As a child, I didn’t feel so gifted. To be honest, I have little memories of my childhood. I was a quiet, gentle child. I didn’t care much about school, about sports. I didn’t like playing with other kids. It might sound weird to many of you, but I was always drawn to the elders, the old people of my village. I was intrigued by their wrinkles, by their bodies aging and their way of living. I would observe them sitting in the spring, summer, and fall in front of their humble homes, looking nowhere in silence, sometimes their eyes closed with their wrinkled faces enlightened by an expression of peace, serenity, contentment. Some had expressions of deep pain and sorrow. I wondered what they were thinking. What had been their life experience? Not the experiences the whole village knew, but the ones they only knew deep inside. I wonder today if they were just there, content with their life or were they realizing the years had passed by and they hadn’t realized their dreams and visions because they were too busy to even take the time to explore the unlimited possibilities that were offered to them.
I remember being so confused. I wanted to learn from them, learn from the old widow up the alley form my house. The one with only a big tooth left in the middle of her mouth. Dressed in a black dress, black dirty apron, she sat by the fireplace in silence. I would visit her after school, sit with her as she told me stories and offer me an unwrapped candy from her filthy apron pocket. My poor mother was so worried she would make me sick. Silence, long times of silence is what I remember. Old people didn’t practice small talk. When they talked to me, they would share stories of their life. The ones I remember in my soul serve me throughout my life. It was in their silence and short stories that I could learn how to read their deepest wrinkles. It was in their skin tones aged by long time exposure to the sun that I would feel their life experiences, their emotions, their sadness, and joy. It was in their small half-closed eyes that I would dive to venture into their soul’s stories. They inspired me, and they awakened my dreams and visions. They gave me hope. I remember being seven years old, looking out west on top of a hill, with the deep vision that I would go there, far away, west.
I didn’t find joy with the children my own age. I didn’t enjoy their games. There are times where I had to deal with that regret. But in another way I feel so fortunate that I had the blessing and privilege to have learned from those old souls as years later I travelled west, to the land of America. The vision had come true. It hasn’t been an easy journey. The road has been bumpy, muddy at times. But it is because of this journey that I have found my purpose. That I have found why that little quiet seven year old was taught by the elders and why I had stood on a hill top and was blessed with a vision of the great west. I was called and I listened. I went off the path and got lost. I fell and got up again and again. But I travelled west and found myself.
So as a child, I was living in a different word. I felt like I was looking behind a window at all times. I remember observing my siblings, my parents, my teachers and schoolmates thinking: “Why do they look like this? Why do they act like this? What is wrong with them and with me?” Those questions got answered later on in my life, many years later. It is then that it all started to make sense. It is then that I realized that I had been blessed with so many gifts, one being my intuitive ability. I realized that I had inner knowledge that was not taught in schools or in society. I realized that the elders had taught me to listen, to be silent, to be aware. I was an average student in school, but within I knew I had another knowledge, I knew I was different. I struggled in school and when it was time for me to go to high school, I decided to explore other possibilities. I had many dreams as a teenager. I was a trombone player and wanted to be a professional musician. But being raised in a very poor family, this was not possible as music schools were too expensive. I knew my mother would have loved for me to become a priest. But I didn’t feel the calling. I loved to cook and when I turned 15, I decided to explore the culinary arts and went to a small culinary school in the central west of France. It was a great experience, and I shared what I learned with others. I was a student and a teacher. I created beautiful dishes for all to enjoy. I travelled, within my own country and abroad. I also had very difficult experiences but every time I fell, I rose again to strived to keep moving forward even more. In 1984 I was working for a resort in Haiti, where I met my first wife from Virginia. I Came to the United States in 1985 and became a US citizen in 1992. My culinary experience in the US took me to Washington, D.C.; San Diego, California; Burlington, Vermont; and St. Louis, Missouri. After 25 years in the culinary industry, I found myself struggling with pain. I lost my passion for the art.
In 1998, because of my own pain and healing, I was inspired and guided to go to massage school and to learn the gifts of healing. I wanted to help others like I was helped. I didn’t know that a couple years later I would retire from the culinary art and dedicate my life to serving others in need of healing. I was 40 years old starting a new venture, a new beginning. I felt the passion and creativity rising again. I felt alive, living a new purpose. And again, I learned many gifts and shared them with others. I was again a student and a teacher. The journey was not easy as well. I fell many times and rose again. Many in this journey to healing and to help others have fallen. But I kept rising, learning and sharing the gifts.
I studied and mastered many healing modalities. A few years ago, I had the privilege to be introduced to the art of aromatherapy. It was only a few workshops and at the time didn’t know that again a seed was planted. As I continued to study the art of healing I was introduced to learn the sacred healing of the natives of Hawaii, Lomi Lomi. It is during an advanced teaching at a silent retreat on the sunshine coast of British Columbia during a sea kayak trip that I was inspired and guided again to explore the gifts of nature and the healing powers of plants though aromatherapy. We kayaked for four hours in silence. We came to a cove surrendered by rocks and evergreens. All was so quiet. We were floating in stillness, listening, all of our senses aware, blessed with the beauty of creation, crystal clear water, and I could feel the presence of the creator through my whole being. I blended with all that was in this magical moment. Tears flooded my eyes, my body started to shake, I was praying and feeling so grateful, so moved by such beauty. It is then that I heard the voice. I was to study aromatherapy and the healing gifts of nature.
Again a new venture started. As I studied this new art of healing, gifts kept coming into my life. After my aromatherapy certification, I continued introducing those beautiful gifts into my healing practice. I continued studying. I started to create healing synergies, balms, and blends to help others in their healing journey, sharing those new gifts of the creation. I was again a student and a teacher. The journey was not always easy. I fell and rose again. I lost the passion at times and found it again.
A year ago, as I continued my aromatherapy education, I was again inspired and guided to a new course, “The art of botanical perfume.” Again I felt the calling. Helping others to heal with the gifts of nature through aromatherapy is such a beautiful gift. Therapeutic grade essential oils are very powerful and can help in so many ways. But what about creating beautiful, unique, botanical scents, just to enjoy and feel good about ourselves? Scents are powerful, they become part of us and it is said that they reach to the heavens to the delight of the angels. So I studied again, and still am. I am a student again, and a teacher as I share my new venture to others. It is not an easy path again but I enjoy every moment of it. I have fallen already, wondering if I will make it but I am rising again.
I have discovered many other gifts throughout my life. I learned photography and am far from calling myself a professional photographer, but I love to photograph nature and share my work to inspire others. I started painting a while ago. I never took a class, but I’d like to in the future. I have created two murals, again inspired through my soul. My paintings are spiritual, alive, inspiring, mysterious. I cannot explain what happens in those moments when I paint or photograph or write. It is like I have no control over it. It just comes naturally, like waves of inspiration. I surrender and let it manifest. It is like an out of body experience. I cannot explain the peace, calm, joy and blessing that I feel in those moments. I become again a student, and as I share with others, a teacher. I fell at times as I go in my mind instead of surrendering. But I rise again and feel whole again, alive, creating and living the mystery of life.
I am writing this story of mine because a few months ago, one of my twin sons was asking me what I was up to. As I shared my new ventures with him he said, “Dad I am so proud of you. It is so amazing how you are integrating all that you have done together in a such beautiful way.” I understood what he meant but I have been reflecting on it over and over. And just a few days ago, it finally made sense. Throughout those 57 years of my life, I have been guided to open the five senses of my human being. The gifts came one after another as I surrendered to God, my creator and allowed myself to listen, taste, smell, touch and see. I listened to the elders of my childhood, I listened to my parents and mentors, I listened to the silence and the inner messages that were sent to me. I so enjoyed tasting the wonderful cooking of my mother, I became a chef and shared the gift of taste to other. I gardened with my father and loved the scents of nature and became a chef and then an aromatherapist and botanical perfume crafter. I became a massage therapist and healer and learned and share the gift of healing touch. I traveled and discovered the beauty of creation. I wanted to share what I discovered and became a photographer.
For the first time in my life I feel that all that I have lived, accomplished, and experienced is coming together in such a beautiful harmony. I just moved my healing practice to my home where I can see beautiful nature, where I can enjoy sharing my photography, create new perfumes and aromatic healing gifts and welcome those souls sent to me for healing to be touched not just with my healing hands but with love, peace and kindness, by my art work, and by the beautiful healing scents of nature. It has been an amazing path, bumpy at times. I have fallen and risen up again. I am a student and a teacher. But before all, I am a child of the creation. Just another human being, sharing a little story so that you also can discover your gifts or continue to explore them. You all have fallen at times and risen again. You all are students and teachers. You are all children of the creation walking the path of life.
Listen, taste, smell, open your eyes and your heart to see the beauty of the world and touch others by sharing your gifts. Continue to be a student and teach. Continue to fall so you can rise to be what you could have never imagined to be. And live…live fully in this present moment, as it is all we have. The gifts come for you to live and experience them in this moment. The past is gone and we do not know what our next breath will bring. Look deeper within. Explore. Take time for silence or a walk in nature. Taste a good meal. Touch a tree and enjoy looking at a flower and smell its beautiful scent.
What are your gifts? I hope my little story has inspired you like the stories of the elders have inspired me. My story continues in this present moment. I know that there is so much more to come, so much more to learn and teach. I am so grateful of my life and so grateful of yours.
I want to take a moment to be also grateful for my amazing wife Lisa, for her patience, as it takes patience to live with an intuitive and an artist. I am so grateful for her help and support to live fully my dreams. I am so blessed to have been gifted with such a companion, best friend, and so much more. Thank you Lisa, thank you for your unconditional love.