Jesus Nebot Intro
All the issues that we're facing all our challenges, talk about the pandemic, climate change, forests migrations, the list goes on. At the end of the day these are global issues. We need to think hey we're all powerful interconnected. We can only move forward together we collaborate with one another instead of seeing each other the below Belonging in the USA.
Arielle Nobile: When I met Jesus Nebot at the awareness Film Festival in downtown LA back in the fall of 2019. I had no idea what an incredible human being. He was an all that he'd accomplished all I knew was that I felt inspired in his presence when we connected at a brunch for filmmakers. I'm sure you'll get it when you listen to this conversation that we have the first one, since that brunch.
I also wanted to mention that he is quite an animated speaker and talks with his hands and whole body, which meant that for part of the interview, he was moving a lot which caused a sound from his chair which I later paused and asked him to be aware of, a little more about Jesus. He is a renowned filmmaker social entrepreneur and human rights activist who speaks internationally on issues related to environmental sustainability, social justice and spiritual fulfillments, a former undocumented immigrant Jesus went from being homeless to financially free in 10 years by building a real estate company that provides housing to those most in need. He says he's also the winner of 26 international awards 26 for his work as writer, director, producer and star of the immigration feature film, no turning back, which has been sold to 92 countries already. Jesus’ latest film is American nightmare about the unfair criminalization of undocumented immigrants. It has already won 11 short film festival awards and it can now be viewed at American nightmare film.com Jesus has been invited to over 200 universities and colleges to show his films and inspire students to become visionary leaders that can solve our greatest social challenges. He's also received many awards which we will link to his full bio in the show notes as well as sharing the link to his film American Nightmare which is available for free to watch. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.
Arielle: Well hello Jesus, thank you so much for being here. I am grateful for you doing this and being one of the first guests on the Belonging in the USA podcast.
Jesus Nebot: Thank you so much, Arielle. My pleasure. My first thing I want to just ask you since it's been such a bizarre strange mixed up, or perfectly aligned world since I last saw you. Over a year and a half ago in LA.
Arielle: How are you, how is your spirit? How is your family, how's your community, your work?
Jesus: I have been blessed, really, truly blessed. Obviously, we've gone through a lot of challenges in our society and obviously those affect me. Like, you don't may offend anybody, but I am very lucky to be where I am and grateful for the family that I have, I'm grateful for the life that I enjoy, greatly and just happy to be of service to others in the best way I can.
Arielle: And so, when we so we met at the awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles, in 2019 the fall of 2019, and you were there with your film American nightmare. I saw afterwards and everybody out, everybody listening should go and is it good can you watch it online.
Jesus: Yes, you can go to American nightmare film.com and still watch it over there we did play a lot, especially before the elections, and he got a lot of attention. He went kind of viral in a way, he's gotten a lot of. On one hand hate mail from Trump supporters but it was actually a very interesting because I got to engage with them and understand their perspective and have a conversation that I think we have been missing in this country. And I think there is much need for us to reach out to the other aisle, if you will, and talk about these issues that are supposedly separating us with the awareness that ultimately, we're all human beings, and more important than our political belief or our, you know the ology or other of our gene. We, we think we do. We do need to come together and understand that the challenges that we face as human beings, require for us to talk to one another and collaborate and not each other against the other, you know. Absolutely, and I've had some incredible conversations over the past, I would say four years with people who may think differently or vote differently than I do, but it's important for me personally to stay open and listen more than I talk. And I think that is something that we all need to feel seen and heard.
Arielle: So, tell us a little bit about your film American nightmare and what it is the premise I mean I watched it I was blown away. I can still see the images in my head of it, but I feel like it's a good entry into this conversation about belonging in the USA.
Jesus: Well, thank you. It all happened basically in 2018. As you may recall, that's when Trump.
Putting to place these zero-tolerance policy by which children were being separated from their asylum-seeking parents even though seeking asylum is legal in the US. And what caught my attention about the policy was not so much Trump, put it into effect because I think we all knew Trump and what he's capable of. But the fact that they had such a wide support among Republicans, and was troublesome because I look at the Republican Party as a party that, you know it's into family values and Christianity and a lot of things that I felt were against what this policy was representing, and I just got a feeling that people didn't understand what this was doing to children and families I got a feeling that there was a need for me to do something about it and to sign up with my beloved wife, But she actually encouraged me to use our creative tools to do something that would be meaningful in this particular crisis, and therefore I came up with this little, this little tail or if you will, this little film whereby I allowed people to put on somebody else's shoes, and for me to do it effectively. I thought well this policy is in place because of the so-called misdemeanor, of coming here illegally. It's rather felony it's a misdemeanor, not many people knew about it. Therefore, I thought well maybe this policy would be in place nationwide. As you know, supposedly, nobody's about to, then this would create complete havoc in our society and that's how I came knocking about this accident like a different type of no accident in this case, speeding in this particular film of American nightmare, a situation of a speeding that could evolve into a misdemeanor. And then, Otto that had this American family, be subjected to this family separation, Because of that population and because there is zero tolerance against any illegal activity right. You know, I realized that there is such a huge polarization that there is much need for us to tell stories that communicate from our heart, that, you know that are not so much intellectual that are not so much about facts, but are about giving everybody the opportunity to put themselves in other people's shoes, so they can understand and, hopefully, in that regard become more empathic more understanding have greater compassion for others. I think there is a need for us to understand, hey, you know, we're all human beings, we're all doing our best. People come here seeking a better life. People come here in many cases, because of extreme poverty and because of life threatening violence, and they come here expecting that. There's the American dream. And what we really have provided them his, his American Nightmare but these American damages are just their nightmare. It is also reliable, to the extent that our American values are not being respected or not being honored, and there is a need to have this conversation I think it's a conversation that we're continuing, even though we have new administration, because clearly this polarization is showing us that people are very divided.
And it's not so many politics its identity, and its, its rural communities, pitting against more diverse communities living in coastal areas. And so, we do need to tell our stories and I feel as filmmakers it's our duty to tell the stories like you have done as well, that can allow us to empathize with others and to realize that even though we look different, in essence, we truly are the same, we are what beautifully said, and I couldn't agree more. And I think that it's what's so beautiful about films, in your film the fiction, I mean I make documentaries you're making this a fictional story right but the way that it penetrates your heart. The way that you can't help but imagine what if this was happening to you right i mean that's the sort of radical empathy that we all need to have for each other. But I know for you this is also very personal story. So can you talk about, you know, your immigration story and what brought you here maybe and what you hope to find when you came to the United States and what you found. Well, I'm from Spain. And one of my first neighbors live I think she is a human being, proposes a reason why I'm here doing the work that I do. It happened when I was six years old, and he was on Christmas, Christmas Eve as a matter of fact and I was having a dinner with my family with my two younger siblings and my parents. And in the middle of this Christmas eve dinner my father told me issues. Close your eyes and open your hand.
And I was intrigued, and I did so, and I noticed he left some paper or something and he said, “open your eyes”, and when I opened my eyes, I saw a bill, and it was a bit of a hydro pesetas roughly imagine I was six or eight with $9 And I was, wow. And my father said his who’s we are not popular anymore. You're a grown-up child, so I'm giving you for the first time, money, so you can do with it whatever you want. And I was like wow, we felt so special to me, right. And shortly after that dinner. My parents left they went to church, midnight mass, as they call it over there in Spain at the time, and they left me alone because I had a bit of a cold. Somebody after they left, somebody knocked on the door and I imagine it was me, my father maybe something happened.
And when I opened the door, it was this lady in front of me, and she looked so different, like she, she had a very colorful dress, but it was kind of torn apart. But what caught my attention the most is that she was breastfeeding a child and having another child.
And I was like, you know, standing away and this lady says, Can I talk to your dad? And I said no, my dad is not here. I said, oh, can I talk to your mom? And I said no, no, they both left it they will be chosen here by myself. And she said, oh, and then she proceeded to me, but I was so intrigued to see these, this lady that looked a little foreign to France King with a baby breastfeeding and so I couldn't help myself as a Hey, lady, lady, and she turned around. I said, what is it you want?
And she told me, all my tips a woman and into this community, and to be honest with you.
I'm just looking for food now that it's Christmas. Because I need to feed my children, and at that time I don't know, I just said, Well I can tell, this is it, you can. Sure, I reached out my pocket. I got the bill that my father gave to me and gave it to her.
And I remember she told me, no, no, you can't do that. And I said yes, I can't It's my money. So proud of that.
She got. She was so nice by the way. Oh my god, thank you, thank you. What are you going to buy the milk from for my children? We're going to get some food now and celebrate Christmas.
And in that moment area. I really got it as a 6-year-old child, that this thing about giving and receiving is one of the same the joy of meeting her this, I guarantee you, and I knew then that it was bigger than the joy I would get the garden from buying an ice cream or buying a little toy on my own without money. I got experience touched me deeply. And you know when my father came, I told him, and of course they told me where you should not open the doors to strangers and whatnot. But you know we got to have this conversation and he said yes there are people out there that are poor that don't have a family that you do, they don't have to give you and this is what's happening on a kind of a walk in My, my, activist heart so to speak, you know on how that compassion without understanding for people that were just not doing as well as I was.
But the reason I think this is a very important story, because, quite frankly, I think that any child that would have been in that situation probably would have answered the same way, because at that age, we're just opening we just want to play we want to get connect we want to give whatever we can, we want to interact, we are not so caught in our beliefs and our opinions that we have not been indoctrinated we haven't gotten to how these ideologies based on what we hear from TV or from the teachers from parents or whatever, and therefore there is this openness this genuine experience of wanting to connect with others. And that's I think what is missing right now is so much in our society we get so caught in our ideas in our personal indoctrination that we're unable to connect with that common humanity that unites us all, and we can when we're children we are aware of how.
First, how interdependent we are because we know we depend on our parents we know we depend on our families; we know we depend on our friend; you know we have this sense of community that is that we're, that's part of our survival is not even about joy, it's basic. And so, we understand that we are all connected, it's just basic it's common sense. We do slowly over time that seems to abroad as, especially in cultures like in the United States I think where it's so based on individualism. This rugged individualism this myth of you knows the superior human beings who can beat out everyone else and do everything better and doesn't need anyone I call it, you know, dysfunctional independence, right, that we just don't need anyone and that there's this myth of the self-made man right really a self-made person. Whereas anyone who is successful will tell you, nobody does everything on their own. Yes, there's always a whole millions of people that come together on some energetic level to help anyone rise to any form of success. I completely agree with you, I'd also I would add, there is not this level of judgment of others that we develop on us have goals that are creating these barriers among each other, that before you were school age, I mean I'm wondering, I was I was I was five or six years old, I think I was just about starting school.
So, at that age, the reality is, while you're still maintain that innocence, if you will, that is so beautiful and I think that's why, you know, we're filmmakers and people will tell us, well don't make films with children, and my first feature film was not American name it was a feature called not sitting back in the woods with a child and he had a lot of success. And I honestly believe it's because you know we are so compelled to watch these children that are so innocent that open the walls to us to that, that level of innocence and you know it's mainly the fight that we have people that are nonjudgmental. Same thing with, with parents. So, there is something to be learned about that.
Arielle: So, well first, we're in Spain are you from, because I love Spain.
Jesus: Well, I was born in a Santander, Spain, northern part of Spain, but I lived in different parts of the country because of my father's job. And then, eventually, something I didn't tell you is that when I was 17 years old, I was very independent. I, because of that activism that developed at an early age, I was also in a situation where I was having conflict with family and society. I ended up going to France. And I had a girlfriend that lived over there and when I was in France I was there as an undocumented immigrant, and I work in the fields picking up fruit from sunrise to sunset, and that's how I was able to also raise some money so that I could pursue my education in Spain. And that was a wonderful opportunity for me to get to know not only another culture but experienced that side of coin of being a person without papers. And interesting enough when I came to Spain to continue my education at the time, it was mandatory to do the military service, so I didn't want to do that I actually wanted to work for world peace I was a youngster having these videos about the society where I wanted to live and therefore I thought it wouldn't make sense for me to go and be part of an army and learn how to defend myself from others. And you know how to use arms of guns and whatnot.
And I was a, what now you would call consensus conscious objector. And thank God the law changed over time in Spain, so I do not have to go to jail. But I could not pursue my education as I wanted my idea was I wanted to work as a diplomat, work for world peace, work with UNICEF, UNESCO, who knows, United Nations, and I couldn't pursue for my family plan for you because you were supposed to be telling these important stories, you know, interesting and that's how I ended up becoming a filmmaker, and, you know, the reason I became a filmmaker is precisely because I had this interesting spirituality, and I was not just be driving from the Christian perspective, I mean I looked at the love of Jesus and Mohammed and Krishna and Buddha and their stories and their sacred books and I realized they were all storytellers, they all use the power of storytelling to convey his wisdom that can help us to, you know, awaken within each one of us His love for one another. i To me that was the part that was so important and that's what inspired me to become a filmmaker and that's why I made a film like American nightmare where I have this opportunity to tell you a cop, where you can put yourself in other people's shoes, but at the end of the day, if you look at it, and I hope that people don't want to go to America Nightmare film and watch it. You know what I'm really sharing is the importance of loving others as we love ourselves, regardless of our theology, country of origin, religion, or immigration status for that matter, right, it's just coming to terms with that common understanding that we are all one of the same and need to love one another. It's better than the fact that we're also very diverse and we look different, and that's beautiful itself, but should not be a reason for us not to understand that commonalities that we all share.
Arielle: Like you said earlier, people who come to any country from another country. There's some spirit of adventure, but sometimes it's really because there's nowhere else to go, right, there's a sense of I must leave this place. What are my options. Okay I'm going there that's the place I'm going. And it's not always about, I don't know what people think. When I think about, you know, undocumented workers or illegal aliens, what do they think this is about. It's all choice I mean I have family members, friends’, close friends who are here I'm documented to this day. And it's an issue that is very near and dear to my heart because I just don't think that humans can be illegal, I think we all belong wherever we are. So how did you say we're in France, you're, you know, experiencing what it is to be without papers and the stress of that life because it's extremely stressful, and by the way I also think a lot of people out there do that and I think depending on your level of privilege already. It's precarious wouldn't be saying.
Jesus: Absolutely, absolutely. And yes, when I was there it was there. On one hand I would say, I welcome the experience of expanding my horizons, but in another sense, I, being an independent person was looking at the opportunity that France had at the time when Spain was in crisis to provide some work. And, and that's what I did but it was difficult. I mean I don't remember challenges I remember I had difficulties getting housing just because of my status. So, I had to stay in the streets for a few days. It was not an easy thing and working in the fields I mean you're working 12 hours a day, when you are picking up fruit and it was very hard work and I got a sense of what it means to be an immigrant, I did that for a year. Imagine people that must struggle for so many years.
Arielle: Did you speak French?
Jesus: I did learn French eventually in the streets basically.
Arielle: Not to date you but was pre–EU European?
Jesus: Absolutely, absolutely. This was, I can't do the United States about roughly 20 years ago. And when I came here, I came as you would say, the other time I had already worked in the entertainment industry. As an actor, mainly and I came here with interest of pursuing my dreams and making films and things of that nature. Because Los Angeles was the world capital of entertainment, but it was quite interesting to come here for the first time because I was in Venezuela. Prior to that working in telenovelas and being a well-known actor and received these stars I guess and getting all the attention that comes with that. And they went to the US is like my perception completely shifted right then and even the jobs that I was eventually will get clear on as an actor, were very different.
So, I realize how well, amazing that you're the same person. But in certain circumstances you're in one country you're perceived this way, you will get a blend, two hours later, you're in a completely different country, and you're perceived completely differently, or the same person. So, to me that was kind of an awakening as well. Coming to the US and having the realization, and I was quite interested in, sense of community, Not just because of my past, but because of my sensitivity as an actor and as a filmmaker, and eventually my first project was not turning back and film about immigrants, and I would say that it's not just that I had the pass of an immigrant, I think that the fact that I was able to travel. I told you about being in France and going I as well got to go to other countries. Prior to coming to the US. It really expanded my, my mind to understand people in a different light. And I think that that is pretty much missing among a lot of people in the US that have not had that opportunity to travel and get to know other cultures and other people.
Arielle: I have this vision that. So I know this was what the Peace Corps was intended to be this, but it's not what it has become, but I really feel like, okay, if every person in this country if they get to be a 18, instead of having to join the military to pay for God or instead of all these things if everyone just was given three months to go to a foreign land, and this was like part of our culture we just had to do this you go for three months. To a place you don't speak the language and you don't know anyone, to give them a certain amount of money maybe in place to live. Maybe you must live with a family, but you're thrust into this situation where you are. Another if everyone did that, we would have a completely different world.
Jesus: I completely agree. I did talk about belonging. And quite frankly, as I was growing up as a child, because I was moving around Spain, that as you said, it's a very diverse country with different languages and different cultures. I never got that sense of belonging that came from having the same type of friends and go to the same school. So belonging for me, became a choice, I'm gonna belong to that place where I am, and I will make sure that I do my best to reach out to others from that understanding that, hey, you know, I may look different than you, but we do have commonalities, you know, we're all human beings, we all have same feelings and emotions may have different ideas that based on our experiences and our education, but at the end of the day we all want the same thing, you know, we all want peace and we all want to be in an environment that is loving and to prosper in one way or another. But you are right. When you talk about how incredibly important it is for us to travel and get to know their cultures firsthand, for us to expand our mind and our perspective.
Arielle: And like you said, how we're perceived right in the different context.
Jesus: Yes, yes. And also, to realize how others are struggling because you were talking about migration and, in fact, I was a privilege, email when I came here. Many people that come here are because of forced migration. By the way, when I say here, I'd say the US but quite frankly it's happening across the world, forced migration is a global issue. And I feel that what is missing right now at this moment, hopefully with the new administration. Things can change a little bit, is that, understanding that all the issues that we're facing all our challenges, for example of the pandemic, talk about climate change, talk about forest migrations, talk about income inequality. I mean, you can go, the list goes on. At the end of the day these are global issues, we need to go beyond thinking about America. America, America, we need to think hey we're all powerful interconnected. We can only move forward if together we collaborate with one another instead of seeing each other the enemy or the, you know, or the opponent. And that mentality that spirit of diplomacy and collaboration was pretty much missing during the Trump administration during his leadership. And I think it's really what is needed right now. In other words, we need to move beyond our identity based on our nationality or country of origin based on an American, from Spain, or from Mexico. Now beyond that. The truth is that we're all like I said before, human beings, and we need to look at each other from that human perspective, so that we can find common sense solutions to recharges that work for the good of all people.
Arielle: Absolutely and I think that's, I mean, I was raised to be a citizen of the world is someone who's looking down on this planet, they don't see countries there are no borders, there's no separation. It's our it's the mental and the political and the economic separation that we've created that are these false premises and I would argue that this is something way beyond and before Trump I mean I think this is just in the foundation of the very country, maybe it's part of being human, actually the sort of need for scapegoating and the need for putting people into these categories and groups and having some in the demonized group and some in the privileged group and I do have a lot of faith in humanity, for some reason still and I do believe that we can come to see this inner connection and I do feel that that's one of the gifts of this time with COVID is really, people that have maybe never thought about these things coming to understand that we affect each other on the most basic health level, right, that our energy connects and flows and we can either help each other heal, we can help each other, you know, to continue to perpetuate illness and I mean all kinds of illness, spiritual, mental, physical, so I'm curious about nowadays.
Where do you feel your greatest sense of belonging?
Jesus: I belong word I am, and I couldn't be in a different country, and I would say the same thing. I feel that there are two parts of belonging.
We can talk about the belonging, as to how you feel in each moment. And, and I understand that for many people, that they are facing challenges and discrimination and racism, whatever the case may be. It is difficult to get that sense of belonging, of part of our culture.
But I feel that how we can become powerful activists, advocates, is also by understanding. Belonging is a choice. I'm going to choose, I belong here. And I'm going to do whatever it takes to make sure this is understood, and that this does not become a, you know, I have an issue of separation, which means that I need to integrate in the society where I go, I need to try to obviously learn the language and the culture respected norms and following laws, whatever the case may be. And yet, I'm going to be me, I'm going to be myself, I'm going to live my life, my life, present, I share that with others and tell my stories and educate others about what I come from, and what is the beauty of my culture and still speak Spanish or whatever other language you may speak and say, hey, I do wrong here.
We may look different, but like I said before, in essence, we're human beings and we all belong to this society, and I feel that this is the essence of the American dream as well as the Foundation of America as a country, not a country that was necessarily based on one religion, one race, and one ideology but precisely. America is great because of its diversity. And that's what has been stressing this country. And I know that without for each one of us as immigrants to as much as we can face struggle in given moments depending on the circumstances, make the case that we belong here. And by not by making the choice even if you don't feel like because maybe you don't feel people are welcoming you by making the choice being empowered to help others in your community to understand their choice, and to embrace you as part of it.
Arielle: Beautifully said, and I hope that you kind of think that your words are gonna hopefully touch the hearts of many people listening to this and, and I want to ask you about, because what you're talking about to me is very connected to the sort of American Dream myth about freedom, you know, this country was apparently founded by these people coming from Europe, right, to find freedom in the to be who they were and to express themselves and shine their lights right and practice their religion. Now they were coming to the land that already had intelligence and that is, you know, a whole “nother” layer.
What to you is freedom?
Jesus: This is such a profound, deep question. I do see the word freedom used in the US and misused in the US so frequently. First, talking about America, we need to understand the history of America. This is a country built on stolen land, with stolen labor. So are the slaves, and I feel that God is still not sinking in for many people. And I think that a lot of the issues that we're facing and a lot of, for example the demonization of the Black Lives Matter movement is because there is not a recognition of our history, and where we come from. So, I think that freedom, really, is the opportunity for me to be so blessed that I can choose to be of service to others in any way shape or form that I want freedom is not an entitlement of me getting whatever I want. No matter what the community feels like. I think that you are, and I because we have had our European experience, understand our individual freedom cannot be more important and supersede the collective freedom, for example to safety. Right, so my individual freedom to know when I'm asked for example, or to or to work guns, carry guns and all that cannot be more important than the community, freedom, the team, or the Society of our communities, to feel safe and to feel like they can be protected from. In this case, a virus, or let's say for example, gun violence. So, that type of understanding or freedom as I am here to do whatever I want with disregard to the fact that, as you said before beautifully were powerfully interconnected, and therefore, that needs to be part of the equation is very faulty, and I think it's kind of the reason, in many cases there.
There is this extremist movement within this case the US but I would say around the world of understanding theater matters in a very egotistical manner are supposed to be freedom that is available for me because of my privilege to then be of service to those that are not as being, that is the freedom because quite frankly, if we don't own it says, when you have the basics needs taking care of freedom can only exist when you are free from the struggle to provide for the basic needs of food and shelter. And most, not most, but I would say a great part of our population in the world are still stuck with that. And then of course there is the question of freedom in terms of being in a society that is oppressed. In the US we do have the freedom of obviously opinion. But here is the situation where we can all have freedom of saying whenever we want. But does that mean that we should, let's say use social media to spread lies that could pose a danger to society. Does that mean that we should use our means for freedom to instigate harbor hate or violence or for any other possible criminal behavior? No, I think that we need to understand that our freedom has a limitation, and the limitation is provided by by the community where we live, in the sense that we cannot expect that our freedom should be of danger or should cause any pain or damage or harm to the people that are wronged, that's not freedom that's abuse. That's power does privilege, and that is not how I understand freedom. Freedom ultimately for me is.
Jesus: Beyond self-expression which of course is beautiful is that peace of mind that we everyone can ultimately attain. With the awakening of who we really are. With that understanding of our true nature as peace, love, and joy, or that type of awakening can only occur under circumstances where you can take the journey of introspection, and it's not available to most people, and therefore we still start with this old version of freedom. That seems to be, I want to do whatever I want, and I'm entitled to it. And if you hurt you so, be it, that's not freedom in my eyes.
Arielle: And then selfishness. That's a form of ego egotism and, and, and it's unfortunately a lot of it, and a lot of what we're talking about today to me has to do with education to how people, how people learn where they learn what they learn, and, you know, the sort of mass programming that we all undergo in any system. And it's, I don't want to blame. I don't, I don't believe in blaming I don't think that helps anything either, but just awareness and waking up but I think like what you just said.
That's a privilege to even have the sort of space. I have a friend who was a teacher, and she was, she was a lawyer turned acting, actress, teach acting teacher in a very small town in a very small province of Argentina in the Northwest. And it was amazing. And she this was in 2003. When I met her.
And it was Argentina was in a very, very horrible crisis, economically, I mean I was seeing children in the street, you know, looking through garbage, something, you know, thankfully in the US we mostly don't have to see that right and I say have to see because I think so much of what is wrong in the world we sort of disguise and cover up so it's masked, so the privilege can stay ignorant, but she told me, you know, we talked about what she was teaching these kids outside in a, you know, under a tree, it was so hot there too. And she said to me, I'll never forget, you know, I can't teach them anything when their bellies are growling. Of course not. Now, she was a bright light in their lives. I'm sure a cheap I'm sure she gave them food when she wasn't even supposed to do that and things like that, and eventually things did get a little better in Argentina.
Maybe she was able to do acting work but that's not even what it is about it's about the basics must be there and the basics, have to be and we have enough in the world, that the basic should be there for everyone there's no real excuse anymore. In this world, that there isn't there, you know some people are trillionaires and people, little kids who don't have food so I think it goes back to what you said at the beginning, what has to happen in some ways is to harness that energy that all children have when they're little, of understanding what sharing really is what it means to be interdependent and connected to that joy that comes from sharing with someone else not hoarding, you got that gift of that experience that saved your life. But I guess I want to ask you in this context of your definition of freedom also where and when do you feel the freest in your life now?
Jesus: I am so blessed. I could just, I feel free in every single moment. I feel free, because somehow, I have been able to identify myself from my thought process my thinking. So, I understand I have a particular belief, but I know I'm not that good at something, I have. I understand that I have a particular country where I was born. But that's not who I am, that's just my nationality. So, I think that having that distinction becomes what is it I am who I am is being very basic for me to enjoy freedom, our moments because it only takes that awakening and that awareness then really for me to realize, well, I am free now to engage with you, no matter who you are. From a place of love. And that's a choice that I make now from that place of awareness. So, we were talking before about our education, and I am so in agreement with you. I feel that we learn math’s and we learn language and we learn, science, but we're not learning basic skills about how to be a functional human being, how to listen to one another. I enjoy having conversations. I was making a point about Trump supporters, and I have made comments about, you know his leadership style, not being preferred, it's the most ideal but quite frankly, I can say, I love Trump, and Trump supporters, it's not it for me is like this.
I love every human being, and that is what allows me to be free. I am free from fear of free from judgment and free from God because regardless of if I can I'm a human being like everybody else, and hold beliefs and opinions and nationality or whatever, then I'm not a slave to them. I have free from them; those are things that I have. I can change nationality tomorrow I can you know well, not maybe that for some people, but you know it's not something that cannot be changed. Same thing with your years. So, more about education, how important it is that we really learn to listen to one another with empathy, that we really listen, like we're not like, really thinking where we're gonna see afterwards but really understand that perspective so when I must make comments, as I have during this interview about other people maybe people that are close minded or maybe don't have a chance to travel. I am here to learn from them and to also listen to them and to understand what's going on and that's how I can then create that opportunity of connecting, whereby they can listen to me, and I can listen to them, or we can come together to some common ground.
And that's what is really needed, especially now living in such a polarized society and polarized waters we are living. And that comes from schooling that comes from education that comes from valuing those basic communication skills, there are missing. In most of the interactions that we're having, I got to social media, and it's like suddenly, people insulting each other, like, really, like, is that needed I mean what I mean. That reflects poorly on you, what would you call the here one what is so I don't know, maybe some people say well I'm free to do that, okay, fine, but that is definitely not a free that sets you free, that sort of freedom to set you free, you know, the freedom that sets you free, is a freedom precisely from feeling like a victim of feeling like you're triggered in any single moment for whatever happens or feeling like you know caught in a particular paradigm from which you cannot escape. So, that is what I feel the most free is I just meditate and I just connect and I just talk to people as beautiful as you are and everybody else and I realized, well you know what God is everywhere, God is infinite God is whenever I look out, that's God there is there is a basic choice for all of us to make as human beings, which is, is this a friendly universe. Yes, or not. If your answer is, this is not a friendly universe. I'm sure you're going to struggle and you're going to find that you're going to be in a place of conflict and you're unhappy. But if you make the choice.
This is a friendly universal no matter what happens, no matter what is affected by it. I'm going to look at it as an opportunity to grow and liberate myself further from all these systems of beliefs that I have, then, then you realize the fear of is just nothing more than consciousness than being aware of being present in the here and now, no matter where you are.
Arielle: That reminds me of, as you were saying that I was thinking up here I have this vision board and one of my clothes on and as I said there's only two ways to live your life one as though nothing is a miracle, and the other as though everything is a miracle. Yes, and it's a choice and it's the Anne Franks of us right the ones who believe that people are inherently good or bad, it's how you're going to feel whatever you believe it's going to reflect to you right.
As you walk out the door, so I must ask you this, because I don't know if you knew this, but I also have a background as an actor. But I did independent film and theater I studied theater and I wonder. I often think that my training, because I trained since I was nine, as an actor I really do think that my training in listening and responding and emphasizing and getting inside of all different characters is what helps me be the person I am today and shaped my understanding, empathy and all of the things that I am and my storytelling, and my ability to just sit with people in my curiosity, so is that true for you too. I mean, I just think we have that acting thing income and I want to talk about it all.
Jesus: Absolutely, absolutely. Listen, when you're an actor, no matter what character you are gonna play, you can only succeed in doing that character well if you don't have judgments about it. If you really embrace the humanity their character, whoever that may be. I remember one time I did their role of Coahuila, and the theater was awkward. Can you lay, and I've done others have been Dracula.
And you know, it was like, how can I humanize this person, how can they reveal the struggles of this person in a way that allows others to understand to have greater empathy. So, I think it's part of our craft. When we are attempting to be a good actor to really embody that character from that place of non-judgment and ungraded understanding. And when you do that, that's when your acting becomes compelling, because that's when you can be playing the so-called bad guy, and still people find you, captivating because there is something about it that you know that you can understand that you can relate to, you can have empathy for him. You know, you end up winning for this guy, and you say how could I be rooting for this guy. Well, you really for this guy because you have a great actor that is doing a great job in making sure that this character is not going to train, to true, that is not portrayed as a stereotype, but it's portrayed as human being.
And quite frankly, we would all do that with our respective lives as we are as human beings, we will all fall for each other no matter what because we are people all of us as human beings we're not caught in our ideas and our obsessions and our, you know we're good people, I do believe that good people. And I look at all the conspiracy theories going on right now. I did basis of Grammys. Somehow, we get to believe that we're victims of others. And somehow, we are connecting the dots, the dots in a biased manner to come up with these speculative conclusions by which we are demonizing. We are vilifying others at some point, we need to release ourselves and free ourselves from that idea that we're a victim of others. And when we do that is when we had the opportunity to realize the goodness and the humanity that is present in every person.
Arielle: that's crucial and I wish that again I wish that would be part of the common. If we were to sort of start over and forget the math and the science and all that, I would want to start with, you know, some basic acting exercises, some games that are, you know, just that I've taught and played with so many groups of different people, adults to little kids and just how the spark, like the holy magic. The first time I feel like I ever really had us like a spiritual awakening, epiphany kind of ongoing experience for me was in my, in high school I was in this theater company, and ensemble was magical, we could communicate on this deep, deep energetic level.
For months, right, it was just a beautiful synergy of energy it is not that I was best friends with the most people to live in, I talked to still some of them I never talked to again but that, I think so much of my life for the next 10 years was trying to recreate that feeling of connection I had with those other souls in that space of play. I think there's also a playfulness to about life and even when I talk to you, there's some energy of just lightness right play. That is also based in, like you said there's certain our basic needs are. Here we have them, we have that taken care of right but beyond that we don't have, we can see was how we face each other, how we face each day and how we face. All these things that seem insurmountable. So, I want to ask you what are your daily practices that help you the most, to stay in this beautiful state of awareness, but you seem to have.
Jesus: Wow! always been grateful I've been blessed. Always, realizing that so no matter what's going on in my life when somebody asks me how you are doing? I'm blessed, I'm great. It's like, affirming that even if that's not how you're feeling the heat of the moment, affirm that be grounded in that be grateful for what is, even if that what is right now is a pain in the butt for you. Because what is is here for a purpose.
As I mentioned before, this is a friendly universe.
There is a reason for that. And we need to look at our lives as a journey. We're here for a purpose and our purpose ultimately will be awakening to that spiritual freedom that we were referring to, right. So, know what happens is you for that purpose. We were talking about role playing and being an actor. I mean, also when we roleplay, we realize, oh my god, I can't just put these clothes and I can have these believe and therefore I am a different person. And then it gives you the sense that who you think you are maybe you are, but we are caught in thinking who we are, who we really are and what goes beyond that when we are truly energy, and it's an energy that we share with everyone else is the energy or the source of everything, right I mean, right now this is not even a spiritual conversation this is more of a scientific conversation, because we know these were five, the same way that we know that we come from a concerned that exploited with a big bang and creating these universes as it is.
So, just having that humbleness of how small little we are and yet how amazingly beautiful God we are being in this journey of life as a mystery being the journey of life, I would say as a dream but a dream that should be a dream or you're aware of, I don't know lucid dreams is something where we're having a dream but we know we're dreaming, or we get to enjoy it because we know we're in a dream. I think our lives is like that, we need to look I realize as, you know it's not what it seems like it's not what we think about, it's just appearances, and they were conscious of it they were lucid enough to be awakened in that sense, and free from all these things are happening around getting and getting caught in paradise, there is a chance to enjoy your life and realize that this is really paradise in Paradise is not someone else is not making so much money or having a car or marrying somebody else but paradise can be cultivated within from that from that consciousness so in a way, having those moments where I can just concentrate with guided meditation could be a moment communing with nature.
I love going and just going for a hike is going to just feel the sunshine, powerful, I always like to at the end of my day when we talk about truth, and you know there are many books and many teachers and some people no control and some people no idea Shanti, but, you know, doesn't matter the teacher, what matters is truth and truth has been conveyed with many different teachers in many different traditions, and just read it could be a poem, it could be a Rumi, I mean just read whatever you resonate with and allow that to catch you. Not thinking from the logical mind, but just very soon he'll catch you and go to sleep with that. But I would say that my practices, mainly introspection whenever there is a conflict, and an awareness of that addresses that I've been able to, to touch, upon that to feel personally in a way that it's not our thinking is not a big deal but it's, it's annoying. This is not an acknowledge it's no it's a no that is here within that compact and go there anytime. Just do that whenever I am in a place of rest, is my main practice.
Arielle: beautiful thank you and I share a lot of that. And I think it is so important and I can tell the difference, based on when I wake up my nighttime practices and my morning, I mean I sort of have rituals that I do. Every day I try but they can, the context changes what I'm reading or what I'm, but it does matter what we take in, and you know how much we're on our devices or not and my daughter who's 10 was having some trouble sleeping, over the course of COVID She's gone in and out of, she's very sensitive and in and out of anxiety with sleep and things and she's never had issues with sleep before and she just started doing this 10 day, sleep, meditation course, a couple weeks ago and she's doing it again because she wanted to and she said to me yesterday. I'm sleeping so good I just go like to sleep. And it's so beautiful that, again, children could be given tools, at a very young age to help themselves regulate, learn that there are answers there are ways to soothe our spirits and souls because I think a lot of the disease in the world is at this spiritual level at the energetic level, and it manifests in the physical but it's actually starting in a much deeper place, so I want to ask you this, this will be. I'm going to say it's my last question. What lifts your spirit, the most these days, and what gives you the most inspiration in this time where some people are really struggling for that?
Jesus: Well, do other practices that Professor not so aware of as I'm thinking about it. I love myself, and I feel is very important for me to be an unconditional lover like love everyone as myself, that awareness and that consciousness I think is becoming more widely known precisely because we have all the instruments are now to communicate with one another and reach out to one another. So, the same way that social media has created this problem of polarization. He has also created the opportunity for us to connect with one another and up level, and either. It's because of the awareness oranges because of me. Eventually, I think that will easily hope, or what inspires me is the fact that we are realizing who we really are as people.
Beyond the constraints of our mind beyond the constraints of our nationality and our ideology, and may not be as present to most of us because we see all the negative effects of social media dividing us, but we also need to recognize that, in reality, social media is nothing more than a tool, and they use with different consciousness can be an instrument of amazing transformation, and it is in fact doing so, right now. So, we talk about education. Well, these are the patient right now that we can do virtually, we could come up with a program and I'm just sharing an idea of the United Nations, whereby for one year, every child in their own respective school virtually or not I don't know, can be be anchored in his consciousness of peace and love and joy, this understanding that all spiritual paths are one of the things about loving you and loving others and permanent getting from that place and being kind to one another. That is what inspires me and does what gives me hope as well.
The fact that the new generation that is so interconnected, is realizing that, more so thanks to social media, and thanks to the opportunity of technology to reach out to one another. And eventually this is accelerating our consciousness, our awakening, and we will then evolve to that understanding where perhaps we don't have to think about being divided nations or political parties or whatnot, we can go beyond that, we can discover our identity and I will do one in a much deeper place that is not in our mind, but it's more in our heart and our soul, and who we are as, as human beings and in that regard, start taking better care of ourselves, human beings, and better care of mother earth, and all the species because we're not here to exploit that we're here to take care of them. What a beautiful opportunity and we embrace that journey and how liberating it is that we can see this universe as a place where we can all wake up to this braided understanding of who we are, so that we can love one another, and love also all the species on the planet.
Arielle: As a beautiful place to end. And I just want to say I'm so grateful to you for this conversation, and it feels like everything we've talked about embodies the spirit of what I mean when I say belonging in the USA stories from our neighbors, mucho gracias Jesus.
Jesus: Thank you and I love you for who you are and for sharing this podcast with people and saying this consistently with others and for your beautiful work as well.