Hi, I’m Vanessa Barthelmes,
I am an Australian living in sunny Florida. I migrated to the states after marrying my husband in a shotgun wedding in vegas. (We had only known each other for 6 weeks)
It was the best decision I made in my life.
My journey into fitness came from experiencing sciatic pain and muscle seizures in my back in my early 20s. I was working at my first corporate job after graduating from business school. Being a young, otherwise healthy person, I never knew when my back would go. It was never from the big things just simply getting out of bed or standing up could have me unable to walk due to a herniated disc and consequently, I would be in excruciating pain. I began taking yoga classes during my lunch break to help alleviate the pain and align the spine.
Not only did I feel the improving effects on my body I also noticed a positive impact in my state of mind. The peace and silence you feel in your mind after a yoga class is addictive. I began taking classes morning and night every day so I could find physical relief and a sense of tranquility to help combat my major depressive disorder.
Yoga Alleviated My Suffering from MDD
MDD is not an illness I think anyone can understand unless they actually experience it. Its a feeling of living in total blackness with not a spark of light. You lose all hope and your body is so heavily weighted by the depression it smothers you, weighs you down to the point that you can barely get out of bed.
To my friends, it looked like I was flakey and started to lose touch with the outside world. Feeling excitement or even having a generally good attitude about anything is impossible with MDD, so I would cancel most of my plans and simply stay inside. Luckily I had a couple of good friends who used to come and get me out of my house from time to time.
To the outside world, I had a successful modeling and marketing career, great friends and independence. Yet deep inside I was just trying to make it by day by day hour by hour minute by minute. Yoga was the only thing that got me through most of my days.
After a brief courtship, I had fallen in love with yoga and the peace that it brought me. So much so that I decided to take my Yoga Teacher Training Certification after being a student for a few years.
My yoga teacher training was hard. You would think training was mostly physical, but it taps deeply into the emotional and the spiritual part of ourselves. There were a lot of emotional triggers for everyone in the group. It seemed we all had our own baggage. Yet I grew and blossomed from the experience.
To be able to do yoga all day Saturday and Sundays was bliss for me. It got me out of the house and I was creating relationships with the other yogis around me.
Part of our yoga teacher training was incorporating acro yoga. After training with several bases (the term for the person on the bottom in acro yoga,) it wasn’t enough for me. It was there my love for all things aerial came to life. The adrenaline from acrobatics, feel-good endorphins from exercise, plus the blood flushing the brain with oxygen would give me a huge kick start and bring a few moments of happiness my way.
I began to chase that happiness with all that I had.
The Light Of Aerial
I began learning aerial. I took my first silks and lyra class and I feel in love with aerial hoop/lyra. From that day forward I have always done as much aerial as possible while keeping balance in my life.
Now 5 years into my aerial journey I have been instructing aerial hoop and training in silks and contortion. I am trying to get my body as strong and flexible as I can despite my ripe old age of 38!
I’m a big believer that happiness and health are intrinsically connected, mind you, I have never been able to exercise just for the sake of exercise. It has to be something I love doing. Acro and aerial arts to me is a form of playing that brings me great happiness, laughter, and the bonus is, it’s great for my body.
Aerial arts pulled me through some dark days and placed happiness in my heart. It also gave me a sense of accomplishment which I rarely would permit myself to feel.
While aerial brought sparks of happiness in the night of sky, the darkness was always ever caving in. It consumed me and never let go I found Jesus Christ. If you let him come into your life I promise you that he will help you with your suffering. It took me nearly 15 years of suffering from MDD and the Lord simply took it away. If you are struggling with MDD please check out my toolkit that I use when I am having a downswing.
I have spent my whole life trying to connect with a higher being. It was always the dominant deepest yearning that has driven my life. I studied Judaism, Buddhism, Brahma Kumaris, Paganism, and New Age philosophy. I never felt complete until I found God through Jesus Christ.
In fact, new age philosophy was my dominant and most recent faith until I jumped the bridge over to Christianity.
The New Age Philosophy was an elusive mystery that seduced me to continually seek for more. The closer I felt to God the further away I seemed to be. There was always another corner, to turn, another book to read or a new philosophy I didn’t know before. It always claimed to be the answer, yet it never delivered.
Something about working for the truth and having to constantly seek for it was so appealing to me. The mystery was almost part of the seduction. This private new world of esoteric knowledge was exciting enticing and had such promise. Who doesn’t like to feel special? It strokes our ego.
The New Age taught me that I was the divine creator in my life. I continued to delve deeper and became a spiritual healer and teacher. This enabled me to be able to find out anything about anyone at any time at the drop of a hat. I could meditate and feel what was going on inside other people’s bodies. Some people call this a medical intuitive.
I knew things about other people that had happened in their past that I could not have known except through the “divine guidance”. I had spent countless hours preparing my body to evolve into an enlightened being. Hours spent meditating every day. Hours healing people with Reiki, Two yoga practices per day. And, of course, I always had a new philosophical book on the go because I was constantly thirsty for knowledge. The problem was it never quenched my thirst. I was spiritually malnourished.
If I could have it all with these New Age techniques then why didn’t I have the life I wanted? My search for answers like time and space, was never ending.
During this search for real answers, I began to ask myself what I really wanted in life.
I wanted to be married to a loving partner that had good values to share a family and a life together. Yet where was he? I kept moving further towards being an enlightened being, I didn’t eat meat, I didn’t take drugs, I didn’t drink, I had great faith, I was kind to others and would give anyone the shirt off my back. Why then, could I not seem too manifest someone to share a life with?
The men I met were very spiritual; they loved Buddhism, meditation, and their life journey was all about becoming one with God, Source and reaching enlightenment. Yet they did not want to commit to a relationship, let alone marriage. In fact, attachment was seen as undesirable and as taking a step away from your spiritual evolution. Buddhism and many other western philosophies teach that one must practice the art of non-attachment.
They were nomads living day to day in cars, on friend’s lounges and whatever else came along to avoid any attachment, or perhaps responsibility, because they were on an evolved path. They would have sex freely and go to parties where they would have cacao and Ayahuasca ceremonies and get high, dance around a fire naked with copious amounts of women and have sex. How was this righteous? It did not make sense to me! How could you be on a path to great enlightenment filled with drugs and promiscuity?
After a very long journey, I got to my breaking point. We all have it. I wasn’t alone, I had friends, yet I had never felt more alone in my life, and was severely depressed. I was not taking antidepressants because my new age beliefs told me that I was the creator of my being and all I had to do was to change my perspective in order to heal myself.
It had been a long time since I had prayed, perhaps 10 years. I had done plenty of rituals to gods and goddesses, offered beautiful alters and gathered many people to worship with me. But it had been a long time since I had prayed to the Heavenly Father, in my room, old school style. And I did.
I felt weird. In fact, I felt like I was spiritually regressing. I mean I was a spiritual teacher, a leader and master! Why was I praying to a god?
I was desperate and everything I tried had not worked. Everything always came with a bitter price. Even though I was a good person sowing the right seeds my fruit was always bitter. I had nothing to lose right? Perhaps except my pride. And it hurt. Though my new age beliefs tried to stop me, I prayed to God. I prayed with all my heart and soul.
I kneeled down beside my bed, “Heavenly Father show me the way. I have tried everything to be a good person. I am kind to others, I do not harm anyone I am giving and loving. Show me the way. I don’t know where to turn anymore. Tell me the way and I will do it. I am lost. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
I’m not going to lie, I felt stupid, hopeless and really did not expect to get an answer. At this point in my life I was weighing up becoming a Brahma Kumaris Nun. That would mean never being married or having children. That just did not sit right with me. But this world brought me such pain that I didn’t think I could go on. Perhaps removing myself from society and meditating everyday would be the only answer to the turmoil inside my soul.
But God had a different plan for me and He answered my prayer. Pronto.
The next day I went to work as per usual after my 6am yoga and meditation practice. It was the only way I could mentally get through the day. That night I thought I would call my Nan. She was kind and loving and I could do with an injection of her in my life.
Patricia North, is her name. A complete embodiment of love. Patricia lived a world away from Bondi Beach, Australia, nested in the busy hustle and bustle of London’s Westside. I had debated moving to London a few times to be closer to her love and presence but I never followed through. I didn’t call her very often, maybe only once a year. Terrible I know. I was just so busy trying to remove myself from the cold dreary world I felt inside. It constantly took all that I had.
“Hi Nan it’s Vanessa”
“Vanessa darling how are you?”
“I’m good.” We briefly chatted for a while.
“Oh Vanessa darling, I thought you were going to call me and tell me you were engaged.”
My heart sank, how I would had loved to give that news. It’s all I wanted a family of my own, a place to belong.
“Well Nan, I would love to but the problem is the guys here are not the same as me. They drink and smoke.” (I obviously was not going to bring up the whole sex thing) “I’m just finding it so hard to find someone with the same values. I haven’t eaten meat for years because I don’t want to cause harm where it is not needed.”
“Vanessa, that’s because you’re a Mormon, you need to go back to church.”
That sentence floored me. My Nan had left the church many years ago after believing that she found lies in the church’s history and was very passionate about her break from it. I was shocked she would even suggest it.
My New Age training kicked in and I could feel my mind and body recoiling from the idea. Church? That’s crazy talk, right? I mean I would be going from a spiritual PhD back to kindergarten! It was so prehistoric and completely un-evolved. But I did say I would do anything in my prayer. Perhaps this was my answer? No, how could it be? Maybe it was a part of the journey? Perhaps it was crazy but hey I have tried everything else so how could one church visit hurt right?
I tinkered with the idea and searched the web. The concepts seemed so foreign and really did not make sense to me. The church believes in an honest living and good old fashioned hard work. How could being evolved mean being a part of corporate America? Working day in and day out for what? It seemed senseless. Surely we had a bigger purpose?
Suddenly this Bible verse rang true. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
I knocked, I had begged with all my heart and soul and the door was open. Who was I to not walk through it?
Through more research and prayer, I was lead to the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints. It is there where I lost my depression and gained hope. It is there where I found the answers I had always been looking for. Heavenly Father uses others as his hands to help us along the way.
Now I am sharing my love for yoga, aerial arts and Jesus with others through my blog and services.
I am also editing my book “Finding Light a journey to spiritual fulfillment “i about my journey from new-age practices to spiritual fulfillment. It is due to be released in 2020.
If you are struggling to find answers or don’t know which way to turn, I invite you to join our presale list so you can start your journey to a happier place.
To join simply fill out the form below.
The Blog: Jadore Vanessa
The blog JadoreVanessa was born out of me wanting to remember all of my aerial classes I had taught and been taught. I found it hard to remember entries or exits to moves I had learned several months ago. That is when I started blogging about my routines. Today, it has grown into something much larger that. Not only did it keep me company when the dark days came, but it has become a place where I talk about all of the subjects I am passionate about. Aerial Arts, Flexibility, Faith, and Wellbeing. Hence where the name Jadore comes from, which is French for adore. My blog is a place where I talk about all the topics in life I simply adore.
Today you will find me working as a flexoligist which is one on one stretching to increase flexibility and performance, flying off anything I can and teaching flexibility and acrobatics classes in person and online. I’m happily married and blessed with two beautiful children.
I just wanted to take a moment to say Thank You for stopping by. I appreciate you, and thank you for being here to share my little space in the world! I would love to hear your stories and feedback on how else I can help you.
My Products and Services
If you would like private lessons online or in-person if you are in the Jacksonville Florida area, simply reach out to me here so that we can get started.
- Bachelor of Business.
- Currently: Bachelor of Health Science, Majoring In Sports Science.
- 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training.
- Flexologist Training. (Advanced training for 1 on 1 hands-on stretching)
- Dance Bungee Aerial Instructor Training.
- Train the trainer training.
- Certificate in Nutrition.
- Just To Be A Little Left Field, I Am A Qualified Hairdresser.
- (Ok, so I guess we all know now that I am a little obsessed with education and knowledge.)