Radikal Life S1E5: Strengthen with Jeanette Ladores
2:13AM Sep 2, 2022
Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)
Hello and welcome to the Radikal Life Podcast. I'm Marina Patrice Vare. My pronouns are they them and MP, and I'm recording for you today on Lenapehoking, the unceded lands of the Lenni-Lenape peoples.
I'm so excited to introduce you today to our Strengthen Module Leader, would you like to introduce yourself?
Yeah, my name is Jeanette Ladores. And my work in the world is having to do with healing in many different forms. I'm a nurse, I have worked as a critical care nurse for about oh, many years, 27. The numbers get really scary, 27 years and always in critical care of some form. So I've worked in the emergency room. I've worked in open heart surgery, which is where I currently work right now. And as much as I love the adrenaline of like cutting edge right there in the moment kind of things alternative that is a deep need to connect to a more natural way of healing. So in 2005, I also got my massage therapy license. I apologize, you may hear a puppy howling in the background. I'm also puppy sitting at the moment. But I got my massage therapy license and started my own wellness practice based on how I was raised in my grandmother's pretty much care throughout my youth. So she was very much into herbs and natural healing and you know, deep deep into Filipino mythology. So that definitely influences my practices to this day. And I went back and fell back into the cultural art form that actually my grandfather had started to teach me as a young child living in the Philippines. And I had moved to Texas, I was traveling nursing. And I had moved to Texas and saw Oh, Filipino Martial Arts. I'm like, Oh, I'm Filipino. Oh my gosh, go check it out. You know, and I've always been the type to be like, yeah, maybe say yes. And maybe ask questions or pause and think about it later. Kind of that philosophy. So I checked it out. And they happen to be teaching an art form called Pekiti Tirsia Kali. And that kind of over the years, I studied that. And now I run a weekly class, teaching Kali as well as seminars here and there throughout the country and internationally. Whoa, big barks. So that's a little bit about what I do in the world today.
Thanks so much for sharing, I really enjoyed just the thinking about the mix, right of what it's like to be really like sort of deeply in a western model of care, right, in a critical care setting. And then what a beautiful balance, I imagine it is to have this other set of spiritual traditions to call on and sort of marry together in your day to day work. So I'm excited to hear more about that. I think I'd like to start by inviting you to share what identities and communities are important to you and how they influence your work.
Sure, so I identify as a she. And the communities that I'm involved in stem from kind of following, I guess, spirit and falling into different ways like drumming. I fell into a big deep drumming community. I studied African drumming over a pizza store in Newark, New Jersey. And that led to other things like becoming Baba Olatunji's nurse and getting to train, you know, a little bit with him and getting that deep cultural influence of rhythm and how rhythm really feeds the spirit and is a connection, really nature based connection in many ways. So that's definitely one community that has fed me, oh, lo these many 30 years. And the other is my Filipino community. Because growing up we were raised as Animist my grandmother's practiced Animism. That is was the traditional form of spirituality in the Philippines prior to Spanish coming in and kind of overlaying this veneer of Catholicism over but it's it's still very present. And again, having that connection to nature seems to be a revolving theme in the communities that I belong to as well. So how that impacts my work is that I feel that I walk my talk in many ways I'm pointing to the influences of these communities. And I allow them to kind of influence my thinking, my perception, my feelings and awareness, to kind of solidly walk through the world, however that world may look like at any moment. Oh, my goodness, there's a puppy screaming his little heart out.
And as far as my Filipino martial art community, they're definitely we are definitely a family. We've, we've gone and trained in the jungles together. I like to call them, they're traditionally mostly men. So they're definitely a lot of brothers and a lot of brothers all over the world. And being in the situations that show you and empower you like, wow, I'm doing this thing that most people would say, wow, you're kind of crazy girl. And I'm like, Yeah, well, that's cool. It's cool. Because life's a journey, in many ways, and I let that influence my work.
I really appreciate the language you're using here around like, allow that to influence my work, let that to influence my work, because the way I hear it, and you can tell me if I am feeling this, right, is sort of just that things infiltrate, right, and they integrate into your being in a way that like, allows you to, to work with them. I don't have a better, am I, yeah, am I on the right track there?
Yeah, absolutely like I feel like, in many ways, my own life experiences or definitely, I think everyone's life experiences influence their work. And because so much of my youth was spent connected to nature and being quite a sensitive child. Some people would be like, how do you know that? And I'd be like, oh I, I don't know. I just do. And also my family just being totally supportive of that being like, Yeah, well, you know, that's how she is. And there's nothing wrong with it, or there was no need to just make me small, in many ways, was just like, sure. That's, that's who she is. So I kind of feel that as I move through the world and experience things I'm like, I take it in, and I kind of sit with it. And I'm like, Well, how do I feel about it? And really, like, you know, my favorite saying is always like, well, I'm going in for a penny I might as well go in for a pound, and it's led to some beautiful, beautiful experiences, and also some somewhat crazier, crazier ones as well. And I wouldn't trade in any way.
Yeah, the language is coming to mind for me is that you're just sort of a large conduit, right, for what's moving through. And I, it was really lovely to hear that your family, held that space for you. I think that's a really, I think it's a rare treasure to have folks around you, in your youth, that hold space for your expansion.
Yeah. I would love to know, you are our Strengthen Module Leader. I'd love to know, when we talk about strengthening like, what, what does that mean for you? What are we strengthening?
So what strengthening means to me, is actually just strengthening our being. And, in my belief system, in my experience, in some deep intuitive knowing, that connection between body, mind, and spirit, and beyond is all of our being. So as I've moved throughout my life, I would say decade per decade, kind of when you think about it, I've experienced all those things focused on the body focused on very mental, very mental pursuits, college, all these things, and then also more spiritual pursuits of music, which to me is very much a pathway to spirituality. And it all comes together in a holistic being. So when you talk about strengthening it can really be this universal principle that's applied anywhere. But when you begin, it always begins within like everything is within. It comes from our will on our wants our desires. do we want to be physically stronger? Do we want to be more assertive and have strength and confidence in that way, or more empowered? And that all stems from a foundation. And, like, if you think about it, or use the analogy of building a house, right? You have to have a very stable foundation in order to create or expand from there. So yeah, that's kind of like sometimes I see things in a very common sense kind of way, like the roots of a tree. Well, yeah, of course, gotta gotta dig in deep. And so to me, those roots of body mind and spirit connection, help develop and empower a being that's resilient and able to achieve whatever it is that they want in life without, you know, the negative influence of other people. Right? When people are like, oh, you know, that's, that can't be done, I'm always just step on over there and just get out of my way. And I'll, I'll show you it's okay, it can be done, I promise, kind of thing and have that kind of sense of self.
Yeah, I heard a couple of things in there that I just want to pull out, right? One I really loved where you just ended with there right about self. And then thinking about sort of the foundation, which is another thing you talked about there, right, the foundation of self. And the way that that moves through us as body, mind and spirit. I also really appreciate it, and I'm going to look at my note for a minute so I remember how you said it, the idea that it begins with our will, wants, and desires. And I'm just thinking about how that shifts right over time. That like you have a firm foundation of all of the pieces, right? But that sometimes it really is like, Oh, my desire right now is to strengthen my connection with spirit. Or maybe it's really to connect, you know, into my body in a new way and strengthen and I just, I like this idea that strength is a holistic, the word that came to me was sense. Right? Like, yeah,
So I would love to know, like, give me a peek into your life, right? What is how is this strengthening practice taking shape in your life and unfolding day to day?
Well, my day, so just to back a little bit, back up a little bit. I live on a sustainable farm. So growing up, my mom, and I fell into horses. One of those moments where you just say yes, yeah, we're going do this thing. Yes, absolutely. And we fell into horses. And when I was about 14, my mother, also a very strong woman. I actually come from a long line of very strong women. She wanted a horse and she wanted a horse farm and she wanted to live a sustainable life. So we sold our little house in the suburbs and moved onto a farm that was not a farm at the time. We basically carved it out of the bush. So since I was 14, I've always been out on the land, and you know, that whole chop wood carry water kind of thing that shows you that yeah, you can, you can do any, you wanna drive a tractor? Sure, drive a tractor and, or build something. Well, it might be crooked, but that's okay. It's, you know, it's journey. It's a learning process. So, over the last 30 years, now, I've rescued some horses, and goats, and other other all all sorts of animals. And so every day I get up, and pretty much growing up, the focus was always like, well, you take care of take care of those that depend on you first. So before I even have a cup of coffee, you know, it's let the dogs out and feed the animals and you know, water the living things like plants in the greenhouse, and then I'll come in and have a cup of coffee. And if I have clients that day, I'll you know, start start my practice throughout the day. Spend even more time with the dogs and the puppies, we like to go hiking. I like to be outdoors quite a bit. In the summer I'm rarely inside. And then towards the evening, if it's like a day off, I'll pretty much train pretty much to train in my martial art at least four or five times a week. So, you know, got to stay ahead of the students. And so I train and then as a dietary practice I tend to do intermittent fasting. So then in the evening, when it's time to like eat, I tend to, like physically slow down a little bit and focus more on, you know, whether I need to do paperwork or office work. And that's, that's a typical day for me, if I'm not not working at the hospital, because that's an entirely different thing altogether. That's like, get up at 5am, leave the house at six, pull a 12 and a half hour shift during a pandemic these past three years and then drive commute back, and then, you know, get to unwind with dogs and, you know, do a little stretching. That's kind of my day on those kind of work days. So it can be, can be either wonderful, or it can be like really hectic.
I really appreciate the contrast that you offered there, right, like sort of in the days that are your own to shape, right. And then the days that were, you know, your work for someone else also shapes your day. And I would love to know, is it the time away from your nursing work that you draw on for strength on those days? Or do you have some specific practices that you use, even in a different setting, right to get you through the day?
Well, I think empathy and compassion go a really long way in those really challenging moments. And there are, there are many challenging moments in a nurse's like workday, because obviously, you always have to keep in the back of your mind that this person doesn't feel well. You're not seeing them necessarily at their best. And so there's a lot of compassion and a lot of understanding for you know, maybe a little yelling, maybe a little demand demanding. I want attention right now and you're like, This person is dying over here. So I'm busy. I'm pounding on somebody's chest. I'll be with you in a second, sir. And then later on, you know, they'll often be like, I'm really sorry. And I'm like, You know what, it's okay. And they're like, No, it's not. And I reassure them that, you know, really is okay, that, that, you know, they're not feeling well, they're not at their best. And usually I see them. I've worked with a really special population. So I work with heart transplants. So often they wait around for a donor, and then they'll have their surgery and the recovery is quite intense. And quite a few of them, then advocate for organ donation. So they come back to the hospital, and I get to see them quite a bit. And, you know, see that impact that I saw them at their worst. And sometimes they were nice and afterwards or like, you know, you're really the person. It's really nice. But yeah, definitely, on those challenging hectic days, like, there's often a time in the day where I'm like, Okay, I just need to even just see a picture of my puppy. Yes, I need to see just like the outside, I'll, I'll take my lunch break and often go for a walk for at least part of it and get out of the building and the beeps and the this and the that. So definitely in those challenging moments, having that balance, to draw on, makes it sustainable.
Yeah. I appreciate that a lot. Thank you for digging in a little deeper there. Because what I'm hearing is the thread between them, right is the way that relationships sustain you. Right? So your relationship with nature, the relationship that you have with your dogs, and that even if the relationships that you're encountering at work, have challenging moments, right, they also are long term relationships, it sounds like with several of your patients and so you get to build your compassion and empathy muscles right over time.
And I love that you said there as you're closing that thought out, right? That the those other relationships that support you, you found a way to call them in, even if it's not, you know, in the big ways that you do when you're off right and I think that I think that's a really powerful thing to just like put to the front of minds, right for the folks that are listening to us, is just this idea that like you know, relationships are a really important source of strength for a lot of us and having ways to like remind yourself or trigger you know, the good feelings you have even in challenging situations is a really powerful muscle right to build and flex Yeah, I have a little personal practice that I call Joy Bank. And so like when I'm having a really hard time I have all these like sort of photos that are saved of like you know, my baby doing really funny things or like scenes from nature that like you know, photos I've taken and sort of similar right like I call upon my, the joy that I have banked literally right from having been in those experiences when things are more challenging. And so I just love this idea of the, the sources of strength that are within us always, but also the ones that we, you know, consciously call in and, you know, nourish us. Yeah. I would love to know what you think is a good place to start for folks that are interested in creating and building a strengthening practice.
So I always encourage people to start small, just one thing, every day that you focus on for self care, whether it's going for a five minute walk in nature, I'm going to eat one salad or one living thing today, whether it's an apple, whether it's this or whether it's that, because I feel a lot of self pressure can be negative in the strengthening process and facing more traditionally, bigger expectations, like I'm gonna go to yoga class for an hour well, an hour is a really, really long time. And it may be a little more challenging for some folks to be able to carve an hour out of their day to do something beneficial. But if you can take 10 minutes, 10 minutes, you know, you can squeeze 10 minutes in once a day, and then you can expand it to finding another area in the day where you can do another 10 minutes of something throughout the day. So once you have discovered you want to begin a strengthening process, whether it's in a more physical way, whether you stretch for 10 minutes, whether, you know, you grab a buddy, going back to the workplace, we had a nurse that wanted to she was getting married, and she wanted to, you know, really, really in shape for her wedding. So we set a clock and two minutes at the top of every hour, everyone stopped what they were doing and we did 10 squats, every 12 minutes and squats throughout, you know, all our shift, and that's over the course of some time, that can be very beneficial. And it also is encouraging when you start to see or feel the effects on your body. And that becomes your motivation, like Wow, I feel feel really good. Or you feel good about yourself, because you were able to accomplish something in some way. So when starting any practice, you know, I like to say start small, and build upon that practice slowly.
I think that's really it feels like simple advice, right. But I think it is also somewhat like counterintuitive to what often happens, right? We say like, Oh, I'm gonna do a big thing and like, throw ourselves in really like, you know, full force for like, I don't know, a week, two, six, right? But then like life, the pace of life, right? We don't like it can be hard to make a big shift and sustain it over time. Whereas what I'm hearing you say here is like, well, if we start small, we can actually build on that over time. Right? Which makes, I would imagine a much more sustainable change. I know, I've had this experience in my own life, right, that doing a huge thing, right. It's hard to maintain for a long time, but doing little things like they get easier to add on to overtime. I also love that you mentioned there like having a buddy. Right? And also like, especially and I love, not it wasn't just have like one buddy, right? I love that like, you know, the more people we can like enlist, right in support of us. Often that means that they're also building their own strength. Right. But also just that. Yeah, that's the invitation right to to strengthen community while we're strengthening ourselves as well. I really, I heard that in that and really appreciate it. Are there any considerations that folks should keep in mind when they're embarking on a strengthening journey? And maybe, and maybe we can parse those out, like, specifically like if folks are trying to strengthen their physical bodies, there, you know, their emotional connections, their spiritual connections, what the considerations might be for folks to prepare for themselves?
Well, I'd say from a body perspective, some considerations to take are actually like a good self examination or self awareness of where where you are at physically. And if you need to, you know, check yourself out with the, you know, a health care provider or someone that you go to that you trust that can, you know, give you guidance as to any physical limitations, or risks that you might have, just from a health and wellness kind of standpoints, that's definitely one of the considerations to take in. And another is the fuel the nutrition, that if you're starting a, you know, a physical program of any way that you feed your body, in order to gain the best results, I guess is the best word for that like, and achieve, achieve your goals. Because you need the fuel in order to create that. And sometimes people don't necessarily combine those two, together when they starting out a program or a martial program, or any, any other thing that falls in that body kind of view. From a mental point of view, or that mental mind perspective, I think some considerations to take in is that definitely have a lot of compassion and forgiveness for yourself. You may be surprised what comes to mind, and often I'm definitely guilty of the self judgment, I'm like, Oh, my God, how could I think that? Why would I think that, you know, kind of, um, I must be a bad person, kind of thing. But, but you know, that, that, that need to judge whatever comes to the mind, you know, as as either good or bad, or neutrally, instead of just letting everything that kind of percolates up to the surface when you start a meditation process in any way. And also not be surprised that can trigger emotions, right? That nothing, nothing is disconnected. And as a massage therapist, I can get many of the times when when you're working on somebody physically, and they are unaware that they've actually brought in trauma or hurt. And you get to that spot, and you release the muscle. And it comes with a flood of tears or laughter or whatever Association happens there. And so yeah, definitely those considerations is to have a lot of self compassion and empathy, and try not to judge yourself for and just see what happens. When you start that. Same, I think, would go for more for the spiritual perspective as well. But also, to not be surprised by things that might interest you, or things that come up as you work on these, you know, spiritual connections or that strengthen that spiritual connection to nature, and see, and just to be open to the change that and that flow.
So heard in their nourishment, right, being really important to support yourself, and compassion, which I really appreciated that reminder about self compassion, and then also this component about curiosity and openness. Right. And I love that actually, like you answered that for us in three parts. But all of those components really work for each part. Right?
Yeah. And so thanks for weaving that for us. Yeah.
Oh, I thought we had something to add. Thanks. Alright, so the next thing I would love, if you would share with us is you told me that you had a significant injury that led you on this strengthening journey, and I wonder if you'd be willing to share that with our audience?
Sure. So as I think I mentioned earlier, I grew up riding horses. So part of being Filipino, at least in my Filipino family, is that if you were good at something, they were like, Oh, why don't you compete? You know, it's, you know, there's a lot of that Asian mom stereotype that's like, Oh, if you're good at something, you should definitely why not show it off. So riding became not only something that I love because I spent time with my horse and I would occasionally skip school to go riding instead. Absolutely. My mom would be like, Yeah, it's fine. Did you get an A, I was like, yeah, totally fine. So during one of these events, it was really storming out. And, you know, in hindsight, they probably should have canceled the event kind of kind of weather. Not particularly safe. And my horse and I were taking the cross country portion of a three day event, which, just for those who don't know much about three-day eventing horses, there's a ring event where you basically go through your basics, a cross country where you go over the course, and you take a lot of jumps, and, you know, obstacles like, you know, ponds and benches and things like that. And then stadium jumping portion as well. So during the cross country, he a bolt of lightning, like struck a tree, and startled my horse while we were kind of midair. And when he landed, he lost his footing. And I came right out, because he kind of threw forward with his weight. So I flipped out of the saddle, and landed, and he also falling. There was a moment there where our eyes met, and I literally in my 17 year old self was like, Well, okay, well, it's been it's been short, but sweet, I guess. I mean, this horse can land on me now. And my horse did this magnificent feat, where he launched himself off his back legs and flipped over most of me, and only really landed from my hips down, instead of from my waist up, which might have ended a little differently. So that injury caused my hips. I didn't break anything, surprisingly enough, it was so wet and muddy, I actually sunk into the ground as my mother ran past me to go check on my horse, (laughs) which (laughs) because the strangers then pried me out of the mud. (laughs) So that kind of led to having to kind of rehabilitate from that, as a rider, as a very physical, it's a very physical thing to ride horses, like, yeah, sure there, you gotta stay on, there's a lot of hip strength and my hips being shifted a little bit. I'm always, it's almost like a little bit of like, hip scoliosis, if you will. And so I'm always working on alignment in many ways to kind of make sure that my body stays and joint stay well lubricated and move in the way that it does. So. That's how I discovered yoga, actually, so that that was one of the things that helped kind of that road to recovery rehab from that injury there.
I'm jtust sitting for a minute with like, my visceral response to this story, because yeah, when I read your note that like, a horse fell on you, I was sort of like, how are you even here to tell me about this. It's quite like, I have I can vision this right as you're telling the story, and it is quite a vision. And I am just thinking about the bond, right, that you developed over time with your horse and that the I can feel in my body that like eyes meeting and just the the sense of protection that your horse had for you even in the face of this like fright with the lightning and that right, just
Yeah, and yeah, and I'm grateful that you're here to tell us the story because that is not the way that I would expect a story to go with a horse fell on me. And, you know, I think it's the other piece I'm hearing that's really tremendous here is that you didn't have a break. Right? And so interesting that it is still an alignment thing that you're working with, right? But that it is navigatable right, that it actually brings you to a new tool, right like it introduces you to this tool of yoga and and yes, like I was muted I guess you didn't hear me laughing about your mom running past you. And I realized as I laughing, I was like, Well, I'm not like I can picture this right, like just the right like, Well, okay, but you're here you're supposed to be competing. Let's just make sure you know. So yes, also quite an image there in my mind of how that unfolds, I would love if you would be willing to share with us a little bit more depth around, like what that recovery process looks like for you and sort of how it opens things up in your strengthening journey.
Well, mostly it's about even to this day, I fall into misalignment very easily. So when you are in, you experience pain, because you've missed practice of some kind that really keeps you kind of on the straight and narrow with, with certain self care practices. And so because it was, in many ways, a forced priority, because if I didn't do it, I definitely had issues whether it was like, Oh, I really can't get up today, out of the bed, you know, you're like flipping over like a turtle. Until your till your joints start moving, and all these things that it shows you that if you do put yourself last in your practice of like, you know, everybody else comes first. But except me, and I can wait, no, that kind of that kind of showed me early on that, no, I can't wait. Because I don't start here, then I have nothing. I cannot function in any useful way out in the real world, if I'm experiencing pain, in many ways. So having that be the focus of that definitely motivated me to learn yoga and focus on that, because as a personality, I'm not really the type to oh I want to go to class and be with the people when it necessarily comes to my own personal practices. I'm kind of like, I like to be, you know, comfortable and home. Like, I want to be my underwear, great, fine. You know, it's not like sometimes I find that environment kind of, you know, it distracts from the relationship that I'm seeking, which is a relationship and a deep connection to my body and listening to my body. So I really dove deeply into yoga got yoga certified, so that I could take that for myself, kind of and use that for myself, in my home practice. So beyond just taking yoga classes and doing things like that there was a lot of chiropractic care, that went into recovery of that, because when you're constantly shifting into misalignment, you're like what's going on. And in many ways that led me to, to choose the massage therapy program that I did do, because I was very interested in this thing that the founder called Spinal Touch Therapy and about how to gently release your body so that it can find its sense of gravity and sense of alignment, and then how the muscles just kind of fall away when you make that connection. And Jim was, you know, a very fascinating man in his own quiet way, from everything that I understand and the stories that have been shared about him. So to constantly having that foundation of having to seek realignment, and how that affects the physicality on a certain level, and then understanding the connections of how that then can ripple outward into the, into the spirit and into the energetic body into your emotional body. I like to tell people when I'm injured, I tend to be, I can be out of control. You know, sometimes I pre apologize, like, I'm injured. So I might be a little more defensive than, than normal because I'm feeling not at my best, physically and having you know, understanding came definitely from from those experiences, because when you're, you're limping around and somebody asks you some benign question, you're like, rrrgrrr, and they're like, Whoa, check yourself sister. It's time to check yourself there's, you know, definitely some stuff going on. So yeah.
I heard several things in there that are really rich that I want to pull back up for us. Right and that last piece where you ended right this idea, I'm thinking about living with a chronic condition I also live with not an injury based but an illness based chronic condition and I'm just thinking about Yeah, there are some days right where it just doesn't land the right like you're
Whose body is this and what's going on and and it does give me like this sort of hot, itchy feeling like not like a little symptom, but like, but like an internal sort of like, I feel spicy. Right? And so yeah, I totally I appreciate that like pre apology like, hey, sorry, we're gonna interact, it's gonna feel like this today, because I'm injured. I also just I heard this phrase, you know, fall out of alignment. And I, I really liked this imagery, because I'm like, I think this can happen to all of us across different aspects of our life, right? And when we're talking about the physical body, right, that really does need maintenance on a regular basis, right. And people's maintenance looks really different, depending on you know, what's happening
in their bodies, but the really important thing that you said there that I think that folks with a chronic illness or injury, like, you know, really are probably like listening and shaking their heads and be like, yes, yes, is that it does, it takes a lot of like baseline maintenance, right? It's like a, it almost becomes like a superpower, right? Where you're like, Okay, if I, if I do this right, then I have this ripple effect through my day. And if I miss this component of my wellness, right, I know that that's also going to have a negative, like ripple and impact, right? Beyond that, how far we're out of alignment or how ill we're feeling each day, right? Really can impact also our energy and ability to do those things. Right. So I want to call back this the or echo right the way you said, like, we have to take care of ourselves first, right? In order to be able to even have a self to like bring out into the world, which I think is true for like everyone I think that is, but that it is magnified, right when you're living with a chronic condition. The other piece that I really appreciated, was this ripple out of how else can I take care of myself? What else do I want to learn? And I really resonate with the like, I'm very particular about where I want to practice.
And so I'm like, Yes, this like this desire to learn, so that you can craft a personal yoga practice makes a lot of sense to me. And I think it's interesting because I as a yoga therapist, right, I know a lot of folks that practice and teach yoga. And I know a lot of folks that sort of have fallen into the practice less on their own once they're trained, right. And so I really appreciate the the way you entered into this as like, I know, I'm here to build my own practice, right, and I'm here to gather the skills to do this for myself. I think that's it, it's a different perspective than I see frequently. And so it's just interesting to sit with that for a moment. And think about, like, what that looks like. And I really appreciate how this unfolding then brings you to massage therapy, right to this avocation that really moves you. And I'm not a person who believes that like everything happens for a reason and like a way to like put a silver lining on shit. But I do think it's really interesting to look at our lives over time, and look at what has shifted and opened and changed for us at certain sort of like turning points, right? And so it's just, uh, just noticing, right, like how this caused you to navigate your life like, after right, and what has come to fruition as a result of those paths. Yeah. Is there anything you want to add there on that thought?
No, no, I think, yeah.
I would love to know how you go or where it fits in, in your timeline, right, from practicing yoga to then returning to practicing your cultural martial art.
So I've always been physically active, like, I've always like, a lot of energy, that often, like, you know, always horseback riding, or, you know, whether the connection is, so growing up, I didn't have very good connection with my father. And one of the ways in which we connected was he was a little awkward. And so you'd be like, well, let me teach you how to speak or let me teach you how to ice skate or so that, again, going back to a relationship, kind of informed activity. That that was how I learned certain things was that I did them with certain people. And martial arts was something that I did with my grandfather earlier on. And then later when I was little displaced and out of my comfort element. I began kind of looking around to be like Well, gee, what are the things that I used to do? Or or, you know, how can I connect to this place that I'm living in, because I was traveling nursing. And I moved to Austin, Texas, and basically left the communities that I was heavily involved with, which revolved around African drumming. So I had a very large African drumming community, we put on festivals. And I also attended local festivals that where you had these great convocation of like minded, or open minded people were, you were just able to be, I think, your more authentic self. And I had left all that. And now I was in this new place. And I still had a little bit of a music connection because I was playing with friends that I made over the years. But I was really like, at a loss, I didn't have the farm to kind of be I was living in us more city things. It's only somebody walks you can take in the park when it's 115 degrees (laughs) there are definitely like, Oh my goodness. So I was exploring and I came across this school that said Filipino martial arts and my partner at the time, who also trained in martial arts, more of a kung fu kind of flavored thing and was like, Yeah, let's let's, let's do this thing together. And I said Great. And so it turned out to be Pekiti Tirsia Kali, and one of my dear friends and first instructor was in in Austin, Texas. And through him, he was hosting a seminar where the Grandmaster was coming from the Philippines. And we call him a Grand Tuhon. So Grand Tuhon was coming from the Philippines. And, you know, kind of as a kind of humorous kind of thing. My friend Leslie was like, Oh, look, I have a token Filipina in my Filipino martial arts class in Texas, where, you know, not too many of us. And so my Grandmaster was like, Go, you come with me. And that's that. And I was like, okay, like, people will often say, so what's your superpower? As you know, I think that's a question people say, and honestly, I say, my superpower is that I Forrest Gump my way and I find these amazing teachers who somehow find me either entertaining in some way, and they want to just share really deep authentic things, in many ways, and I'm just like, Oooh, kind of that sponge that likes to learn everything. And as I said, In for a penny in for a pound. So he's like, go to the Philippines and train in the jungle? And I'm like, Yeah, okay.
Sure. You know, he's like, you want to go out with the, you know, special forces and train in the jungle? I'm like, sounds cool. Sounds fun. Yeah, let's do it. So, you know, we did things like that. And through that, it kind of tied me back into being raised by my grandmother, and my great grandmother so my great grandmother was indigenous in the Philippines, and very tribal and practiced indigenous healing, the indigenous healing art, which kind of rose together, right, with the, with the martial art. So in the in the more How do you empower the spirit? And how do you like, you know, raise the vibration when you're going to go, you know, historically go fight conquistadores, or the invading Japanese, and how do you, you know, build that up. And so that's how I started training again, back into the art form, which kind of, in many ways, probably full circle, back to my roots as a small child, which I had, you know, as in anything, it's the familiar thing. So when I came back, so I grew up in the Philippines, until I was about five, and I could go to school, and my mother was working in New York. And so I came back. And so now I had to fit back into the American culture, but still at home very much lived a very Filipino culture. So then, from there, you're like, oh, I want to explore these other things. So, you know, I did a little Muay Thai. I did a little bit of this. You know, my mother said, Why don't you try ballet? And I was Ew, I don't know about that. (laughs) Let's try. I see. No. It's very, very much exploring and just open to new experiences. And so it brought me around again to that route. And then and in many ways, I was like, Oh, speaking of like, Why does everything happen and like, I can track those moments of my life that brought me back full circle to that. So, when I teach Filipino martial arts, it's not just the art form, like, people know that when, like, it's another small community. So people know that when you train with me, you're gonna get a lot of culture as well. And a lot of the stories of the ancestors and, you know, not just Okay, hit this person this way. So, yeah.
There's so much I want to know here and like, I'll say that what struck me about this right is this is now quite some time post injury. Right, like you're, you've gone to college and nursing school. Right. And you're so I think it's really interesting, just to see the unfolding there, right, is that you're in a very unlikely place for what comes to pass. Right, like, and so I think it's really beautiful to hear like that your teacher, like, you know, was like, Oh, you're in an unusual place. Come with me. Right, let's, let's get you to the place. But that your openness, right, and your curiosity about like, well, I'll check out this studio in Austin, Texas, even though it's really far from anyone else Filipino.
Right, then leads you right, like, right into the arms of your teacher. And I think that's really, it speaks to what we were talking about earlier. Right about, like, when you're starting on something, right that desire to be like, open and curious and just see what unfolds instead of trying to like, map out the whole plan, right? To just see what's coming right and to be open to it. And then really fun to hear that then this led you to the Philippines and just like, you know, yes, the imagery of like, you know, yes, elite forces in the jungle with you like it's, we have a bio picture for you that will we'll share in the social media and where you just look so badass, that I think it looks like it's like a scene from like a, like a cop show or something. Right? But like, yes. And so before we met, right, that is what I knew about you was this like badass picture. And so thanks for showing me how we get from this sweet face here in the evening to like that, you know, image because, yes, it's interesting like to hear the connections. I also really appreciated this reconnection right to your grandmother, and this, you know, very early childhood time and how it takes you on this circular journey, and then also really informs the way that you choose to teach right, where you really are like, well, there's a rich cultural tradition here. And it's important to me that you get that when we spend time together and study. So I really think that that is beautiful. And I'm dying to know more, I want to I want to hear about your grandmother. And maybe I'll try to make it like a specific, more specific request than just telling me about her. I would love to know, just sort of how she came to share your like spiritual and healing traditions with you as a child, and then you know, what happened to your relationship when you then move to New York? Are you still in relationship? Like how did how did you continue to shape your worldview?
So my parents were not married. And it was back in the 70s. And my father was actually trying to obtain a divorce. And then he met my mom fell in love, you know, the story unfolds and didn't work out. But Hello, you know, it was too late. Here here comes here comes Jeanette. So as a single parent, my mom and an immigrant, I mean, I think having having great role models of women that have just been like, Yeah, that's fine. Let's, how hard could it be sure, I'll leave everything I know and go across the world to place I've never been or anything like tha. You have such stories and familial myths and stories, that that can show you that anything is possible in many ways. So she had come over as an immigrant, the first generation or just came over during a time when there was a nursing shortage. My mother is also a nurse or was a nurse prior to her retirement. And so she came over the first wave, it was like the late 60s, and no one knew really much about Filipinos. They didn't know what to call her and all these things and she pretty much was raised in the seat of her strict father and you know, six brothers and sisters and watchful eye of a relative. And she met my father and a little bit naive. But so that's how the story goes. But so as a single parent, she didn't want strangers taking care of me. So she decided that she would send me as an infant to live with my grandmother, who was actually living in Montreal with my aunt, who was doing her residency as a doctor. And after her first Montreal winter, (laughs) my Filipino grandmother was like, no, (laughs) just No, I'm going back to the Philippines. And my mom was like, What about Jeanette? And she was like, Fine, I'll take her with me. So she took me back to the Philippines. And that's how I kind of was raised by her and her mother. So my great grandmother was very influential. She was alive. She was very much traditional practices, healing practices, people would go to her and ask for advice, or, you know, what can I do here or even ask her to
you know, to offer some some sort of healing prayers in many ways and or see if there was a something that the spirits were telling her that they could pass on as some sort of knowledge. So when you're growing up is this very sponge like influenced child where you're like, Oh, what's that? Or, Oh, what's that, and you get to just even just be around that sort of energy. I think it helped, I definitely shaped my trajectory, if you will through the rest of the rest of growing up. And, you know, I got to be basically a wild little monkey in the jungle. To be honest, they My nickname Macay ukay she will get into everything, I was like climbing trees and throwing myself down like waterfalls as a four year old and like, just got to have like, a total feral childhood, in the Philippines. And when it was time to come back, and start kindergarten, in New York, there might have been a little little kerfuffle with the, with the life adjustments, (laughs) just just a little bit, but my grandmother, she actually came back with me. So her health was beginning to decline, she was diabetic and suffered some kidney injuries and had to have dialysis and all these things. So a lot of my childhood was actually spent caring, like, immediately caring for the grandmother, who raised me, from the time I was about eight years old. Like, I would help her do her treatments and like, you know, take care of her and, and do all those things. And she passed when I was 17. But definitely, like, she's past from living, but she's very opinionated, let's just say, they all are, you know, I get, you know, enough influential messages in many ways. And sometimes it's just like, she pops into my head. And right there, I'm like, wait, maybe I should listen. And, you know, just pay attention to what memory it's linked to, in many ways, and see what my, you know, subconscious or superconscious knowledge is trying to flow in from my ancestors. And that was very much part of my cultural upbringing, as well. So it's all part and parcel, I think.
I'm thinking about as you share this, right, just this in thinking about as even the right word, I'm, I'm sort of watching you, in my mind, right? Navigate different locations with this tremendous, like matrilineal support, right? And just this really, like deep network, right? And I think about how, you know, rare it is amongst, you know, the people that I know, to have had the opportunity to meet their great grandmother. So like I'm just I'm just sitting with that for a minute too like, what that's like to like, what a tremendous presence and gift that must have been because I've just like I'm feeling into that in my body to like what yeah, like what is that experience of and it brings me a very like, full and warm sense of Yeah. This piece about your mother being a nurse you becoming a nurse that I really see how that also right unfolds. By the way that you've been cared for, right and given this very sort of wild spirit that gets to take in a lot of traditional information and knowledge. And then also, I really appreciate this image of you then caring, right, returning that care as your grandmother is aging. So thank you for sharing that. Yeah, there's, there's a lot of imagery in there for me that I'm enjoying. And I hope that that is true for our listeners as well. Yeah, do you want to name them? Do you want, like would it be feel nice to share their names?
So my grandmother's name was Paloma. My mother's name is Emma. And so always interesting to me the names of like the old fashioned kind of names from from back in the day that my grandmother she must have. All her children are named like, you know, my Oh, interesting. So but my mother's name is Emma. And my grandmother's name is Paloma. And my great grandmother's name is Mercedes. And in the Philippines, there's always like, you have your nicknames. And you have like, usually two or three, depending on which group of people you happen to be with. So like. So for me, I just called her grandma, because I was her like her American child like her American grandchild, so I used that American term, but in the Philippines, grandmother would be Lola. And then you would add, like, part of her name in a cute way. So a lot of people called her Lola Ming. That was, you know, her her nickname with the with the generational you know, attachment to it.
Thank you for that. I have a greater sense of ease in my body, knowing that they have like, I feel like they've been with us right. And it feels nice to hear them acknowledged, like formaly. So thank you for that. I think we are drawing close to the place where I asked my final question. And before I do that, I would just like to check in and see if there's anything that still feels like top of the heart top of mind that you want to share that maybe we haven't gotten to yet?
Um no, I really can't. I've just enjoyed our conversation really the flow of it so nothing really to add.
Well, thank you. It's been very rich. Yeah, very nourishing for me, as well. So thank you for that.
Sure, I'm glad.
The piece that I would like to know, as we close out here is what is your vision for a Radikal life?
I feel pretty blessed in that. For personal perspective, I feel like an ability to be open to say yes to opportunities and to be able to trust the process of that like to say, Sure, sounds great. And just know, you're gonna be okay. Like it might be. In the end, it'll all be okay. And you'll have lots of interesting stories. Isn't that grand? Right. And, like, it's, it's like those experiences along the way to something that can often be the most precious or the most beautiful of like little moments on our journey that were unexpected. And so my vision for Radikal Life for people is just that to be able to say, Yeah, I want to do that, or have an understanding that, you know, you are the co-creator, your of your path, you know, the choices that you want to make the empowered ways in which you want to be and strong, like, you know, strengthening yourself, even if it's from the physical mind a spiritual connection, that understanding that that's all that's all one really. And to be resilient being.
Yes, yes, yes. Yeah, I will echo there that you are the co-creator to be a resilient being in that. Yeah.
That is, yes, that is all I have. That is. Do I have any more questions? I had to sit for a second. No. No, I feel complete. Do you feel complete?
I do. I would like to share one thing with you. So as Filipino as cultural, right. The philosophy of a lot of Filipinos is just like in the more commonly known Aloha culture of Hawaii right you have your Aloha to say hello and goodbye. We in Philippines we say Mabuhay and Mabuhay means have a good life. And I think that is how I would like to end that to say Mabuhay. May you have a good life.
Thank you for joining us, head over to our website at Radikal dot Life to sign up for your free radical life starter kit. Our website is R A D I K A L dot L I F E. The Radikal Life podcast is produced by me, Marina Patrice Vare. And edited by Cassidy Vare. Our theme music was created by Mark MeeZy. Radikal Life is a co-creation with Manjot Singh Khalsa and Radikal Healing. Connect with us on social media Radikal with a K. We're on Instagram at Radikal underscore Life underscore 22 and Facebook at Radikal Life.