chicken Soup for the Soul at www.chickensoup.com.

Author Maggie Shannon: Crafting Calm

by Cyrus Webb

There is something about the power of creating that is not only empowering but humbling for me. I know as an artist and poet when I am in that "mode" I feel not only the blessing of the gift but the way I believe it can affect others. I'm not alone in this. Individuals around the world are seeing the power that can come from bringing something to life through your hands, and in her new book CRAFTING CALM author Maggie Oman Shannon shares her own process.

"It feels like a big blessing," she told me during a conversation about the book. "I am so blessed to share what has been so meaning to me... This is the first book I've written in the first person and shared my personal stories." She told me it includes projects she's actually done and found a lot of meaning and joy in.

One of the things I enjoyed so much about CRAFTING CALM is that it has so many connective things that talk about the ability to create and connecting with something higher than ourselves. "Often we make these two subjects more difficult than they are," says Shannon. "Spiritually is as simple as sitting in the silence and breathing for five minutes. It doesn't have to be complicated." For her crafting is like a vehicle to take you to a different place.

The book celebrates and welcomes creativity, however, it doesn't depend on everything being just so. The author says this was part of the purpose. "Life is not about being perfect, it's about just being your best." For Shannon imperfection is a part of the process. "Just as no one would or should judge your prayer or meditation, the same is true with crafting. Accepting imperfection is liberating. There is such a freedom in just knowing we're spiritual beings having a human experience. In this human incarnation we are always going to make mistakes. Everything in our lives is an opportunity to grow."

The great thing about the power of crafting or creating is that it affects not just the one doing the making but the one that benefits from it as well. On page 66 of the CRAFTING CALM Shannon says this: "As we find comfort within the process of our creativity, others may find comfort in the product." This reminds us that what we are doing is great but it has more power when it is shared. This is why we should downplay the part we have in making a difference.

"It reminds us that doing something that may seem small can make a powerful impact," says Shannon. "We live in a world that desperately needs the gift of every single one of us." This book is really about using our gifts in the world to make a better one. W have to keep creating and nurturing things that are going to make a better tomorrow."

For more information about Maggie Oman Shannon and her book CRAFTING CALM visit her online at www.maggieomanshannon.com.

Friday, August 23, 2013

5 Incredibly Sexy Ways to Unleash More Romance & Passion into Your Life

by M. J. Duffy

Have you ever tried to attract more passion or romance in your life but it seems to elude you? Many people mistakenly believe that relationships are the only way to experience romance in their lives. The truth is that creating romance and passion starts with changing your thoughts and your attitude about yourself. Here are 5 ways to experience passion on a daily basis.

1. Accept yourself.
Bringing more passion and romance in your life requires you to appreciate and love yourself exactly as you are; flaws and all. The more love you give yourself, the more passion and romance will appear in your life. This is because romance and passion originate from love.

2. Treat yourself like the love of your life. A lot of times we look outside of ourselves to feel special and feel desired. The truth is that you need to desire yourself first and treat yourself like you are the number one person in your life. Give yourself compliments, flowers, love letters, or anything that makes you feel beautiful and you will attract more romance into your life.

3. Treat yourself to romantic outings.
Just because you are single does not mean that you have to miss out on living a life of passion and romance. Take time to pamper yourself spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. Find out what makes you feel special and provide that to yourself on a daily basis.

4. Think hot, passionate thoughts…about yourself
If you want to attract more passion and romance, you must think positive thoughts
about yourself. Find something you love about yourself and tell yourself on a daily basis that you are beautiful and desirable. Thinking great thoughts about yourself will help draw more passion and romance in your life.

5. Do something sexy
In order to have more passion and romance in your life, watch a romantic movie, listen to romantic songs or read a romance novel. Studies show that reading romance novels releases dopamine, the same chemical in the brain that is secreted during sex.
There are many ways you can attract and maintain romance and passion in your life, but it all starts with having a healthy, happy and loving relationship with yourself.

An influential romance expert and paranormal romance author, M. J. Duffy helps the young and the young at heart have passionate, loving relationships and live better lives.

Her debut novel, Lost Love, is a deeply provocative thriller that captures the love, passion and betrayal that exist between two celestial soul mates as they encounter and battle evil that threatens to destroy them. For more information about M. J. Duffy, please visit her websites: www.zanklichronicles.com, www.mjduffy.net, and www.reading4life.com.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Conversations Magazine's Aug./Sept. Issue Cover Revealed

Conversations Media Group is excited to release the cover of the upcoming Aug./Sept. Issue of Conversations Magazine.

The issue, coming out Mon. August 19th, features the stars of Tyler Perry's two shows on OWN: Tyler Lepley, Jaclyn Betham and Gavin Houston of  The Haves and the Have Nots as well as Jonathan Chase of Love Thy Neighbor.

Also inside this issue are interviews with Haves and Have Nots actor Patrick Faucette, Chicken Soup for the Soul Publisher Amy Newmark, celebrity model and fitness trainer Branden Nicholson and CRAFTING CALM author Maggie Shannon. Nicholson also shares his "31 Days of Inspiration" with Conversations Magazine readers, designed to help them discover the "Why" in life.

To order the single issue click on the button below.


For more information about Conversations Magazine and its yearly subscription visit www.conversationsmag.com.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fitness Trainer and Model Branden Nicholson Brings Inspiration to Conversations in August

Branden Nicholson / Photo Credit: Black Russian Studios NYC
During the month of August visitors to Conversations Magazine's website as well as readers of the print magazine will be treated to doses of inspiration courtesy of fitness trainer and model Branden Nicholson.

Beginning August 1st Nicholson and Conversations Magazine's Editor-In-Chief Cyrus Webb, will be sharing what's being called "31 Days of Inspiration". The goal? To get you in the right place mentally to go about facing the day at your strongest.

"We're excited to be working with Branden on this project," says Webb. "I reached out to him about the 31 Days project after interviewing him on Conversations LIVE and prepping an interview for our Aug./Sept. issue of Conversations Magazine and he was agreed to do it.

Nicholson, who is the founder and CEO of B. Nick Fitness, has dedicated his life to not just getting his clients in the best shape possible but stimulating them mentally to face the challenges in front of them. His love of fitness and wellness came 8 years ago when he snapped his right femur bone in half.

"I was rushed to the hospital and had three major surgeries that left me with a 28 inch rod in me with four screws to hold it in place," he says "I was in the hospital for over 2 months. I could not walk for a full year." During this time Nicholson went through the doubt that so plagues so many. "I went from people and coaches calling me everyday to everyone giving up on me including the doctors. I was told I would never return to the football field and would never be able to walk again in life."

Some would have allowed that diagnosis to end any hope they had. Not Branden Nicholson. "Through all of this God was showing and telling me that this is not where I was going to end up at. I used my pain to push me through prosperity. I beat all odds against me.I am here to tell you that when you are going through pain I know exactly what you are feeling, because I have been there. I will tell you this much, if you work through your pain, the other side is your reward.I learned that pain isn't permanent, you can get through this because you are bigger and better then your pain. I proved everyone wrong that tried to stop me, kill my dreams to walk again, that Impossible is nothing.I got this far using my pain.God showed me he had a bigger plan for my life."

Through the "31 Days of Inspiration" it is Nicholson and Webb's hope that readers will be able to find that inner strength to push forward even when the odds seem against them.

Nicholson has this message for anyone going through a trial or situation where they feel there is no hope: "I'm telling you not to give up but to push through it. Pain is temporary.It may last for a minute, hour, day or even a year, but eventually it will subside and something else would take its place.But if you quit that will last forever! "

Look for Nicholson's "31 Days of Inspiration" beginning August 1, 2013 at www.conversationsmag.com and the full list in the Aug./Sept. issue of Conversations Magazine that premiers Mon. Aug. 19, 2013.

For more information on Branden Nicholson visit www.brandennicholson.net.