In this first episode, Mariana introduces herself and her background in health, fitness, and wellness and some important facets in her life growing up. She is interviewed by her good friend Steve Simpson.
4:02 - Growing up in Colombia
5:35 - The impact of losing her mother when she was 13, that led to her defining moment.
10:37 - Dealing with grief, balancing high school life and the start of her fitness journey
12:43 - Prevalence of drugs in Colombia and how her mother and grandmother's influenced steered her away from bad habits.
18:06 - How she mentors people in her business, to help them live healthy in mind, heart and body.
27:45 - How studying in 3 different high schools taught her about religion, culture and diversity.
"It was all beautiful because it taught me diversity. And so I appreciate all those experiences. Because that is life that is how the world is right? We are not just one thing. We are many things so I appreciate that."
More about Mariana's life in her 20's and her journey to her passion on Episode 2!
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Mindfully Recharged Podcast by Mariana Thomas
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Unknown Speaker 0:01
Welcome to mindfully recharged with Mariana Thomas. In this podcast, Mariana brings you mindful conversations with people that will develop and recharge you from the inside out so that you can increase productivity in your personal and professional life. This is mindfully recharged.
Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us on the mindfully recharged podcast with Marianna Thomas. I'm Steve Simpson, her very good friend. And we're going to introduce Mariana to you and what she does in leadership in fitness. And then just being a general life coach. She's a good friend of mine, and I'm looking forward to speaking with her today on her very first podcast. Mariana?
Welcome to the show. It's your show!
Excited, I am like, Oh, my God is today. Today's the day we are doing this, my friend.
Yes, we are.
Yes. So I am super excited that you are the one who is doing this with me. I had known you for several years now and we just get along so well. I'm all yours, I'm in the hot seat.
Well, it's my pleasure. But I thought we'd start since this is your very first episode, if you just tell people a little bit about what you're doing right now, and what you want this podcast to be, what your goal is for going forward?
Yes. So what I'm doing right now, is really, I want to impact as many people as I can. And one of the options, as you know, is self-leadership as a passion of mine, and mindfulness, health and wellness, and everything from the inside out. And my goal is to bring all those topics that have to do with taking care of ourselves from the inside out mind, body, and heart. Mind, heart, and body. So wellness, fitness, mindfulness, which is a big one for me, and self-development, those things that we will be focusing on. And we will be bringing some great people to you. You know, hopefully, they will say yes when I get there to get an invitation from me to come over and participate in this great show that I'm trying to do for you. And of course, I gotta confess - a little bit for me too.
Always, always, don't you always get something out of it yourself and you're giving to other people. So I think that's a great, great way to look at it. And especially with COVID-19, and all the social and political unrest in the country right now. I think it's really good for people to be able to focus on their own well-being and peacefulness. And yes, we all need some of that if you watch the news too much, you know.
Yeah, you know, that's one of the guilty pleasures for so many people is spent too many hours in front of the TV, in just consuming things that may not be so good for their mind, their heart and even their bodies. So we're going to try to change that just a little bit in this show.
Well, that's great. Well, you've got a lot going on right now. But I want to once you rewind a little bit, you're obviously not a native of the US, you're from Colombia. And I'd like you to maybe rewind a little bit. Tell us a little bit about your story, and how you kind of got what started your journey to get where you are today.
Oh, thank you. And I'm so glad you asked my friend. Yes. I am a proud Colombian. So Colombia, South America, and let me make sure to remind everyone is not Columbia, it is Colombia. So yeah, it's a beautiful country. I was born in Bogota, that's the capital of Colombia. And I was the firstborn in my family. So a little bit of spoiled growing up on the grandmother's side, if you know what I mean. If you know, if you were the first one that was born in your family, everyone will just cover you with love and gifts, a lot of things right, so that is one of the things that I'd remember from my childhood growing up in Colombia. Those are the great things and memories, they will never go away for anyone. So yeah, I'm from Columbia, South America and I’m very proud of that.
But as you were growing up, I know you started getting into fitness when you were 16. Yes, that's right. So what was it? You know, since that's one of your things, taking care of your body, and you're big into fitness, you're also a yoga instructor, which I don't know that we hit on that. But tell us a little bit about, you know, as a teenager, what got you interested in fitness and, and kind of started you down this path?
Yes. See, when I was 13, I lost my mother. I was a teenager, I had just really become a teenager at the age of 13 years old.
It's got to be a very difficult thing to go through at 13.
It was a defining moment. For me, it truly was a defining moment. And to see my mother, being so young, at 33 years old, losing her life…
Very young, very young. 33.
33. And at that time, you know, I used to be Mama, little girl, you know. And I was sleeping with my mom, when my mom went into this situation of I believe at that age, I didn't comprehend that it was she was having a seizure. And I woke up in the middle of the night. And my mom was literally having an episode of that. And we stick into the hospital, and she died when she got to the hospital.
And was that the first time you'd ever seen her have a seizure? Was that you were aware of before?
Yeah, she was expecting a baby. And she had something that women who are expecting their child can have and it's called eclampsia. And so that produced that particular episode on my mom. And I didn't understand the at that age, you know, I was so young, I was 13. And I was so attached to my mother. And it was a very hard thing to go through as a child because I was a child, I was 13 years old, you know, is still a little girl in my head. But at the same time, I was very mature. And I became even more mature after that because it forces you to grow up those type of moments, kind of forces you to grow up a little faster. So my mom was 33. And what I was thinking was, gosh, she's so young, to die, you know, and to be unhealthy. At that time, I thought she was unhealthy. If not, she had a condition that took her life. So in my mind, I thought I need to do something to make sure that I don't die at 33. So that defining moment took me probably was the first thing that was an incentive for me to get into fitness. So at the age of 14, my best friend was starting to “bully me”. So she was bullying me at the age of 14. I had really long hair, and I don't know about my body. I was 13 I was really interesting. And looking at my body, but she said that my butt was not cute, and my hair was too long. And so those things are starting to play in my head. And with the situation with my mother. I started thinking, I need to take care of myself, I need to look better, feel better. And I grew up in a country where drugs were pretty easy to find. I never went to that point. My escape was fitness and health. And so at the age of 16. I registered myself for a fitness group. I was the youngest one, Steve. I was the youngest person in the whole gym.
I can see that at that young of an age.
Yeah, so I was I remember being in this group fitness exercise program with a bunch of women. And they were just looking at me like, what is this, a little girl doing here? I did not feel uncomfortable and just felt like I was right at home. I felt that I was right at home, even though obviously the youngest one in that room. And from that moment on, I just knew that Fitness, Health, and Wellness as part of my life.
So you obviously again, continued on with your fitness and exercise at that point in your life. And you were up. Because you were in school. Also, you're still in high school, right? At this point. So tell us a little bit about how that impacted your high school as far as dealing with that. And, you know, taking care of yourself and finding time to work out and balancing that as a young teenager because a lot of teenagers don't balance things very well.
You know, I was very good with it, I have always been very good with the schedule. And so my workouts after school, so I register for the classes they would at nighttime. So I would go to school in the morning to do my homework and at nighttime, I was at the gym. With all my friends. They were like 30 years older than me. So that's, that's what I did. That's what I did. It just became part of my routine. And when the gym was closed or something, you will find me walking outside or riding the bike. I will just come out with something to do. I just could not sit still, I needed to move my body. So it just became part of who I was at that young age.
Yes, it became almost like therapy for you, a way to deal with your grief and losing your mom.
Yeah. So we said way, keeping my mind occupied, it was a way of releasing the emotions and the feelings that I have from losing my mother is such a young age, you know. Every Mother's Day, I remember talking to her, even though she wasn't there, I’m talking to myself, but the way I cope with that was health and wellness. For sure.
Let me ask you this, especially given you mentioned the prevalence of drugs in Colombia, that at that time that you were there and everything. What do you think, kept you away from that? What was it about you inside that made you choose fitness, as opposed to alcohol or drugs or some other outlet to deal with your grief?
I think it was the influence of my grandmother and the influence on my mother.
Are you living with your grandmother after your mother died?
I did. I was living with my grandmother and my dad was living in a different city. And we'll get into all that other story. But, I went to live with my grandmother. And I actually lived with my grandmother for many, many years. And so for those of you who come from the Latino culture, you know, that the grandmothers are a part of a huge part of the family. So I never saw my grandmother doing that type of stuff. You know, she was always eating right. I never saw her drinking. I never saw her drunk. I never saw her doing any of those types of things that adults do. So she kind of just like do the older type of things, you know, like cooking and celebrating with the family and those type of stuff. So it wasn't really in me. I never felt the desire to do it. And I have friends who were all into drugs and alcohol. But I never had the desire. And it's so interesting because I always asked myself why. Yeah, why? But I think that it was the choice of health and wellness. I was more interested in that than I was interested in alcohol or drugs because I saw my friends, how are they reacted, how they behave when doing alcohol when they were doing drugs? So I didn't want it to be that person.
Yeah, you saw the negative side of those things. Instead of the fun side, I guess that people say.
Yes, I saw what those things did to them, you know, and they were all young, and they were doing it sometimes in front of me. And I never had the desire to do it. I don't call that willpower. I call that identity. That wasn’t my identity.
That’s who you were.
I have chosen a different identity for myself. So I remember it was a choice. So I had chosen Fitness, Health, and Wellness in it and I didn’t choose the drugs and alcohol. Even though they were right in front of me, right there. I could just grab them. But it wasn't a feeling or wasn't even curiosity to do it. Because of what I saw on my friends, I saw the side effects of what that could do to you. And I don’t want any part of that.
I think as you said earlier, it's also a testament to your mother and your grandmother and the influence they had on you, growing up.
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that everyone needs a mentor, right? Yes, that's is why this is my business right? So everyone needs to mentor. Because not everyone grew up the same way. Not everyone had the same influence as a child. Or not everyone made the right choices as a child. And that's what creates people's identities and habits. Right? Yeah. So that my habits were different. And they are different.
Well, you know, that you say that, I think that's so true, especially of young people today, the family structure here in the US is not what it used to be many years ago, and definitely not as strong as it is in the Latin culture. And I think a lot of kids don't have those types of influences in their lives anymore. Because they don't have, you know, parents at home or grandparents around people are spread out across the country. And so I think, being a mentor and doing what you're doing now you're able, especially through this podcast and other things that you do, you're able to mentor a lot of people and spread that influence that you're passing on that your grandmother mother left you.
Yes, absolutely. And, you know, I had the opportunity to be a mother. And so I'm the mother of a beautiful girl, they already finished college, and I just asked myself, how'd that happen? So quick, and so I had the opportunity to pass those things into my daughter, and most importantly, to observe how she made choices also, right? Because I can't control her right, she has her own identity. So what I do in my business, and what I do with the work that I do is, is guide people to that process, and this is not something that happens overnight, when you become an adult already, and you have habits that are not beneficial to you that are not productive. So you got to start small. And that’s one of the things that I want to talk to people in this podcast about. How do you change from doing things that are not healthy for your mind, your heart, your body, they can actually translate to the entire family out to the world that you do for others, right? Everyone has a profession. So how can I help people to live a better life from the inside out? Mind heart and body is a question that I had in that's why I came up with this show, to be able to add value to people that way and I'm so looking forward to it.
Well, I think this is gonna be a great thing for a lot of people and I think it's going to be very successful. But jumping back to your story a little bit. Getting through high school, tell us a little bit about your post-high school life and how you came to get to the US, or was that later? Are we gonna want to jump ahead too far?
Yeah, yes. So we want to go today probably for about 30 minutes. So we want to make sure we don't go over.
Yeah, we've got about 10 minutes left.
Yeah, so go over that. But let me tell you a little bit about my high school. And I think I was already in high school when my friends were bullying me. And I didn't know what that was, I just thought she was not - I thought at that moment, there's something wrong with me, to be honest. And I just kept looking at myself, like what is wrong, right. And at that age, when you don't have your mother with you, I went to my grandmother. And my grandmother of course, sat with me and say nothing’s wrong with you. There's something wrong with that person. So that's when I understood that when people talk about you, it is the reflection of who they are. And I will get more into that topic on this podcast later on. And so when I went to high school, I would just be myself, I was always very open. And I love sitting in front of the classroom. Every time the door open for class, I was in the front. So I like to lead, I like to be first, I like to show up. That doesn't mean I want to be the center of attention. But I want to be seen if that makes sense. So high school was very fun. I have all kinds of friends from the friend colors and sizes and belief systems and all kinds of things. So I grew up in a very diverse culture. And I love that. So I am very open to everyone. I think because of that because I never had that issue of this person looks this way or that way. But I had really good high school years. And really good friends. I was a good student. But I also love to have fun with those that were different than me. Tell you a little story. I had a friend that was just totally crazy. And I remember, I wanted to do something that was out of the normal. I wanted to do something crazy. So I hang out with her for a day. And she literally put glue in her hand… glue, you know, and glued the eye of one of our friends.
Oh my gosh, I don't know, when you said glue. This wasn't going in a good direction. So.
And that was like, I felt like I was this crazy person at that moment. That was the craziest things that I had done up to that point. And I was like, This is awesome.
Do something totally out of character for yourself.
You know, I was like, I was just like, excited. You know, I was like, This is fun. But this is not something I want to do every single day.
Yeah. So that's good like that, I think for people to have released and do something that's not you know what your norm is every now and then just to do something different?
Yes, yes, absolutely. You can’t be so proper all the time. Yeah. And so what that taught me at that age is that you got to be yourself. You got to have fun sometimes. Don't go and glue your friend's eyes. But hey, have fun, be you be raw, really be authentic. And she was being authentic. That's who she was. She loves having fun and doing crazy things with our older friends.
I had an experience like that when I was in my mid-20s you know, we were on a beach trip with some friends and we just bought a bunch of big water guns and had a water gun fight on the beach at night. Do you know? Like it's not something your usual 25-year-old does, but we had a good time and it was totally out of character for me, but it was a fantastic time and a good memory.
Exactly. Right. It's not something you do every single day, but just do it, just release all that as adrenals that you have at that age, right? Because you also do crazy things. That's right. Yeah. So that was out of character but that friend, she was beautiful inside. She was not a bad person, she was just fun and a little bit crazy.
Well, that's good.
So from that school, I went to a Catholic school. I went to school with some nuns. And that was…
A different experience, right?
A different experience, completely from my first school. And, you know, my first school was not like that. And so when I, they sent me to this Catholic school. So I had a different experience there. I started to learn more about God and the church, and we have a service every week, like once a week. And we all have to attend it, you know. So that was my experience with what was called religion. The spiritual part of some cultures, some religions.
Was that not something you experienced with your grandmother? Catholicism in Latin countries is usually pretty prevalent.
That's a great question, Steve, because my grandmother was not a person that will go to church every Sunday. She will take us to church on Christmas time, and what is the other celebration… Easter's the big one? Yeah, all those times, we will go to church and honor those celebrations. But she was not a church lady every single week. So I didn't see that. Until I went to the Catholic School, where we had the service every week. So from that point on, I started going to services and different Catholic churches. And well, I was in that school, you know. And it was a beautiful experience because I didn't know that world as much. When you go like just twice a year.
Not gonna know much about I go on twice a year.
So that was a beautiful experience to go to this Catholic Church and experience that. So then I was taken to a different school to finish. The school was not a Catholic one. It was a very liberal school, where there were all kinds of people, all kinds of kids and just from all backgrounds in different ways of life. And it was the most liberal school that I have that I went to probably in High School. But guess what, it was all beautiful because it taught me diversity. And so I appreciate all those experiences. Because that is life, that is how the world is right? We are not just one thing. We are many things so I appreciate that. They moved me from different schools.
That's the school you finished?
That’s the school where I finished. I literally went to three different schools in high school.
And what was so different about the last one compared to the previous two? I know you said it was the most liberal when you went to what do you mean by that? Exactly?
Because there was it was the rules were more like less there were just less rules.
Gotcha, follow you. Yeah.
Yes, it was just less rules, just feels more free in that school. You know, in Catholic school we have more structure.
Yes, uniforms and all that stuff.
Yeah, uniform. And you know, we had like a calendar and, you know, when the service was and these type of things. When I went to this school, it was more like hey, just come to class whatever happens today. Right? So, everything was different from different people from different places. So, yeah, so I enjoyed it because I got to hear from different kids and I got to see a different way of living and a different way of behaving. And none of them were wrong. They were just different to me because none of them do nothing wrong to anyone. In my opinion, they're just different.
Was it what you had been exposed to before what you were used to basically?
Right. So it was, it was a good way of experiencing life as a teenager, you know, as a high schooler. Yeah, I think it was a good thing, even without having to travel anywhere.
That's awesome. But I see we're coming up on our time for this first episode. So what I want to leave it for the people watching and listening is and then the second episode, we'll kind of jump ahead a little bit to your to life after high school, and in your 20s. And then how you came to the US. What brought you along that journey. And we'll dive into that a little bit more next time. But I've enjoyed talking with you on this first episode. Can't believe the first episode is over. We got one in the can. And it's the first of many, many more to come, and looking forward to seeing all the great things that come out of this, as I said at the top of the show.
Thank you, my friend. I am so excited. I can't believe we did it. We did it. Our first episode is done, guys. Thank you for listening. And we look forward to being with you again next week. Thank you.