…It would be the “Courage to Me & Truly free” movement!! This movement would focus on EVERYONE focusing and educating themselves on self -knowledge. From their roots & lineage, to their family history and pathologies, to personal triggers to strengths and weakness to passions and dreams. We all must display more courage towards being authentically ourselves and not what the world tells us to be. We must learn to love ourselves, forgive ourselves, constructively criticize ourselves, know that we are no more special than anyone else from a spiritual perspective but that we ARE important. When you KNOW you are important, you behave differently. You give what you need to yourself whether or not the world or anyone approves. This creates a kinder world. From this we understand we are an important PART of something and not alone.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Spirits Landing’s Founder and Executive Director, Tabbatha Mays. As founder, president and Executive Director, Tabbatha Mays brings a wealth of knowledge to Spirits Landing Inc. It is also her passion project. Coming from an extremely cultured and diverse background, she was raised with strict family values and given exposure to many fields of study at an early age. Her life experiences have led her to serve and share what she has learned, both an artist and as an executive. Having literally traveled around the world as an entertainment professional — a soloist for dignitaries, a spokesperson for Guess, American Express, Disney, and Fendi Corporations, and having participated and placed in numerous pageants, she gained much knowledge on social mores, business etiquette, poise, posture, and public speaking. Always altruistic and a lover of human growth and development, Tabbatha has been a lifelong volunteer with numerous organizations, has counseled and been a mentor to countless teens, and has gained invaluable empathy, patience, problem solving, and listening skills. She has taught etiquette, health and nutrition, and life skills for over 10 years. She has conducted after school programs with a number of institutions in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) system. Tabbatha served as a counselor and teacher for five years with Changing Perceptions Theatre for the blind and physically disabled, and was co-director/producer for fundraisers and stage plays teaching literacy and providing education on the life styles and challenges of the blind in our society. In addition, she received recognition for her work with Spirits Landing by Ebony Magazine as one of its “Women Making A Powerful Difference” and Spirits Landing was selected for the 2014 “Best of Beverly Hills” Awards as an outstanding after school program. Tabbatha is also the president and CEO of Opulence Inc. — an etiquette events company, and Dream in The Making Inc, which helps people go after their dreams and become entrepreneurs. She has received an accreditation from the Protocol School of Washington as a Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol consultant and is also a practicing birth doula. She attended Oklahoma City University, where she was a Performing Arts Psychology double major. She is a Master and black belt in Archery and teaches tai chi, martial arts/women’s self defense classes at Pa Kua Health & Wellness Center.
There are a few things that brought me to creating Spirits Landing. One, was that I was no longer fulfilled as an artist in the entertainment industry. I wanted to do more and create something truly meaningful. Secondly, I was very fortunate to have the mother I had growing up who was an example of strength, character and courage. In addition, she provided me a wonderful platform of exposure that gave me choices and allowed me to value myself from the inside out. In my travels, I noticed that many young people, particularly young girls, were identifying with their physical rather than their intellect and often did not have examples personally of anyone to look up to or go to for guidance. Lastly, I thought, if I had a child, where is that place/space that I would want her to go aside from myself, to feel supported, nurtured, guided and have the permission to make mistakes and be wholly herself? What would she learn there? From these three places, Spirits Landing was born.
The hardest thing about doing this kind of work is that often those who are in the most need of love, support and guidance are the ones that because of their “pain bodies” their past and/or trust issues, fight and reject that love and support the most.. Young women who want and say they want to grow and evolve into their best selves and then find out the work required to do is not easy. They can resent and blame you for delivering the very thing that they asked for . I have had my heart broken many times by students whom I have invested so much and become extremely close to and I have been ghosted or treated unkindly or threatened, or sued because they were unable to see what was being offered. We are talking about dealing with humans and their behaviors.
Often people romanticize what it means to “help” others. You have to be willing to look at the “real” issues and problems facing the world today. You cannot truly “help” and cause systemic change with anything unless you are willing to look at how ugly it is. I never questioned whether or not I would continue serving in Spirits Landing. I accept the good, great, bad and ugly. Most things have all sides. That is how you know you love a thing. I love it. I love being able to SERVE and guide and love the young ladies and women who come to Spirits Landing. It comes from within. The hard has made me a better servant. It is how one proves oneself. Nothing can replace experience and I intend to keep going until I finish or until I cannot. There is no other dialogue for me. Changing ONE life if significant. I intend to change THOUSANDS.
So GRIT to me is: I roll up my sleeves, I do THE WORK — what is required- without accolade or fanfare. I stay consistent. I believe in myself and what I am doing. I never give up. This Grit has caused 99% of all of those students who ghosted, were unkind or threatened me , or threatened to sue me to circle back around and say “Ms. Mays I get it now.” , “Ms. Mays I am so sorry you were right.” , “Ms. Mays how can I benefit or be of service to Spirits Landing?” or “Ms. Mays may I come back into the program now? I AM READY” . Their AHA moments are my success. Giving credit where it was earned. Spirits Landing now is moving to a fantastic new home, I am supported by a wonderful volunteer staff and we have been awarded a grant to continue our vision. Spirits Landing is attracting what it needs with little effort……….that is what grit can do.
Not necessarily a funny mistake but one of the mistakes I made early on was not giving boundaries. Having boundaries in any relationship is important. It allows us to bring our best with clarity.
Spirits Landing stands out for many reasons:
First, UNMATCHED SERVICE. Our number one priority is our ladies. Our staff considers their success a duty and privilege. Our staff is 100% involved in the lives of our future leaders and are always available for support and counseling both during and after our students program ends or they graduate.
Second, GROUNDBREAKING CURRICULUM. Comprehensive and well -rounded non — academic tools and learning needed toward assisting a young person to their own greatness.
Third, COMMITMENT. — We do not simply teach or give information. We take our time and take the time to make sure that the information is understood and well executed. We cater to individual need and learning speed.
Fourth, UNIQUE. Our leadership academy offers an unmatched curriculum with YEAR ROUND programming that meets Once or twice weekly and culminates in a yearly graduation ceremony. Students really get to know each other and become vested in a fellow “classmates” growth. A sisterhood that restores genuine love between women
I think that it is important to be clear on WHY you are doing what you are doing. Second, It is important to keep your eyes on this WHY even when things get tough. You must have a vision. Vision is more important than temporary fatigue. Be clear on how you measure your success is indeed from your definition and not someone else’s .
My mother is my biggest support and inspiration. Without her, there would be no me. Much of what Spirits Landing is I pay homage to her. She was/is a LIONESS to me and I strive to be a lioness for others. I am grateful to so many….my students I am grateful to the most for teaching me, challenging me and believing in me and Spirits Landing.
Five pieces of advice I would like offer:
It would be the “Courage to Me & Truly free” movement!! This movement would focus on EVERYONE focusing and educating themselves on self -knowledge. From their roots &lineage, to their family history and pathologies, to personal triggers to strengths and weakness to passions and dreams. We all must display more courage towards being authentically ourselves and not what the world tells us to be. We must learn to love ourselves, forgive ourselves, constructively criticize ourselves, know that we are no more special than anyone else from a spiritual perspective but that we ARE important. When you KNOW you are important, you behave differently. You give what you need to yourself whether or not the world or anyone approves. This creates a kinder world. From this we understand we are an important PART of something and not alone.
The second movement would be HUNGRY PEOPLE. HUNGRY WORLD. We will NEVER be true to who we say we are as long as we continue to allow ANY child to not have food or be hungry. SHAME ON US !!