Monday Inspiration: June 5, 2017

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I am on my lunch break, thinking back at something my mom suggested, which is entirely true. As I am facing my newest hurdle in this magical and mysterious thing called life, she reminded me, “This is not like one of your cases that you can just resolve.” What is it about losing control that sort of drives us crazy? I like to be prepared, efficient, and precise. My profession is known for manipulating circumstances and people to get the outcome we want.

Maybe that is my biggest fear of all– not being able to be all of those things in a particular circumstance. However, God wants us to lay down our burdens at His feet and acknowledge His sovereignty and control over all things, trusting in His perfect love. He wants us to enter situations with the knowledge that we are His children, first and foremost.

I hope you find inspiration today. Today, I am going to learn to rest in God. I need to learn it, because this is not a case.

These are some words that have inspired me, lately:

“I hope you go out there and let stories happen to you and that you will water them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” Kusha Alagband
“To me, when you can read honesty through beauty, that is sort of an important trait of character. It is what translates to beauty for me.” Charlotte Gainsbourg

“You only fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.” Sarah Dessen, Saint Anything, pg 387

“No genuine book has a first page. Like the rustling of the forest, it is begotten God knows where, and it grows and it rolls, arousing the dense wilds of the first until suddenly… it begins to speak with all the treetops at once.” Boris Pasternak

“A piece of writing is like a piece of magic. You create something out of nothing.” Susanna Clarke
“The only way to fight sin is to choose something bigger.”
J.S. Park from The Christianese Dating Culture
“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti
“The two most powerful words when we’re in a place of struggle are ‘me too’.” Brene Brown

“Having faith is believing that God does not lie.” Dr. Tony Evans

Stained Glass Windows

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
– Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

By: Gabriela Yareliz

When darkness rolls in, it’s intimidating. It demands an adjustment in our vision, both literally and in more profound ways.

I think I have realized that almost everyone (including myself) is self-absorbed. We each have our own darkness to grapple with at different points in life. Often, the darkness each one of us faces in life is one we mostly face on our own. Because no one sits in our pew, so to speak, nor does anyone stand in our shoes. It’s individual.

I read something yesterday that really made me think. It was an older woman stating that we can’t live like we are dead, before we are dead. We do this when fear paralyzes us. Or perhaps when we do something I am guilty of, when we assume the worst will happen.

I think we need time to process certain things, time to figure things out, which is normal, but then, we have to move on. We need to live.

I don’t want to live in fear or pain. I have always wanted to be a warrior. I think I have been one, in certain times of my life, and right now, I feel like an exhausted warrior. And I think I have been unfair to those around me, wanting to be carried by them, when only I can stand on my two feet.

I want to be strong. So, I am asking God to be my strength because I feel very small. I know that in certain types of darkness, only we know the extent of our disappointment, fear and pain, but we keep that small flame alive inside. We guard it from every gust of wind that tries to take it out because it will warm us and guide us into brighter days.

One of Them

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By: Gabriela Yareliz

I am always inspired by the stunning Sonam Kapoor at Cannes.

I loved a quote in one of her most recent posts:

“I know who I am. I am not perfect. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I’m one of them.” Mary J. Blige

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[Photos from @sonamkapoor]

Bare Beauty

By: Gabriela Yareliz

The June 2017 Glamour issue is all about empowerment. Stories about body types that are not portrayed or accepted, ditching hair removal, embracing your hair’s natural texture, wearing makeup, not wearing makeup, ditching self tanner, getting sober– being “bare,” meaning being vulnerable inside and out.

I loved it. It made me happy. I have my own insecurities and struggles, like everyone else. This issue was inspiring. There was a story in it that touched me deeply about a young woman who had an amputation (right leg), but she decided to stop hiding her leg (prosthetic). This was a reminder that we are all in this together. Each of us reaching our realizations in our own time. I love that we come to certain realizations, and the fear begins to dissipate when we choose to live beyond fear. I am learning that it’s when we choose love and acceptance over fear that beauty radiates and inspires others.

College of Communication

By: Gabriela Yareliz (inspired by a talk by Sarah May B. and lots of introspection)

Hello and happy Monday.

I am learning (or trying to learn) more about communication. (How is that for a direct opening?) You start to care more about growing in painful areas when you know you love someone so much that you are willing to put in the work. It’s important to grow as a person.

Relationships take work. People who have been together forever have developed solid habits and weathered many storms. Right now, though, in my youth, I am analyzing myself and trying to see when I am defensive, feeling misunderstood (and the fact that this triggers certain emotions and insecurities). We all have them. We all want to be loved and desired.

Garance Doré posted a snippet of her and her fiancé’s dynamics that made me smile. Behold:

“We sat down with a notary, and we signed pages and pages of papers. And just like that, at a café table in Venice, we owned a tiny piece of California. I was very quiet, I didn’t know what to say. Chris said ‘I’m going surfing’ and I started to cry (I told you, I’m in a weepy period) and we got in a fight, like with every big moment in our lives.Garance Doré

It made me smile because relationships have those moments. It’s inevitable. Relationships aren’t about perfection, but about living great moments (having those outweigh the friction moments) and helping one another grow heavenward. Love evokes love. Love heals.

Communication is tough. It is about small habits and dynamics. It’s about being intentional and changing our behavior when conflict or friction arises. (And learning how to make moments that could be of conflict, moments of growth and meeting each other’s needs). Maybe, instead of being defensive or trying to talk everything out ad nauseam, or instead of feeling insulted, ashamed or inadequate, it’s about simply being more intentional when I feel hurt or misunderstood and trying to see where the other party is coming from.

Perhaps, we all have wounds that sting at different moments because of different things. And we can actually help each other heal, rather than creating distance and more hurt or isolation.

Sometimes, in the middle of friction we need to remember that the person in front of us loves us. When you love someone, your intention is not to hurt or confuse another.

I want to become a better communicator. I know. I got a degree from the College of Journalism and Communication. Still, like the rest of us, I have a lot to learn. I want to learn to receive the right message, and I want to learn to give the right message, too.

“[W]e are choosing people based on what we need to learn.” Sarah May B.

And I have a lot to learn.

Ma

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Reading Ashley Graham’s memoir made it clear to me that her mom was a critical part of not only her life, but also her success. If I were to write a book on my life, I know my mom would very much be in the dead center of my story.

My mom is the bravest and strongest person I know. She defied all odds and grew up in poverty in a small Caribbean mountain town, raised by her grandmother. It was a tough and strict upbringing, filled with family, dramatic dynamics and a lot of choices to be made.

At every turning point or fork in the road, it’s like she always made the best choice, even if it was tough or the most inconvenient in the moment. She thought ahead. She was wise. She made a lot of sacrifices along the way; always working hard and with integrity, leaping forward.

If I were to tell you her story in detail, you might agree with me that her childhood alone would have been enough for her to be traumatized. Poverty, broken families, lacking basic things we today take for granted, leave children with wounds. And while it may have left a mark on her, it left scars because she healed.

Sometimes, she would share stories with us about her childhood, and they were just so sad. She would tell it normally (often with no complaints), and we (the listeners) would all have somber faces, blinking back tears.

But my mom wasn’t a child left wounded to bleed out by her past. Instead, I see her as a strong, thin, tan little girl with big dark brown eyes that look black (like my own– who do you think I got them from?). I see her sitting at the top of a long flight of concrete stairs, missing a railing, on a warm summer night in Puerto Rico, looking at the stars, trusting a God she could not see. I see a girl who would sing, and sneak away to bathe in the river with long tangled hair. I see a young woman who would miss class to take care of her baby cousins, showering them with the love she might not have received, even though she more than deserved it.

That young woman finished at the top of her class, and she went to college. She married her best friend and high school sweetheart and took a risk to have the adventure of a lifetime. She moved to a country where she didn’t know the language or dynamics. She sat for hours writing notes in phonetics and then looking up terms in her textbooks. She learned the language, she graduated and became a young professional, and she had me.

I came to her classes with her and would be sprawled out on a blanket playing or napping while she did study groups. We became best friends.

Her character is a piece of our tough but loving grandmother, a piece of our sweet and faith-filled aunt and a piece of that little girl who would bathe in the overflowing river.

She is like an anchor. Her presence is felt, and it keeps you safe. She cares a lot about what really matters. She is the most un-materialistic person I know. She still appreciates a good sunset or star-filled sky. When she is excited, her eyes light up, and she squeals with delight. You can hear her from far away. She still sings and takes incredible risks for those she loves.

She is the most amazing listener, and she is so patient. She never turns me away. She always stays.

My mom raised me and my two brothers, by herself. And if there was anyone who saw her sacrifices and heart, it was me.

Thank you, ma, for your love, your inspiration, your faith and for your selflessness. Without you, I am not sure where we would be– where I would be. Thank you for being my friend and for teaching me the most important things in life. Thank you for always directing my gaze to God, first. In your love, I have seen His hand in my life. Your love literally saved me. My life could have been so different, but God gave me you.

Happy Mother’s Day. For us it’s every day. Thank you for letting me learn from you and for letting me be your partner in so many things, throughout the years. You are an amazing woman, and those of us who know you are blessed.

You are always my best friend. We have weathered many storms together. And lucky me, because when I look in the mirror, I catch a glimpse of that little girl in Jayuya, looking up at the stars, knowing God was watching over her. It’s an honor and gift to be a part of you.