The Universe always reacts to your thoughts BY RICHARD LEVY

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The Universe always reacts to your thoughts BY RICHARD LEVY

Thoughts make you weathy

The Universe does not have feelings or make decisions to act for you or against you. The Universe is neutral. It doesn’t know anything about bad experiences you may have had or any guilty feelings you suffer. It knows only what you “feed” or remind It through your thoughts, feelings, conversations, and written words.

Therefore, if it is wealth, success, love, and happiness you seek, focus your thoughts on gratefulness, appreciation, success/wealth affirmations, and visualization. Spend time updating your success board.

Do this for the majority of the day. The Universe will “receive” what you “transmit” and present you with what you want. Watch for wonders you attract into your life!                              

Thoughts Make You Wealthy. Wealth and success start with what you choose to think and talk about most of the day.


Richard Levy is a radio host for the show “Wealthy Thoughts.”  on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Network.  Levy is a nationally acclaimed motivational speaker, author and life coach. He is best known for his “Thoughts Make You Wealthy” philosophy, which focuses on identifying negative habits and replacing them with abundant thoughts and behaviors that cultivate personal and professional success. Levy’s philosophy is practiced by thousands of people across the country and has helped transform the lives of many.

Levy’s positive lifestyle led him to personal and professional success and now his pursuit to help others learn to think their way to abundant lives of success, wealth, health and love. He speaks at events all across the country and regularly holds wealth seminars. His first book, “Thoughts Make You Wealthy,” was published in 2012. Levy lives in Chicago, where he enjoys spending time with his wife Anne and their two dogs, Lucy and Ricky.

Does Your Company Need CPR? By Marcia Zidle

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Does Your Company Need CPR?  By Marcia Zidle


Many companies have a values statement on the wall. But ask any employee, or even top managers, what their values are and, yes, some can rattle them off. But then go further and ask this question: How would I know it if I see it? Then you probably will get a blank stare of some mumble jumble answer.

CPR to the Rescue

1. Create
Organizations often tout their values – accountability, innovation, integrity, quality, respect, teamwork – but when is the last time you asked if these values have been defined in behavioral terms? Does the company know what “respect “looks like, feels like or smells like?

In a leadership program for a growing hospitality company, each module of the training included an exercise called “Values in Action”. Here’s an example. Your customers would see and know “integrity” because you would:

  • Admit mistakes – don’t blame others, take responsibility to solve the problem.
  • Do what you say you were going to do – and if you can’t, say so.
  • Lead by example in both personal and business conduct.

2. Practice
This involves actually doing what you say you value. A critical part of strong leadership is the degree to which what you profess and what you do are in alignment. Here’s an exercise.

  • Pick one value you want to practice. Don’t be an over-achiever and try to accomplish more. Start small and then build. 
  • Ask how can I demonstrate this value this week? For example, if it’s “respect”, then who are the folks I want to show respect to and how will I do it? It could be as simple as not interrupting Mary when she gets long winded.
  • Assess the end of the week what specific things you did to exemplify this particular value? What might have been opportunities you missed? For example, when Joe came in to my office and said…. I could have said this…..

3. Reinforce
The reinforcement part requires even more effort. It involves specific and deliberate application of affirmation, encouragement and reward for positive behavior. This can be done through feedback when you see an employee treating a customer with respect; or it could be part of the annual performance appraisal; or it could be done by storytelling – a powerful way to communicate what we value and how we behave around here.

The $125,000 Thank You
All companies go through tough times but it’s the way they handle it that makes a difference. Armstrong International put a wage freeze into effect to get through what looked like a very difficult year. Right from the start, management was up front with employees talking about how they plan to handle this challenge.

However, the year turned out much better than projected. So to celebrate, everyone was asked to attend a meeting where David Armstrong, the CEO, was standing behind a large table covered by a white sheet. He explained that since the company was doing much better, he wanted to share its good fortune.

He then lifted the sheet and everyone saw, to their amazement, a table covered with $10 bills; some 12,500 of them – stacked two feet high. One by one, each employee came up and was told, “Thank you for your understanding and commitment to Armstrong” and walked away with forty crisp, new $10 bills.

This story has been told over and over again by employees and by the media because it demonstrated and reinforced the key values of the company;  Honesty – Fairness – Respect – Trust – Loyalty – Dignity –  Hard Work.


Smart Moves Tip:
Values are important. They describe how you relate to your staff, customers, investors and suppliers. Numbers tell you how much there is of something, not if it is right. Values tell you whether something you’re doing is right or wrong. What are your values and how do you put them into action?

Marcia Zidle, the smart moves executive coach and speaker, is host of The Business Edge  on the VoiceAmerica Business Network. The show features the Smart Growth System providing small to medium sized businesses the proper foundation for expansion: a Growth Agenda that becomes their roadmap, a Growth Engine that attracts and engages the best talent and Growth Leaders that make it happen. Marcia, the CEO of Leaders At All Levels, brings street smarts to help businesses get on the right track and not get sidetracked on their path to higher performance and profitability.

Why So Serious?! By Mary Meduna, Ph.D.

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Why So Serious?!  By Mary Meduna, Ph.D.

smile, Mary Meduna, VoiceAmerica


How many times have you shared a full belly laugh with friends or family in the past week? In the past month? 

Take a listen around your office; around the classrooms in your school or district.  How much laughter do you hear? How many smiles do you encounter?

What do you find? Does there seem to be more catabolic energy that is reflected in the criticizing, complaining and blaming, or do you find more of the ease that accompanies the anabolic energies of optimism, support, and encouragement?

Educational leadership is wrought with stress!  Especially at this time of year when most of the staff and the students are feeling spent. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you observed and discovered more catabolic energy than anabolic energy. 

But what do you want to create? What would it be like if you could inject your daily experiences with the joy of humor? How would that impact learning? Creativity? Health? How we get along with each other? 

This week we are looking forward to our conversation with Mary Kay Morrison. Mary Kay is an educator and “humergy” expert. We will talk about what research tells us but even more importantly, we are going to talk about how to enhance our experiences through the anabolic energy of humor! 



Mary Meduna is co-host of the show, “Educational Leadership, What Else Is Possible” with Margaret Ruff on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel.  Mary and Margaret share more than 40 years of experience in the public school setting including classroom, building administration, central office, special education administration and parent leadership.

What is unique about their histories is that at every turn, they both took the road less traveled.

What is the road less traveled? On this road, the status quo is questioned, even challenged. On this road, colleagues are honored for their contribution to the team, not for their position on the organizational chart. On this road, the emphasis is on supporting others to grow in their roles, not on doing it for them.

And It HURT, man! Really bad!

With a belief in the value of access to public education for all, and with a belief that leaders with the knowledge, skill, and talent to create a supportive work and learning environment are already in the system, they set out to find a way to support these leaders. Through traditional administration programs and industry-leading coaching programs, they have prepared themselves to develop school leaders who lead with their spirit so that the collective spirit of public education becomes generative and innovative.


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child mirror, reflection, voiceamerica


From the day you were born your parents have been caring for you, worrying about you, providing for you and loving you. That’s a lot. But they do it because you are their most precious and valuable investment. For those who are not with their Bio family, know that there are caring people around you, you too are loved. You are a great investment to society. There is a reason why you are here on earth; there is a purpose for you. Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.~Robert Heinlein

Excerpt  from DrStem’s new book: 47 1/2 Things Teens Need To Know About Getting Along With Their Parents.

DrStem Mahlatini is the Host of The DrStem Show promoting positive self-images, resiliency, success tips and inner strength for teens, parents and teachers. Listen in Live on VoiceAmerica. 4-5pm Est; 1-2pm Pacific; 9-10pm.  She is a transitional life-career coach; motivational speaker, soft skills trainer and author. To book her, purchase her products or hire her as a transitional life-career coach please go to Global Counseling. Email drstemahlatini@gmail.com or call (781) 254-1602.

Isolation Is Not Good For You

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Health & Wellness
Isolation Is Not Good For You

loneliness, VoiceAmerica


Lonliness is something we have all experienced and while some people enjoy being by themselves others hate it.  Here is an interesting concept, living by yourself can make you very sick and can even kill you.  “Lonliness studies” came about from Frieda Fromm-Richamm’s 1959 document based the observation and study of mental illness and the ability to heal all mental illness patients through trust and intimacy.  Her document is the foundation of a movement of scientific research which essentially shows living by one’s self can make you sick and even kill you.  For more on this fascinating topic read, The Lethality of Loneliness: We now know how it can ravage our body and brain by Judith Shulevitz



Blogging: Why it’s important to your brand, business and radio show BY Brooke Ide

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Blogging: Why it’s important to your brand, business and radio show BY Brooke Ide

blogging, voiceamerica network


Who’s doing it?

CEOs, corporate executives and industry specialists are taking the opportunity to write on what they know best, their businesses and industry.   All the news outlets are essentially blogs now too.  Here are some of my favorite executive blogs Craig Newmark of Craigslist.org, Kevin Lynch of Adobe,  Richard Branson of Virgin, and Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, are all great examples of public figures from very successful companies who have adopted blogging as an effective way to communicate. 

Why Should You Blog?

Why shouldn’t you?  Writing articles on what you know is good for you, good for your business and good for mankind.  It helps with search engine optimization (more to come on that), establishing your business/profession as an expert, while also educating your customer or potential listener.

S.E.O – the greatest acronym on the face of the internet planet.

Search Engine Optimization is the technical term.  For us laymen, the term equates to, “ how can I make my website, show, business and brand yield searchable results online so people, leads and listeners can find me?  Creating engaging radio content coupled with textual content/blogging is a great way to increase the ability for people to find you, your business and your show.  If you want to go a step further, start making videos too and throw those up on your site and YouTube.  YouTube is the 2nd highest trafficked search engine out there so start engaging in video content to compliment your audio and textual content!

Articles on topics you are versed in position YOU as the expert.  For example, if you are a specialist in public speaking and someone is researching “tips to speak better in public” and your article shows up in the search results, indirectly you are advertising yourself as an expert in this space.   Take it a step further, and they read your article, then see at the bottom of your article your bio and a link to your radio show.  Then they click on the link to your show, listen to a show, maybe 2, bookmark your host page and TADAAAA, you have a new listener.  Then this new listener, posts your VoiceAmerica Radio Host page onto their Facebook profile page where their 850 friends can see your host page and access your radio show.   Let’s keep going, because this individual likes your show so much they post your article and host page on their LinkedIn profile where they have 500 contacts.  Magically you now are introduced to 1,350 new potential listeners/clients who have networks of their own to share your content with, and so on and so on.  Eventually your article or host page makes its way to a CEO of a Fortune 500 company and out- of-the-blue you are solicited to develop a year-long workshop so all 600 of their employees become better public speakers.  That’s the power of SEO, social media and the viral nature of the internet.  The mediums you chose to use should complement one another.  Radio + Video + Blogging = really good online representation, enhanced brand exposure and increased reach to your community, potential leads and listeners.

Helps Expands The Reach To Your Show

Blogging creates text. Published text online creates index-able terms for search engines.  People searching on what you are writing on, only further compliments what you are already doing as radio show hosts.  Look at it as another way to support your radio show, message, and content.

Makes You More Aware of Your Business

Blogging forces you to look at the industry you operate in, how you are effecting it, how others are influencing it and ultimately if you are on the forefront or back end to trends in your space. 


Brooke Ide is the Director of Marketing for VoiceAmerica.  She can be reached at brooke @ voiceamerica . com.  


The Happiness of Being in the Flow BY KIM KIRCHER

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The Happiness of Being in the Flow BY KIM KIRCHER

Andrew Longstreth

Photo by Andrew Longstreth

Want to be truly happy? Submerse yourself in something. Anything. As it turns out, we are happiest when we are focused. In the zone, going with the flow, in the moment, call it what you will. But when you are so focused that nothing else can intrude, then you find happiness.

It’s that simple.

Maybe this is why I love to ski. I love to stand on top of a steep chute, drop in and focus only on the feel of the snow beneath my skis. Recently I skied a chute called Brain Damage at Crystal Mountain, where I work as a professional ski patroller. While the name of the chute is intimidating and the entrance is a no fall zone, in reality it isn’t that difficult. It’s enough to make me focus, but not so steep that I have to talk myself into it.

During those first few turns I bobbled a little, catching the inside of my right edge and chattering along the firm surface. I recovered before I even realized what had happened and continued through the narrowest part before traversing over to the wind-buffed Shank’s Chute and skied all the way to the bottom. I thought of nothing else but the skiing: the consistency of the snow, how it started like firm chalk and gave way to a soft, carve-able palate; the way my skis arced from one side of the couloir to another, the edges cutting tracks across the raised sides of the chute; the rock partway down the run that I hopped over gingerly and stopped thinking about the moment I passed over it.

When I got to the bottom, I didn’t look back at my run. I just traversed towards the chairlift with a smile on my face. I was happy. For the few minutes it took me to complete the run, no other thoughts intruded. I did not think about work or the writing assignments in my inbox. There was no room in my brain for how I would juggle my schedule in the upcoming week, or the interviews I had scheduled or the millions of megabytes of brain space being occupied by all the things I wasn’t doing at that moment.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s wrote the book on flow. In fact, his book FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE has become the bible of all things zonal and flow-like, whether in action sports, playing the piano or becoming deeply involved in art. Being in flow, according to Csikszentmihalyi, provides us with optimal experiences, allowing us to live to our greatest potential. Flow moments have a few prerequisites.

  • There is a balance between challenge and skill. You won’t feel in flow if you’re either a) scared out of your mind or b) bored. Brain Damage is anything but boring for me. Nor is it so difficult that I’m unable to drop in without wetting my pants. 
  • Feedback is immediate. When I nearly fell at the top of Brain Damage, I received clear feedback. Pay attention. Get your skis underneath you, Stupid.
  • The goals are clear. There’s no equivocation. The goal of skiing a steep chute is to get to the bottom with a modicum of style and all of your limbs intact.
  • Action and awareness are merged. This is my favorite prerequisite. My personality vacillates between action and reflection. This is fine, but sometimes I get tired of analyzing everything. When I cannot think beyond the action of my next turn, I’m happy. Truly, truly happy.
  • Time is distorted. A few minutes can seem like an eternity, or hours can whiz by without realizing it. My run in Brain Damage, which lasted less than a minute, felt much longer. I can still recall it in its entirety, even without the help of a helmet cam.
  • Self-consciousness and fear of failure fall away. For the length of my run down Brain Damage, I did not once worry if I was sticking my butt out too far. When I almost fell, I didn’t consider the consequences or overthink my run. Instead I made the required moves to get back on track and continued down.
  • The experience is autotelic, or worthwhile in itself. I didn’t look back at my tracks, take photos or videos and I didn’t post my run on Facebook (although yes, I’m using it here on this blog as an example of happiness. That doesn’t count). The doing of the thing–not the sharing of the thing–was worthy all by itself.


I, for one, can be in my head a little too much. It is these moments of intense focus that bring me back. As both a writer and ski patroller, I get to experience these flow moments as part of my job, when I’m not over-thinking, I’m simply a part of a larger picture. And that makes me very happy.


Kim Kircher is a professional ski patroller, author and talk show radio host for The Edge on the VoiceAmerica Sports Network. She has logged over 600 hours of explosives control, earning not only her avalanche blaster’s card, but also a heli-blaster endorsement, allowing her to fly over the slopes in a helicopter and drop bombs from the open cockpit, while uttering the fabulously thrilling words “bombs away” into the mic.

Her memoir, THE NEXT 15 MINUTES, takes the lessons she learned on the slopes as an EMT and applies them to her husband’s battle with bile duct cancer and subsequent liver transplant. Her articles have appeared in Women’s Adventure, The Ski Journal and Powder Online. She is currently at work on a book about risk and reward in action sports.

Her awards include the National Ski Patrol’s Purple Merit Star for saving a life and the Green Merit Star for saving a life in arduous conditions. Her memoir received the book award from the North American Ski Journalists Association.


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Health & Wellness


tonic herbs, Michele Vergara, Andres Vergara, VoiceAmerica



In Chinese medicine and Taoist traditions, there is a rich and nuanced understanding of how herbs can be used to prevent disease and promote radiant health, in much the same way we might use vitamins in the west.  These herbs are referred to as tonic herbs or adaptogens because they can be taken regularly and consistently, as a result, often used as super foods.  These herbs promote health and longevity and help the body to adapt to emotional, physical and chemical stressors.  They can help people recover strength and vitality after chronic illness or health issues, such as cancer.  On the March 19th episode of Holistic Healing with Herbs and Chinese Medicine, we devote the entire show to discussing tonic herbs, how they work, and their benefits.

Herbs can and have been used for many millennia to heal the body and promote longevity.  In Chinese medicine, this tradition of using herbs in formulation to tonify the body and its vital organs and processes was developed and honed by the Taoists.  There are legendary stories about Taoist masters, typically hermits who resided deep in the mountains, who lived to be 200 or even up to 500 years of age.  There is a documented case of one man, named Li Ch’ing Yuen who lived to be 252 years old and used herbs, food, and Taoist nei gong (inner meditation practices).  For more information about nei gong, you can listen the February 19th episode of Holistic Healing with Herbs and Chinese Medicine, titled Qi Gong: The Spiritual Science Behind Chinese Medicine. 

Official Chinese government records date his birth to 1678 in the southwest of China and document his death in 1930.  He was told when he turned 50 to consume a soup of goji berry or lyciium chinensis by an old man he met who, despite his advanced age, seemed to be in better health and could out walk Yuen.  He consumed this until he was 130 years old. At the age of 130 he met a Taoist hermit who claimed to be 500 years old.  The Taoist hermit suggested he consume panax ginseng or red ginseng (ren shen) combined with polygonum multiflorum (he shou wu) daily, as well as taught him nei gong.  Yuen ate little meat, few root vegetables, and limited whole grains, instead eating steamed above ground vegetables and herbs.  He lived another 122 years, dying at 252 years of age, reportedly after a banquet honoring him held by a government official. Ron Teeguarden shares this excellent story in his book Tonic Herbs, which is a great resource on Chinese tonic herbs (or his newer version Radiant Health: the Ancient Wisdom of Chinese Tonic Herbs).

In countries like China there are persistent stories of extreme longevity due to the consumption of herbs and the practice of internal meditation qi gong practices. The Taoist art of longevity is known as the art of radiant health. In Chinese culture herbs were traditionally used daily as a preventive medicine by the elite classes, much in the same way we use vitamins in the west.  Specific herbal blends can be tailored to the season to promote health and prevent illness.  There is a traditional Chinese saying that mirrors this, which is “Treating someone who is sick is like making weapons after the war has started.” This saying sums up the idea that by maintaining the health of the physical body illness is prevented.  Not everyone in our culture has the foresight to think 30 or 40 or 50 years ahead in terms of their health.  This is the wisdom of tonic herbalism and qi gong – focusing daily on cultivating radiant health naturally prevents illness and dis-ease which in turn increases longevity.

Chinese medicine overall as a healthcare system has a much greater sensitivity to the precursors of illness and disease, the subtle indicators in terms of emotional, mental, and physical health, which is a reflection of it’s Taoist influences. In western medicine, health problems are often not acknowledged and treated until the issue reaches the point of diagnosis.  This is one of the rich gifts of Chinese medicine, that it focuses not simply about preventing illness but about the specific ways you can cultivate health and wellness.

How Do Tonic Herbs Work

Herbs are classified as tonic herbs because they have no negative side effects and can therefore be taken in large doses over long periods.  All traditional systems (that we are familiar with) classify herbs according to their effect on the body in terms of moisture and temperature, their energetic quality. Does the herb makes the body hotter, colder, dryer, or moister?  This is probably one of the most important contributions that traditional systems bring to practice of herbal medicine, as well as one of the key things that differentiates it from western medicine in terms of  how herbs are applied to specific conditions.

In Chinese medicine, herbs can be classified in various ways.  One way is the level of the body’s substances that it affects, either the yin, yang, qi, blood, or jing levels.  A second is the the empirical action of the herb, such as herbs that stop cough, alleviate pain, or stop bleeding. Thirdly, specific herbs are also described by their directional influence or part of the body they target (ie directing energy upward or to the lower body or to the head). Herbs are described by the organs and meridians they act on, as well, such as the kidney or heart or gallbladder meridian. Lastly, herbs also have a flavor that corresponds to the organs they target, with five flavors of salty, sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter.  In this article, we will mainly be describing tonic herbs according to the level of body substance that they affect.

Qi refers to the energy matrix within the body that animates and enlives us.  Yin refers mostly to substances such as the viscera and the fluids. Blood is an aspect of the yin that is an indicator of general health. For example too little blood will mean things like anxiety, palpitations, and insomnia because the heart and the liver will not be sufficiently nourished to provide restful sleep and a peaceful inner state of being. Blood tonic herbs tend to be moistening – literally moistening from the inside out.  Yang is on the continuum of qi the same way yin is on the continuum of blood.  The yin aspects are the fluids, organs and substances in the body, while the yang aspects are the energetic impulse that animates the body as well as aspects of the structure like the bones.This means that when one is low on qi or deficient in qi that, over time, the yang will become affected.  In the same way, long term blood deficiency will also influence the yin. Because both yang and yin are said to reside in the kidneys it is important to use tonic herbs that will provide kidney strength for longterm health and well being. The jing, also said to reside in the kidneys, is the essence, one of whose manifestations is in seminal fluids. By preserving jing through herbs and sexual practices that are non-ejaculatory and instead, focus on circulating the sexual energies, one can live a healthier and longer life.

One simple way to begin assessing which tonic herbs are best for you is to use the eight principles. The eight principles are: Yin and Yang, cold and hot, deficiency and excess, internal and external. Because herbs have different actions such as warming or cooling and can have different vectors of movement such as moving outwards or inwards, it is important to use the eight principles as a guide when deciding which herbs to use. You want to select herbs that reflect the opposite of the state of the body. For example, if you are deficient in yin energy, you will choose herbs that build the yin aspects of the body and are therefore cooling and moistening.

A person who is hot at night might have yin deficiency because this heat or yang-natured energy means there is likely not enough yin (cooling energy) to counter and balance the yang – night is the most yin time of day so if your yin is depleted you will be more aware of that at night. Likewise a very cold person may have a deficiency of yang energies. Also it is important to determine whether a person’s condition is one of deficiency which means that their reserves are low and that the organs are functioning sub optimally. Low spirit, weak pulse, low libido, sluggish memory, etc… will all be signs of deficiency. Excess refers to energy that is stuck or stagnate in the body, resulting in such a range of symptoms such as sharp or migrating pains, mograines or depression. And of course these are all also relative and will have various gradations depending on the individual. Internal refers to the health of the viscera, while external refers to the surface of the body such as a dermatological condition.

It is always best to have a trained practitioner of Chinese medicine to assess the best combination of tonic herbs, as they can assess the subtleties and complexities of the symptoms or signs to select the best combination of herbs. The tonic herbs are considered to be generally safe to take because of their ability to boost the chi, yin and yang and jing. They do have specific properties, organ affinities, and can be used in a targeted way to help someone heal, and are particularly useful in helping people recover strength and vitality after chronic illness or health issues.

We are including a short list of some of the more popular tonic herbs according to the level of body substance that they tonify or nourish, many of which can be found here in the United States.  The bulk herbs section of Mountain Rose Herbs offers excellent quality herbs and is a good source to find many of these.  This article, hopefully gives you a good taste of the benefits and possibilities tonic herbs offer for cultivating health and well being. 

Yin Tonics

American Ginseng or Panax quinquefolius or Xi yang Shen

Wild asparagus root (Chinese and ayurvedic version of this herb asparagus lucidus or asparagus raceomus or Shatavari is the Ayurvedic version– the difference is that the raceomus is not as cooling a tonic herb but has a more neutral flavor) Tian Men Dong is the Chinese version

Ophiopogon Japonici or Mai Men Dong

Yin and Yang Tonic

Schisandra chinenesis or wu wei zi

Yang Tonics

Eleutherococcus senticocus or Wu jia shen

Cinnamon bark or Rou Gui

Withania somnifera or ashwaganda (Ayurvedic herb)

Blood Tonics

Angelica sinensis or Dang Gui

Lyciium chinensis or Go Qi Zi

Paeonia lacitflora or Bai Shao (white peony)

Qi Tonics

Codonopsis Pilosula or Dang Shen

Astragalus membranaceus or Huang Qi

Zizyphus jujuba or Hong Zao (red jujube dates -nourishes the blood/yin too)

Glycyrrhizae uralensis or Gan Cao  (licorice root)

Jing Tonics

Polygonum Multiflorum or He shou wu

Royal Jelly or Feng wang (bee secretions)


Michele and Andres are both very passionate about the practice of Chinese medicine and qi gong. They have studied and practiced Chinese medicine for a combined total of over eighteen years. In 2011, they spent six months studying Chinese herbal medicine in a university hospital setting that emphasized the practice of integrated Chinese herbal and allopathic medicine. Michele and Andres both teach and write about Chinese and herbal medicine, such as speaking for the Natural Triad/Wake Forest Integrative Medicine Seminar Series and publishing in the Journal of the American Herbalist Guild. Michele, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild (RH) and a Master of Public Health, integrates Chinese, Ayurvedic, and western herbs, nutritional therapy, and qi gong into her practice as an herbalist. She studied with Michael and Leslie Tierra at the East West School of Herbology where she is a certified herbalist. She serves on the board of the North Carolina Herb Association and is a member of the teaching faculty of the Academy of Integrated Medicine. Andres is an acupuncturist, herbalist, and teacher of qi gong, using solely Chinese herbs in his practice. He received his M.Ac. from Tai Sophia Institute in Maryland. He is currently licensed to practice in North Carolina, but has practiced in both North Carolina and Maryland.  He has studied with a variety of well-regarded teachers of Chinese medicine, including Lonnie Jarrett, Dr. Tan, and Bob Flaws. For more information, visit their website at www.spiritrisingherbs.com, their Facebook page at Spirit Rising Herbs,LLC, or email them at spiritrisingherbs@gmail.com.

Think, React, Respond: Pamela Hill Has All The Answers

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Think, React, Respond: Pamela Hill Has All The Answers

Think, React, Respond, Pamela Hill, VoiceAmerica


PressPass writer Melissa Ellingson recently sat down with host Pamela Hill of the show “Fear Is Negotiable:  Business Survival Skills 101,” to talk about her career as a consultant to businesses around the country.  Hill’s specialty is how to best prepare organizations in identifying and mitigating risk to their operation, infrastructure and physical security in the cases of information security, cyber-security, work place violence, and natural disasters.  Her 30 year career makes her one of the most qualified consultants in her space and she has A LOT to tell us all about in how to think, react, and respond to virtually any emergency situation.   How will you act in any situation?

1)       How long have you been in your line of work? 

Coming up on 30 years now!

2)       What professions ultimately led you to becoming a consultant?  

I actually started my career as a business analyst, which gave me a deep understanding of how businesses function, how they are organized and ultimately what is critical to an organizations survival.  Understanding all aspects of a business and how it works is really the key in helping it survive a disaster.   I got into this as a consultant, rather than an in-house expert, because I love the challenges of building resiliency programs for a wide variety of industries and business practices.  I also love the travel and opportunity of working with unique and diverse clients.

However, I have to say I got into the business of teaching people to be prepared to take action during emergencies when I, for all intents and purposes, watched a man die in front of me because at that point in my life I had no training to help him.  Within 1 month of that experience I was in Emergency Medical Technician training, within a few years I was on a Fire Department, and I spent several years teaching CPR and first aid for the American Red Cross and American Heart Association.    That experience changed the course of my life, and I have spent the last 30 years teaching others to take action as a result. 

3)       What is your main focus in helping businesses? 

I used to think it was building the Business Continuity Program, but after having gone through a lot of disasters with clients, I realized my primary responsibility is training executive teams to maintain the ability to think through an emergency, maintain communications and make sound, timely decisions.  I do that through intensive face-to-face training, scenarios and rehearsals.

4)       What roll does the government play in creating some of the policies you help companies adhere to?

This varies upon the type of business, but the government does regulate certain industries, such as banking and financial services, to have a business continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure the people, technology and processes are in place to give people access to their money, and that their confidential information is protected and secure.

5)       What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Actually being part of a recovery with clients, or at a minimum, holding debriefs after an emergency to talk about how they responded and what they learned.   It may sound cheesy, but my client’s success during a crisis is the best part of my job for sure.  And what’s interesting is how much better they come out on the other side of a disaster.  It may take them awhile to see the silver lining, but I have never had a client not glean something useful and meaningful from any situation.  They teach me about life with every encounter.

6)       Why is it important for businesses to be prepared?

Because something IS going to happen, and it will come out of left field and be completely different from what you imagined.  Those are the events that take your rational, thinking brain out of the equation for a while.  That’s why you must have a plan.  Preparation lessens fear, it lessens anxiety, and it puts you in a position to respond rather than react.  People’s lives may literally depend on a business’s preparation.  This is the reality of the world we live in now. 

7)       Have you personally ever experienced any type of workplace violence, cyber-attack, financial crisis, etc.…?  

As I mentioned, I got into this business based upon my own personal experience of NOT acting when I needed to, but wasn’t trained to do so.  Also, I was on a Fire Department for 5 years, so I had the unique perspective of being front and center during a lot of true emergencies.  I have also been involved with clients in every major disaster since the Loma Prieta earthquake back in 1989.  While it may not have been my business affected, I have been personally changed by every single experience.

8)       Where are most of your clients located?  Do you travel mostly locally, nationally or internationally?

My clients are all over the world, but most of my travel is to the west, gulf or east coast due to the high risk factors in those areas.  Believe me, on the coasts, it’s a much easier sell for necessity of a business continuity and disaster recovery plan!

9)       What is the best way to be emotionally prepared for workplace violence?

This is a really important question because, as we talk about on my show Fear is Negotiable, mental preparation and rehearsal is absolutely essential to surviving any event, but most importantly a life threatening event such as an active shooter.  It’s critical to understand that your rational mind leaves your body during a life threatening emergency.  Your body wants to ensure your survival, so it reacts, and it may not always react in the most effective manner.  So, you must have the skills to get your brain back in control, as we discussed in Episode 2. 

Second, understand all the ways that an active shooter incident can come about.  Most people just prepare for an active shooter in the lobby, but the fact is these events can come about in any number of ways, on any floor, in any location of your office.  You may hear a loud noise or see people running well in advance of actually seeing a shooter.  Doing a mental rehearsal of what you would do, where you would run to or hide, it trains your brain to automatically respond in an appropriate manner.  Mental or physical rehearsals are THE keys to emotional preparation.

10)   What type of organizations do you find need more help with disaster preparedness?

I think geographic location and the related risks are more of an indicator of who may need the most help, rather than the type of organization. That said, in my opinion it’s probably the service industries that need the most help.  It’s not as easy to quantify the loss or true costs of downtime, or the impact of a disaster to many service industries.   Also, they are often reliant on people as their key resource, and dealing with people after a disaster is clearly the most challenging task any organization will face because you simply don’t have the type of control or predictability you would have, say, with a machine. 

11)   What was the largest-scaled disaster you have ever had to work with?

Without a doubt, Hurricane Katrina.  Keep in mind even just that few years ago (2005), the processes, communications and infrastructure weren’t (really) in place within the government or local authorities to deal with a disaster of that size and scale.  Certainly businesses where not prepared like many are now.  Back then, if they even had a plan, most business focused on the recovery of their technology systems.   They did not account for the scope of human need that would come about when over a million people were displaced from their homes for an extended period of time.  I’ve been saying this for years – if you want people to come back to work so your business can continue, you must help them take care of their basic needs, like a safe place for their families to stay while they are at work.  If you don’t put people first, they won’t be there when you need them.  And you WILL need them following a big disaster.  Hurricane Katrina taught that lesson in a way that no other disaster before or since has. 

12)   What are 3 main things that businesses can do to prepare for a crisis?  

Have a communications plan.  Know who, when, how and what you are going to communicate to employees regarding the status of the business during any hour of the day or night.  Disasters don’t just happen during the day. 

Build redundancy and failover for your businesses key technology and data, and make sure they can be accessed from outside the company just in case you can’t get into the facility.  Businesses are almost 100% reliant on access to technology to continue functioning.  There is a good reason why so much effort was, and continues to be, put to ensuring systems resiliency.

Train, train, train.  Training and mental preparation are the key to ensuring a timely and effective response, rather than a visceral reaction. 


Pamela Hill is a host on the VoiceAmerica Business Channel, where she hosts the show “Fear Is Negotiable: Business Survival Skills: 101” 
Tuesdays at 11 am Pacific.  Hill has over twenty five years of experience in business continuity planning and emergency preparedness. She has managed and implemented all phases of business continuity planning, including risk analysis, technology recovery solution development, life/safety planning, crisis management and communication.



The Story of Why I Do What I Do BY PAMELA HILL

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The Story of Why I Do What I Do BY PAMELA HILL

people helping people, pamela hill, risk pa, voiceamerica, presspass


It was a warm and bright September day in Seattle as I wandered rather aimlessly through Pike Place Market with my friend Dana. Our lack of direction as we drifted along with the crowds almost perfectly mirroring the lack of direction I was experiencing in my own life. It was the early 1980s and I was working in corporate America in a job that while fun, showed little promise of ever becoming interesting enough to call a career. I am not even sure if I knew how rudderless I had become. There was a song playing in my heart that needed and wanted to be expressed, but for some reason I was feeling stifled and passive. The universe must have been listening to my singing heart, because it was about to send me a call to action that would dramatically lead me to an expression of my life’s purpose in ways I never could have imagined.  

Dana and I were continuing our amblings at the market, and had left the inner walkway as we headed outside, pizza in hand. Once outside, we noticed a commotion and saw two men, one chasing the other. People were moving out of their way as they rapidly approached us. Suddenly, right in front of us, the second man slipped on the cobblestone and fell down hard. He just lay there, sort of dazed, looking up at the sky. As people began circling around him, Dana and I just sort of stood there with our pizza in our hands looking down at him. After what felt like forever, I handed my pizza to Dana, took off my coat and leaned down to put it under his head. I could see the police as they headed toward us. 

I remained kneeling by the man, with my insides being torn in two. Here I was, sharing this experience with this human being who was completely incapacitated. He was young, strong, athletic‐looking, and utterly helpless. At that time, I had no medical training, no emergency skills to call upon, and so felt completely helpless myself. As my mind raced and my hands shook, I called upon the only thing I could think of, the bond and comfort of human connection, that visceral energy that ties us one to another. Instead of treating his wounded arm, I looked into his eyes and touched his arm as he looked up at me like a drowning man holding onto a life preserver. He had no words. I had no words. All we could do was look into each other’s eyes. As the police arrived to help, I stepped back, hesitant to break that connection between us. Despite the help and flurry of activity around him, he kept my gaze until someone stepped between us.

Dana and I walked away, completely shaken. We talked and talked and talked about what had happened, trying to process the event and make meaning out of it. I talked about it with other friends, at work and at home, to anyone who would listen. What took me a long time to realize is that I was hoping and waiting for someone to tell me, “You did all you could.” I would not have believed them, but I so desperately wanted to hear those words. I felt such a deep sense of disappointment in myself for my failure to act. That stream of disappointment became a raging torrent of unforgiving and self‐loathing. I did not act. I did not act. I did not act. It became a mantra to me: a searing judgment of myself. I was consumed by my failure by my failure to act.

Five days after the event, I was reading the Seattle Times when I saw a small story barely 100 word about a man who was shopping at the Pike Place Market on the eve of his wedding when he was robbed of the $589 he had in his back pocket to buy last minute wedding items. He gave chase, slipped on the cobblestone and shattered his elbow. He died five days later of a blood clot as a result of that injury. I could not think. I could not breathe. I stared out the window and let the tears flow for this man. My heart grieved for his fiancé who would never be the bride to his groom. I grieved for a vital life lost in such a senseless death, and for potential lost. I grieved that this man’s death was written in 100 words or less.

I was consumed with sorrow for this man I did not know. I was consumed with self‐reproach for my inaction. Could I have changed this outcome? Probably not, but it did not matter. I was tried and convicted, as I played judge, jury and executioner in the court of Pam. I had failed the gift of a bright mind and strong arms. Inaction. Worse than death in this court. 

I sat for days lost in despair, desperately trying to find something I could do to change the way things had turned out. After countless days of self‐flagellation, I still sensed the downward push of grief, but now I also started feeling the beginning of the upward pull of something else. Ideas. Thoughts. A gelling of the ether inside. Action. A call to action. Action is forgiveness. Action is repentance. Action is hope. Action is my resurrection. At that exact moment in time, I knew the part of me that had spent the better part of life drifting, unfocused, unenthused and disconnected, had died along with this man. A new person had emerged, one who would never be at a loss for action again.

Within a few months, I was teaching first aid and CPR for the Red Cross. I went through emergency medical training, and a few years later, I was a firefighter in a small fire department. Now I spend my life teaching businesses how to prepare for and respond to emergencies. Just DO something. That became my mantra, and that phrase has utterly transformed my life. Without knowing it, this man, this vital life, had given me a soul gift. The best gift I have ever received. He ignited a passion in me to live my true mission in life. Action. Teaching others how to take action. 

It has been almost 30 years now, and I still give thanks for his sacrifice. It took me years and years to understand what that fateful day meant for my life, and it is only by  telling this story have I realized that the fire in my soul of every minute of every day is to prove myself worthy of him. And for that I am forever grateful.



Pamela Hill is a host on the VoiceAmerica Business Channel, where she hosts the show “Fear Is Negotiable: Business Survival Skills: 101”
Tuesdays at 11 am Pacific.  Hill has over twenty five years of experience in business continuity planning and emergency preparedness. She has managed and implemented all phases of business continuity planning, including risk analysis, technology recovery solution development, life/safety planning, crisis management and communication.

Ms. Hill began her career as the Corporate Recovery Planner for a large financial services firm in Seattle. She now resides in Chicago. With her extensive hands on experience in both planning and successful recoveries, she is widely recognized as an industry leading expert on business continuity planning and data privacy/information security management.

Ms. Hill is a regular presenter for organizations including International Legal Technology Association, Association of Legal Administrators, Infragard organization, International Facilities Management Association, New York City Legal Forum, and has co-presented with the FBI on security preparedness for a National Security Special Event in Chicago.

Additionally, Ms. Hill is an Illinois state certified fire-fighter and Emergency Medical Technician, with five years of fire-fighting and public safety education experience as a Fire Marshall. She was also an instructor for the American Red Cross. This experience gives her a unique perspective on the emergency preparedness and crisis management process. She is also a certified HIPAA and advanced information security expert.

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