Tony Taylor (LITE) - Interplanetary Navigator, Pilot, and Author


In this episode of The Peace of Persistence LITE, Tony Taylor brings his wisdom as an Interplanetary Navigator, Pilot, and Author to the forefront, as he talks about taking risks, navigating to all of the planets in our solar system, using fiction to write “the bigger picture of truth,” and seeing the world from a wider perspective.

Join us at to hear Tony's deeper understanding of war, his perspectives on racism, growing up during segregation in the Deep South, his greatest joys, and more. You can also hear more from all of our guests and support our show there, at Patreon.

Show links:
Tony Taylor's books: Counters, The Darkest Side of Saturn, and Black Sky Voyage (to be published later this year)

Tony's website:

Tony's Inspirations -
Ernie Pyle's WWII war correspondent articles -
Walter M. Miller Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World
George Orwell's 1984
Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End
Walt Whitman's Song of Myself

Tony Taylor was a space cadet before there was a space program—meaning that his mind was in space while his body walked the earth. He decided early on that he wanted to be an astronaut. Fortunately, the space age came along with the launch of Sputnik in 1957 while he was still in high school, and his dream entered the realm of the possible.

Knowing that astronauts usually start as pilots, he went to the US Air Force Academy, followed by pilot training, and eventually found himself in Vietnam flying 100 combat missions over North Vietnam through some of the best air defenses the world had ever seen. During that time, he became a war correspondent for his hometown newspaper. The articles he wrote would later lay the foundation for his first published novel, Counters, in 2008: a tale of young pilots, the Red Baron, and a collie named Sub-Lieutenant Sam. After returning home and spending a few more years in the Air Force, he resigned to go to graduate school, finishing with an M.S. in physics.

These experiences equipped him, he believed, to follow through with his astronaut dream, which included becoming the first person to walk around on Mars. After several applications to NASA, followed by several rejections, he decided this was not to be, so he consoled himself with the next best thing: working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and KinetX Aerospace, Inc. to navigate unmanned NASA spacecraft through the solar system. He visited (metaphorically) all eight planets over the course of a thirty-year career, navigating spacecraft on projects Voyager, Cassini, Mars Polar Lander, Galileo, and MESSENGER among others. As a capstone, he also helped navigate the New Horizons spacecraft to minor planet Pluto.

These experiences helped provide underpinnings for his second novel, The Darkest Side of Saturn, in 2014: a story of an asteroid, a preacher, a reluctant prophet of doom, and a ballerina—things that naturally go together. His third novel, Black Sky Voyage, is targeted for release later this year (2018). It provides a vicarious substitute for his astronaut dream; instead of walking around on Mars, he writes of the first colonists on Mars in a tale that includes a president, nuclear annihilation, and a polite alien.

A scientific and objective realist, he nevertheless enjoys evoking the mystical in his novels, salting liberally with whimsical humor. His published works have collected several honors, including the international Eric Hoffer Award: First Place Winner for Genre Fiction, and Short List for the Grand Prize; the Arizona Literary Contest: Book of the Year Award; the Books and Author Award: Winner for Science Fiction; the Global Ebook Award: Silver Medal Winner for Science Fiction; and various Honorable Mentions and Finalist awards.

Tony lives with his wife Jan in Sedona, Arizona. He is proud of his two daughters and two grandsons. Between travels and tennis he hopes to produce a few more novels before launching on a black sky voyage into the great unknown. He may not be the only interplanetary navigator in Sedona—land of vortices and UFO enthusiasts—but he’s probably the only one who actually worked for NASA.

Thank you!
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G. Brian Benson (LITE) - Author, Filmmaker, & Actor

In this LITE episode of The Peace of Persistence, host Abigail Wright talks with author, filmmaker, and actor G. Brian Benson about the value of intuition, trusting the process, failure, balance, and more. For more on Brian's outlook on self-awareness, authenticity, the importance of being yourself with family and others, and more, check out our full version at, or just to support the show.

About Brian:
G. Brian Benson’s mission is to wake up the world with conscious, thought-provoking media that inspires.  As founder of Reawaken Media, Brian an award-winning author, filmmaker, actor and TEDx speaker, knows the value of trusting intuition and wants to share his own personal journey of self-growth, discovery and accomplishment to help others re-connect with their own personal truths to live an authentic and fulfilling life. As a 4x Ironman triathlete, Brian knows the value of hard work and never giving up on his dreams, a message he shares with audiences through each of his creative talents. Brian lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Show notes, links, etc:
Brian's List - 26 1/2 easy to use ideas on how to live a fun, balanced, healthy life!
Toastmasters -
"A Minute of Failure" poem -
"Searching for Happiness" short film -

Show summary:
What brought you to where you are now in life?
After running his family's golf center for about 8 or 9 years, Brian started to feel burned out. He felt like there was something else he needed to do, but he didn't know what yet. He had a supportive conversation with his father, and a year later, they had sold the business. During the last part of time while he was there, he found himself out of balance. As someone who likes to work on himself to be the best version of himself, he wrote down a list of 5 things he thought would help him and followed them.
From that list, within about 30 days, he expanded it into his first book, Brian's List - 26 1/2 easy to use ideas on how to live a fun, balanced, healthy life! The book also helped him by putting him on a path that forced him to do things he was uncomfortable with at first.

Uncomfortable with public speaking but knowing that he needed to promote his book, Brian signed up for public speaking classes and Toastmasters. To make himself more comfortable, he tried things that were outside of his comfort zone, creating a workshop and co-hosting an internet radio show. He even setup a book signing and workshop tour. Although he feels the tour wasn't wholly successful, he believes it was necessary.

Let's chat about your work as a writer. You've written nonfiction, children's books, and some poetry. What brought you into writing?
He really followed his intuition. As a young child, he told his mom he was put here to inspire people. Life got in the way for a time, but he finds that he's a decent writer who's able to channel what comes through him in a way that makes sense. With the self-help books and non-fiction, he taps into his own experiences and follows his intuition. With the children's books and poetry, he enjoys writing in rhyme and sees the creative process (which he loves) as more of a jigsaw puzzle.

You focus a lot on trusting your intuition, so I imagine it serves you very well in most cases. How do you push past doubts to allow yourself to once again trust your intuition after a fall?
Although it's not always easy, Brian has a positive, optimistic outlook. During the dips in the roller coaster of life, he still feels like it's going to be ok. He's had times where he felt frustrated, like he was working so hard, stuck in quicksand, and accomplishing nothing. Looking back, he realizes now that during those times, he tried to push, rather than take a break when he needed to. Now, realizing that the work can come through him quickly when he needs it to, he trusts his instincts to rest and gives himself the chance to fill his cup before returning to the process. That frustration he used to feel, before he trusted the process, coupled with his expectations about the future and some successes, set him up for some falls.

When his first children's book, Steve the Alien, first launched, he went through a period of depression. Although the launch went well, and he hit #1 in his category on Amazon, he came to a breaking point where he thought, "What's next?" He thought, if he worked so hard to put something he wanted so much out into the world and felt so miserable anyway, he didn't want to do it anymore. Because of that, he's since been very observant, intent on enjoying the ride and taking breaks when he needs to and celebrating his wins.

Speaking of falling, you wrote a poem called, “A Minute of Failure.” What value do you place on allowing yourself to fail, should we, and how can we make a habit of it?
There's a part of us that's ingrained in us to believe that it's not ok to fail, but if you look at successful people in any field, they have had tons of failures. Brian feels that's the only way for anyone to hone his/her craft and learn. He talks about the musician Steve Miller's perseverance, when he didn't have a hit until his seventh record. Overnight successes don't just happen. Brian's own 8-9 year journey, working on himself the whole way, has spilled into his own work, allowing him to more authentically share his insights with people. He likes to share what he has in common with others, not prescriptively but authentically. If he can stick it out, you can too, and as he's realized that he's enough, he wants you to realize that you are too.

Can I put you on the spot a little - would you read us the poem?
Brian reads his poem, "A Minute of Failure." Check out the link to his YouTube reading above, in the show notes.

You've competed in 4 Ironman triathlons, and clearly you work on your mental, emotional, and spiritual health as much as your physical health. Do you have any advice for keeping it all in balance?
Brian thinks it's a matter of paying attention, as Wayne Dyer says, being in the observer role of your own self. Specifically to notice and decipher the difference between when you're being physically or emotionally tired and going the other way to give yourself the kind of rest you need. He describes balance as a moving target. He recommends self-awareness first and believes that love for yourself is the foundation for everything.

You have this great short film called "Searching for Happiness." I'd love for you to talk about the film and what inspired you to write it.
A few years before he turned it into a film, Brian wrote it as he was searching for his own happiness, as so many of us do outside of ourselves sometimes. Nye Green directed, his brother Rhys Green edited, and Toby Sherriff did the soundtrack on this film with no dialogue. He believes that when we do service for others, it makes us feel good. By using B&W and colorized effects, Brian tries to share that simple, yet powerful message.

If there were one thing you'd like the world to see differently, what would it be?
That happiness comes from within, and that you're enough. Brian believes if you just quiet yourself and slow down enough to listen to your intuition, you can find happiness. "When we're in balance, we can hear our intuition come through stronger," he says, and he believes that if everyone believed they were enough, it would clear up a lot of problems in life.

Do you have any other advice for us?
Have more fun, and realize that you're enough. Writing his self-help books, Brian put a lot of pressure on himself, feeling like he had to be perfect. Now, coming back to his more fun side, he's finding it easier to be authentic. His advice is to be fun and be yourself.

Soprano, Author & Survivor Charity Tillemann-Dick

For this week only, enjoy this free preview of the extended versions our subscribers will enjoy on Starting next week, visit to continue to enjoy full, extended, ad-free versions of The Peace of Persistence

In this week's extended audio-only! episode, host Abigail Wright speaks with Charity Tillemann-Dick, soprano, survivor of two double-lung transplants, and author of The Encore: A Memoir in Three Acts. Catch the full episode here:

Charity Tilleman-Dick is a soprano and top-selling Billboard classical artist. After receiving a diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, Charity has had two double lung transplants, has been the National Spokesperson for the PHA (Pulmonary Hypertension Association), and continues to perform, being featured as a singer and speaker around the world.

She speaks candidly and enthusiastically about her upbringing (with 11 brothers & sisters), surviving two double-lung transplants and cancer, singing, relationships, finding the divine in yourself and others, living up to our potential and feeling complete, her love of food, and her book. The Encore: A Memoir in Three Acts is published by Simon & Schuster, and it comes out on October 3. Pre-order your copy on Amazon

You can also catch Charity at one of her upcoming book signing events, and she answered our last question, "do you have any advice for us," by saying she loves to give advice! Go to, and she's happy to answer any advice requests you might have. Thanks, Charity!