Nov 4 2017

Rebuilding From The Rubble

We’re rebuilding from the rubble. There’s no other choice…

…And there’s a lot of rubble left in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria that swept through the Caribbean last month, as well as from Hurricane Harvey that caused extensive damage and flooding in Texas.

I haven’t been home to the Virgin Islands yet, but thankfully Mom and the rest of my family are doing okay.

But the island, like many others, has been devastated…

For my people, climate change is not an intellectual debate. We see it.The evidence is in all the rubble staring back at us every single day.

“Climate change is the human rights movement of our day,” says Elizabeth Yeampierre, an internationally-known environmental activist of Puerto Rican and African descent.

“Our communities continue to get hit time and time again by climate catastrophe. We cannot choose between a Black Lives Matter protest and a climate justice forum because our survival depends on both of them,” she says.

I’ve only learned of Elizabeth’s work recently but she’s been fighting for environmental justice for more than 20 years. She’s challenging all of us to raise our fists and our voices.

“Our communities know another way. As people of African and indigenous ancestry, we come from societies and ways of life that protect and nurture Mother Earth. Now is the time to reconnect with our old ways. The knowledge is there – it is in our historical memory,” she says

I love what Elizabeth says about reconnecting to our old ways and how the knowledge we need is in our historical memory. It reminds me of something one of my mentors often said when he was teaching me the Ifa spiritual tradition. “When we break the rules of nature, nature breaks us,” he told me.

Professor Wande Ambimbola, a Yoruba scholar says: “To the ancient African mind, animals, plants and human beings were part of one large family. Planet earth is a very sacred place,” he adds. “She was not meant to be exploited as human beings have done for centuries.”

We have a lot of rethinking and rebuilding to do. Yes, we have a lot to learn from the indigenous world, but we also have a lot to learn from each other too. We’re all in this together, like it or not.

There’s something we can all do; we just need to find what that something is and we need to do it.

And we have a choice…

We can choose to see the current crisis as an opportunity, says my good friend, Maria Stiles, an artist and activist from St. Croix.

“Those of us who have been spared have a responsibility,” she says.”We have to restore balance and harmony with the earth. We need to wake up. If this is what it takes for us to look up and see the sky, then so be it.” says Maria.

“We have to plant more; we have to connect more. Times like these force us to realize how fragile we are, and how we’re totally at the mercy of the wind, the earth and the sea,” adds Maria.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Respond to this blog, and I’ll write you back as soon as I can. Would also love to hear what’s been on your mind lately.

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All my love

James Weeks
Producer, Across The King’s River

Sep 27 2017

Surviving Irma and Maria

It’s been a challenging month…

A 7.1 earthquake in Mexico leaves 331 dead.

Meanwhile, back home in the Caribbean, we face the daunting task of rebuilding from the rubble left behind by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

On the island of St. Croix, where I’m from, we’re still trying to assess the damage. Thankfully, my Mom is safe, and as far as I know friends and family are safe as well.

But the financial and emotional strains will be with us for a long time.

The prime minister of Dominica described Hurricane Maria as “merciless” and left “mind boggling devastation” in her wake.

In Puerto Rico, the passage of Irma, then Maria, has left most of the population without electricity, drinking water or food. Many clinics and hospitals are closed. Like elsewhere in the Caribbean, many lives are at risk.

My Uncle Gerry was the first person to alert me when Hurricane Maria was on the way. He texted me over the weekend. “We are in a predicament,” he wrote. “Hurricane Maria formed in the Atlantic and might hit us.”

I haven’t spoken to Mom since the hurricane because with the exception of AT&T, there’s no cell phone or landline service. My Uncle assures me Mom is in good spirits despite the chaos.

In just two weeks, so many islands, economies and hearts have been devastated.

But we will rebuild. We have no choice. Hopefully, we will emerge stronger and wiser. Each crisis reminds us how much we need each other, how everything is interconnected, like it or not. And each crisis is a reminder that each moment is precious and must not be taken for granted.

These hurricanes, in their own way, are also telling us that global warming is a very real, very dangerous and must be seriously addressed. The earth is rebelling, and world leaders ought to take heed because too many poor people are paying the cost.

Many organizations are helping hurricane victims in various islands. Here’s a list of a few of them, but I’ve also included a link for victims of the recent 7.1 earthquake in Mexico.

Thank you in advance for your support. A donation of any amount can help save lives.

Blessings

James

USVI Recovery: https://www.usvirecovery.org/

United For Puerto Rico: http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/

Direct Relief: http://bit.ly/2ykLOax

UNICEF Earthquake Relief: http://bit.ly/2xmD3Qq

Blessings

James Weeks

Producer, Across The King’s River

Sep 19 2017

Staying Grounded In Crazy Times

I’m not sure what to say…

…Because who knows what’s coming next? These are troubling times.

Just a little over one month ago, the nation’s attention was riveted on white supremacists marching through the streets of Charlottesville and President Trump’s unwillingness to condemn them.

And then Hurricane Irma suddenly appeared on the horizon this month with deadly 185 per hour winds that decimated several Caribbean Islands before creating even more damage in Florida.

….But wait, almost forgot to make mention of Hurricane Harvey’s unwelcome visit to Texas. At least 70 deaths so far. Forgive me. There’s so much mayhem to keep track of these days.


And right this minute, Hurricane Maria, another Category 5 super storm, is on the way…

…Is there no end to our trials?

Back home on St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and elsewhere throughout the Caribbean, we’re praying for the best but bracing for the worse. Just this morning, my sister and I were trying to decide whether Mom will be better off at a hurricane shelter or whether she’ll be safer at home. Who knows? Trying to predict the path of a hurricane is sometimes a bit like rolling a dice.

It’s been a rough year for my people. It’s been a rough year for many people.

How do you stay grounded when so many things, so many forces are beyond your control? There’s no simple answer. But I know this. While you do what you can to help others and your community, you must also make self-care a priority.

You can’t be of much help to anyone or any cause if you’re depleted emotionally and spiritually. Rest when you can, eat a sensible diet, and make sure you maintain some kind of spiritual practice.

I practice meditation and made sure I did twenty minutes of meditation this morning before I got on the phone to figure out what to do about Mom as Hurricane Maria storms through the Caribbean.

…And last Sunday I spent all day in the hills of Oakland working with local filmmakers on my film, Across The King’s River. I intend to keep things moving forward no matter what. I suggest you do too.

Knowing I can guide and inspire others during this daunting time warms my heart. There’s too much on the line. The struggle continues. Lots of rebuilding to do. And we must be vigilant. We all need each other.

Would love to know what’s most on your mind these days and how you’re coping with all the challenges. Be sure to comment on this post and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

May the ancestors continue to guide and protect you.

P.S. Sign up for my monthly inspirational newsletters at the link below and I’ll send you updates about my upcoming book as well.

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Blessings

James Weeks

Producer, Across The King’s River

Jul 11 2017

What’s Your Plan For Healing?

I had an amazing experience with an 82-year-old healer in Jamaica recently…

She’s a most unusual healer; she puts her hands gently on your body as if you were about to receive a massage, but then she starts removing objects from your body.

…Things you wouldn’t think could possibly be in your body.

She placed her hands on me and gently removed two small chains from my right torso. Then, she removed a stone and two nails from my stomach. And yes, I saw them with my own eyes.

I wasn’t the only one…

images

Ten people came with me, and she removed objects from each of us: a spark plug from the head of my client’s son, tobacco from the chests of a couple from the USA, a stone from the left foot of my client and a padlock from the chest of a construction worker.

And I’m 100% certain she would remove an object from you if you’re ever blessed with the opportunity to meet her in person.

But how is this even possible? How could such objects be inside one’s body?

Not sure. In my case, she said I’d been the target of a spiritual attack. I don’t doubt this. Spiritual attacks are prevalent in African culture. But surely everyone that sees her cannot possibly be the victim of a spiritual attack. At least, I really don’t think so.

So how does one explain this?

Could it be that some of these objects come from the negativity or envy of others or from our own fears or negative thoughts? I don’t know, and the healer was way too busy to entertain any questions.

My experience taught me that there are dimensions to healing that modern science may never understand. And while I cannot explain the miracle I experienced, surely there are many things we can all do to improve our physical, mental and spiritual health.

And letting go of anger and others things that are clearly beyond your control is one of them.

You’ve got to work at letting go of other things you’re attached to that are clearly not healthy for you: a job you hate falls in this category. Are you working yourself to death? What about toxic relationships? Sorry, it’s time to cut some folks loose. Are you battling addictions? If so, how long has that been going on? How long will you allow it to go on?

What about blame? Are you blaming someone for where find yourself in life right now? If so, you’ve given your power away and it’s time to take it back. You DO have a say in your future. Claim it!

Finally, a commitment to a daily spiritual routine will help you immensely along with a good diet, adequate rest and regular exercise.

Healing isn’t an event, it’s an ongoing journey.

What are your thoughts and what are your plans for healing?

Would love to hear from you, so just respond to this email and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Until then, may the ancestors guide and protect you always.

Stay Blessed

James Weeks

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May 8 2017

Allowing Your Ancestors To Guide You

Your ancestors have a plan for you…

…And their plan might not be the same as the plan you have for yourself – it might be better.

That’s why it’s important to pay attention to patterns that have been showing up in your life lately because I’ll bet your ancestors or trying to tell you something or want to send you somewhere.

Recently, Spirit has been sending me to different islands. First Guadeloupe last December, then Hawaii earlier this month, and now I’m on my way to Jamaica.

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I’ve never been to three islands back-to-back in such a short period of time…

And I’m 100% sure these trips were planned by my ancestors and I’m supposed to share my experiences on each island in my upcoming book Meditations Across The King’s River, which will be available this fall. My book is a collection of original uplifting affirmations and short, insightful essays of my spiritual journey.

The ancestors have a lot to say….

But they often need to change your environment to make you more receptive to their messages and healing energies. In Jamaica, my host will be taking me to Maroon Country. The Maroons were escaped slaves who fought for freedom and created their own communities.

There’s always something worth fighting for and living for, my friend. Decide what battles are worth it for you.

I’m not sure what messages and experiences await me in Jamaica. But I’ll let you know as soon as I find out.

In the meantime, I would love to hear what you’ve been up to or what you’ve been experiencing lately, so hit reply to this blog and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

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Stay Blessed

James Weeks
Producer, Across The King’s River

Mar 1 2017

You Can’t Say Yes to Everything

You can’t say yes to everything…

…So learn how to say no and mean it. Focus on what will bring the most value to you and stick with it.

That’s what I’m doing. I’m saying no to some things because I’m working on my book and my film, Across The King’s River. I’m still doing spiritual readings, however, so call or write if you need one.

James Weeks

James Weeks

My book, Meditations Across The King’s River, will be available by October. The book is a collection of my original spiritual affirmations, but it also includes short, insightful essays of my spiritual journey.

I dedicate a few hours each day to write and to reflect…

It’s not easy but I had to make a decision about what I wanted to achieve in 2017 and getting my book published was high on my list.

…I’m sharing this with you because I’m sure you have goals you would like to accomplish in 2017. If you don’t, it’s not too late to get on track and to set goals that you can hit in the upcoming months.

I’ll admit it took a while for me to get into the habit and rhythm of writing every day but I am so used to it now that it’s easier for me to write, than to not write. Once you set some healthy habits, things will improve for you. I’m making progress and you can too.

Here are some tips to help keep you on track regardless of what your goal is.

  • Set a target date for when you want to achieve it.
    Set time aside each day or each week to work on it.
    Get a mentor or an accountability buddy to keep you on track.
    Minimizing all possible distractions while you work.
    Plan the night before so that you can execute your plan the next day.
    Decide what you will say NO to in order to say YES to your goals.

I would love to hear what you plan to achieve in the next 6 months and how you plan to get there. Let me know by replying to this email and I’ll write you back as soon as I can.

If I can help with anything, let me know that too…

Blessings,

James Weeks
Producer, Across The King’s River

Jan 17 2017

What’s Your Plan For 2017?

I know I’m a little late…

But wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and wishing you and your family good things in 2017.

Don’t know about about you, but I’m glad 2016 is behind us and I’m looking forward to the challenges of 2017.

Just got back from an amazing two week trip to the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Had a chance to work on my film, Across The King’s River and connected with some powerful souls and a culture that enriched me in many ways.

Hanging with my friend, Omitola

Grateful to my friend, Omitola, for inviting me there. Guadeloupe was a new beginning for me in many ways. I’ll be sharing some experiences I had very soon.

Hanging With Omitola

Hanging With Omitola

For now, I just want to encourage you to follow your inspiration in 2017. Don’t know what your plan is for the year but that’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it. I believe in the power of inspiration more than I ever did before; I also believe it is our sacred duty to follow it no matter the cost.

To say NO to inspiration is to say NO to happiness, NO to fulfillment, NO to peace of mind. Why not say YES? I firmly believe inspiration is right 99.99% of the time. We just have to follow through.

But keep this in mind…

Following inspiration does not mean things will work out the way you want them to work out nor does it mean it will work out in the time frame you have in mind. What I’ve learned is that inspiration is a seed you plant today, but sometimes that seed does not germinate until later. Sometimes years later!

Vicky Gaydu, My Director of Photography in Guadeloupe

Vicky Gaydu, My Director of Photography in Guadeloupe

There’s a purpose behind the inspiration that has come to you, but you’re not going to discover it if you give up to soon. Go the distance in 2017, my friend. You’ll be happy you did.

This is all for now, but I would love to hear what your plans are for 2017. Comment on this blog and I will respond as quickly as I can.

Until then, may the ancestors bless, guide and protect you and your family.

Blessings,

James Weeks
Producer, Across The King’s River

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Dec 29 2016

Getting The Help You Need

There’s a difference between needing help and wanting help…

That’s what my friend and mentor, Willy, was explaining the other day. Lots of folks need help, he says, but not everyone wants help. You gotta know the difference.

Willy knows what he’s talking about. He used to be a drug addict…

It was bad. He even attempted suicide decades ago because it was the “brightest idea” he had at the time.

Fortunately, he reached out for help and got it, and he was humble enough to accept it. Then, he took massive action. “I was willing to work on my own rescue,” he says.

Photo: Shutterstock image

Photo: Shutterstock image

Looking at Willy’s beaming smile and self-confidence today you would never know the trouble he’s seen. Not only is Willy drug free, he’s a successful businessman and spiritual leader. He’s also a committed husband and father who does what he says he’ll do.

He shares his story bravely and openly with all who will listen because he wants others to have hope. No matter where you are in life, no matter how much you hurt, no matter how much you’ve lost, change is possible, Willy says. Your blessing might be right around the corner.

Willie is teaching me some kick-ass business strategies for 2017. But he’s also teaching me about life. I’m not the only one. He’s a mentor to tens of thousands.

Raised in the projects of Queens, NY, Willy is part Irish and part Puerto-Rican. His father was an alcoholic and regularly abused his Mom. The police visited their home often. Willy never made it to high school and was in his thirties before he read a book from cover to cover.

But the past is behind him…

Willy’s an avid reader these days. He’s big on self-development. He’s big on God. He’s big on me. He’s big on you. Believe, says Willy.

I’ve been inspired by many, but Willy’s story touched me deeply because it reminds me that anything is possible. Anything is still possible for me, anything is still possible for you.

And the bit of wisdom about knowing the difference between needing help and wanting help – I will always remember it.

What about you?

I would love to hear what you think, so send me an email, and I’ll be sure to respond.

Until next time, may the ancestors walk with you, guide you, and protect you each and every step of the way.

Believe

James Weeks

Producer, Across The King’s River

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Nov 2 2016

My Jam Session With Steel Pulse

The director of the upcoming documentary on legendary reggae band, Steel Pulse, wrote me recently on FaceBook.

His name is Yoni Gal and his upcoming film is called Dreadtown. Can’t wait to see it. You can check out the clip below.

 

Dreadtown Teaser Trailer (Steel Pulse Documentary) from Rory Gordon on Vimeo.

Anyway, I was totally surprised and honored at the same time. Steel Pulse has always been one of my favorite bands. I knew about the upcoming film, but I never imagined that the director would reach out to me personally.

Yoni wanted to know if I have footage or photos of the band that they can review for possible inclusion in the film. I don’t have footage, but I have a few photos and lots of great memories.

Amazingly, I still have a 90 minute audio interview I did with lead singer David Hinds back in the 80’s. As it turned out, that interview might be exactly what they’re looking for.

“That’s incredible!” Yoni said. “This is really great news! We are searching high and low for audio of David in the 80’s. Thanks so much for digging and for having the foresight to hold on to it for all those years.”

I first met David Hinds back in 1986 when I worked as news reporter on St. Croix. Then, I caught up with band in 1991 to cover them for the San Francisco Weekly. I even got a chance to ride with them on their tour bus from Oakland to Santa Cruz.

David Hinds of Steel Pulse

David Hinds of Steel Pulse

But my first meeting in 1986 evokes the most memories…

That’s because I was learning to play guitar at the time and David was kind enough to teach me the chord progression for his song, Save Black Music, as we sat in his hotel, talking the day after his concert. He also taught me the intro to Raid Blues Dance!

If you click on the link below you can hear the audio of this guitar lesson as well as other sound bites of our talk. Click on the audio tab that says: Save Black Music.

I’m happy I still have this mini-jam session to share with you. My only regret is that I didn’t follow his advice and practice my guitar every day. Surely, I would have been a bad ass by now. LOL

Looking back, I had no way of knowing Steel Pulse would go on to such great heights. Hundreds of bands have come and gone but Steel Pulse is still on the road, fighting the good fight.

Globally, their musical legacy has impacted hundreds of millions. They were the first reggae band to play at the White House and their messages of hope, love, justice, resistance and activism are still relevant today. Maybe even more relevant because the system that oppresses us is shrewd, resilient and determined.

“We’re still in the streets fighting for liberty, justice, freedom and equality,” as David sings.

I still practice the songs David taught me years ago, but his impact in my life goes beyond the guitar lesson. From afar, I’ve learned lessons of courage and dogged determination, to keep rising up after endless trials and tribulations. And I’ve made up my mind to make time for others, the way he made time for me and many others when he didn’t really have to.

For sure, I’ll continue to draw inspiration from Steel Pulse as I continue to work on my own personal documentary, Across The King’s River.

I hope you have the opportunity to meet David and the other band members one day, but in case you don’t, let me assure you of one thing. They believe in all of us.

Don’t count yourself out! It’s not too late to make a difference. Give what you have, give all you’ve got and be who you are. Find your passion or a cause you believe in and stay the course.

Steel Pulse started a revolution and they’re counting on you to continue it…

I told Yoni, the director of Dreadtown, that I would look around for old photos and will send the audio interviews as well. I found another cassette as I was writing this newsletter. Yay.

In the meantime, Yoni needs a HUGE favor from you. Please visit the Dreadtown Facebook Page and hit the LIKE button and share with all your peeps so we can spread the word about this important film. Here’s the link to the Dreadtown FB Page.

And while you’re at it, send Yoni a word of encouragement to keep pressing forward. A personal comment from you on his Facebook page will warm his heart and stoke the flames of inspiration that feed all artists. He still has lots of work to do on the film so show him some love and tell him I sent you.

Would love to hear what you think about this upcoming film and would also like to hear what you’ve been up too lately. So respond to this article and I will write you back asap!

Until we talk again, know that I am thinking of you, praying for you and I believe in you.

Stay blessed!

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James Weeks

Producer, Across The King’s River

Oct 3 2016

The Wisdom of Going Slow

Bumped into my friend, Tobe Correal, about 2 months ago.

She’s the author of the book, Finding Soul on the Path of Orisa. If you haven’t read her work yet, check it out. You might enjoy it like I did. Here’s the link: Finding Soul On The Path of Orisa

Anyway, Tobe was at my neighbor’s 40th birthday party. Turns out they’re cousins.

It was great to see Tobe and to catch up again. She’s very philosophical.

We spoke about the wisdom of going slow. Not being in such a rush all the time, having the understanding that things happen in divine ways and in divine timing. Nature, for sure, is not in a rush.

Love it…e66142df-4eda-435c-950b-6b0312fefdd5

I love it because American culture seems to hate the word slow. Every Everything in this culture is expected to happen fast. So naturally, folks are on a fast track even though things that are meaningful and lasting and powerful rarely happen fast.

Everyone thinks they should be somewhere else, that life somehow is passing them by.

Hey, I understand. I really do.

But I’ve learned to appreciate going slow. I had no choice. One of the biggest challenges for me over the years has been delays with the funding of my film, Across The King’s River.

On the other hand, the biggest blessing has been the very same thing: delays with funding for my film. Did I like it at the time? No! Hell No!

I am grateful for the delays because I know for a fact that if my film had been funded years ago, I couldn’t have made the best possible film. Sure, I could have made a film, ut not the best one.

The delays worked in my favor because I have more insights now, more wisdom, and more clarity about what the film should be. I know what I want. I know who I want; I know what to do.

Armed with these insights, we are planning a major shoot for the film in early 2017. Looking back at all the ups and downs over the years, going slow was the best thing that could have happened for me.

What about you?

Are things moving along the way you like? If so great. If not, maybe it’s a blessing. You cannot miss what has been destined for you. It is written by Spirit, sanctioned by the ancestors.

Either way, I would love to hear what you’ve been up to and/or what you’re working on these days. Would also like to hear what you’ve been struggling with and/or what you need help with.

I miss you. I think of you, and I truly wish you peace and success in all that you do.

Let’s talk soon!

Blessings,

James Weeks
Producer, Across The King’s River

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