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3 Things That Changed After My 21 Day Fast

3 Things That Changed After My 21 Day Fast

Fast and Pray

Just a little over a year ago, one of my friends invited me to do a fast. While I was fairly familiar with what a fast was, I had never done one myself. I’d heard of “fast and pray” for when someone wanted to manifest a specific outcome and I understood it to be more commonplace around Lent.

That’s about as much as I knew… til one day someone very dear to me was fasting as a grand plea to God to resolve a major issue in her life. She was adamant about her discipline and stuck to her course of action no matter how the day unfolded.

Then one day, she found herself on the ground. She fainted – overdid it. And I wondered how could that be a way to connect to God? Why would God want us to risk our physical apparatus so that we could connect with him?

Well, my truth is that He does’t.

I learned that there are many ways to do a fast. And so did she. Her experience taught her that extreme practices could likely knock her off her feet, literally. 

What Is Fasting? 

When I looked up what fasting means, this is the first thing I found.

“Fasting is the way that the saints of God received a breakthrough to direct them and help them deal with a crisis in their lives. What exactly is fastingFasting is a deliberate abstinence from physical gratification—usually going without food for a period of time—to achieve a greater spiritual goal.” – The HubSpot.

It can also entail fasting from other things like television, alcohol, sex etc. Basically, fasting is giving something up with the intention to connect more deeply with God, source, your higher self, Jah… whatever name resonates with you. 

The first time I did a fast was last year. I don’t recall exactly what I was fasting for. Perhaps I needed a breakthrough with a specific situation or maybe clarity on something. Since then, I’ve done a couple fasts but the last one I did a few months ago had the most impact on me. 

The 21 Day Fast

One of the ways fasting was explained to me was that by denying the flesh, I could lighten the veil between God and me. That was the basic plan – to lighten the veil between God and me. This way, I could hear Him better… My body would be cleaner, lighter and that would allow for clearer communication.

The first few fasts I did were for 7 days at a time. However, earlier this year, I decided to do a 21 day fast as suggested by my friend.

The Plan

This was the plan:
Eat between 7am and 7pm 
Very minimal to no white sugars
Very minimal to no white flour
No white rice
Fish only but not everyday and even better if no fish at all
Eat more fruits, veggies and grains

The only “meat” I eat is fish – debatable I know. Let’s leave that debate for another time – like never. 

So, I was mostly drinking water, cutting out sugars, white flour and only eating fish here and there. There were days I didn’t drink enough water but I mostly stuck to the plan. I did my meditations, prayers and stuck to my fasting.

Once the 21 days passed, I finally broke my fast.

I ate what I wanted and as late as I wanted.

A New Discipline

That didn’t last long though. Before I knew it, I was pretty much eating the same way again. It’s as if my body naturally had a new discipline. The new time slot of eating between 7a and 7p became a new norm. Besides lightening the veil between God and me, a few other things changed.

Photo by Jenny Marvin on Unsplash

Here Are 3 Things That Changed After My 21 Day Fast

My Sweet Tooth is Virtually Gone

Each month, for as long as I could remember, my body would go through extreme cravings and they would mostly be attached to my menstrual flow. One of my favorite feasts is white bread with condensed milk. And I could eat 3!

Well, I could eat FIVE. FIVE or SIX… ok, I could eat 6!

I’d get one slice of white bread, lace it with condensed milk, then set the other slice of bread on top like a sandwich. Then I’d make three more. It has to be one of the most delicious desserts in my recipe book. Ok, so I don’t have a recipe book but I make the best condensed crap sandwich ever!

After my fast, that virtually disappeared and I didn’t notice it until my cousin brought me a treat and left it in the freezer for me. I never ate it. I still appreciate a rich chocolate cake or Belizean milk cake but the craving for sweet things is virtually gone. 

I Ate Less

I found that I felt better eating that way. Also, I’d wake up feeling lighter if I kept my cut off time at 7pm. Overeating no longer served me and the cut off time of 7p gave my body time to digest the food properly. Also, I was more in tuned with how certain foods made my body feel.

What I noticed and LOVED was that my body felt better with moderate consumption. Too much food didn’t feel good on my temple. Eating late at night didn’t serve me either. There was a feeling of lightness that came with cutting down white sugars, white flour and rice. The feeling was much better than having seconds of food, no matter how delicious the food was.

So even in the event of wanting more, the light feeling would trump that desire to consume more. It was as if my body reached a new phase and she knew when enough was enough.

I Lost 10lbs

The best thing, besides the whole point of connecting to God, was that I lost 10lbs. Once I noticed that my appetite had decreased and the sweet tooth was gone, my clothes started to fit differently. One day I decided to check my weight. 10lbs melted away. 

I didn’t make any major changes in the gym – the only difference was my relationship with food. Food became fuel. There are times I crave certain foods, tastes, spices etc but for the most part, food is simply fuel. Some foods make my body light up. Foods like beets, grape tomatoes, mangos, and avocado to name a few. 

The 10lbs may not be so visible but I feel it and the scale tells the story. My clothes feel better and a few pieces fit me comfortably again. 

The veil between God and me continues to lighten but that isn’t tied to further fasting. We’re just out here doing our thing and getting closer I guess.

The Perks Are Divine

I haven’t done another fast since my 21 day fast. I suppose my fast now would have to be giving up something else – like Instagram. WHAT! No Sah! lol

Well, for Him, yes.

If you’re looking to lighten the veil between you and God, try a 21 day fast. The rewards with Him are priceless and the perks are “divine”. 

Have you ever done a fast?
Did you get what you fasted for?
Did you feel closer to God?
Did you appreciate the self discipline you had to practice?

God is the Greatest.

Meet Marina Ruty, The Preistess. Tarot Card Reading – Don’t Knock It Til You Try It.

Meet Marina Ruty, The Preistess. Tarot Card Reading – Don’t Knock It Til You Try It.

Cutting Cards

The first time I heard about the Tarot was when I was a teenager growing up in Belize. It was called “cutting cards” or as we’d say in our local dialect, Bileez Kriol, “kot yu kyaad”. Legend has it that there was a lady through an alley off New Road in Belize City and she could “tell you things”. Tied to “cutting cards” was the notion of obeah (a kind of sorcery practiced especially in the Caribbean). It wasn’t something you should involve yourself in. As far as I understood, it was evil work and scary. 

Everything is Energy

Fast forward to late 2009 when a friend of mine introduced me to a deeper concept of the word energy. She explained that everything was energy in motion, even the things we don’t see moving – tables, chairs, rocks… it was all energy. In fact, dealing with people also meant dealing with energy. She further explained the concept of the “aura” but that’s for another post.

“You’re an empath” she said, as I was telling her how tired I was after only just a few events over a three day span. “You’re picking up on everyone’s energy everywhere you go and you need time to process them. Better yet, you should learn how to create a bubble for yourself”. 

Cue in side eye and a big fat “WHAT!”.

It was the beginning of a whole new world for me… she unlocked a door that would lead me to where I am today. First, she told me about energy… a little about aura and that same friend soon after introduced me to the Tarot.

It’s Not Evil. It’s a Tool.

I remembered the lady who lived through the alley and the hail and brim stone that would follow after seeking out that kind of “assistance”. 

Cue in side eye and a big fat “I’m so curious!”, haha.

“Why is it considered evil or wrong?” I asked. “It’s not evil. It’s a tool.” she said.

She further explained that people connect to the divine through prayer, chanting, meditation, long walks… these are all tools. The Tarot is just another tool. Her simple way of putting it was: “Tarot card readers are like portals to the subconscious mind. They gain access to information that can be used to assist others.”

Let’s Do It

I decided to give it a try. 

At first, I was very nervous. What would she see?
What if I didn’t want to know what she saw?
What if it really was evil?

I decided to trust how it felt and how I felt with her. And I felt fine. I was seeking guidance and nothing seemed to be working. So many things were so unclear to me. I needed help.

The Realm of all Possible Outcomes

Once we got past the first reading and her explaining a little more about the cards, I became more and more comfortable asking the questions I wanted to ask. At times she would see so much detail and in the moment it wouldn’t make sense.

“I see some jewelry was pawned, maybe it was your mom’s. Are you missing any jewelry from your mom?” she asked once. “No, definitely not”, I responded. Only a few weeks would pass by and I learned someone did pawn out my mom’s jewelry. These instances would help me to trust what she saw and I learned to be more and more open.

Basically, Tarot card readers, psychics, clairvoyants etc are able to tap into the realm of all possible outcomes. The gifted tarot card reader can tap into the most likely outcome based on the road we are on now. Nothing is set in stone and we can change the direction of our lives at any given moment. One of our greatest gifts on this earthly plane is “free will”. We are here to create our lives and God does not interfere with our choices. We can choose to call on Him for help but He will not override one of the greatest gifts He gave us. A true psychic, according to Conversations with God (CWG), Book 3 by Neale Donald Walsch, will always tell you that you can choose again and change the outcome.

All Possible Outcomes Already Exist 

CWG describes life as something like a video game. As the player goes along, all possible outcomes are already embedded in the game. It’s up to the player and the moves he or she makes that will determine how the game plays out. All possible outcomes already exist. What comes into your reality depends on the choices you make.  The psychic, card reader or the clairvoyant simply gets a glimpse into what’s most likely based on your current path. 

Neale, author of CWG, is further informed that we are all psychics – how good or how in tuned we are depends on how often we work that “psychic muscle”. He’s also told that a true psychic simply wants to be of service to others. There are no exorbitant prices or ridiculous attempts to get the person to return time and time again. They use their gifts as guidance. They would never to try to change, impact or direct someone else’s free will.

CWG declares that to these true psychics, much should be given. They just want to be of service – to help remove the veil between ego and the true I. 

Silence the Noise 

While we are here to create our lives and we all have free will, sometimes things feel cloudy and foggy and we can’t find the clarity we seek. Generally, those who have a steady connection to God and practice their faith wouldn’t need Tarot card readings. Their trust alone would get them through all the foggy moments.

Steady meditation, prayer and their faith would likely create an open flow to receive God’s guidance. I can attest to this because I’ve had moments in my life where I felt like I could walk blind folded. I just knew. Clarity was mine and it was blissful.

On the flip side of that though, are the moments I feel a disconnect and anxiety takes over. In those moments, people like Marina have helped me, either via Tarot, clairvoyance, energy reading etc. For a while, the Tarot guided me through a huge shift in my life, from divorce to closing down a business, to walking away from life as I knew it. Over time, I learned to hone in to my own intuition. It may include prayers, meditation, voices I hear (yes, literally), dreams or just a deep knowing.

However, sometimes life can feel so overwhelming and I can’t clear the fog enough to see or silence the noise enough to hear. In those moments, I have a few people I trust and turn to for guidance.

Gypsy Priestess

One of those people I trust is Marina Ruty from Spain.

Marina was born in Malaga and raised in Tolox, a small village in the mountains one hour away from the Mediterranean Sea. She feels much like a gypsy priestess, although she doesn’t take titles seriously. 

She believes that truth is simple and not relative, although we have so many different perspectives of it, like the faces of Jah Love. Truly, there’s only one absolute.

10 years ago, Marina started practicing Tarot card readings with friends. That practice eventually grew to include other people. It has since become one of the main faucets of her everyday life. She prides herself on removing her ego from her readings; therefore, neither judging a thing as good or bad. This way she can tap into pure wisdom which translates into pure intuition. And, always, she stays connected to The Divine.

Trapped in the Loop of Overthinking

Here are some thoughts from Marina…

“So most people cannot access their own Higher self because of all the cultural aggressive programmings of mass media. My channels/chakras are open and I can download (with their soul’s permission) their own guidance. It’s actually the very same guidance they would have direct access to if they were open to receiving. Many times, people are trapped in the loop of overthinking.

I consider what I do a type of spiritual activism. I help to clear those channels through co-relating thoughts and feelings that were separate before. I read the cards like you would read a children’s story. It has been truly relieving for so many people. Most of my querents go through a sudden self realization. Oftentimes they cry, laugh, and change something after my readings.

I promise I have only seen great advances in their lives after they let down their resistance. I am so grateful and humbled by the Divine and its ways to help us open up and connect with our True Selves and life missions.”

Be Of Service

When I first met Marina, she was happy to do a reading even for a simple donation. She just wanted to help. That’s a clear sign of someone who just wants to be of service. I remembered the book, Conversations with God (CWG), Book 3 by Neale Donald Walsch. She was one of those people referred to in the book. We exchanged information and carried on. 

We kept in contact here and there and finally decided to meet up to talk more about her work and for me to get a reading. 

We sat in my car and just went over two main areas that I wanted some clarity on. Before beginning, she explained to me that she has no set way to do her readings. Intuition was her guide. I was open and as the reading unfolded, I knew she was in touch with what I was going through. She took her time, gave me her full attention and was patient with me through a little moment of anxiety I had.

The reading was clear and one card lead to another. She even paused for a moment and brought up another area of my life I didn’t even ask about. This was more of channelling.

Channelling Information

When you get a reading from someone like Marina, you’ve got to have an open mind. In other words, she may start with the cards and then just be lead by channeling information.

We laughed, got goosebumps and were both so open and honest about so many things. I found myself emotional and a little teary eyed but so happy that I took the time to learn a little more about her. And, of course, I was happy to get the reading.

Having met with a few energy and tarot card readers, clairvoyants and spiritual people, this kind of work is the norm for me. I’ve even worked for an energy healer/medium and have been her assistant and her client over time. She guided me through so many things that I was sorting through in my life. The one message they all had in common for me was that I am extremely intuitive and that I should learn to trust my intuition more. I’m still working on that. 

Release The Veil

When my faith feels shaky, I yearn for assistance on things I can’t see clearly myself. God bless those days when my own higher knowing and I connect in beautiful unison. When the veil is too thick though and I can’t find my way, I look to people like Marina. 

Keep an open mind. Trust your own truth on everything. If it feels ok for you then it is… follow that. If it doesn’t then it isn’t… follow that.

Here are some final thoughts from Marina… and I so love them. 

“I believe the essence of spiritual activism lies in giving each other the guidance to recover our own free will and strength and our connection with the sacredness of being alive. It is a major breakthrough we are experiencing as a species that has been dormant and enslaved by our own darkness. It is time to face it, and find our own inner Light, and then we won’t need healers and tarot readers to do the job, and we can all chill and have fun on this gift that Mother Earth is for any soul!”

Whatever your truth is in this relative realm, may you always connect to it fully and with sincere confidence. If you find moments where you feel like you just can’t hear or see, consider a reading from Marina. You may find her on Instagram at MarinaRuty or on Facebook at Marina Ruty Preistess. Alternatively, you may email her at marinaruty639@gmail.com.

Like me, she’s also an artist! I tell you, we creative types are most often out there with the moon and the stars, as one of my dear friends describes me. C’mon, you know we make this world way more interesting and fun. 🙂

Some of her art is on her Instagram. You can also follow her here on Facebook.

In the mean time, cheers to a deep and beautiful relationship with God. May the veil between the highest knowing and where you are right now be so thin that you can SEE and HEAR through your own higher knowing. God Bless!

God is the Greatest.

15 + 9 =

3 Little Stories About My Mom That May Make You Want to Nourish Yours More.

3 Little Stories About My Mom That May Make You Want to Nourish Yours More.

 Tiny Gestures. Big Impact.

As Mother’s Day approaches, my mom keeps coming to my heart center. It’s been 20 years since she passed on and still stories about her thrill me to no end. They all remind me that one of the greatest gifts we can give to anyone is the gift of our true authentic selves. My mom’s name was Jean and she was a people person, a philanthropist and an avid lover of the environment. 

As time has shown me, she kept a lot of what she did for others to herself. It wasn’t until after her transition… and I mean years after, that I learned about some simple yet grand things she did for others. Maybe to her, they were simply “the right thing to do.” To the recipients, however, the tiny gestures had a big impact. As I recall stories of her kindness to others, I feel super proud that she was my mom. 

Call Her for No Reason at All or For Every Reason You Can Think Of

I’ve accepted, mostly, that she’s no longer here with me. I can’t have that hug any more, or literally hear her words and thoughts on things. So, I now celebrate her in different ways, like my writing. That’s one way I share my love and appreciation for her.

I wonder if you’re one of those people who will be celebrating your mom in your memories like me or in person. I wonder if this post will encourage you to truly celebrate your mom if she’s still with you in physical form. 

I hope you take a moment to listen to her stories, take her out, bring her roses or one single rose. Call her for no reason at all or for every reason you can think of.

There are likely very kind gestures she did that she may have never shared with you. There are things she sacrificed so you could have food, something to wear or just so you could have peace of mind. Priceless.

For the rest of us who have to celebrate our moms through memories, I hope you have many fond ones of your mom. I hope that sweet stories about her find you in the most delightful ways.

For now, I’d like to share a few sweet stories of my mom – kind gestures she did that impacted others that she never told me about. 

The Lab Technician

The first story I heard about my mom after her passing, was shortly after my son was born. I went to do a blood test. The lab technician opened the door and called out my name. “Jeannie Shaw?” he beckoned. “Yes. that’s me.”, I responded. “Follow me.” he uttered and gestured with his hand.

“Come this way and have a seat.” He started to organize himself to extract blood from me. I sat silently as he swiveled from left to right in his white coat, fully concentrated on swabs, needles and vials. Most labs have this feeling of simplicity. They remind me of sharp edges, coldness, distinct beginnings and endings. Not much emotion. Not much feeling other than the pinch of the needle. But this lab was about to get warm and cozy.

Ready. Set. Go.

He was ready. All items were secure and in their place. Now all I had to do was close my eyes and turn my head the opposite direction while he withdrew that life sustaining beautiful red flow of magic from my body.

As he began to wrap the rubbery band around my right arm, his focus seemed to drift away and back to me. “Hmm, Jeannie Shaw… are you related to Jean Shaw?”, he asked. It was as if in the silence, information was slowly coming together for him… like pieces of a puzzle he was snapping into place in his mind.

 “Yes, I am.” I responded proudly. “She was my mom.”

He froze. “No way.” he said with this look of shock on his face.

“Yu dah Ms Jean daata?”, he asked to confirm.

Awkward

“Please, may I give you a hug?”, he asked.

Awkwarddddd. 

“Haha, sure I guess.” I said wondering what in the awkward moments is going on right ‘chere.
(said in my best Jess Hilarious voice)

I stood up and he gave me a long, warm hug. 

“Your mom was a darling of a woman.” he continued. “I was studying in Guatemala and I came home one weekend and couldn’t find my dad. I went to her hotel to see if she could help me. He would sometimes go into remote areas for work and no one could reach him until he came back out.” 

“Ms Jean, my dad had no idea I was coming in today and I thought I’d be able to surprise him. I just thought maybe you might know where he is. I needed to get some money from him.” he went on with his story. 

“Your mom was so happy to see me. She asked me how much money I needed and I told her. She went into a little room in the back and came out with more than enough.” he said. She said to him, “Here, take this. I will collect from your dad when I see him.” he continued telling the story, smiling.

Blessings Follow Your Children

“I’ll never forget that.” he continued. “I needed help and she didn’t hesitate. It meant so much to me. To know you are her daughter, and that I can hug you as a way to say thank you to her for being so kind and trusting is so nice.” he said as he smiled at me.

I thought to myself… wow this is a prime example of how blessings follow your children. Here I was getting hugs and thank you’s just for being Ms Jean’s daughter. 

Such a simple gesture that went a long way.

One of the things I most admired about my mom was the fact that she never boasted or bragged about people she helped. In many cases you had to either be there or be a part of it. Otherwise you’d never know how she loved helping people. 

It was the first of many moments where someone would tell me about her kindness to them. If it wasn’t a direct story from someone, it would be a story where she impacted something else. She left people feeling good, smiling and taken care of.

Stella Maris School

One day as my aunt, Tia Jen, and I were talking about my dream to one day write a book, she mentioned my mom. “You really should write a book about your mom, Jeannie.” said Tia Jen. “Lemme tell you one thing you could include in your book gyal.”, she continued. 

Your mom was always trying to help someone or some group and I can tell you specifically how she helped Stella Maris School in Belize City. 

Stella Maris School is a school for children with special needs in Belize. 

“Girl, she had some simple ashtrays made from bamboo and under it, she wrote “Stolen from Bamboo Bay”. Bamboo Bay was a small bar my mom ran for her dad, Raymond Weir. It was quite popular in those days.

All she asked for was donations. The patrons of Bamboo Bay could then give whatever amount they felt comfortable giving.” she continued. “But girl, lemme tell you if the donation was too meager, your mom would leave her hand out,” she said laughing, “and they would put more.” Tia Jen said with glee on her face.

The Albino

“Another thing she did had to do with an albino catfish.” she kept going on. “There was one albino catfish in the river and the tourists would stand there and wait for the fish to show his face. So Jean had a big spotlight installed on the verandah by the river. She’d then sell stale bread to the tourists in little bags. They’d all stand over the water’s edge and start throwing the bread in the river.” she continued.

The thrill of the moment was only if the albino presented himself to the onlookers. It was one of the highlights of the venue. There was no Instagram or Facebook to capture every moment but this memory was so clear to my aunt still. It was like having digital snapshots in her mind of a time more than 4 decades ago, as if it happened yesterday.

“She’d then donate any monies earned from the ashtrays and the catfish to Stella Maris School.” she said proudly. “I don’t recall the connection she had there or why she chose that school but it was her little way to give back.” she said. 

Wow, Tia, I love this story about my mom. She never told me any of this. She truly was phenomenal.”, I said to her.

You Need Help? l’m Here.

“Yes, gyal she was. Make sure you mention my name in your book, you hear me Jeannie?” she jokingly tugged at me. “You know how to spell my name, right?” she asked. “Yes. T I A Jen.” I said.

“Hahaha,” she laughed. 

We parted ways and I went on my evening walk.

“What a wonderful woman I had the chance to call my mom.”, I thought.

We’d had our moments over the years – the usual mother/daughter bickering stuff but as time went on, it did get better. It was mostly good. It was always support and I was mostly thankful. But I am human. I had my moments.

Sometimes memories of her flutter around me like butterflies. Other times, I am so caught up in life and all its goings ons that maybe I don’t remember her as much. It took 10 years to be ok with her transitioning and 10 more years to reach the point of sometimes not remembering her as much as I used to. 

There are moments though that we never forget…  This quote from Maya Angelou makes me think of my mom. For the lab technician, it wasn’t about the money, even though it was needed.

It was that she trusted him, trusted his father and just wanted to help. You need help? I’m here. That’s what he was truly thankful for – he felt safe. He was ok. He found someone to help him. 

The Final Flight

December 1st, 1999, my mom and I left Belize on our way to Guatemala City. Little did I know it was the last of the few days I’d have left with her. We talked from one thing to the next on the plane and she was sharing with me little anecdotes about people she felt were so good to her.

These were some of the people that she would never forget how they made her feel. They made her feel loved.

“I love Mikey, you know. He really treats me so good. I can call him any time to do anything and he’s always willing.” she said. I smiled because I knew it was true. He loved her dearly and was indeed always willing to help her. Mikey is a friend who became like family to us. My mom embraced our friends so just about everyone would become like family but some were extra special. Mikey lived down the street at the corner and was only one phone call away at any given time. He is one of many of her “adopted sons” but for this moment she was giving him some serious props.

She went on switching to another person she was appreciating in the moment. “You know Mark could run the whole hotel – from top to bottom. He can do rooms, front desk, accounting… I tell you!” She was talking about Mark Bowman with so much appreciation for the qualities he brought to her business. He worked with my mom and in truth could run the entire operation on his own. He could cook, serve, tend the bar, clean a room to the highest quality and just about all administrative stuff that presented itself.

“Yes mommy, it’s true.” I agreed, listening to her go on and on.

Mikey (Michael Charley) getting ready to fly a kite in honor of Ms Jean, one year after her transition.

“Oh but Jeannie, that Bridget…” she continued. 

She was talking about Bridget Taylor. Bridget attended to all laundry at the hotel. She’d been working at the hotel for about 10 years at the time. My mom trusted her 100% and always wanted Bridget to know how appreciated she was. “See the cut on my foot from when I fell down?” she asked me.

I looked down as she lifted her pants up for me to see the cut.

“Look how nicely it’s healing up.”, she said. “That’s because Bridget took care of it. She always takes care of me. I appreciate her so much.” she said smiling as we continued flowing from one subject to the next.

It was as if her spirit wanted me to know some specific stories about some of the very special people she treasured. 

I had no idea it would be the last of our conversations in this realm. I only knew we were going to Guatemala and would be back in Belize City a few days later. It was not to be. My mom passed away the following Monday, December 6th, 1999.

Bridget continued working for the hotel until she reached 22 years of service. She had taken care of a slew of visitors from all over the world… and she’d taken care of our entire family and most importantly to me, she’d taken care of my mom.

Bridget Taylor enjoying an easy evening with Belizean musician, Paul Nabor.

That Was My Friend

Bridget called me this week and we got to talking from one thing to the next. I reminded her of the cut on my mom’s foot. She sadly recalled the week my mom passed and how it affected her. Bridget’s father passed away the Monday before. It was a lot for her.

Bridget reminded me of some things she went through in her life when she first started working at the hotel. She’d been experiencing some hardships in her personal life that lead to her to some sleepless nights. She would go to work feeling tired, her eyes red from lack of sleep and her body exhausted.

“Bridget, you didn’t get any sleep?”, my mom asked her. “No mam.”, she responded. My mom shared with her she hadn’t slept either. Plagued with her own personal hardships, she was also struggling through her days with minimal rest and loads of stress.

“Bridget, take the key to any room that’s available and you go sleep.” my mom told her. “When you feel rested, come down and then do whatever work you can do for today.” my mom told her. 

“Jeannie, we used to sit on that verandah and just talk from one thing to the next. That was my friend. That’s why when she told me she fell down and showed me her cut, I took care of her. She was my friend.” Bridget continued.

“She said the cut was healing but I could see it was not healing properly and I knew how to fix that.” Bridget said proudly. Their endless conversations, little inside secrets and looking out for each other stretched across time, space and dimension. The line between employer and employee was virtually non-existent. Instead, it was just two women who knew each others’ plight and worked together daily to accomplish a smoothly running hotel with fresh white linen.

Bridget felt like she was blessed to have someone who cared more about her being ok than if the sheets were cleaned. And my mom felt blessed to have someone who cared more about the cut on her foot than getting paid for clean linen.

There’s a saying in Belize – maybe it’s universal.

Hand Wash Hand

You never know how the kindness you offer to those around you will affect them. Among the many things you think to leave for your children, leave a legacy of beautiful stories. Leave a legacy of your highest vibration – that you were good to people. That you genuinely cared to see other people get ahead. Leave a legacy of being a philanthropist.

These are just some of the stories I can share about my mom.

I’ve been upgraded to first class, moved up in a bank line, given hugs, written the sweetest of random messages and many more things all for the kindness of Ms Jean. And 20 years later, they still find me. What a blessing.

There are things your mom has done or is doing for others right now. Maybe she’s not telling you. Maybe in the grand scheme of things, they seem minute but it’s very possible they are GRAND. Celebrate your mom as often as you can… listen to her story. Nourish Her Sweetly today and everyday.

And if and when she leaves this earthly realm, I hope many more stories of her kindness finds you to brighten your life.

I’d love to hear a story about your mom, whether she’s still here on this earthly plane or fluttering around you in the spirit world. Tell me.

Get your feet wet at Eaton Canyon, a great trek for new hiker.

Get your feet wet at Eaton Canyon, a great trek for new hiker.

A Great Trek for The New Hiker

Hiking is defined as the activity of going for long walks, especially in the country or woods. Oftentimes people equate hiking only with hills and mountains. That can be a deterrent for many who are either afraid of heights or feel like their legs are not strong enough for anything higher than one foot. This is why Eaton Canyon is an amazing hike for the beginner. You get a taste of hiking elevations and you can feel fit and fabulous afterward. Not only will you get the experience of being in nature’s bliss, the trees and the water, but you get to finish the first leg of your hike at a waterfall. Depending on rainfall for the year, that waterfall can appear to be a flirty trickle or a wondrous roar.

Strategically Plan Crossings

Located in the city of Pasadena, Eaton Canyon is about a 1 mile stretch of wide, mostly flat and dirt trail. The elevation change goes up to 375 feet and is very doable. There are just a few spots that would appear challenging if climbing is out of the question for the hike. The stream can keep your company as it leads you to the waterfall. Early 2019 brought so much rain to California that getting to the waterfall without “getting your feet wet” was virtually impossible. The water can get up to thigh high depending on your height. The current can be pretty strong and there are areas where you have to strategically plan out your crossings.

The Trek is Not a Straight Path

My son and I recently visited Eaton Canyon and we challenged ourselves to get to the waterfall without getting wet. We didn’t make it pass the first stream, haha. He stands about 6′ 2″ and there were parts of the water that passed his knees as we crossed. 

What I enjoy most about this hike is having to navigate how to get from one side of the stream to the next. The trek is not a straight path. Doesn’t life feel like that sometimes? It sure does to me. Anything that helps me to shift my focus in a positive direction is such a treasure. Crossing rocks and logs over fairly fast moving water is a sure way to redirect my thoughts.

Like headstands, my entire being goes completely to holding my balance and in this case also finding the best ways to get to my destination. Mind, body and spirit become engulfed in one single moment – navigating. Even if the moment is fleeting as you put one foot in front of the other, at least for that moment, nothing else exists.

Some Info To Consider

Eaton Canyon can be very busy and patience will be needed as you traverse among a myriad of people. Keep in mind that everyone is seeking the same joy you will likely find if you immerse yourself in the moment.

Some helpful info you might to consider is:

If you enter the destination (1750 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107) on Google maps, it usually gives you an idea of what kind of traffic to expect. During daylight saving time (DST), you can get away with arriving at Eaton Canyon by 3pm. It takes about an hour to get to the waterfalls and about the same to get back out. Arriving at 3pm during DST gives you about 4 hours before the sun sets which is usually when the park closes.

The parking lot closes at 5p but I have seen a 7p sign during DST. There’s also parking on the street but always try your luck in the parking area.

If you want to hike without having to feel restricted to time, park on the street. Pay attention to the signs around.

Some Hiking Tips

The initial part of the trek may feel like a bit of a trek as it’s the main part of the elevation. Be prepared for it.

If the sun is hot, take your time… once you get closer to the entrance of the canyon, it’s mostly traversing dirt paths, rocks, logs and a few tiny climbs here and there. There are also more shaded areas to enjoy.

Never assume a log or rock is firmly in place. This is not “Rock Steady” with Bob Marley… give it a feel first if you’re unsure.

If you choose to play music, remember not everyone wants to hear it… take your ear plugs or headphones.

If you can manage, try a hike without any music and just fall in tune with nature.

Have patience, especially on weekends. There are people of all ages seeking a taste of the divine in nature.

Be open to dogs… most of them are actually funny to watch as they play in the water, run for sticks or cause a ruckus amongst everyone.

If all else fails and you get tired of waiting your turn to cross or you feel unsure of the rocks and logs, just get your feet wet at Eaton Canyon. The water is refreshing, unless it’s winter… in which case it’s practically freezing cold 🙂

Scale Through Life

There are also a couple other trails nearby that take you up to much higher elevations. For the beginner though, just stick to the path that leads you to the waterfall. If you’re lucky, you might be there when a professional hikers come scaling down the waterfall on a rope. I’ve seen them on a few occasions and it’s always a thrill to watch how they slide down with almost zero effort. If only I could scale through many things the same way, even a waterfall! 

If you enjoy people watching, this is also a great spot to just sit and enjoy the energies or close your eyes and connect fully to your own energy. Keep an open mind and notice all the trees, the way the light hits the canyon floor and how water flows. It’s a sweet reminder about life – that things are always changing. How boring it would be if it always stayed the same.

God is the Greatest.

Ode to Chantry Flats

Ode to Chantry Flats

Ode to Chantry Flats

You will hear my wondrous roar in the waterfalls and know that it is me

You’ll feel my touch in the cold wind and watch it blow the leaves on every tree.

You will see my creative flow in the many shapes of every rock you touch

You’ll witness the intricacy of me in the flowers and wonder how I do so much

You’ll know I’m hearing you my love when you notice all your tears have ceased

You’ll understand that no matter what, I am always with you and in you I am well pleased.

God is the Greatest.

Nuggets of Fitness Advice from a Veteran Body Builder – Train, but Don’t Strain.

Nuggets of Fitness Advice from a Veteran Body Builder – Train, but Don’t Strain.

Ballet ignited my love for strength, movement and flexibility. Under the tutelage of Mrs Valdez, it became a part of my life when I was 3 years old. I can vividly recall going to her studio on the south side of Belize City and taking the long walk through the alley to get to her house. It was an old colonial style, wooden home with two floors. The dance studio was downstairs. Mrs Valdez always wore full black, kept her hair up in a bun and embraced everyone who became a student of hers.

I did ballet until I was 12 years old. When I started high school, it was time for me to leave the craft behind but the construct of fitness, flexibility and body movement stayed with me. It helped me to be more mindful of how good it feels to be in a body that moves well. My legs received the most benefit from ballet I believe. As an adolescent, I was called thunder thighs but it had a negative connotation for me. Today, I love my “thunder thighs!”

My legs are strong and shapely and I love how they carry me through my life. Throughout high school, I was always in dance groups and active with friends on the weekend. It created a balance for me since I was no longer taking ballet classes. I took up running when I moved to Florida in my late teens. Weight seemed to melt off my body with running. Later, I got into yoga, cycling and eventually nurtured a relationship with weights. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another.

Lighten Up

As social media blossomed, I became and more and more comfortable with sharing my life in bits and pieces. One of my weekly shares became fitness activities, including weight lifting. My cousin started sending me nuggets of advice on some of my routines. Eventually she started to mention that I may be lifting too heavy. What? Nah. “Lighten up for what?”

I was following fit women on Instagram and felt sure of what I was doing. I shared with her what I’d learned from these women who lift heavy and how they shaped their bodies with heavy lifting. She kept insisting it wasn’t healthy for me. My uncle, her dad, has been in fitness for 58 years and she felt confident in what she had learned from him over the years.

I decided to take her advice. There were days it felt like I did lift too heavy and I’d be exhausted after. I started listening to my body more – paying attention to what felt good – what felt like “enough”. Just enough weights and just enough repetitions.

I asked if she could get some basic nuggets of information from him that could prove helpful to women, especially.

His name is Jorge Pelayo, widely known as Mr Pelayo, but I call him Tio. He is a lover of fitness – 58 years in the business and counting.

Tio started body building when he was 18 years old and still does weight lifting at the tender age of 76! In his late teens, he took a liking to football and wanted stronger legs for his role as a left winger. Little did he know that his love for football would lead him into a life long love affair with weight lifting. Bodybuilding gave him a natural high that lifted his spirit, enhanced his self esteem and made him look and feel younger.

Tio firmly believes that doing weights all these years and taking such good care of his body is what helped him to recover so quickly from hip surgery three years ago. He amazed his doctor with his “snap back” game. He was walking on his own within 6 weeks and back in the gym after three months. “Thanks to the Almighty, I am back to normal.” he says.

He attests that his self care rituals all these years aided in his rapid recovery.

Often leaning to ease and flow, I wanted some simple truths about fitness he could offer. Tell me simply Tio… a few nuggets of advice in the world of fitness. 

Oftentimes, we complicate things but most of life is simple. If we pay attention to nature, we’d see the simplicity of so many things. Here’s what he had to say – solid pieces of advice from a fitness guru with almost 60 years experience in body building and fitness.

Nuggets of Advice for Everyone

Eat lots of fruits, veggies and seafood.

Drink lots of water and coconut water.

Cut out sodas, especially coke.

Eat home cooked meals as much as possible.

Get 8 hours of sleep every night and take an hour nap some time during the day.

Nuggets of Advice for Women

Heavy lifting is for women who compete professionally.

3 times a week minimum and 4 times maximum weight lifting for the average woman taking care of her body.

Lighter weights will do wonders. Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Training with heavy weights for the non-competitor can damage the joints as you get older.

It can also affect menstruation and make it irregular.

The “No pain. No gain.” movement is a myth to him. It can lead to serious injury.

He believes in “Train but don’t strain” and you’ll be fit for years.

Keep it moving. Even if you don’t get to the gym, do something. Ride, walk, run, dance – just move!

DO NOT DIET. Simply make wise decisions about food. Eat healthy. Diets don’t work and can lead to the “yo-yo syndrome”.

Just find what works for your body and follow it. Make good choices and your body will love you for it.

Adonis Gym

Tio still trains in his gym today helping people achieve their fitness goals and still enjoys everything about fitness. His gym, Adonis Gym is located on the 2nd floor of the ITVet Building on St. Thomas Street in Belize City, BELIZE.

Among his many achievements in his years of bodybuilding and weight training, his most prized moments are those that inspire and help people along their fitness journey. This includes the everyday person who just wants to invest in their wellbeing and the competitor who wants to win!

Inspiring and guiding others to a better and healthier lifestyle turned bodybuilding into a life of service that has been most fulfilling for him.

Among some of the many amazing people he has trained, here are some that have competed and won under his wisdom and knowledge.

Faith Ferguson – Miss Figure Belize
Crystal Mendez – Miss Figure Belize
Josie Pollard – Ms Bikini Belize
Noel Nunez – Mr Belize, Mr Central America in Panama and Costa Rica
Ben McKoy – Mr Belize
Thomas Wright – Mr Belize and Mr Central America in Honduras
Fred Henry – Junior Mr Belize

Three years ago, his true appreciation for investing wisely in his temple to to full fruition. Witnessing how quickly he recovered from surgery was a testament to how vital it is that we take care of our bodies.

Balance

I’ve been so into working out sometimes that I could easily put in 2 hours even on a day when my body is telling me its tired. I’d leave the gym, feeling so tired after, with little energy to focus on other things. I’ve since lowered my weight lifting to pounds that feel better.

The whole conversation just reminded me of what I always find myself drawn to – balance. Just enough of everything, not leaning too much into anything except love. And, as you can see in a pic of him above, he has a beer once in a while.

A couple years ago, I changed my diet (as in what I eat). I suppose I could be considered a pescatarian.

The last time I dropped weight easily, I was working out 3 days a week for 40 mins each day, kept carbs, sugar and processed food to a minimum. It was such a simpler process and I had way more energy. It felt like the weight just melted off my body.

Just Listen to Your Body

Working out has never been an issue for me. If someone would just curb my love of chocolate and carbs, I’d be flaunting leaner curves and a tighter bootie in all my headstands. But NO, someone had to make chocolate. 

Since I lowered the numbers on my weight lifting, I leave the gym less exhausted. As I write this I recall that time weight just melted off my body by just mostly watching what I ate. Exercise always plays a role of course but if you’re putting in long hours in the gym and longer hours in the kitchen then it’s all futile. Just listen to your body. It knows.

Have you ever just looked at food and just know you don’t want it? Your body knows! One of the best gift we can give ourselves is learning how to tune into our inner guidance system. The more in tuned we become with our vessel, the better guidance we will receive. It knows when it needs rest, what foods it wants to eat, how much is too much, what feels good and what doesn’t.

While there are unique situations that may require the guidance of a doctor or nutritionist, it really is a simple concept.

Eat Less. Move More.

I hope this helped you or inspired you to make your fitness journey simpler.

I hope you practice listening to your body. It knows.

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