Ask questions and make decisions! You don’t have to figure things out on your own. When you come to a crossroads or need information, find a quiet place, light a candle, focus on your question, and ask it aloud. Your answer may not come then and there, but when you are washing the dishes, taking a shower, or while you are dreaming, it will come. It will feel right when it comes! Trust the information that comes and make a decision to heed the answer that comes.
As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jimmy Cabrera Jr.
Jimmy is a Mexican-American psychotherapist and Reiki practitioner who was born and raised on the Central Coast of California and now resides and practices in Los Angeles. Jimmy is fascinated by scientific evidence that supports the indigenous and ancient wisdom specifically having to do with the power of our individual and collective consciousness to not only heal ourselves, but to live in harmony with all life and things. Jimmy specializes in working with creative POCs and organizations that are invested in service to the highest and greatest good.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
I grew up in Santa Maria, CA, which is on the Central Coast of California. It’s a beautiful area with lots of beaches and wineries and agriculture. I grew up pretty low-income though, with generational trauma and high-stress that was subconscious and unnamed, and so it was a challenge for me and my family to feel or settle into the beauty of nature that surrounded us. My mom and dad were young and unmarried when I was conceived, and they separated shortly after I was born; but they worked well in co-parenting me. My mom worked a lot; I primarily lived with my grandmother, who’d also divorced my grandfather years before I was born. At some scattered chunks of time I lived with my mom, but I always felt most safe and at home at my grandma’s house. My mother is a beautifully caring, loving person, and she did everything she could do to make sure I was safe. She worked her ass off to put me in private Christian schools until high school. Now, I can appreciate being exposed to the concept of God, prayer, and faith at that age, but at the time, the dogma of religion and the perception that my schoolmates belonged to a very different socioeconomic status and culture than I, caused much cognitive and emotional dissonance.
Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you growing up? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
When I was a freshman in high school, I purchased the Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee. I’m not sure what exactly drew me to it. I’d studied martial arts when I was younger, but had stopped by this time. What fascinated me most were his beautiful, philosophical thoughts on Zen, the “art of the soul,” enlightenment, Buddhism, and Tao. He emphasized the importance of stillness, emptiness, observation of what is, simplicity, the idea of no separate “self,” and non-attachment; concepts which I would continue to encounter and study throughout my life.
How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I think it means encouraging a return to love as a means to reduce suffering, increase harmony, and contribute to the overall ascension of our planet. I think each of us can make a difference in our own way. Each of us is innately drawn to certain activities, or to expressing ourselves in a certain way, and when we surrender without fear into this flow, we are inherently making a difference. For me, making a difference is helping others to become familiar with their conscious and subconscious thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and narratives– holding space for their experiences and perspectives so that they feel honored and understood. On an individual and collective level, fear has an energetic reverberation that creates incoherence in the body system, as well as in the greater global and cosmic ecosystem. Though fear, and all emotions, are valuable and serve a purpose, we often hold misperceptions that cause unnecessary suffering. Through mindful and intelligent discernment we can learn to learn from our emotions as messengers, moving through them to a higher consciousness.
Ok super. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?
To answer that question and to provide the “why” I’ll have to zoom all the way out– to the nature of reality itself. There is mounting scientific evidence suggesting consciousness is fundamental– that when looking at the hierarchy of science, consciousness is before physics, then chemistry, biology, psychology, and mind. From this perspective the physical world emerges from Universal Consciousness, and from which the evidence of mind-matter interactions can be understood. To make a long story longer, attention and intention, our individual and collective thoughts and emotions not only affect, but create our physical reality, according to this model and evidence. I’m aware this sounds like sci-fi, but the Hawkins Scale of Consciousness, the Global Consciousness Project, and especially the Maharishi Effect (Hagelin, J.S., Rainforth, M.V., Cavanaugh, K.L.C. et al. Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Preventing Violent Crime in Washington, D.C.: Results of the National Demonstration Project, June — July 1993. Social Indicators Research 47, 153–201 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1006978911496) provides a great starting point for evidence. Specifically, cultivating the emotion of loving-kindness has been shown to create a statistically significant reduction in mental health symptoms (i.e., PTSD, negative symptoms in schizophrenia), violence, and promotes overall “coherence” even at a distance. My firm belief is that love and/or unity consciousness creates coherence, which means optimal functioning on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels, and on a larger scale, it creates a desire for people to want to work together for the highest and greatest good versus working only for personal gain. Mass meditations of loving-kindness will influence political leaders at local and national levels to truly desire to act in pursuit of the wellbeing of their citizens. International peace, healing from war, and a collaborative effort to end famine and suffering can result from even a small percentage of the global population. Yes, I’m aware this sounds crazy, but it must be said.
Jimmy Cabrera Therapy is a small psychotherapy practice, but the current larger project is Collective Love Dream, LLC, which aims to reduce mental and emotional dis-ease by sharing basic and advanced mindfulness concepts in order to promote emotional regulation and loving unity consciousness on a large scale. Currently, the majority of people are operating on autopilot, mindlessly tossed about by the onslaught of stimuli in our modern societies. Collective Love Dream promotes the positive impact of contemplative practices and energy work, which includes but is not limited to breathwork, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, qi gong, tai chi, spiritual coaching, and Reiki, as well as an honest and balanced exploration of the effect of food, media, pharmaceuticals, etc., on our overall health and functioning.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
As an undergrad I studied rhetorical criticism and critical media studies, where it was clearly demonstrated that for various reasons, we are manipulated and our perceptions are shaped. You only have to follow the money to understand which products, treatments, and agendas are promoted, what information is suppressed, and why. When I was in grad school studying social work we were further encouraged to advocate for social justice. Post graduation, I realized that even the education system, which had fueled my passion, is not above scrutiny. Discernment must be a constant filter. I read, listened to podcasts, focused on my own healing, helped others on their healing journeys, paid attention, and never simply accepted what I was told. Practicing meditation, yoga, researching the evidence for psychic phenomena, mind-matter interactions, and practicing Reiki have galvanized this passion. Additionally, working at the Los Angeles County Jail for five years in the Inmate Reception Center, witnessing the ineffectiveness of the so-called rehabilitation system, becoming familiar with our misdirected penal code, being embarrassed by the culture of custody personnel in the jail, and seeing the burn-out among well-intentioned staff also inspired me to make an impact.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest them. We don’t always get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
In July 2020 I attended a Zoom workshop entitled Decolonizing Mental Health led by Thea Monyee. This workshop was voluntary; it wasn’t related to my full-time jail job. She was such a powerful force, so certain about necessary radical shifts, that I closed my laptop and decided at that moment that I would quit my job at the jail and become completely self-employed and do the healing work that I wanted to do.
Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?
I wrote down my values and my intentions. The first value upon which my entire business would be founded was love. I declared on paper that I would always serve the highest and greatest good. As I developed each aspect of my business I generated the emotions of love and gratitude, infusing that energy into its formation. When I’d gotten as far as I could go on my own I reached out for help. I sought out like-minded mentors that I revered. I slowly started to create my own tribe and my own team, always ensuring that nothing would deter me from serving the highest and greatest good.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
The moment that I made the decision to quit my job at the jail, without doing anything else, I immediately began receiving emails, phone calls, and DMs from prospective clients. I’d been consistently seeing just a few clients on my days off, but simply making the firm decision to work in private practice sent an energetic reverberation into the ether, and the Universe responded by providing what I needed. To give a number, I saw a 738% increase in income the following month from private practice patients, without doing anything other than making a mental and emotional decision.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?
This is interesting; I really can’t think of a funny mistake. Mistakes? Yes. But were they funny? Perhaps there were; but I can’t think of funny moments right now! I think the lesson there is that I really could have allowed myself more levity during this whole process.
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
Absolutely! The reason I have the courage to do what I’m doing is because of the support of my mother, grandmother, and basically all of my family, and friends of family. As far as mentors, I had incredible teachers in high school and college, even dance teachers, swim coaches, acting and singing coaches, etc.
In May 2020 I was studying Reiki master level, and my teacher/mentor asked my partner at the time and I if we were interested in moving into her home, as she was in the process of moving into her partner’s home. This home has a historical legacy as a very special place of healing. The transformative energy in this house is incredible! It was a gracious (and very timely) blessing to now have a home (with a treatment room!) to practice psychotherapy and Reiki.
Without saying specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
I have a particular friend who is building her current client base and using her unique voice and spiritual experience as her route to connecting with her patients. I cannot and would not take any credit for this particular person’s success as a healer; that is all due to her relentless hard work and faith. But when this person and I talk, it’s a vibe!! When it comes to spiritual concepts, we support and understand each other in ways others might not yet be on board with. She was already on her spiritual path when I left my job (where she also worked), and I think she was inspired to do the same thing, on her terms.
I currently have clients in positions of power at large corporations and institutions. I hope to inspire them to infuse their work with love and soul.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
The community/society/politicians can (1) look at the real, clear evidence with regard to the effect of contemplative practices/mindfulness on mental, emotional, and physical health. By the way, these practices can be free(!), which is part of the reason they’re not appropriately credited. Yoga, qi gong, tai chi, meditation, would have an effect on the overall health of our communities, safety(!) and positivity and vibrancy, but as mentioned earlier we also must take a hard look at our penal codes and the groups that are targeted, which is a discussion in and of itself.
(2) Prioritize access to and promotion of consuming real food and engaging in physical activity. It’s not an accident that we have more access to fast food and processed food than whole, organic, non-hybridized food. It’s not an accident that nutritious food is expensive and out of reach for most people. There’s a sentiment that even the discussion about eating whole food and physical activity is elitist, but THAT is the problem! It shouldn’t be that way. Access to real food and the freedom to have time for physical activity is a birthright, not limited to those making a certain level of income. That must be changed!
(3) To TRULY be well-informed citizens, we must understand there are hidden stakeholders behind most mainstream media. The stakeholders are not even hidden; just look at the media company that owns the particular program, magazine, or platform. With eyes wide open, we must use discernment to know when we are being persuaded to believe a certain thing, or to feel a certain way. As a society we must consume media much more critically, and work to disentangle true research and journalism from larger agendas.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of the interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each).
- Set it and forget it. Set your intentions, then work toward neutralizing your attachment to the outcome. Attachment to a particular outcome creates the frequency of lack or desperation, which will not pull in your intention. Study the Law of Reversed Effort. One of my mentors would always advise me to surrender. I thought “How can I surrender when I need to make X amount of money to cover my rent, bills, etc?! I stressed for years until one week I was so tired that I only had the energy to show up. I’d run out of the energy to stress, and so I just showed up to my sessions and did what I knew. Then I ate and slept. In that week, again, just as when I made the decision to quit my job and be self-employed, new clients began reaching out for consultations. Money came from unexpected sources. I’d surrendered, and my life smoothed out.
- Self as Muse. Many of my clients, and even I from time to time, experience “imposter syndrome,” or the feeling of not being good enough. We fear we might be exposed as a fraud, and don’t deserve to be working at the level we are. The truth is that we are exactly where we are supposed to be, and every experience we’ve had has provided us with a different shade on our palette, a nuance of flavor that we know and can speak to. The truth is our lives are bursting with richness, and if we allow it, our unique experiences will enhance any social, business, or creative context.
- Know thyself. Journal, freewrite, record voice memos, learn your automatic thought patterns and beliefs– so that you can choose to undo that automaticity!! If you can first acknowledge your limiting beliefs and learn to release them, you can make room for a more expansive life. When I began to practice “morning pages,” or freewriting, as described in the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I truly started to awaken creatively. I practiced being impeccable with my words, and my words became declarations. I wrote what I was thinking and feeling, and then re-interpreted the same situation in a way that served me. The morning pages were a way for me to sit with pain, or soak in pure joy, or the bliss of the generous present moment.
- Follow your flashes of inspiration. These should be acted upon. It’s my belief that we are not the originators of our creative thoughts, but we have been entrusted as temporary caretakers. If we do nothing with these creative sparks they will be transferred to someone else.
- Ask questions and make decisions! You don’t have to figure things out on your own. When you come to a crossroads or need information, find a quiet place, light a candle, focus on your question, and ask it aloud. Your answer may not come then and there, but when you are washing the dishes, taking a shower, or while you are dreaming, it will come. It will feel right when it comes! Trust the information that comes and make a decision to heed the answer that comes.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
There are no others, serving the world is serving the self, serving self is serving the world. But do not harm others; it will only harm you. When you make a positive impact on society it will bring you happiness. Solitude is fine, but if you isolate you will experience despair. You are here for others.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Dean Radin or Frank Ocean. Dean Radin is a distinguished scientist who studies consciousness and psychic phenomena. I’d love to talk with him about the implications of his work, specifically the radical shifts we could make with regard to physical, mental, & spiritual health at the individual and global level, as well as the current barriers that have limited our exploration and use of these abilities.
Frank Ocean is a beautiful artist whom I adore. He writes and produces cool, genius, sexy, and sometimes heartbreaking music that I listen to every day of my life. I love Frank Ocean.
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This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Young Change Makers: Why and How Jimmy Cabrera Jr Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.