HOLISTIC HEALTH & WELLNESS
Jah-Sun, Minister of Wholistic Health & Wellness, is a passionate Health practitioner and founder of 3rdEyeVisionsUnlimited. He credits his affinity for natural healing to his indigenous family traditions and friendships throughout his childhood with elders in his community, who passed on their traditions to him. He reflects on his childhood in Jamaica: “I lived for 7 years with my grandmother, where I gained first-hand experience of living on the land and off the grid. We had no electricity, and we collected rainwater for drinking and washing. I grew up around lots of elderly folks in my village, by the time I was 10 I was keeping company with 90-year-olds.
My maternal grandmother, Miss Will, was a daughter of one of the indentured Indians bought to Jamaica as laborers. She stood only 4'9 but was a force to be reckoned with in Grange Hill. She became the voice of the voiceless. In her later job, she became a runner, transporting food for judges, in Sav-la-Mar. She would listen in on legal cases and through that, went on to advocate for those who didn't understand the law. Eventually an extension of the post office was built on her house where people would go to pick up their mail. She would read mail to those who were illiterate and cook and feed the people who could not afford food.
On my father’s side, the Cleghorn’s were patriarchs and landowners in Westmoreland, were they were also developers of the district, the idea being to develop the land into a modern town. They would provide additional water for the people of the district through construction of a public catchment tank as well as parceled out their land to people to farm and work. From early childhood I always felt the duty of sharing what I was called to do, to bring out my gifts and share them with the world.”
KUOM: Coming from such a rich, cultural background; what does traditional medicine mean to you? When we talk about traditional medicine, I am a continuation of a long-standing tradition of my family's culture of using food as medicine, so I’m continuing in that tradition. Tradition is a way of life; you are not separate from the planet, the stars, the oceans, and the moon. My grandfather built his first house with a two-man saw, out of tree planks. Grandma, Mama Too, Too, moved into that house at 18 years of age and lived there until she was 90 years old, where she drew her last breath in her sleep. My father was the youngest of their 16 children. Mamma Too, Too, had midwifes who would ride on horseback sometimes in the middle of the night to deliver her babies. Psychological medicine is knowing your own story.
KUOM: What role did your childhood in Jamaica play in how you live your life today? My mom and I always had a special bond, she would tell me, “I always knew you were special”. Once as she was frying a fish on Dome Street, while pregnant with me, the oil splattered on her left side and left 3 burns. When I was born, I had the same the same three spots on my side! We had fruits and herbs growing all round the house, a sweet sop tree, a huge almond tree, so big that cars were worked on underneath it. We ate fresh almonds from it as children. Across the street was a beekeeper, Mr. Taylor. He would ask me to help him and he always paid me with honey and a piece of honeycomb. Right next to Mr. Taylor was a bakery where they would bake bulla cake and the Rastas would roast trays of peanuts. My friends and I would help the baker and the Rastas and they always gave us some bulla cake and peanuts as payment. That was a fundamental commerce system, bartering and being paid in leftovers. We never ran away from work, for me and my friends it was all about community. I grew up with 22 cousins, we played football together, swam in the river, washed clothes in the river, caught crayfish, cooked by the river. We would collect food items along the way, cut a hand of banana for example. One would bring a pot; one would bring some salt. We would cook on the side of the river while swimming. We swam naked and it was just honest clean fun, we never thought anything of it. That kind of freedom most have never experienced.
KUOM: At what age did you arrive in the U.S., and how was the transition from living off the grid in Jamaica to living in New York City? By the age of 14 my mom said she was going to take me to New York. But I was worried about leaving my grand mom. I cried at the airport, but my mom said I had to go so I obeyed. At 14 I basically became the man of the house, suddenly I was partially responsible for my 6 and 4-year-old siblings, doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning. I had learned all those skills from living with my grandmother, so I was well prepared. In the mornings I would make mommy’s tea, get her clothes ready, get the siblings ready for their bus and then I would get ready for school which was right off of Kingston blvd. Wingate was my default HS because I arrived too late in 1987 to do the placement tests, but Wingate also had a flight program and you could get a full scholarship to Tuskegee. I couldn't do any extracurricular activities like track, until my sister was old enough. I participated in math challenges and Academic Olympics, like Jeopardy for high school. At 15, I was making $310 a week at Finest Foods warehouse, driving a forklift to pick up pallets. Finest Foods catered to the West Indian community. In the summers I would spend August in Toronto and work at my dad’s business, a Caribbean variety shop on Eglinton Ave., a Caribbean neighborhood, and get back to New York just in time for Brooklyn carnival. I have approximately 100 family members in Toronto.
KOUM: How did you turn your knowledge and passion for herbs and healing foods into your business, 3rdEyeVisionsUnlimited? In 1987 when I landed in New York, I analyzed people and realized they were not connected to nature. People would ask me why I didn't eat everything; my mom was too traditional she would cook at home and I would bring it to school for lunch. I started packaging myself as a proponent of natural health. I took to the streets in 1987 and when I came to Daytona Beach for college, I would connect people to the herb shops in Brooklyn. After college I officially started selling things before that I was pointing people to different websites to order these things. When I entered the corporate world, they suggested I get my own website and that’s when I organized myself as a brand. It took off in 1996. I started offering products to go along with the other services. I learned how to deal with people; I worked in aerospace which is how I paid my bills. I learned to start charging for my time because people do not value things that are free. People will pay $600 for shoes or a pocketbook but hesitate to pay $100 for a health consultation. In 2010 I put everything online with an e-commerce site that ships all over the world. Our Ministry is a Religious NGO, 501d, so donations must be made post tax as they can be claimed as business expenses.
KUOM: What types of services can clients expect from 3rdEyeVisionsUnlimited, in addition to health counseling and herbal formulas? We are getting ready to launch the Third Eye Visions Self Mastery Course. We will be taking on 19 VIP clients every 60 days. 60 days being enough time for people to be acclimated enough to let their hands go. It’s an all-inclusive program, life coaching for 1 per week. That allows me to be a life coach to 19 people every 60 days. The program will consist of a combination of the different packages I already offer individually, such as Natural Home Births, meal planning and recipes, analysis of grocery lists, etc. How you feel, how you think, is all part of the package.
KUOM: In closing, what role do you think traditional medicine can play in a person’s everyday life? Traditional medicine should always be included in our daily lives, it could be making a couple of smoothies per day, drinking herbal teas and can include things like use of essential oils, eating salads, which contain many different healing ingredients, Meditation, Yoga, Qi Gong etc., that’s a foundational level. Usain Bolt’s diet was analyzed by scientists from Asia who were curious about his strength and speed, they concluded that the food he eats acts as a natural steroid. Food is your medicine and medicine are your food. Health is a part of your birthright, so Claim It Today!
On behalf of KUOmagazine.com, thank you Jah-Sun for allowing us to share your inspirational story with our readers, as we celebrate men in our May/June issue. It was truly an honor.
Dawn Hewitt, CHHC, KUOMagazine’s Traditional Medicine Journalist
Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHHC)