Melissa Hevenor
Wednesday July 08 , 2020
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Archive for December, 2014

A Magical Island Known as Sanibel

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

I met a wonderful heart-centered individual at Speaking Empire, named Paul, who generously offered to collaborate with me in an effort to nurture my business, in ways that are still currently forming and unfolding as I sit here writing this blog. Sanibel Island is a three hour drive from Ft. Lauderdale, where I live. On Wednesday, I began the day by doing some readings early in the morning, fulfilling some routine appointments and then waited patiently in a local Starbucks in Boca for my friend, to pick me up with a wheelchair-accessible rented van to embark on the journey to Sanibel. It was so funny sitting in Starbucks with my overnight bag, my wedge sleeping pillow an my laptop bag. I looked like a runaway teenager in complete bliss over the adventure she was going to embark on. I decided to put my make-up on at Starbucks, considering it was handy in my overnight bag and the lighting was excellent. I got so many interesting looks as I carefully began my make-up routine, complete with application of foundation to the finishing touches of adding roll-on shadow glitter. During this routine, I decided to film it on my laptop, because I had fallen behind on my make-up look tutorial videos. The video was, indeed, louder than most because of the hustle-and-bustle of a busy Starbucks in the morning. I felt like I was doing a a social experiment as I watched different people understand why I was putting on make-up and talking to my computer, while others simply watched how happy and full of energy I was doing whatever I was doing.

When my friend, Sandra, arrived at noon, with yummy holiday Starbucks drinks in hand, we embarked on our journey, music blasting and free on the road. We were already in a state of bliss. As we crossed the causeway, the water was a glistening blue-green and the clouds were low, big and fluffy , looking as though you could touch them. As the sun set over the water ,it truly looked like paradise, as the rich coral oranges slowly  melted into what had now become a darker blue ocean. As soon as we entered Sanibel, I felt as though we had entered Santa’s secret Christmas island and the radio began blaring the soundtrack to The Nutcracker, and the  first thing we saw when entering Sanibel was a huge Dairy Queen covered in Christmas lights, complete with  balloon blow-up Santas Christmas trees and elves. You could feel the energetic vibration of the beautiful canvas that G-d painted creating Sanibel. One of the main highways was called Periwinkle Drive, and I felt at home as the Mother Fairy that I am, taking that moment to announce that I will, in the near future, be moving to this magical island known as Sanibel.

We soon arrived at the Westwind Inn, where we were staying. It was literally a small walk from the shell-haven beach of Sanibel. The apartment that existed behind the door of our room, was amazing. It had a gigantic wheelchair-accessible bathroom complete with a roll-in shower, handheld shower hose, built-in shower bench, and a sink that I could easily roll my wheelchair underneath. Then, the kitchenette was complete with an oven at the exact location needed for someone like myself seated in a wheelchair, making the control panels accessible and easy to use. The refrigerator was short in stature, making all of the shelves reachable from a seated pistition including the freezer, which I could also use with ease, and once again, the kitchen sink allowed for easy roll-under accessibility. I was overjoyed!

After checking in, we met with Paul, and went to a beautiful seafood restaurant right on the water, sitting outside, discussing our hopes and dreams, getting to know each other better. It seemed as if time stood still and no one else was around, as we engaged in high vibrations conversation, embracing the present, creating the future in that moment. Then, we retired for the evening, back to the Inn to prepare for an early morning, meeting Paul, once again, in the morning for breakfast, and having the pleasure of meeting his youngest daughter Sage, and his amazing, beautiful. loving wife, Anne. We had breakfast at the Lighthouse Cafe, and then embarked on a journey on the pier. The pier had its own magic, extending far out into the ocean, allowing ne to drive my chair easily, all the way out over the water, able to see the beach, with gorgeous specie of birds all around us. Sage excitedly ran from one bird to another, trying to understand how they were able to fly and figuring out in her mind, how to make hew own wings expand, pulling her mom in all directions to explore each bird. Then, all of a sudden, a pelican arrived. He was stout and demanded attention, sitting on the edge of the pier. I approached him slowly, hoping to catch a picture, when all of a sudden, he announced, “my name is Sampson.” Answering him in my mind’s eye,  ”Well, hello, Samson. May I take a picture?” while he answered, “Of course, they all do…” I came in close to him and I captured a beautiful picture of Samson on the pier in the sun, like a spotlight of a superstar. Then, to my surprise, another gentleman who I did not know ,reached up to touch the pelican, and he allowed it, not flinching for a second. These moments on the pier where precious, beautiful and magical, certainly an unforgettable experience.

There were also a group of fishermen fishing on the pier that I had not taken much notice of, until one began frantically reeling in his catch. To everyone’s surprise, it was a gorgeous baby shark, who was frantically flailing and flopping, gasping for air as the hook was jammed into his mouth, causing a smallest bit of blood to ooze from the place of intersection where the hook pierced him, and blood oozed from around his mouth over the rest of his body. Another fisherman who was with the one who had caught the shark said, “Are you going to let it go?” The gentleman said, “Of course.” Then an older fisherman in his late 60’s , rushed over to the other two, and said “You don’t want it?” The other said, “No, it’s unnecessary. It’s a shark. We should let it go.” The older gentleman took the fishing rod and quickly ran over to the edge of the dock , leaning over close to the water, allowing the fish to very easily see the pathway to its freedom back into the water, when, to all of our surprise, he turned itnto what seemed to be like a gargoyle hunched over where we thought was to release the fish, when he actually violently slammed the fish’s face onto the dock, and there was a gasp for all observers. when Palu’s wife yelled out, “Why? why did you do that?” and I turned away in tears, at the horrific, barbaric treatment of this enchanted creature that makes up the magical population of sea creatures inhabited in Sanibel. When I collected myself, the next thing I saw was the same beautiful shark, but without skin, being eaten barbarically, while the fisherman saved the remains for bait to catch other fish.

I have never considered myself to be an animal activist and I have recently taken up vegetarianism after an intense dialogue with a highly spiritual guru. During that dialogue, the guru explained that when we consume meat, we are consuming the karma, that energetically takes place in the animal’s struggle to survive, the  moments before it is killed, to later becomes someone’s meal. Those words echoed in my mind, as I watched the violent, painful ending to the shark’s life. As someone who loves sushi, and eats it morning, noon and night. I found it very hard to give up seafood, and even in the early early hours of my visit to Sanibel, I consumed a seafood dinner, though witnessing the terrible death of the shark certainly made me reconsider, because who would want to ingest the karmic devastation of the beautiful shark who thought his freedom was in reach because the view of the beautiful water was visible from his angle on the pier, before the brutal blows to the head. I realized the fisherman also had a moment to make a different choice, though, instead, the need for power or sport, became greater than respecting the life of this creature. This isn’t to say I believe fishermen are bad, or to say that if you’re not a vegetarian, you’re here to be judged. I’m not one to judge. I share this story so you can understand how the magical vibration of love can evaporate when darkness invades, in whatever form that darkness takes. We also had a choice after those events, to hold anger toward the fisherman, and let darkness take away all the joy we experienced earlier, and possibly rob us of all the magic G-d had in store for us on the rest of our journey. Instead, we embraced the lesson of how quickly something so beautiful can turn to darkness. Witnessing these events for me, personally, solidified for me that I made the right diecsion to become vegetarian. I will take the liberty to say that it helped Paul to realize to be without judgment and view all with compassion, though we must remember that, on some level, the fisherman did not realize what he had stolen from all of us, unable to see his own darkness. Perhaps in the effort to gain a reaction, as he knew that he had people observing him. If that is the case, how sad is it that he needed to feel important or get attention, by taking power, over a beautiful fish and getting recognition, good or bad, from strangers on a pier. That makes me feel compassion for him. For Anne, The artist that she is, she embraced the shark and went home to draw him, in all his glory and strength, making him a part of her marine family she has created in book form and through her logos, in an effort to educate children on th magic and beauty of the wildlife that exists on Sanibel Island, in great need of preservation and respect. Therefore, we took a negative experience and transformed it in to something that fed a greater good in each of us in different ways.

Throughout the time in Sanibel, I got to know Paul, as well as his other three sons, and of course, Anne, and his youngest daughter, Sage, The boys were each charming, intelligent, powerful little wizards in their own right. The oldest making a big difference through volunteer work at the wildlife refuge on the island. The middle son, in touch with energy with an amazing crystal collection, and who works with his oldest brother to help the family and protect his princess of a baby sister, Sage, and the youngest son, who is creative and has a fascination with seeds and their power to grow and create plants of all sorts. I was also blessed to come even closer to my soul sister, Sandra, who is also a pioneer for protecting the magical Mother Earth and all its creatures, through her children’s books and artwork. I returned home with a handmade angel made of shells, by Anne, a bag of beautiful sea shells that I will use to tell the tale of the shark and to create jewelry, with a new appreciation and dream that will become reality when I have a home on the little, magical island know as Sanibel.

Setting Sail-in Remembrance of Talia Joy

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

This trip was special  and magical from the very beginning. There was no wheelchair-accessible van to rent to get us from South Florida, where I live, to the 3.5 hours to get to Cape Canaveral where the ship was docked, so we had to rent a regular van and borrow a transport ramp for cargo, from a local wheelchair shop. The ramp was heavy and cumbersome, as it folded in fours to make a 6-ft. size more portable. However, the dilemma still remained on how to get me into the passenger seat because it was not sturdy or safe enough for me to drive my power wheelchair up the ramp into the van. The wheelchair had to be driven by someone else into the van, and I needed assistance to get into the passenger seat of the van, which was very high in height, without a step to get into the seat. Our next-door neighbor who is a firefighter in Palm Beach county, is usually willing to lend a hand, but it just so happened that he was not at home, so my best friend ran in the rain, door-to-door, knocking on the neighbors’ doors, to see if anyone could assist helping me into the van, afraid we were going to miss the cruise. I, on the other hand, was not worried, because I knew my little angel, Talia, was going to make it happen! Then, two, beautiful, generous young men that live at the end of the street came out to help. I had met them in passing while walking the dog or at different neighborhood functions, but did not know them well. Sure enough, after they approached the van, the rain stopped briefly and a short-lived rainbow appeared. One of the young men explained that he worked from home and that he could help anytime. The two boys gently lifted me into the car. Of course, before embarking on our journey to Cape Canaveral, we had to stop at the Drive-thru Starbucks. I got a caramel macchiato, Talia’s favorite drink. Then, we were off. When we arrived, the rain stopped.

Fortunately, it was much easier getting out of the van than it was getting into it.  A nice man from the port helped Becky remove my electric wheelchair and bring it down the ramp, and out of the van, and place the ramp back safely into the car. It was easy for me to physically get out of the front seat of the van, because gravity helped me get out. We made it onto the ship at about 2:30 and the boat was set to sail at 3:00.

The boat was beautiful, and Becky and I were both filled with anticipation for what was sure to be a magical weekend. Everyone that was part of Talia’s Legacy Cruise ate in the main dining room at 5:45. It gave us a chance to get to know each other and sit as a large family in a beautifully decorated dining room. After dinner, the first night was a make-up tutorial celebration event that was kicked off by a beautiful video of Talia teaching everyone how to apply Cover Girl make-up for a night time look. Then we each got a beautiful zebra-print make-up bag, filled with make-up depending on our skin color. Therefore, I received one for very light skin and Becky received one for medium to olive skin. We also received a backpack that said “Talia Legacy Fan Cruise,” that was filled with a T-shirt, water bottle, stickers and other Talia Joy memorabilia. It was so much fun to watch the young girls, ranging anywhere from 8-18, together looking at their make-up and getting to know each other. Many of them knew each other from social media like Instagram, facebook and of course, YouTube. The host of the Talia’s Legacy event was funny and full of life.  I could feel Talia’s presence, the moment we stepped into the showroom where her event was taking place. It was also special to meet the amazing parents of these young girls who also loved Talia and supported their children, in honoring this amazing young girl.

The next morning, I woke up to rocky seas, and unfortunately, many found themselves feeling sick. I, however, like the cradle motion of a rocky boat. I was so excited because we were going to be porting in Nassau, where the famous Atlantis, the first spiritual land, existed, about 70,000 years ago before it sank underwater. Many believe that this Atlantis land is the first place where humans existed. It was thought to be a very spiritual existence, where people recognize their connection to G-d, the Creator, and had limitless possibility for spiritual evolution. It was thought to believe that technology took over, greed became prevalent, and the spiritual power present in the land was manipulated into black magic. When the darkness became prevalent, the island could not handle that lower vibration, and sank. It is believed that Abraham and his sons are the first descendants of the Atlantis people. Given all the spiritual history, I definitely wanted to go explore Nassau, and find Atlantis.

Before I got off the boat, I was able to do readings for the beautiful people in Talia’s group. One of the most magical things that happened is a young girl, accompanied by her mother, came to have a reading and Talia appeared. Talia was bubbly, excited and beautiful, with flawless make-up and her beautiful bald head. Although Talia had never met the little girl who came with her mother for the reading, she knew the little girl was a fan, and told me to tell the little girl that she visits her in her closet. It seemed like a strange message to me, but I have learned to trust what I get as a message. So I said to the girl, “Talia is here, and wants you to know that she is always with you in the closet.” As soon as I said that, the mother and girl began to cry. She said, “Oh my G-d, my make-up table is in my walk-in closet!” For those of you who may be reading this who don’t know, Talia Joy was a beautiful young lady who battled cancer for six years, and during that battle, learned to use make-up as a way to feel confident and express her personality after losing her hair. At the young age of 12, Talia bcame a Youtube sensation with her make-up tutorials, and a recognized make-up artist worldwide in her videos, which also chronicled her battle with cancer.

When I got off the boat at Nassua, where Atlantis exists, it was pouring rain, and the port was like nothing I have ever experienced. People and taxis, and vehicles, and vans, going in all directions with what seemed like no order whatsoever, as little ants all going indifferent directions. when asked about wheelchair accessible transportation, most said no, until there was an older gentleman, who said, “Yes, yes,” however when he pulled up, they pulled out a very narrow, slippery manual ramp that was very steep and I quickly responded, “Thank you, but no thank you;” realizing that it wasn’t worth putting my safety at risk going up the ramp to get into the van. then, a young gentleman stepped out from a little office, that was part of the port, and said, “I know a gentleman who has an automatic ramp that will be much safer for you. I said, “thank you. that sound s like a plan. The funny thing was it became so obvious that Talia was with us this whole time, as Becky was wearing a black “Talis’s Legacy” T-shirt, that stated “no fear, just faith” on the back, and so many of the Bahamian gentlemen were saying “Oh my G-d, no fear, just faith. Love it, praise G-d!” Then, a gentleman walked up to us and said “I’m a pastor of a church. That is great. No fear, just faith. G-d bless you.” And after patiently waiting, a large white van pulled up, with a friendly, heavy-set man with a gorgeous smile who let down an automatic ramp to lift me into the van. On the short ride over to the Atlantis Hotel, one could feel the history on the streets of Nassau, made up of cobblestone; some in need of TLC, but standing proudly, in colorful combinations of a culture built on rich history, and a feeling of community through the Bahamian hospitality. When arriving at the Atlantis Hotel, it demanded attention, and exuded prestige. Pink in color, with gorgeous landscape and fountains at its entrance. The driver let us know that it cost $45 to tour the outside of the hotel, which encompassed small cave-like structures on the grounds that were the exact location of the famous Atlantis island. However, if you went to where the tour begins after 5:00, there is no one to take the payment for the tour and you can freely explore the grounds, and it became ever so clear, which is why we had to wait as long as we did to find the right transportation, bringing us closer to the beloved 5;00 hour, that allowed for free exploration of the land. We walked through this lavish hotel filled with chandeliers made of sea horses, crystals and other sea-inspired decor, colorful carpets, and beautiful boutique-style shops lining the hallways of the hotel. On the lower level of the hotel, there was even a gorgeous art piece that encompassed different shards of crystals, a gigantic crystal sculpture, and I ran into one of the beautiful girls from Talia’s group, and took a picture with her. Then, going back up to the first level of the hotel and walking what seems like an endless corridor, until we got to the end, where you could walk outside through cave and canyon-shaped structures that were created over land that exists above the Atlantis island that is now under water. The caves were filled with glass so you could see the aquarium, or fish, swimming underwater, as you walked through. Becky and I both felt dizzy from the strong vibration of energy that existed in this area. The fish looked like they were out of a cartoon, because they all seemed to be smiling at you. There was a small paved pathway that made it easy to walk through the caves. At the edge of this walkway were the walls of the cave, and if you looked down, you could see an endless supply of crystals which were in their natural formation. To say it was breathtaking, does not even compare to the experience of seeing everything firsthand. At one point, I placed my left hand on the wall of the cave and instantly began downloading information about my previous life on the island of Atlantis, of course, before it sank. I was with my tribe of heart-centered individuals who worked in a kibbutz-like setting, to empower and support the achievement and enlightenment of society. I then heard a message from the ancestors who lived during my incarnation on Atlantis, and I was told, “Go forth in your current incarnation, knowing that we, the ancestors of Atlantis, fully support your movement of love and enlightenment, as you carry the torch in this lifetime. We supported G-d in the effort to bring you and Rebecca together, to forge through with the message of love and empowerment that existed in the fully self-actualized community over 70,000 years ago. There is nothing to fear, for now the people are ready for the high vibrational consciousness and the island will not sink.” I am still trying to process and understand this message, although its power, reverence and realization is becoming more tangible every day. Some of those who I met in Tampa, through Speaking Empire, also stood with me in this past life in Atlantis, and several who I’ve known for a long time in this lifetime, who are part of my core tribe, were also present in the visions of the past life in Atlantis. Time stood still, while Becky held my hand while downloading this amazing energy from Atlantis, and understanding the journey of present-day Atlantis. Without even realizing it, we missed our appointed Dinner Time, and were in a rush to make to back to the boat before it got late.

The second we left the caves, it began pouring rain once more, but this time in monsoon form. The driver who dropped us off, picked us up at the front of the hotel. He said, “it is believed when it rains, it is translucent blessings G-d is pouring over your head, that will continue to take form, even after the rain has stopped.” This makes perfect sense, because since the enlightened and blessed experience of Atlantis, the blessings have been non-stop. I, personally, believe we also invite blessings form G-d when we follow our intuition or take that first step, like my desire to get off the boat and see Atlantis. That is where the concept of “G-d helps those who help themselves,” comes into play. The blessings unfold after we start the movement that perpetuates them forward, through following our inner guidance, prayer and actively living in faith. It was quite funny experiencing the port in the  ”after hours,” because unlike the masses of people running around like ants, like when we first arrived, the port was like a desert land, with not a soul around. Dimly lit by street lamps, full of open space unavailable just a few hours before, we hurried back up to the ship, like wet rats, soaked from top to bottom. Then, rushed to the cabin to change into formal wear, to attend the second event in talia’s memory, known as a Glow Party. I threw on my evening dress, some of the make-up I had received the first night in Talia’s make-up bags, and tried to untangle my wet, wind-blown hair. As soon as we entered the showroom where the event was taking place, we were handed a glow necklace and adorable pink ring that lit up, as the DJ played some of Talia’s favorite dance music. I was soon greeted by Desiree, Talis’a mom, who was worried because we were not at dinner, but happy to see us at the party. We all danced as a group to Taylor Swift’s epic song, “Shake it Off.” One of the greatest gifts I received while on the ship, was reconnecting with Talia’s sister, Mattia, who I’d met in person, at Talia’s memorial service. Mattia has become even more elegant, articulate, and a powerful force in the effort to make a tremendous positive difference in this world through her own talents, while carrying with elegance and beauty, Talia’s legacy in all its glory, on her shoulders, alongside of her mother.   I was so excited to meet Tammy Delarosa, who is one of Talia’s adult best friends, and, of course, like family to Desiree and Mattia who is the genius individual behind so many of the beautiful photo shoots of Talia and Mattia, and I was filled with joy myself as Tammy took pictures of me with Mattia and Desiree holding a huge size of Talia’s honorary Cover Girl picture. It will also be a dream come true to have a photo shoot session with Tammy, and visit with Desiree and Mattia in the very near future. I got to dance with Desiree, and so many new friends, who were also fans of Talia’s. It was fun and it was a beautiful ending to an already extraordinary day.

Sunday, the last day on the ship, we docked at Coco Kay beach, a small island, with little tiki huts, and the weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. Though I was happy, because there was still quite a rumble in the sea. I did not get off of the boat in Coco Kay because I had scheduled readings with passengers, and then Rebecca and I sat in the sun, on the deck of the boat, doing work that needed to be complete before my next adventure to Sanibel Island and back to Tampa, for collaboration with Speaking Empire. It is amazing how much work you can complete when there is no distraction of phone, computers, chores and other daily routine “to -do” list items pulling at you. Before we knew it, it was time to get ready for our group dinner at 5:45. This time, which was casual in nature, of course, wearing a Talia T-shirt, supporting that feeling of community and respect for Talia and her family. It was nice to reconnect to our dining room table group that we met the first night, and talk to them about our adventure in Atlantis. Then, it was time for the last night’s event, a Remembrance Night in honor of Talia. This event was by far my favorite. they showed never-before-seen video of Talia, along with unseen family photos, and then, one by one, people got up and began telling their story of how they knew talia and how she made an impact on their lives. So many girls came up to speak, who had never actually met Talia, but her message of hope had saved their lives by her YouTube videos, by helping them feel beautiful when they felt lost, alone and insecure. Before I knew it, I was being encouraged to speak about my little angel, Talia. So, I shared my story of meeting her over YouTube and how she gave me encouragement to embrace the love that I had for make-up and use that love to continue inspiring people and feel good about myself, even in the face of my own limitations and physical illness. As to be expected, all of us were brought to tears that night, although somehow I managed not to cry while speaking of her, even though my voice shook the whole time. I realized I’m quite comfortable speaking in front of people. However, when talking about someone I want to honor, who has impacted me personally, I felt nervous, wanting to  make sure that my words could somehow articulate the beauty, the intelligence, multi-faceted talent, and the inspiration and reverence that is, was and forever will be, Talia Joy Castellano.