Changing the Odds

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Changing the Odds

As someone who interacts directly with over 50 Angel and Private Investors I am going to share some information with you.

INC magazine reported than one in five Americans would like to own a business. That is 2nd only to home ownership, as part of the American dream. However, more times than not, this dream of owning a business becomes a nightmare.

This is from Forbes magazine – 50% to 60% of small businesses fail within three years. 80% fail with 5 years. 70% of SBA loan applications are rejected.

What is going on here? Obviously, something is seriously wrong with the process of preparing entrepreneur’s. But how can that be when there are dozens and dozens of organizations, be they, Government, nonprofit, or for profit that have classes or seminars or webinars whose intent is to assist business owners through this very process.

So you would think that with all these programs and organizations designed to help, the odds of success would be better. They’re not.  We meet with so many people, who attended these programs and leave less than satisfied. The three statements we hear most often are:

  1. Most of the presenters have never started or owned a business
  2. They present theory not reality
  3. They provide very basic information on WHAT to do, but little to nothing about HOW and WHY to do it

The bottom line is – Far too many small business owners are not adequately prepared to navigate the land mines of becoming a business owner.

If you made it past the five year mark – congratulations! You have beaten the odds. You achieved some degree of success. What did it take?  More than likely you have been working 80+ hours a week; are juggling every crisis alone; have missed far too many family dinners and some of your children’s events just trying to survive. Not thrive, just survive.

Now if you were like me, you might think, Wow, I made it to 5 years, I can finally take a breath & relax.   Well not so fast, nothing stays stagnant in business.

If you made it to 5 years, you are about to enter yet another unknown area.  You are or will be soon in a position where you have to grow or expand or merge or scale, or sell or acquire. Regardless, you are going to need capital again. Now what? More bad news, reports that 50% of businesses fail after 5 years and 70% fail after 10.

Why is there so much failure? It’s not that the ideas were terrible or the owner was not capable. It is quite the contrary. The real problem is you don’t know what you don’t know, and you don’t know where to go to find out what you don’t know.

So what do you do? You talk to friend who knows a guy; or your CPA or lawyer or banker. If you’re lucky, they will be supportive but it’s not their business on the line – it’s yours.

Did you ever talk to your banker or CPA when you were at a cross road? I did turn-arounds of failing companies for over 15 years. I had more of these conversations than I cared to have. The conversation went like this: they nodded at the appropriate places, but when I looked in their eyes, they weren’t engaged. They were thinking, “Oh no, if this thing fails, we have a huge loan out to this guy”; or “We are going to have to raise the interest on his credit line.”

Their primary concern when you are facing a cross road is what happens to them, not you.

Too often when we reach a cross road, we tend to wait to make a decision. We say to ourselves, “I need more data, or “I need to see next month’s report.” As we wait the situation goes from concern to crisis, then crisis to panic. What happens in panic mode?  We either make no decision or a poor decision.

We flounder around hoping to catch lightening in a bottle. Other than Megan Markel, how often does than happen?

As I mentioned, I did turn-arounds of failing companies for several years. These were companies who had some degree of success. All had made it past five years, some past ten. Then they had reached a cross road they had not and were not prepared to address. They found themselves in crisis mode. Far too often this is when they call for help.

Of all the companies I worked with, here is what I found in every case.

  1. They admitted in hindsight they should have bitten the bullet early in the process and engaged with an organization that could have helped them avoid the land mines they stepped on.
  2. They had convinced themselves that they didn’t have the time or the money to bring in help, BUT they would have time as soon as they finished this one last project. Then another last project. You know the story.
  3. While they didn’t have the time of the money to work with someone who has been there and done that, they did have the time and money to hire a fitness trainer or a life coach, or go to three more conferences.

Something must change or this pattern of failure will get worse. So what are you going to do? Consider this!

My associates and I have all started, and successfully operated businesses for decades. We have since sold our companies and are now sharing our 130 years of combined business knowledge and experience. We have developed a four step plan, called “Changing the Odds.” Where we work directly with business owners to guide them through the process of defining, creating, and most important, sustaining a successful business.

Now, you should be saying, “Yeah, yeah Frank, why is this different from the other programs?”

First and foremost we have been there and done that. We know what it takes to successfully run businesses in the real world. Second this is not a class. We don’t present theory and give you reams of paper and send you on your way. We work directly with you through all four steps.

What are the four steps?

  1. Strategic Direction – We help you define WHY you want to start this business and if you are already in business why do you want to take this next step– what value does it provide.
  2. We create a business plan and multiple contingencies. Because no matter what the rules are today – they are going to change.
  3. Branding/Marketing/Positioning – We build you a marketing program, not a campaign, a program, which will differentiate you from the herd.
  4. Fiscal/Financial – We prepare a detailed investor strategy which works for the business and our investor. If we secure funding we stay with you to implement the plan. This will give you the greatest chance for success.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all know, insanity is continuing to do the same old tired processes and expect a different result.  Regardless of where you are in your journey, do yourself a favor and work directly with people who have been there and done that before you put your company and life savings at risk.

Let me leave you with this, the secret to walking on water is to know where the rocks are. We can show you where the rocks are. Call me, let’s talk, I’ll help you.

Plan a Picnic or Pool Party

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Plan a Picnic or Pool Party

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“There are few things so pleasant as a picnic eaten in perfect comfort.”  W. Somerset Maugham

Perhaps because I practiced interior design as a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (A.S.I.D.) for twenty-five years, or perhaps because my gardener mother always created gorgeous, casual, and delicious summer gatherings, my style of summer outdoor entertaining has always included color, surprises, and fun.  With the lovely warm weather, whether it’s throwing a blanket on the deck for an impromptu picnic or setting a stunning table for a themed get-together, dining alfresco is my preferred approach to feeding my guests.  

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My cues arrive in collaboration between my interior and exterior spaces. Since I designed my garden to be an extension of my home, the outdoor eating areas complement the kitchen creating an inviting flow from my interior décor to the garden rooms. Creating this sense of serenity and continuity is as significant to the outside of the home as it is to the inside. Before I plan my menu or my decorations, I meander around my garden spaces, investigating what flowers will be blooming during the fete and what fruits and vegetables will be ready for harvesting. I want to know what scents, textures, lighting, and colors will be on display on that particular day or evening. Once I’ve taken a few photos and made notes, the party planning begins.

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The goal is to always serve a menu filled with fresh, homegrown ingredients that honor the colors of the rainbow. Whatever is ripe in my garden at the moment will star in the meal. If I didn’t grow it, I’ll purchase what’s in season from a local fruit stand or Farmer’s Market.  Tomatoes, beets, arugula, carrots, peppers, eggplant, corn, cucumbers, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, tangerines, apricots, cherries, apples, and eggs are a few of my normal staples that will inspire not only the carte du jour, but my tablecloths, floral arrangements, and tableware. 

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If it’s a pool party, sturdy yet pretty shimmery plastic ware is essential as bringing glass near a swimming area is a major no-no. Making sure the lounge chairs have fluffy beach towels, the fountains are spouting or gurgling, and the planters are filled with colorful combinations of annuals are part of designing an inviting setting that encourages the guests to grab a drink, relax, and inhale the fresh air. 

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For a picnic on the lawn, experiment with an edible arrangement of herbs that can flavor the picnic fare served on paper plates. Basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, sage, lovage, calendula, and nasturtium are starters. Setting up a game of croquet offers a sense of play and recreation.

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For a more formal party, covering chairs with a gauzy material and fashioning a more extravagant centerpiece with roses or peonies adds elegance to the occasion. Besides serving wine, beer, or other beverages consider crafting an original cocktail to get the festivities rolling.

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Here’s a refreshing summer garden cocktail that I concocted for a girlfriend’s birthday that is both luscious and appealing. Measure according to your liking.

Summer Garden Cocktail (or Mocktail)

  • ϖ Muddle together watermelon and mint leaves. 
  • ϖ Add the juice of Meyer lemons and limes. 
  • ϖ Stir in a spoonful of honey. 
  • ϖ Pour into a pitcher with equal parts sparkling water and ginger ale. 
  • ϖ Add tequila or your favorite alcohol. (Eliminate the alcohol for a mocktail)
  • ϖ Stir and pour over crushed ice into glasses rimmed with salt.
  • ϖ Garnish with a spring of mint and piece of melon.Special patio party coctail.jpg

Don’t forget the kids! Make mocktails. When the three or four generations of our extended family gather, the little ones get excited shouting “picnic party, picnic party”.  We’ll paint faces, run around blowing bubbles, climb through nylon tunnels, splash in the pool, and dance to silly songs. A big mat or cloth is spread on the grass or the deck with platters of finger foods. The kids happily dive in for the feast. 

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String lights, candles in jars, patio heaters, and your favorite tunes all add to the comfort and contentment. Nothing is ever perfect. There will be spills, breaks, trampled flowers, bug bites, and burnt barbecue.  But that’s the splendor and unpredictability of partying in the garden.  As Erasmus said, “No party is any fun unless seasoned with folly.” 

Enjoy the dazzling days and easy evenings of summer with a picnic or pool party. Kick- off your shoes, slather on the sunscreen, don your sunglasses, and chill out. Summer is a time to slow down to appreciate being outside surrounded by nature. 

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Cynthia Brian’s Gardening Guide for August

STAY hydrated. Drink lots of water, don’t do garden chores in the extreme heat, and keep sports drinks on hand.

BE fire safe. Read how to landscape your garden to be more fire-resistant.

STAKE gladiolus as they tend to be top-heavy and fall over.


DEADHEAD roses and other perennials to keep the blooms coming

CLEAN pruning shears with alcohol after each use.

CONTINUE weeding. Make sure to cut any dry, tall grass.

HARVEST fruit and vegetables in the morning for best flavor and nutrition. A few of the fruits and vegetables that are currently ripe are plums, peaches, apples, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, beans, corn, carrots, and zucchini.

PICK up any fruit that has fallen on the ground to prevent rodents, raccoons, turkeys, and other critters from invading your garden.

ENCOURAGE herb growth by pinching the tips. Use the cuttings in your recipes.

MULCH your garden to retain moisture and keep roots cool. Do not use gorilla hair as it is highly flammable. Keep all mulches moist.

SOW seeds of brassicas including cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi for an autumn harvest.

PLAN now for autumn planting.

WATER plantings in containers daily if needed. The heat dries out pots quickly.

ORDER spring-flowering bulbs from catalogs including tulips, Dutch iris, daffodils, woodland hyacinths, and whatever else grabs your attention.

PLAN a picnic party. Re-live your summer camp frolics. Casual or upscale, the fun begins outdoors.

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Read more and view photos at

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing! 

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. 

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at

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Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at 

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

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Spotlight on Radio Host & Author, Cynthia Brian Donating Books for Disaster Relief

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Spotlight on Radio Host & Author, Cynthia Brian Donating Books for Disaster Relief

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IBPA Member Spotlight: Cynthia Brian


Be the Star You Are!® (BTSYA) was not originally created to donate to disaster relief,” explains IBPA member and author-publisher Cynthia Brian. “It was founded as a literacy and positive media message charity to empower women, families, and youth by donating books and other resources to those who could not afford to buy them.”


Cynthia added disaster relief, though, when 9/11 occurred. “In 2001, my book, Be the Star You Are! 99 Gifts for Living, Loving, Laughing, and Learning to Make a Difference (Ten Speed Press) was scheduled for a late August debut. I was booked to appear on a major TV show on 9/11 in NYC but a couple of days before the show, the producers rescheduled me to 9/18. Like the rest of the population of America, I was horrified by the terrorist attacks and just as sickened knowing that I was supposed to be in NYC that day.

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“Besides being farmers, the majority of my family members are first responders: Chiefs, captains, firefighters, paramedics, police, CSI, heavy equipment operators. My dad was Captain in our valley volunteer fire department for 45 years and as a kid, I was on numerous burns, mostly control fires. Since BTSYA doesn’t provide blood, water, food, or medical, I called FDNY Family Crisis and asked if books, games, CDs, DVDs, puzzles, and other resources would be helpful to offer hope and healing from the trauma for all ages. They responded ‘YES, PLEASE!’ My teen volunteers and I went into action. I reached out to every author who had been on my radio show, as well as publicists, producers, and publishers who had worked on my TV and radio shows. In addition, I had acting clients and volunteers across the country who stepped up to spearhead collections in their areas. It was truly a national outreach program, and BTSYA was one of the very first charities to offer non-emergency assistance to the victims and survivors. Over several months, we shipped over 50 pallets worth $57,000 (in this relief effort and in general, books make up around 85% of donations). The program was called Operation Ground Hero.”


Be the Star You Are! went on to ship $27,000 in resources to schools, libraries, groups, and shelters for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. “Then the disasters kept coming: fires, tornadoes, and floods,” says Cynthia. “Disaster areas started reaching out to us to help. When Super Storm Sandy hit, one of our volunteers in New Jersey lost her home and we collaborated to ship $30,000 in resources. My son, who is a Captain with Cal Fire was on a Southern Cal. fire for 57 days without relief. Disasters are traumatic for everyone.”

Be the Star You Are! is completely volunteer-based, including Cynthia, and it’s now a year-round program. Donations can be made to the nonprofit by clicking here. If any publisher or author would like to be included on a list to donate and ship books for Disaster Relief or other tax-deductible outreach programs, they can send an email to All donations will receive a tax receipt for the contribution from Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 literacy and positive media charity.


Four Questions with Be the Star You Are!’s Founder Cynthia Brian

IBPA: Can you share three tips for other independent publishers who are looking to set up nonprofits related to their books?

Cynthia Brian (CB):

  1. Don’t set up a nonprofit. Find one that is already in existence.


  1. If I had known in 1999 what I know today about the challenges of running a charity, I would not have founded a nonprofit. The road is tough; the work is long and hard; funding is difficult; and the paperwork, emails, calls, and mail are unending.


  1. After 20 years of leading Be the Star You Are!®, I am very dedicated to the cause of increasing literacy and positive media messages. I am still holding the goal of finding a volunteer somewhere in the world to create a software program that will provide an avenue to register aid organizations that need books with publishers who want to donate books and shipping companies that will provide the shipping. BTSYA would orchestrate this circle and provide tax receipts to donating participants and make sure that “rescued” books were sent to people who could benefit.

IBPA: Can you list three key lessons you’ve learned about how one can succeed as an independent publisher?


  1. Giving a percentage of sales to a nonprofit improves your book sales. For all 8 of my published books, I donate a percentage to Be the Star You Are!® charity, and I put this information in each book.


  1. Marketing and radio interviews are key to success.


  1. Speaking engagements and radio interviews help with branding and making experts, which equals selling more books.

IBPA: How has it been beneficial to you to be a member of Independent Book Publishers Association?

CB: In 1998, I interviewed Jan Nathan when IBPA was called Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) on my radio show, StarStyle®. The interview with Jan prompted me to find out more about PMA, and I also had contracts for books with two publishers at that time, so I thought that learning about publishing was a great idea. When I joined the organization, I found the IBPA Independent magazine the most valuable resource. Since I am an acting and media coach as well as a radio/TV producer, I started submitting articles that were published, mostly regarding marketing and publicity via radio and TV. I also decided to professionally publish my book that had been very popular with actors, The Business of Show Business, using the new tools that I learned through IBPA. The book is now in its 14th enhanced edition and won a Silver in the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards. I also found that going to a few IBPA Publishing University conferences was terrific to meet fellow members and get to know some of the staff. And this past year I offered a Publishing University Online webinar, How to Think Like a Producer and Interview Like a Star (IBPA members can watch this webinar for free by clicking the link above and logging into their IBPA profile).

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IBPA: Do you have any new books coming out soon?

CB: I published two books in 2018, Growing with the Goddess Gardener (Book 1 in the Garden Shorts Series)and book 3 in the Be the Star You Are!® trilogy, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World.

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My next projects will focus on the life lessons I’ve learned with adopting abandoned and abused animals over my lifetime. These will be books for young children, including picture books. I am looking for a fabulous publishing partner!

IBPA: Thank you, Cynthia, for sharing your story with the IBPA community, and for all the disaster relief work you do through your nonprofit!

Click here to learn more about Be the Star You Are!®

Click here to tune into StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® radio


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Let’s Get Clinical: Understanding Depression, Dementia, and Delirium

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Health & Wellness
Let’s Get Clinical: Understanding Depression, Dementia, and Delirium


Let’s Get Clinical: Understanding Depression, Dementia, and Delirium

This blog is about three clinical syndromes that besiege many older adults: depression, dementia, and delirium. For those who are not working in the field of health care or may have heard the terms but don’t know how to distinguish among them, this blog sets out to explain their similarities and the differences.  And, if you happen to re-play Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical” in your head while reading, all the better.

Why is this an important subject? Caregivers, both paid and unpaid, are present in at least 20% of U.S. households, and this is expected to

grow rapidly over coming decades, for several reasons: demographics – the population is aging, medical advances that allow for shorter hospital stays, and more home technology that allow people to reside in their homes longer. Additionally,


Never Too Late Blog

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Health & Wellness
Never Too Late Blog

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Never Too Late: Research Now Finds that Increasing Exercise at Any Time Can Increase Lifespan: Join the Livingto100.Club

The notion that it’s never too late to shift toward healthier behaviors gets another boost with research findings from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.  Smoking cessation, dietary modifications, a change in outlook, and other strategies can prove to be beneficial on our mental and physical well-being, promote successful aging, and increase longevity, regardless of how late in life these changes are adopted.  Now, a study in the British Medical Journal is showing that it is never too late to reap the benefits of a longer life just by adding exercise to our daily routine, or increasing the intensity of our usual routine.  Strikingly, the benefits included reduced mortality risk from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The study followed over 14,000 men and women, aged 40 to 79, for anywhere from 7 to 12.5 years, monitoring lifestyle and risk factors (education level, employment status, diet, alcohol, smoking, BP), as well as changes in medical history.  The researchers looked at physical activity and sedentary habits.  Throughout the follow-up period, approximately 2,000 participants died from cardiovascular disease and cancer.  After controlling for pre-existing activity levels, the authors concluded that over time, high levels of physical activity correlated with a lower mortality risk.  More striking, though, was the finding that modest increases in exercise correlated with a 29% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and an 11% lower risk of dying from cancer.  The authors inferred that participants who went from being physically inactive to becoming more active over a 5-year period were less likely to die from any cause than people who were consistently inactive.

One final conclusion applied to those who already were involved in high levels of activity:  those who had high levels of physical activity at the start of the study were 42% less likely to die prematurely from any cause.

The benefits of increasing physical activity do not depend on past activity levels.  This is the encouraging result.  As the authors state, older adults “can still gain substantial longevity benefits by becoming more active, lending further support to the broad public health benefits of physical activity.” It also affirms the belief that we should never give up or stop moving forward.  Apparently taking on new behaviors at any age still pays off.


The Living to 100 Club, LLC, is an Amazon Affiliate; sales commissions accrue to the Company when recommended Amazon products are purchased by our readers.  These products target healthy lifestyles, information on successful aging, and aid to caregivers. The online store at Living to 100 Club also gives you access to more products with items that improve health awareness, fitness, and travel with items for maintaining an active senior lifestyle and a positive outlook toward our future.

Radio Talk Show

The Living to 100 Club is all about staying positive as we age. Our blog articles and our new weekly live Radio Show emphasize longevity, successful aging, risk management, and handling setbacks whenever they occur.  Be sure to tune in to our weekly live Radio Talk Show on VoiceAmericaHealth, every Friday at 2pm Pacific, with your Host, Dr. Joe Casciani.

Missed the live event?  Recordings of all episodes are stored on the Club website. Scroll down on the audio player and select “Episode Listing” to display the selections.

This Week’s Recommendations

Exerpeutic Folding Upright Exercise Bike – Editor’s Choice: small enough to fit in a studio apartment while also being strong and sturdy.

Amazon Basics Neoprene Dumbbell Pairs and Sets with Stands – Ideal for resistance training, and made for indoor and outdoor use.

Learning Dumbbell Workout Exercise Poster – Double-sided for vertical or horizontal use, tear-resistant.

Younger Next year: The Exercise Program – A Guide to show the right way to exercise, how to start an exercise regimen, and the know-how to keep it going.

AmazonBasics ½-inch Extra Thick Exercise Mat – Extra thick mat for workout routines, textured surface, and lightweight (74×24”)

Sign-up For Our Email List

Click this link to sign up for our email list.

Click this link for a copy of the Living to100 Club Member Handbook, 9 Principles  to Create Positive Frame of Mind as We Age.


Transform Your Life: Tao Calligraphy with Master Sha

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Health & Wellness
Transform Your Life: Tao Calligraphy with Master Sha

On July 16th and 23rd, Master Zhi Gang Sha will be live on the Stepping into the Ten Da Tao Chang Show on VoiceAmerica’s Empowerment Channel. Speaking from the Tao Calligraphy with Master Sha: A Source Healing Retreat, Master Sha will teach about Tao Calligraphy and the power of writing the positive messages of the Ten Da, the Greatest Tao Qualities.

The ancient art of Chinese calligraphy has long been a revered practice for cultivating the life force of energy (qi or chi), well-being, happiness, and wisdom. Master Sha first learned a unique form of one-stroke calligraphy from Professor Li Qiu Yin, who was taught by Tai Shi (Supreme Teacher), the teacher of the of the emperor and royal family’s children of the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty in China.

He then went on to create Tao Calligraphy, building on this tradition by infusing the unique one-stroke calligraphy with Tao light, blessings, and messages of the Greatest Tao qualities of love, forgiveness, compassion, and much more. Master Sha’s Tao Calligraphy is Oneness writing that carries frequencies and vibrations that can help support people in overcoming challenges they face in their lives. Research has shown that Tao Calligraphy has helped rehabilitation patients recover more quickly, and veterans have been using this technique to cope with PTSD. Modern medicine now shows how the power of meditative techniques has real effects on physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Master Sha will explain how tracing and learning to write Tao Calligraphy helps people to transform imbalances within their souls, hearts, minds, and bodies. The meditative practice of writing these positive messages in one stroke, one chi,  creates a flow of energy that transforms negative messages carried within to positive messages. This brings out the true human potential for happiness, well-being, and more success in life.

Learn more:



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Five Years to Live

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Five Years to Live

Since the release of my book “Five Years to Live,” I have met with dozens of families who have received and had to deal with the phone call every dreads; “There has been an accident and your son/daughter is paralyzed.” Now what? What does the family do? Who do they contact? When will they know something? How badly is he/she hurt? How do they get to the hospital? Who can take them to the airport? Where do they stay? How do they cope with the shock, grief, and the major overhaul of their life?

Worse yet, is the impact on the injured loved one. Am I going to die? Is the paralysis permanent? Will I be confined to a wheelchair? What will I be able to do? Will I be able to hold a job? How will I support myself? Will I have to live in a nursing home? How long will I be in the hospital? What is going to happen to my relationship with my significant other? What horrors will rehabilitation bring? Will I be able to do it? Will I even want to try? The fears move to panic and ultimately to deep depression. I don’t want to live like this. I don’t want to be a burden on my family. If I survive how long will I live? What will the quality of my life be?

Initially, there is nothing to do but pray and wait. Pray for the best and wait for the outcome of the surgery. There is nothing worse than waiting and not knowing. The fear and uncertainty are overwhelming. All you can do is wait. Once the surgery is over you get the news and you go through all the fears again. The doctor gives you the clinical results and sets the expectations going forward. As bad as things have been up to this point, they are about to get even worse. Everything you know is gone. The family and their son/daughter will have to learn how to perform every basic function in life all over again. Will he/she have the herculean strength necessary to rebuild their body, their mind, their life? Will the family be able to provide the support and assistance needed? Most people don’t. The majority of people in this situation simply give up hope and death comes quickly.

So you start the long, painful, grueling recovery and rehabilitation process. You deal with the constant infections, additional surgeries, the new medication, the side effects, and constant adjustments to the medication. Then another battle occurs, fighting with insurance companies. If you are lucky the insurance will settle quickly. More times than not, you will end up in court trying to get the bills paid and secure the equipment that will be needed for the rest of his/her life.

Each step along the way brings a sense of hope that you will get through this terrible ordeal. This sense of hope is accompanied by devastating depression as you discover that the average life expectancy is five years and you have spent the first year in the hospital.

So you cheated death once. Can you pick up the pieces and continue to survive? No one knows for sure. One thing doctors cannot explain or predict is the power of the human spirit. Those that survive don’t let their circumstances control their life. They find a purpose, a passion that gives them a reason to continue fighting. They refuse to be a spectator. You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only option. The only failure is giving up.

Frank Zaccari is the author of the book “Five Years to Live.”

Photo Safari Day

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Photo Safari Day

Photo Safari Day

For our July Article, we offer you some of the details of a photo safari day we had during a recent visit to Costa Rica. The impressions of our day were recorded from Ariel’s point of view. In our experience, observing minutiae – small moments – can be wondrous when you are there to experience them. We hope that you find yourself inspired to discover the details of your day – wherever you are – from the pictures and “word pictures” we offer. Enjoy!

The monkeys we heard at dusk, murmuring in the canopy above, definitely were Howlers. The following day, they began again, greeting the morning with a gusty serenade. As I passed under the awakening troupe spread out among the branches, I heard a suspicious “blop…blob, blop” all around me and I quickly advised Shya to take an alternate route to the dining area. I was fairly sure the sounds I was hearing wasn’t a random, morning bathroom call but rather a marking of territory against intruders, monkey style.

There was clearly more than one dominant male in the group as they howled in counterpoint, lusty overtones sung to the lightening sky. Deep chesty resonance, a crescendo of sound was offered to the heavens – a salute to the sun, the trees, the dawn of day.

After breakfast, we gather our things and the captain picks us up for the short ride down to the boat. Soon we motor away from the dock. The day is fresh before the heat arrives heavy-handed to press the air until it became difficult to breathe. Sun slanting through a high canopy of clouds, crickets setting a background hum, birds flitting, a young caiman scuttling away from our boat, reptilian eyes flashing. We motor up the canal, as dragonflies sketch random patterns overhead and vines trail in the water casting vague wakes.

We arrive at the lagoon and its glassy surface glitters with a profusion of bait. Soon, as if raining, the surface begins dimpling as the watery world awakes and the little sardines began to feed. The slightest sound – a cough, a shuffle of our feet or the anchor shifting on the bottom of the boat – causes a wave of response, tiny fish going airborne, fanning out from our position. A lone cormorant fans its wings. The clouds cast gauzy reflections and the distant purple haze of mountains flanks us.

Then as the day sharpens, Ms. Tarpon began to feed – lazily porpoising, displacing water, teasing us with her tantalizing presence as Shya stands, fly rod at the ready, poised in the bow of the boat. Our world is quiet but alive. The clear water of the lagoon mixes with the chocolate colored current of the canal. Great arcing leaps of baitfish sketch the path of feeding tarpons under the surface.

Shya casts, strips in the line. Casts again. The captain quietly repositions the boat with an electric motor designed to minimize noise. More casting. The sun rises higher. Heat. Sweat. Waiting. Cast again. The water erupts. 100 pounds of contained fury leaps to the sky, spraying droplets, large scales flashing in the sun. A breathless dance. Shya pulls her in, the guide hoists her up to be seen and then releases her back to her home.

Most people think that when Shya and I go fishing, it is all about catching fish. In truth, it is all about Being Here – whatever we are doing. And it is all about being here for the minute details of the experience. For it is in the details that the richness of life is revealed.


Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Yesterday – An Unbelievable Plot and a Film Filled With The Beatles Music

Posted by presspass on
Movie Reviews
Yesterday – An Unbelievable Plot and a Film Filled With The Beatles Music
Jack Malik is a struggling singer-songwriter in an English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly
fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie. After a freak bus
accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never
existed. Performing songs by the greatest band in history to a world that has never heard them, Jack
becomes on overnight sensation with a little help from his agent. KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer Kimbirly O.
comments, “Imagine a world without music from The Beatles. As I type these words, I realize how far-
fetched this sentence appears and, as a music lover, it’s preposterous! The Beatles have influenced
thousands of musical artists who followed in their hallowed footsteps post-Liverpool. While unbelievable,
this is the premise behind Director Danny Boyle’s (Oscar-winning Director, Slum Dog Millionaire) latest
film, Yesterday.” KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. adds, “This new world that Jack now lives in, is
crazy. It does not have The Beatles. And John Lennon is alive. Can you imagine? The movie is creative
in many ways, including using locations that inspired several Beatles’ song titles such as Eleanor Rigby’s
grave and Penny Lane. My favorite character is Ellie, Jack’s manager. She is sweet, funny and beautiful.
My favorite part is when Jack searches for The Beatles on the Internet.” Ethan P. wraps it up with, “This is
a very entertaining and funny movie! This film has two hours of comedy, romance and music. I really
enjoyed watching this movie and listening to some of The Beatles classic songs.” See their full reviews
By Kimbirly Orr, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
Imagine a world without music from The Beatles. As I type these words, I realize how far-fetched this
sentence appears and, as a music lover, it’s preposterous! The Beatles have influenced thousands of
musical artists who followed in their hallowed footsteps post-Liverpool. While unbelievable, this is the
premise behind Director Danny Boyle’s (Oscar-winning Director, Slum Dog Millionaire) latest film,
Yesterday. When a 12-second global power outage occurs, Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, EastEnders) is
riding his bicycle, collides with a bus, and lands in the hospital with serious injuries. During his recovery,
he casually utters statements, which are song lyrics from the Fab Four, and no one gets it. His confusion
leads him to Google, where Jack types “The Beatles,” only to received definitions of beetles. Try as he
may, he can find no reference of The Beatles anywhere and, throughout the film; we learn other brands
are also nonexistent in this alternate universe, such as Coke. Jack suddenly realizes he is the only person
on Earth who remembers The Beatles.
Things get very interesting as Jack has always been a struggling musician. Think kid’s birthday parties,
lackluster music festivals and coffee shops. He is lovingly looked after by his lifelong friend Ellie (Lily
James) who is also his manager, roadie and his only faithful supporter. If this level of closeness was not
enough, we also witness unrequited attraction between the two main characters and, since the script
comes from Richard Curtis (Love Actually), we know where this is headed.
Jack decides to learn the songs of The Beatles and make them his own – and he finds success! So much
success, Ed Sheeran (playing himself) discovers him. Along with the pop superstar, comes his agent
(Kate McKinnon), a money-grubbing, tremendously offensive yet also a funny woman who thinks she
found the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow. Things don’t quite ‘Come Together’ entirely.
Things get ridiculous as Jack and Ed Sheeran embark on a world tour and meet a few interesting people
along the way. The song selection is impeccable with “‘Help” providing an accurate reading of the song’s
rarely spoken meaning, appropriate to the character and plot. The “Long and Winding Road” of the film is

truly a musical journey.
I give this film 3 of 5 stars for the some of the casting, the humorous interludes, Kate McKinnon’s
performance, UNBELIEVABLE MUSIC (kudos to whoever had to manage clearances for this film –
WOW!) and female empowerment. This film will appeal to ages 12 to 18 and introduce or re-introduce the
music of The Beatles to younger generations. This writer found herself toe tapping, singing along and
loving all the memories this music holds. Check it out when it opens in theaters June 28, 2019.
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
This movie is very entertaining. It has great songs, great singing and a little romance. The acting really
pulled me into the story.
Yesterday is about a man named Jack who wants to become a famous singer. While riding his bike, the
world’s power goes out and Jack gets hit by a bus. After recovering, his friends give him a new guitar and
he tries it out by singing a song by The Beatles. His friends have never heard the song before or even
know who The Beatles are. So, Jack gets an idea to claim those songs as his own, so he can become
This new world that Jack now lives in, is crazy. It does not have The Beatles. And John Lennon is alive.
Can you imagine? The movie is creative in many ways, including using locations that inspired several
Beatles’ song titles such as Eleanor Rigby’s grave and Penny Lane. My favorite character is Ellie, Jack’s
manager. She is sweet, funny and beautiful. My favorite part is when Jack searches for The Beatles on
the Internet.
The message of Yesterday is to follow your dreams, put love first and tell the truth. It has a bit of bad
language and a lot of drinking, but hey, it takes place in England, so I guess that is to be expected. It has
some negative behavior and other risky things that kids might try to do.
I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will like this as well. This
movie is in theaters June 28, 2019.
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10
This is a very entertaining and funny movie! This film has two hours of comedy, romance and music. I
really enjoyed watching this movie and listening to some of The Beatles classic songs.
Yesterday is about a British musician name Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) who writes his own songs. Jack is
not a successful musician and is about to give up his career as a singer/writer, but his long time friend
Ellie (Lily James) encourage him to continue with his dreams to keep writing and singing. One night,
while Jack is riding his bike, the entire world suffers a 12 second blackout. Jack gets hit by a bus and
sent to the hospital. For some reason, after the global blackout, The Beatles are erased from history;
they don’t exist. No one knows who The Beatles are except Jack.
The combination of comedy, romance and music is really good. Not only does Himesh Patel sing all The
Beatles songs himself, he has an extraordinary voice and plays several instruments as well. My favorite
part of this movie is seeing Ed Sheeran as himself. Ed visits Jack and invites him to sing with him. Ed’smanager Deborah (Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live) is extremely funny. She becomes Jack’s
manager and helps him make a great album singing The Beatles’ songs. Jack becomes super famous.
My favorite scene is when Jack sings “Help!” on top of a roof, in front of huge crowd. I also love the cast,
because they are all very funny. For example Jack’s best friend Rocky is played by Joel Fry, who is
hysterical and James Corden plays as himself and he is always very funny to watch. .
The moral of this movie is not to lie. In the movie Jack lies by telling the world he wrote all the songs and
becomes famous. Also, he is in love with Ellie and doesn’t have the courage to tell her. Lying can get
you into more trouble than you are already in.
I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to18. This movie comes out in theatres June
28, 2019. Look for it.

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