#MEFIRST SERIES FEATURED POWERHOUSE
Founder & Facilitator, READY
Tabitha Jones is the founder and facilitator of R.E.A.D.Y. 4 Wellness, an organization focused on creating safe and comfortable spaces for BIPOC communities to reflect on self and explore mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellness. She joins event planning and wellness services with more than 12 years of experience in the Finance Industry. As a Bronx native, mother of one, she represents Black and Latina women. After navigating her personal mental health battles and discovering her wellness journey, she decided to use her skills and resources to bring people together to talk about important issues that are often neglected and avoided in marginalized communities.
What does a week in the life of Tabitha look like? In what ways do you manage to put yourself first even through a busy schedule?
Tabitha: While working a 9-5, I balance the demands of Real Estate clients and build my READY business. Think of filtering through emails and reports all day, while home shopping and negotiating prices, while maintaining a social media presence, and meeting and having conversations with black and brown professionals across the wellness spectrum. It’s busy but I LOVE IT ALL. I love the energy it takes and the difficulties of managing it all.
After and between work I am a tiger mom that makes time for violin practice, family exercise, board games and playtime with my 4-year-old daughter. Putting myself first is a struggle but over the past few years I’ve focused on learning and understanding myself, my behaviors, and my joys. For me that means optimizing every waking moment. I rise between 4:30-5am but work doesn't start until 7:30am. That time between is spent on my self-love practices - brainstorming, writing, planning, meditating, listening to music and exercising. Right now my exercise of choice is Roller Skating - I'm not sexy IG video ready, but I'll get there.
Please tell us about your self-love journey! How does your self-love journey inspire your creative pursuits?
Tabitha: I experienced what I thought was a midlife crisis - I was laid off from work, had no interest in my career path, no sense of passion, and no real motivation to tackle the responsibilities I once valued. This is how I stumbled upon my wellness journey. Working in Corporate America, part-time Real Estate agent, single mother, financial provider, social butterfly… carrying all of this weight was normal until it wasn’t.
I began searching for happiness; booked vacations to free my mind, had one-on-ones with people I trusted, planned a small retreat to reflect on my life, and had meaningful discussions with friends. I needed to understand who I was, what was important to me and how to cope with the challenges I was facing. On this journey I was seeking happiness but in that search I found peace! My hope is that - through READY - individuals can find what they are searching for on their journey.
As someone who is actively contributing to the mental health and wellness of BIPOC through READY, what do you want readers to know and do to help BIPOC communities flourish?
Tabitha: READY is a combination of two key factors: self and community. When thinking of self it’s the willingness to give and share yourself in order to identify and define the things that really matter to you. Being able to dig within, through the good, the bad and the ugly in order to find yourself. Not necessarily having to voice everything but being able to express and reflect in a way that’s comfortable. Whether that’s speaking out loud, writing, or just listening and absorbing.
When thinking of a community it’s positioning yourself around people that support, challenge and mentor you and that includes friends, family and professional help. Creating a space that you can develop and journey through the different phases of yourself safely and effectively. I want readers to understand how important it is to have and define both self and community.
For BIPOC communities to flourish we need a space that is our own to laugh, cry, reflect, challenge, question. To do whatever it is we need to get READY! To discover who you are and what really matters to you.
This month's theme at Loved by Destiny is RADIATE. How do you radiate in your life?
Tabitha: During that period after losing my job and having a mental breakdown, I explored different avenues of employment, and applied for positions in industries I had only dreamed about. I began to truly ask myself what do I like? What would make me happy? I even considered moving out of NY, a place where I felt so stuck and permanent because of family and lifestyle. I began to explore ways I could maintain my responsibilities but live in a place where I felt most free. These were ideas I had never considered possible.
I took the time to explore who I was, what my values and goals were. Being at a point that felt like my lowest, resulted in challenging myself, making myself a priority, and exploring different ways to find my happiness. That process of experimenting, discussing, reflecting, and searching - that is what it means to RADIATE, that is what READY means to me and that is the experience I wanted to recreate for others.
In what ways do you nurture your self-awareness? What role does it play in your self-love?
Tabitha: Self-awareness is living in your own truth. Being able to name your traumas and illnesses and identify your triggers and sparks then taking that knowledge and LIVING through it not hiding from it. I have taken every conversation from my Mind, Body and Soul Wellness Series and personally applied it to my life. These are conversations with therapists, life coaches, mental performance trainers, nutritionists, fitness trainers, all shedding light on a different matter of health and wellness. I reflect on the guidance they provide and figure out how I can implement its practice. Whether that’s through writing, having discussions with individuals affecting my life, meditating or adjusting my behaviors and habits to match the results I want to see.
What advice would you give to people who don't know where to begin their self-love and self-discovery journey?
Tabitha: Finding your journey is not a one-size-fits-all process. There are so many avenues of health and wellness to explore, try them all until you find the one(s) that resonates and fits your style. Within each avenue of health and wellness there are an array of professionals, consult with as many people until you find the right person that matches and meets your needs. Recognize that self-love, self-care, self-discovery is a journey and there is no final destination. You are always learning yourself and you are always evolving. Be patient and be kind to yourself.
Learn more about Tabitha by keeping up with her on Instagram @readyretreat Stay up to date with READY's upcoming events and Mind Body Soul Wellness conversations by following READY on Instagram. Be sure to keep Tabitha in mind for your BIPOC mental health & wellness needs. Also, stay tuned for her next wellness retreat in 2021... you won't want to miss it. Thank you, Tabitha!