Photo by Elspeth Duncan
"I collect gems and minerals from the four corners of the universe."
Already I know that my conversation with Ras Nolan is going to be about more than the arts and crafts he makes to sell in his little shop opposite the Buccoo Community Centre. Handcrafted jewelry and handbags, incense, oils and semi-precious stones adorn walls, shelves and glass showcases.
"I am into crystal therapy and the seven chakras, from root to crown. If you want your third eye to open, I know what to use," he tells me as he scrapes the insides of a small calabash into dark water in a bucket.
He is preparing calabashes to begin working on 500 pieces in time for Carnival 2014. "Calabash spoons, bowls, bottles, flower vases, napkin holders, mask faces ... I will take calabash to a different level."
There is always something to learn, even from the simplest encounter with someone. I note his focus. He knows what he wants to do and how and by when he will get it done. I think momentarily of my own life and the areas I want to take to the next level.
Lesson #1: Focus and do it.
Is he from Buccoo? No. Bethel. So why did he choose this Buccoo location for his shop?
"I didn't choose it. It was chosen by the Lord, the Most High. I used to sell at Mt. Irvine beach in July and August. Lots of rain ... and I was struggling for the longest while ... until one day I saw the landlord, Mr. Shakey, and he offered for me to take a look at something he was building. The first day I saw it, I took it instantly."
Lesson #2: Know what you want/need and go for it when you find it ... or when it finds you.
"This is a shop of healing ... "Ras Nolan says, quickly adding: "No ... An enterprise of healing. A bigger word than shop, because I not selling biscuits and sweets. You have to be careful of the words you use."
Lesson #4: Words have power. Choose and use them carefully to manifest your greatest reality.
"You can have physical, mental and spiritual healing once you enter," Ras Nolan tells me. From his warm but penetrating eyes, I can tell that he sees beyond life's surface. "I am a man dealing from The Divinity, working with pure vibration. Any time the vibration is negative, I can tell. I deal with the True."
A passing woman calls out. He smiles, waves and calls back: "Peace and Love!" The way he projects the otherwise cliched phrase sounds different. Later, he tells me that everything he does and says, is done and said as a blessing.
Lesson #5: Have a positive vibration within and extend it to all.
"I study oils and incense. Everything I sell, I can tell you the power behind it. Prosperity oil, success, spiritual cleansing ..."
I tell him that for years I have worn Patchouli oil daily, but now I'm moving house, my Patchouli bottles are packed in boxes, my current bottle just finished and I haven't worn it in days.
He nods, understanding. "Not everyone will come in here telling me they wear Patchouli."
He rises, goes to his oils, selects the rasta version of Patchouli and pours some into a vial. He then reaches for a green pack of Patchouli incense, puts both items into a small white bag and hands them to me as "a blessing."