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 fasting? Fasting 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 email@example.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!
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.
“Please, may I give you a hug?”, he asked.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Practicing Mindfulness is a Sure Path to Having More Sacred Moments Everyday
Mindfulness. Last year I told one of my friends that I’d found a way to slow down time. I found a way to do things in slow motion that made time last longer. I was stoked. EXCITED!
I couldn’t really explain it – I only saw that I was doing it and I knew that it could be done. It entailed complete focus and awareness. If I were to simplify it, I would say that I was moving with the rhythm of the universe. Have you ever heard the saying, “Grass does not strain to grow.”? If you are feeling rushed, things are falling out of your hands or you keep having to turn back for something you forgot, just stop. These are signs that you are not in alignment and that you should slow down. The energy of rushing and hastiness will not yield better results. They actually tip your vibration in the direction of unwanted and chaotic.
Lately, when this happens, and I catch myself (key words: and I catch myself)I just stop.
I stop and I breathe or I intentionally move slower. Anyone close enough to me knows that I love ease and flow and flow and ease – in every way. I may not always practice it and sure, there are days I’m not in alignment with the things I believe. But, I know what it feels like to be in alignment and when I’m there, it’s pure bliss.
At any rate, I couldn’t make much sense of this new found ability. I only somehow became aware of it, as if I were an avatar redirecting energy.
Oh, but actually I am.
Hello. It’s me.
After listening to one of Eckhart Tolle’s YouTube videos where he explained what mindfulness is, it occurred to me that “slowing down time” was very similar to what he saying. It was all tied to awareness, being fully present, mindfulness etc. I wanted to make a deliberate attempt to fully immerse myself in a moment. Tolle described what it would be like to put all your focus into any and everything you do – from making tea, to walking, to cleaning etc. These are the tiny moments that we often take for granted – and yet they provide the most magical everyday paths to practice awareness, or mindfulness.
We tend to fixate our attention on the past or the future and we forget “The Now”.
“The Now”, where all the power lies – the only space we really have control. Yesterday is gone, even two minutes ago is gone and tomorrow is often filled with thoughts and worries that may likely never occur. Deep down, I know this.
God Bless the days I practice what I know to be true haha.
Teachings of Lao Tzu
Imagine, if you will, the following scenario in slow motion. Take one deep, slow breath and bring all your awareness to the next couple paragraphs. Relive this time and space with me.
Ready? Breathe… Read….
I reach up and open the dark wooden cupboard door. It makes a slight screeching sound and the movement generates a tiny wind that brushes pass my face and makes a few of my curly locks dance ever so gently. My eyes find my favorite coffee cup on the shelf. It’s white and shaped like a teapot with blue print designs on it. The designs remind me of china my mom used to cherish. I take the cup off the shelf and set it on the cold granite counter top. It makes a tiny clink, like when two wine glasses lightly tap each other to celebrate. There’s a brief moment of hearing “Cheers”. It’s fleeting but I hear it. My hand automatically closes the cupboard door but my eyes are on the prize – coffee.
The house is completely silent. I am fully aware of the sounds around me, where my eyes are, what my focus is and then it all fades to total connection with my breath. It flows in and out of my body – my life force. Without her, I couldn’t be here. She is all I am, the core of me – outside of any labels, possessions, wants, desires, discontent or pleasure.
My breath – in, out. In, out – filling my chest, my lungs and my tummy, expanding my vessel … then releasing. And, repeat.
My only focus in this moment IS this moment.
I grab my tablespoon and dip it in the plastic container, scooping a heaping spoonful of instant coffee. The sound of the spoon reaching into the coffee grounds is very audible to me. It goes in and crystal like coffee powder piles up on top of each other and just as the spoon is about to emerge, tiny bits fall back down. I steadily lift the spoon out and the other clink comes when the tablespoon touches the cup and again I hear the sliding of the coffee grounds as they make their way into this tiny empty space.
My awareness shifts to the boiling water. The bubbling sound is letting me know it’s almost ready and the steam is beautifully escaping the electric white kettle, gracefully floating upwards.
I hear the click from the kettle – the water is boiled. 100 degrees celsius. I make a few steps to my left and release the kettle from its base, pouring the boiling water into the cup. Hot water and steam engulf the space and the coffee crystals swirl around like dancers around a bonfire. I pour my creamer into mix and start to stir my morning joe. The spoon edges against the inner parameters of the cup and then at the rim. I lift it out and tap it a couple times on the edge. Clink clink again. Cheers!
Inhale. Exhale. Coffee.
My mind is fully concentrated on just this moment. Again, I become fully aware of my breath… inhale, exhale – coffee.
This is mindfulness. It is complete immersion into any given moment. It’s filled with awareness and silence and it is pure magic.
If I were to hone in on what my first interaction with mindfulness was, it would be almost a decade ago when I was riding my bike as a part of my usual work out routine. I became fully aware of my hair blowing in the wind. Only then, I didn’t know what it was nor did I have a label for it. It was just a moment that I loved and I started to become more and more aware of moments like it. All those moments eventually lead me to believing that I could slow down time but all I was practicing was mindfulness – being fully present.
Silence has become one of my best friends, especially in recent months. Often times, I find it’s the only way to balance myself when things feel like they are out of control. A couple years ago, I did a weekend job that left me so exhausted that I couldn’t talk for two days. My energy was drawn in ways I never knew was possible. I ended up tuning in to someone else’s life in a way that shook her and the people around me. Even I didn’t understand what was happening.
It was like I went directly into her energy field, picked up pieces of her life and shared them with her verbally. She leaned on me physically and emotionally and when I left that space, I was drained.
Silence came naturally after that weekend and was the only way to recovery. It centered me and allowed me to pull my energies back to my core. Practicing yoga and being drawn to inversions, I learned that headstands were another way for me to stop time.
Headstands and Mindfulness
People have often asked me why I love doing headstands. The main reason I love doing headstands is because in that moment, nothing else matters but! My focus is my body and my balance. My mind is completely engaged in controlling my stance. There is no room for anything else but that moment. It is one of THE BEST ways for me to become fully present and be in The Power of Now.
As I become more aware of my energy, where it goes and when it’s being overstimulated, I find that I can more readily reel it back to myself. Reeling it back almost always begins with mindfulness which always includes silence and awareness. We often pride ourselves on being able to multitask and I suppose in many aspects, it is indeed a gift.
My personal experience though, is that the more you do one thing at a time with full focus on that one thing, the better it will be for you, the action you’re taking and the result it will bring. You will also find yourself feeling better about each thing you are doing. As I was completing this yesterday, I saw this post by Dandapani and had to steal it. One thing at a time. Slowly, and with your full attention equals bliss… resonates with mindfulness, full presence and breath.
For many people, the only way to truly practice sacredness is to include church, prayer or meditation.
But, everything is relative. Attending church may be one way to connect to God but an even more amazing way is to do it when making a cup of coffee. This would mean that the connection to God is being integrated in the simplest to the grandest moments as you live your life. Practicing mindfulness is a sure path to having more sacred moments everyday.
Awareness while making my coffee that morning was not just about slowing down time, it was about being completely immersed in the now, fully aware and connected to my breath. It was the observer inside me – where there is no label, no need, no want – just existence, pure energy.
Any time that I am fully aware of my being, my breath and my actions is a moment I am practicing awareness. In those moments, I am not consumed by my ego, my doings, my worries, my woes – I simply Am.
I Am, two of the most powerful words we could possibly utter and the more that mindfulness is practiced, the more I Am moments there are to be had. Try it… When you find yourself noticing your breath above all else, it will hit you and hopefully you’ll smile and recognize it as mindfulness and these words may make more sense to you.
The Letter ‘A’ Makes the Sound ‘Ah’ for Apples – The Learning Curve of My Son, the Lyricist
“He’s not learning at the pace I expect him to and I feel it’s best he repeat this year”, said Ms Heusner of Belize Elementary School (BES), Belize City. My heart sank. “What does she know!”, I thought. I was upset. She had to be wrong. My son was 3 years old at the time. How could he possibly need to repeat? It was ABC, for crying out loud. Of course he’ll catch on.
“No, he won’t repeat. Move him forward.” I retorted. I knew that it was an unfair assessment. I had a flashback to a moment I had with him in the kitchen just some weeks before.
Just Another Typical Boy
“Mommy, please send chocolate for teacher tomorrow”, he said to me as he pulsed himself up on the kitchen sink staring up at me with his beautiful dark eyes. “Why do I need to send chocolate Deej?”, I asked. “Because that’s what makes teacher good.” he said confidently. “We don’t give chocolate so people like us babe.” I responded.
“I’m on to you,”, I thought to myself.
Well that was it. That’s what this was about. He wasn’t one of the kids who took gifts for the teacher and now this is the result. She wants him to repeat. She thinks he’s having trouble learning ABCs but look at this insightful and observant 3 year old already assessing that if he takes chocolate for the teacher, things will be a lot smoother for him.
That school year I had to leave the country for a month and took my son with me. I convinced myself that it was the only reason he didn’t catch on to his ABCs. And, she wants him to repeat for that AND because he doesn’t take chocolate! THE NERVE!
DEEEFENSE! Stomp Stomp Stomp!
I felt like I was at a local basketball game I used to go years before at the Civic Center in Belize City.
I was in defensive mode and I didn’t want to see or hear Ms Heusner’s insight into my son.
He wasn’t learning ABCs but he drew a beautiful turtle without a picture to reference at only 2 years old and without prompts from anyone to do so. Obviously something was wrong with them. Yes, this was my solid reasoning. I kid you not. Defensive mode is a hell of a thing.
Mr Turtle by DeJean Wright
Ms Heusner had at least, or just under, two decades of teaching under her belt by then but in my dismay, none of that mattered or even occurred to me. I didn’t want to acknowledge it. He went on to Kindergarten with Ms Burns and the struggle continued. She tried to help him using the sand outside so he could draw letters in the sand and associate it with sound. I bought ABCs in the forms of tangible letters that we could use to play and do fights with so he could remember the sound that went with each one.
Hardly anything stuck.
He now says he lost his drawing skills. As if…
The Letter ‘A’ Makes the Sound “ah” for Apple!
Not for my son. ‘A’ made the sound ay like hay, say and day.
E made the sound e like eel, easy and erode but not eh like elephant.
He was extremely phonetic and I had to find my way with how he learned and how he saw the world. It was just exactly as he heard it.
When there were parades at school and he had to wear a hat, he threw a fit. Just about every other child was happy and content and my son cried through the entire process. He didn’t like conforming to the norm and hated wearing the hat they put on him. DeJean never reported back what happened in school other than remembering that the teacher is pleased if you take her chocolates. Days of the week were only important if it involved a holiday and still asks me what day of the week it is from time to time.
I searched for years to find a way to teach him the alphabet and the varying sounds.
It felt like like I’d been around the world and back searching for a way that made sense to him. Finally, I found a system out of the UK – well, it was on a UK site. Each sound accompanied an action. So A makes the sound ah like ants and with that word there was an action of ants running up his hands and so on. Tying an action to the letter and the sound finally resonated with him and a very slight introduction to reading was made. He was around 6 years old.
No Tooth Sugar, a Belizean saying.
Maybe He Needs a Filter (Not SnapChat Type)
My aunt told me about one of my cousins who took some tests and learned that some people can read better when there’s a color filter over the words. Maybe it would work for DeJean but he would need tests. No problem. I’d try just about anything to get the help he needed.
We made our appointment at the Irlen Institute in California on July 30th 2008. We wanted to see if maybe using a color shield over the text he was seeing would be the solution for him. It worked for my cousin. Maybe it was an easy solution to his reading hurdles.
The details are blurry to me now. All I remember is a dark room and a big desk and words that had little meaning to me. These tests were more ideal for 7 year olds. DeJean had just turned 6 but I was desperate for solutions and insisted that they see him. They complied.
Problem was, it would have been better to wait til he was 7. I wanted a diagnosis. Typical human behavior I guess.
I was expecting to be something like this. “He has dyslexia. Use this filter and all the words will appear correctly.” YES! Problem solved. NO.
A Myriad of Profiles
“Your son fits a myriad of profiles Ms Shaw”, Shirley said to me. Again, my heart sank. What do these people know anyway? Maybe they don’t even know what they are doing. “He’s a little bit of a lot of things. We see dyslexia, a little ADD…” she went on. “So you can’t just tell me one thing he fits that we could just work on?,” I interrupted. We made a long trip to see her and all she could say was that he fit many profiles and they couldn’t truly diagnose him til he was 7.
“Well, then why did you agree to see us,” I was rolling my eyes back and forth from her office to Timboktu. I forgot that I was the one who insisted.
We left with a report that made some suggestions for his current school at the time. The ones that struck out mostly were the following:
Don’t mark his work with lots of red ink everywhere. It sends a terrible message to a child like him.
If there are errands to be run, choose a kid like DeJean. The tiny distractions will help him tremendously.
Lessen the amount of work he gets and make it simpler.
I met with his principal, Mrs Nisbet, and shared all the notes. The teachers tried to adhere but with at least 25 to 30 other kids in their classes, it was hard to keep track of what suits each child.
Dancing Michael Jackson
After School Sessions
Each new school year brought new challenges for my boy and consequently me.
Besides what I tried on my own, he had countless teachers who wanted so much to help him. They all tried wholeheartedly. After school sessions with Ms Revers and Ms Padilla were helping but only a nudge in the direction we all hoped for. They were tending to other kids at the same time and trying to reach each one with the same effort. Ms Karima, yet another teacher, used to come to our home a couple times a week. It helped him edge along only a little bit. Evening classes with Ms Viola and Ms Lara were yet another attempt at getting him to up to par with his peers. Each little accomplishment meant so much to each teacher.
Having a child like me has shown me what a gift it is to teach. I can tell you that I don’t have it, unless you want to learn about the The Secret. He’s helped me to see the best and worst of myself in trying to teach him.
TEACHING IS A GIFT!
New School. New Chance. Not Quite.
Once he finished his Infant 2 year, BES decided he would need to repeat. It wasn’t up to me this time. A decision was made by the administration and it was out of my control.
So, I moved him. A new school was forming and I was full of hope. He would repeat but he wouldn’t notice because it was a new school with new kids. All was well in my world. New school. New Chance. Not Quite.
He made quite a bit of progress but not enough and I decided to switch him back to where he first started. He was given the chance to be in Standard 1, trusting that since he actually did repeat Infant 2 at a different school, he was caught up.
June 2012. I was right back where I started.
Old School. Second Chance. Same Problem.
“Jeannie, we’ll have to repeat DeJean. He’s just not learning the way we need him to.” Mrs Nisbet said to me. Old school. Second chance. Same problem.
There I was, back where I started. Her neatly organized office and desk and my scattered brains.
“It’s as if there’s like a little man in his body who receives and delivers information. But when he goes in to get the files as needed, he becomes confused and either can’t find them or can’t bring them to the surface,” said Majiba, the vice principal at the time. “He needs help we don’t feel we can give him. We are willing to try but he has to repeat.” Mrs Nisbet added.
How many times can your heart sink on one recurring matter? A million times, to date lol.
I hardly held it together enough to make it to my car outside. Once I got inside, the sobbing began. Where had I gone wrong? If only I didn’t take that month off. I didn’t do enough with him at home with his ABCs. No one told me how to do this. We should have spent hours working everyday.
My self blame was as rampant as the traffic around me. I could hardly breathe. What else could I do?
Today, I still ask myself that same question. What else could I do?
My son, DeJean Elizon Wright, still learns differently and the words I hear still hear now from teachers sound terribly familiar. He did go on to find more advanced solutions. However, either years of red marks all over his papers have affected his whole perspective on traditional education OR it’s just not for him.
My Greatness Staring at God’s Greatness
Sorry To Bother You
Conversations with him will mislead you into thinking he’s just the average teenager as far as education is concerned. His wit and humor will make you wonder if I’m telling stories about how he learns differently. His comebacks to me on a daily basis often send me into spirals of laughter, like last week when I wanted him to go see a movie.
“Deej, do you want to go see a movie?” I asked. “What’s the name of the movie”, he replied. “Sorry to bother you.” I responded. “Um no, but that should have been your first words to me when you opened my door!” he spat back at me in jest. “Hahaha” I couldn’t help myself. Maybe it’s our dry humor from my dad. Someone else might see it as rude but for us it’s humor and it often grabs me in giggles.
I’d guess this is where his writing comes from. Like his mom, he has a way with words. He may not spell them correctly although he’s gotten a lot better but he will spit them out mostly with ease and most especially when he’s writing.
Beats on YouTube
A few years ago he decided he wanted to try writing to beats he found on YouTube. The kid that took 3 extra years to understand that a makes the sound ah like apple learned how to find beats, write lyrics to it, create videos and upload them with ease. Absolutely no help from me. It was something he loved to do. It served his spirit and gave him a sense of purpose. No one was monitoring his spelling or expecting him to learn at their pace.
There are so many ways I can relate to my son. School was something I worked hard at. Science and Math still hardly make sense to me and I still don’t see the point of chemistry, for example, in education unless they are tied to a child’s dreams and goals. I couldn’t possibly tell my son all the ways in which I agree with him.
A Gentle Giant of a Kid
He has bigger dreams at 16 years old than I have in my 20s right now. Yes, my 20s. Young chick here. This year he didn’t want to celebrate his birthday because he didn’t achieve some goals he set for himself. Not a single one of them had to with school, as you may have guessed by now. BUT the vision he has for himself, I have yet to formulate for myself.
I’ve gently dosed him with the concept of The Secret, affirmations and visualizations and maybe he uses them without realizing because some how he brought at least one thing to himself at 16 years old – a song.
Fast forward to recent months when an old friend and I rekindled our communication from 20+ years ago. His artist name is Geronimo Wild Apache, born Adrian Sanker from Corozal, Belize. He is the owner of Dreemwurl Entertainment and saw a chance to, at the very least, inspire a young man to continue with his love of music. “Bring him by the studio and let him record with me”, he said.
I agreed. The sound and clarity would be better than what DeJean set up in his room. It would open DeJean up a little more since his teenage years took him to more quiet place overall.
Before long, he was writing to more and more songs and learning to record and edit himself in the studio. Geronimo’s connections lead DeJean to meeting artist Dignitary Stylish, born Horace Samuels from Portmore, Jamaica.
“Mi have a song mi want him sing pahn” Dignitary said to me on one of my many pick ups from Geronimo’s home studio. “He is a talented youth, enuh. He can goh far.” he added.
I felt proud. I’d heard Dignitary’s vocal and writing skills and felt good that he saw the talent in my son.
So, there he was. 16 years old and spending hours upon hours in studio with men double and triple his age and fitting right in. Not the typical 16 year old at all.
DeJean in Dreemwurl Entertainment Home Studio
Money Maker by Dignitary Stylish
Little did I know how serious Dignitary was.
DeJean was given the opportunity to write the lyrics for the first portion of Dignitary’s latest release.
“I just gave him lickle guidance and him bring it.” Dignitary said.
The kid who couldn’t understand that the letter a makes the sound ah was spitting lyrics like “my neck froze, I ain’t worried ’bout a drought” and “yea I’m really fired up, burnt darth vader.” He doesn’t know what a metaphor is but uses them naturally in all his writing.
The song is “Money Maker” and was officially released this week on all major music distribution platforms. 99c for each download. YES, I’m encouraging you to buy.
My son, the lyricist, was featured on a song!
Awaiting his first radio interview at KXLU Los Angeles with Junior Francis
Ms Heusner was Right
Turns out Ms Heusner was right about my son’s learning hurdles. She saw them within months of teaching him. I was just being a defensive mom who wanted to believe that every adventure with my son would be easy. It’s not. It still isn’t.
Every teacher has contributed so much to his life and learning even if he doesn’t realize it. Some teachers more than others, like Ms Moore who is the only teacher who got my son to do long division on his own. He was somehow also drawn to his Science teacher Mr Garcia and his English teacher Mrs Portillo from middle school. Some teachers touched him more than others and every name I’ve mentioned here is one of those teachers for him.
The Strong Silent Type
DeJean is the strong silent type. Like his mom. He looks easy going – his quiet ways will easily mislead you. DeJean doesn’t like to conform to the norm and fights it in the smallest and biggest ways. School is still his least favorite place in all the world. I’m still hearing the same concerns from all his teachers many years later. I likely won’t be the mom who gets to take pics of him at prom. He doesn’t see the point of prom and finds it all ridiculous – FOR HIM. He’ll smile and sweetly comment to me on his friends’ pics and accomplishments.
Some weeks ago, I proudly declared to him that Jayda (whose mom is like a sister to me) ranked 2nd place for the Belize District Spelling Bee. “Jayda came in 2nd for spelling in Belize Deej!” I excitedly told him that evening. “It’s JAYDA mom! Why would you even be surprised? Tell her congrats.” he said. He loves it and admires it but acknowledges that it won’t be him.
I’m slowly coming to terms with that although I should know by now. No Spelling Bee wins and no proms.
But a few amazing model pics might give me some other stuff to brag about like this pic of him in Santa Monica, California.
DeJean Wright, modeling for promo pics.
My Son is a Lyricist
And today I get to tell you that my son is a lyricist and he was featured on a song that’s now available for download at only 99c. Yes, another attempt to get you to buy. If you’ve read this far, don’t you think you should just give in?
I get to tell you that he’s funny, sweet, laid back and can read my energy from miles away. He has a way with animals and grew to be 6′ 2″ so far. Now I’m the one staring up at him with my beautiful dark eyes full of love for all that he is.
I don’t know what his future holds for him in terms of education but I’m thankful that two grown men, a Belizean and a Jamaican, saw a young man with writing and rapping skills and decided to give him the opportunity to record and later actually on an officially released dancehall tune with one of Jamaica’s veterans.
Who knew that a friendship from 20+ years ago would lead to that same person being so welcoming, hospitable and kind to my giant of a son. You just never know how life will unfold.
BZE Kings by DeJean Wright
Whatever learning style your child has, there may something else there waiting to be explored. If your child isn’t learning like the other kids or at the pace they are learning, there may be something else there yet to unfold.
While many days have been hard getting DeJean to focus, some how guidance finds him through people who are maybe strategically placed in our lives and us in theirs. He was encouraged to find a way to make money which lead him to coming up with a design for merchandise.
So, I get to tell you also that he came up with a design to promote young men in Belize to see themselves as Kings. I helped him to open an online shop to sell his merch. When he gave me his first draft for the BZEKings idea, I didn’t agree and went another way with it.
DeJean insisted that he wanted the Belize flag on it and whatever other elements he included in his drawing. Turns out, he was right. No one liked my version. Just his. He’s also received interest in having BZEQueens available which has been added to his product list.