Posted in Uncategorized

Niece and Aunt Facing the Fear of Horses Courageously!

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.

Keisha and NaeKeysha’s fear of heights and riding horses started when she was very young and she knows that it has impacted her living her life fully in many ways.  She is now on a mission to overcome some of her fears and the result is that she feels less shy, more in control and more open to trying new things. She believes that even her behaviour is less passive aggressive.

She knew that her niece was also afraid of horses so grabbed the opportunity over the weekend to face their fears together.

“I told her mom what I was going to do and she was o.k. with it.” Keisha said. “When we got to the site my niece looked a little frightened. She was teary eyed so I had to calm her by introducing her to the tour guides and her horse while I needed that speech myself too!” Keysha makes fun of herself and laughs about her experience of trying to be courageous for her niece while she too needs support!

“We got on the horses comfortably but I had to make sure she knew it was O.K. to say ‘stop’ or ask for what she wanted like water or to go at a slower pace. I was a little scared when my horse started galloping downhill but I did not want to exhibit that fear so I quietly asked the tour guide to put me down & I proposed to walk the tour! However, to walk the tour would take two hours.  I gathered my courage and thought that if my niece is now facing her fear of horses, we could do it together.”

Next to the beach 2

“We talked, had fun and completed the tour.  I even stood on top of my horse! After the tour I told her that I was a little scared too! Now she is super excited and is claiming that she will be doing it again next weekend!”

Keysha standing

At the end of the tour Keysha expressed that she felt grateful for life and for nature and most of all overcoming both the fear for heights and horses with her niece.  This experience will be etched in their memories forever!

Think of your fears.  Are they real or do they simply exist in your mind? Both rational and irrational elements contribute towards fear which interferes with our quality of life which can even affect our self esteem and confidence. Individuals who have overcome fear are consistent with one key message ” do the thing you fear and the fear will disappear!” I have tried it myself and it was worked wonders in my life. It requires tuning in and stepping up with courage.

Live your future NOW… face your fears with courage.

Like / Share this blog and Like us on FB! We are growing a community of like-minded people who have the courage to live their soul mission! Do you have a story to share?  Contact me!

Love,

Magdalene

Photo credits;  Keisha St. Catherine, Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia is one of the most beautiful places in the world! Want to travel to Saint Lucia?  Visit us at

www.gemsofsaintlucia.com

Posted in International Initiatives, Leadership, Meet Ordinary People Doing Great Things!, People who inspire others, St. Lucia, Work

Recognizing Mrs. Ruth Magdalena Louis, a retired St. Lucian School Principal who saved me and inspired my life and the lives of many others!

As a tribute to observe St. Lucia’s 35th Independence Day Celebrations on February 22nd, I am featuring 10 St. Lucians on my blog who are making (or have made) a positive difference in uplifting the human spirit and adding inspiration and motivation to the lives of others. Today, I would like to recognize Mrs. Ruth, Magdalena Louis, whom most of us know as Ms. Brett, who was the principal of the Augier Combined School from 1970 – 1979. She in now 76 and I feel blessed that she is still with us and I can say thank you to her for the great impact which she had on my life as a little girl of 3 years old and which until today, she has no idea about!

“Thank you Ms. Brett!  Your gentleness, sweetness and empathy for me and others, left an imprint on my life, which I use every day to further help others.  By breaking the ‘rules’ you saved me.”

( Mrs. Ruth, Magdalena Louis below embracing her daughter Kay at Kay’s Graduation as a lawyer.)

Mrs. Louis

Here is my recollection of what happened.

My earliest memory of myself  is about 3 and a half years old and it is still quite vivid. My mom had six of us and I was the 4th girl.  Every morning she walked the three older girls to the Augier Combined School where they all attended school.  I was too young to go to school so she would carry me on her hips back to our house which was about  20 minutes away.  Every morning, we went through the same drama – she would let the older girls go the school yard and I would start my yelling and screaming, “I want to go to school too!”  One day, she lost all patience with me.  In my screaming match at the house, she hitched me back on her hips and walked back down the road shouting, “You want to go to school… I will take you to school.” Of course, I got a few spanks along the way too.

And that was the day, I met Ms. Ruth, Magdalene Louis, whom we knew as Ms. Brett.  My exasperated mother went to her office (with a dishevelled me) and bluntly said, “Do you have space for this child?  Every day she cries that she wants to go to school. I don’t know what to do with her!” 

It was the gentleness in Ms. Brett’s eyes I will never forget.  She looked at me in the sweetest way and said, “You want to go to school my child?”  It was the look that said, “Poor child, I need to save you and save your mother too!”

I nodded “yes.”

Now, I think that my mother’s plan was get me to hear Ms. Brett say that she could not accept me because I was too young to be accepted at the school and the morning drama would stop.  Surprisingly, Ms. Brett told my mother to leave me with her that day and she would find a space for me. (On  that day, I learnt that rules could be broken because my mother told me all along that the school would not accept me because I was not 5 years old yet.)

That was the first time Ms. Brett saved me.  She saved me from staying home with my mother!  She placed  me in Stage1 and I remember overhearing her conversation with the teacher. “Just keep her in your class because she is too young for us to register her.” 

I loved Ms. Brett because she was so sweet and kind to me.  She looked out for me because I suppose she knew that I was just a baby really.  There were two situations where she intervened and I will never forget them because to a larger extent it  inculcated in me a deeper sense of empathy towards the vulnerable, simply because she stood up for me.

The first instance was being in that Stage 1 class.  The teacher was not at all pleasant to me.  Maybe she did not like me because I was not supposed to be in school.  Every single day, she would beat me on my head with an open Math book.  It would start out with her calling out the name of each student and  would hand them their Math book.  She would deliberately ignore me when my hand went up and then after handing out all the books except mine, she would say, “Why didn’t you raise your hand?” and before even hearing my answer, she would beat me with the my Math book on my head. I hated that math period.  I hated being beaten and I felt powerless.

One day  Ms. Bret walked into the class just when the teacher was about to hit me. I heard her voice say, “Why didn’t you give her the Math book? She raised her hand.”  From that day on, the beating stopped but this created a lifelong trauma for me with Mathematics and with that teacher.  That was the second time Ms. Brett saved me!

Since I was not an “officially registered” student, by the time I was ready to move to the next grade, she placed me in Stage 2B.  Back then the classes were graded A and B, with the “bright students” going to A and the “not too bright” one going to the B class.  The Stage 2B teacher was sweet and loved me.   Her name was Ms. Edith. I loved being in her class and I won all the prizes for spelling and daily quizzes.  By the time that year was over, I had figured out the “A” and “B” system and I knew that I did not belong to a “B” class.

The following school year, I was determined to go to Stage 3B but didn’t know how to do it. One morning, it dawned on me that maybe all I needed to do was just simply go to the Stage 3A line… and I did just that!  That morning, my move caused a huge commotion in the school yard.  The students in the Stage 3B line started shouting, “Magdalene, come back to your line,” and the students in the Stage 3A line were yelling, “Magdalene, this is NOT your class… go back to your line!”  I remained rooted with my little bag on the Stage 3A line.

That was the 3rd time Ms. Brett saved me.  She came over and said, “Why are you not on your line?” Again, in her  gentle, sweet voice.

“I want to go to Stage 3A,” I answered.

“O.k. You go there only for the morning, but in the afternoon you will have to go back to your class.”  She said a bit more firmly.

The students were all shocked but I felt  elated that I could go to the “A” class.  She spoke to the teacher.  That very day, I got a beating from the  Stage 3A teacher because I could not spell the word “umbrella” which we had not learnt yet in  Stage 3B!  Stage 3A was quite  a learning curve for me!

I never went back to Stage 3B.  I remained in Stage 3A.  No one ever told me to go back.  I have no idea what Ms. Brett did but she always smiled at me when she run into me at the school.  I continued my education as an A student.  I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had remained in Stage 3B.

Those examples I have mentioned above may seem to be quite trivial but they were critical in my development as a child. I am grateful to Ms. Brett because as a  head teacher she did not have to break those school rules, but she did to give me a chance and to give my mother a break. She did not have to stop the teacher from beating me – she could have ignored it, but she challenged the teacher and protected me.  She did not have to let me stay in Stage 3A but she never bothered to send me back to Stage 3B.  Most of my life I have worked with vulnerable people – both children and adults.  Often enough I have broken a rule to support someone else to get to his or her goal and I often draw strength  from people like her, who did what they needed to do for  others with humility, integrity and genuine concern.

“Thank you Ms. Brett!  I have never told you this story but I am so glad that I have finally let you and the world know, that you are indeed a beautiful and gentle soul, and I was truly blessed to have you in my life at such a young age.  Thank you!”

(The picture below is of the beautiful family with her husband Watson Louis, amazing children, in-laws and grand children.)

Mrs. Louis with family

Sons and daughters of St. Lucia, love the land that gave us birth….keep on flying high!

As we celebrate 35 years of independence, let us all remember that our greatness is in our service to others!

(My mom and I below – I know about the boobs – it’s o.k. It is my favourite picture with her and that makes the boobs o.k  :))

Untitled-1

flag of St. Lucia

TuneIn today to all the people who have been instrumental in shaping your life!  StepUp to express  gratitude to them and let them know how they inspired your life.

You can also support my Ist TuneIn and StepUp Challenge by joining us for our Independence Day Gala here in Ottawa where we will further celebrate St. Lucia and St. Lucians. Read more: https://tuneinandstepup.com/2014/02/07/my-1st-tunein-and-stepup-challenge-for-2014-supporting-20-families-who-have-been-affected-by-flooding-in-st-lucia/

Yesterday, we recognized three St. Lucians in Ottawa who are making waves in using their talent to bring a Caribbean cultural experience to people in Ottawa.  Read more here: https://tuneinandstepup.com/2014/02/16/three-inspiring-st-lucians-in-ottawa-providing-a-culturally-rich-experience-which-brings-the-caribbean-to-the-people-of-ottawa/

Spread the good karma by sharing this blog! You can also FOLLOW the blog by subscribing to it (on the side bar) or LIKE our  FB page!

Contact me if you would like me to highlight someone you think is truly inspiring!

Love,

Magdalene

Posted in Great Initiatives, International Initiatives, Local Community Initiatives, Motivation, Work

My 1st TuneIn and StepUp Challenge for 2014: Supporting 20 families who have been affected by flooding in St. Lucia

Every single day I ask myself, “What can I do to create a positive change in someone else’s life?”

Sometimes, it is as simple as having a conversation or buying a coffee for someone.  Sometimes it is taking care of myself so that I can have the energy to take care of others.  Sometimes, it is being strict with my children to make sure that I fulfill my responsibilities as a parent to raise them to be responsible citizens. Sometimes, it is as complex as my job in helping others reach their employment goals.

This month, I have taken on a new  challenge – my challenge is to support 20 families in St. Lucia who were affected  by a trough on December 24th, 2013.  This trough created havoc on the island, caused flooding which destroyed hundreds of homes and infrastructure to the cost of  one hundred million dollars. Although there has been support to victims from the international community, I feel compelled to do something which will offer some relief to families who have lost their belongings and are trying to rebuild their lives.  St. Lucians all over the world have been doing the same!

I  teamed up with the St. Lucia Ottawa Association, which is also fund-raising to aid flood victims too. I engaged with my amazing work place,  colleagues and  friends to join in the challenge.  My colleague Jack DuJong who is the head of our fund-raising committee at work,  happily headed the first initiative for the challenge – a potluck fund-raising lunch on February 5th.

Fundraising Lunch -SLOA 025

(Jack and I above with the amazing german, chocolate, caramel walnut cake,which Unita Louis donated to the raffle)

Our colleagues supported it, brought in great food and donated great items of clothing, food, toiletries and bedding for our 20 families. We run a raffle with the top prize being 2 tickets to the St. Lucia Independence Day Gala on February 22nd at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa.  Unita Louis donated two amazing cakes (one which we raffled), plus a basket of the most delicious bread to sell!  We presented a video about St. Lucia and promoted the island as a top destination for travel!

Fundraising Lunch -SLOA 037

Fundraising Lunch -SLOA 038

It was an amazing and successful lunch filled with positive energy and a great spirit of community.

The results:  We raised $612 plus collected lots of great clothing items, toiletries and bedding for our 20 families and even sold some more tickets for the gala!  I think that everyone now has St. Lucia on their list of travel destinations!

Fundraising Lunch -SLOA 050

(presenting Nathalie Perterkin, Chair of the entertainment committee of the ST.Lucia Ottawa Association, with the funds)

My challenge will continue until the end of February by which time I hope to have enough items of food, clothing, toiletries and bedding  to give to those twenty families on behalf of all of us.  Through the St. Lucia Ottawa Association, we have secured free shipping of the goods to St. Lucia.

How can you help?

  • You can contact me if you would like to make a donation.
  • You can contact the St. Lucia Ottawa Association, which is a registered charitable organization and make your donation through their PayPal account.  Check out the link: http://www.stluciaottawa.com
  • You can buy a ticket for the St. Lucia Independence Day Gala in Ottawa on February 22nd.  It is always a great evening filled with entertainment and  I love the dancing part at the end of the night! It is also at a great place – The Westin Hotel!

Fundraising Lunch -SLOA 019

To learn more about the trough which affected St. Lucia, you can access the following links:

Press Release by the Government of St. Lucia

http://www.stlucia.gov.lc/resource/%E2%80%9Cwe-mourn-together%E2%80%9D-address-hon-kenny-d-anthony-prime-minister-saint-lucia-recovery-efforts

Video Footage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI7ES5siOgs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TcTZb3xDLs&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f47L05LAF8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvdd6UhIUjE

TuneIn to “something” which you can work at to make a difference in the lives of others!  StepUp and  take a small action step to move that “something” to reality.  What is your challenge for this year?  Want to join me on my 1st Challenge?

Love,

Magdalene