May I Be Frank – July 8, 2010

“Sometimes a breakdown can be the beginning of a kind of breakthrough, a way of living in advance through a trauma that prepares you for a future of radical transformation”                 Cherrie Moraga  

Sometimes it takes one comment or one question to change your life.   

Last night, I went with my friend Dawn and her boyfriend Jim to see a documentary, May I Be Frank.   

Cary from Cafe Gratitude and Frank Ferrante

The subject of the film is Frank, a 54-year-old Sicilian from Brooklyn, living in San Francisco.  He has the accent and the wit one would expect from someone from New York.  And his life is a mess…his history of drug addiction, alcohol abuse and broken relationships has taken a toll and left him unhappy, isolated and dissatisfied with life.  One day, he happens to walk into Cafe Gratitude.  Ryland, a server at the cafe, asks Frank the Question of the Day, which changes everyday.  The question that day was: What is one thing you want to do before you die?  This begins Frank’s transformation.   

For 42 days, he works with 3 staffers from the cafe…eating raw vegan foods…exercising everyday…reading affirmations each morning and night…and completing written exercises in his workbook.  There are highs and lows…successes and failures.  Frank finds joy in new experiences and resurrects old rage as he tries to reconnect with family.  And as the change in diet starts to cleanse and detox his body, it also starts to cleanse other areas of his life that are necessary in order to facilitate complete transformation.  And by the end of the film, Frank seemingly has found the answer to that question…but in an unlikely place.  

Like most people in the audience last night, I immediately was drawn to Frank.  He is the type of guy who is, just like his name, frank.  He tells it like it is but with a sense of humor.  Even though he cusses like a sailor, you want to forgive him for it because he still engages you with his personality.  And when he makes you laugh, you just want to give him a hug.  And you for sure want to hug him when he cries…and makes you cry, too.   

At the end of the movie, there’s an update on what happened after the 42 days.  Basically, the emotional and physical rollercoaster continued for several months until he reached total breakthrough.  And the photo at the end of the documentary shows a new Frank…still smiling but more relaxed and thinner.   

The New Frank

After the lights came up, the director Greg Marks motioned for Frank to come to the front of the audience.  And as Frank came forward from the back, the audience all stood with applause.  Not just because of the film, not just because he was there…it was also because he looked even better and younger!  

Last night was the second time this film has been screened in Kansas City.  The first show, a few weeks ago, sold out and they had to turn people away.  So Gratitude KC re-booked them for 2 screenings – the last one is tonight, July 8th.  If you want to see this film, go to  Tickets are $10.  If you are unable to attend, check the movie’s website for future screenings.  They plan to now release the film nationwide but would like to continue using the format of screening the film, followed by a Q & A with the film makers and possibly Frank.  And as of last night, they’ve now secured the rights to sell DVDs of the film at the Kansas City screenings and future screenings as well for $25.  Additionally, the DVD should be for sale on the movie’s website, in about 3 months.   

Personally speaking, this documentary has certainly made an impact on my life.  I was reminded that true transformation has to include the whole person.  And I learned that the your intentions may take on a greater purpose during the process of transformation.   

So, the question of the day is:  

What is one thing you want to do before you die?   

The time for transformation is now.   

Blessings, Carlton  

LINKS: – Natalie George is a “fitness and nutrition visionary” who is working on creating a Kansas City version of Cafe Gratitude.  Natalie is responsible for bringing May I Be Frank to Kansas City. – Cafe Gratitude is located in San Francisco, California.  The focus of this endeavor is an alternative approach to eating and living.  In addition to the cafe, they offer workshops on sacred commerce, eating raw foods, health supplements, etc. 

You can also find pages for both GratitudeKC and May I Be Frank on Facebook.  

The trailer is also available on the movie’s page on YouTube as well as the website and Facebook page.  

Warning: the documentary includes a nude scene (Frank), cursing, and frank talk about sex and drugs. 

Also please note that I am not advocating this approach for everyone.  My intention for this post is to focus on the concept of transformation and the journey to becoming a better person physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, financially, etc.  If I am fulfilled, and you are fulfilled, the world becomes a better place.


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