“Vulnerability is a powerful concept that encompasses the courage to open our hearts and share our deepest dreams and desires with the world. It involves taking risks and putting everything on the line to pursue our aspirations, regardless of the challenges that may come our way. As we grow older, the idea of taking risks may become more daunting, but embracing vulnerability remains essential for personal growth and fulfillment. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, maintaining a clear sense of direction can be quite challenging, especially for those who come from humble beginnings. It often feels like we are trying to move forward from a place of uncertainty, without the luxury of a helping hand. However, it is crucial to recognize that while external help may not always be readily available, our resilience and determination can guide us through life’s uncertainties and enable us to create our own path towards success.
The pursuit of a privileged life might seem elusive, particularly for those who were not born into it. Handouts and easy shortcuts are rarely available, leaving us uncertain about our ability to afford a home or explore the world. Nevertheless, maintaining a positive mindset and unwavering dedication can lead to incredible achievements. It may require daily reminders, but the willingness to embrace vulnerability and strive for our dreams can propel us forward, inching us closer to the life we envision. During the most challenging weeks, when the temptation to give up seems overwhelming, finding strength in being an inspiration to others becomes a driving force. Believing in the power of self-discipline and hard work instills faith and inspiration, motivating us to persevere. Embracing vulnerability during these tough times fosters hope for a better tomorrow, filled with new opportunities and the potential to make a significant difference in our lives and the lives of those around us.”
Delighted to win a Gold award for ‘The Art Dealer’ in the Monochrome category at the North Shore National Salon of Photography🥇
It was an early morning and only a couple of hours to spare before my departure flight, but I braved all odds and seized the opportunity to explore the vibrant flea market on the outskirts of Istanbul 💯
Luck was definitely on my side when I stumbled upon this incredible man who just exuded authenticity! With such a charismatic presence and a backdrop to match, I couldn’t resist asking him to look at the camera📸 We clicked instantly and he graciously posed beside his eclectic merchandise. The connection was natural, and the moment was magical. 🔥
The genuine delight on his face when he saw the photo on the back of my camera was priceless. He requested a copy to frame and hang on his wall, proving the profound impact that a simple photograph can have in bridging cultural gaps and capturing the true essence of a moment so beautifully🖼️ I’m so grateful for this experience.
How much power or control do you have over your life? It’s crazy that it doesn’t matter how organized you are, no matter how many plans you make, how ready you feel, things still can go completely out of our hands. My name is Gabriela and my story is about “Resilience” I’m from Brazil and I came to New Zealand in 2017 to study English. I fell in love with the country, for the challenges and for the life over here. I came here without knowing anyone, my first job was as a waitress in a catering company. I was living in a flat sharing the bed with my friend to save money. After 3 years, I was still in New Zealand and so proud of everything that I have achieved. I graduated from a Business course. I was living in my own room, I was working with something that I loved and I had found the love of my life, my partner.
Everything was going really well and I decided to go to Brazil to visit my family for the first time after 3 years in New Zealand. Oliver went with me, as I wanted him to meet my family. I was planning the trip for ages, I was really emotional about going to Brazil, really anxious. The year was 2020, everything was going as planned, I was thrilled to be around my family and friends, and one of the best moments of my life happened, when my partner proposed to me. We were living the dream, so happy, so in love! My partner came back to New Zealand before me, I was going to stay 2 weeks more in Brazil to enjoy my family, and it is from that where my plans got out of my control, the rumours of a Pandemic it wasn’t a rumour anymore, suddenly it became something really serious and the whole world panic. A week before my departure from Brazil, I started getting worried about not being able to get on the Airplane to New Zealand, I changed my flight, but it was too late, New Zealand closed the borders for the whole world.
I remember till now when I received the news, I didn’t panic, I didn’t have any reaction, I just accepted. In my mind the borders were going to be closed only for a few weeks or months, so I was ok about it, especially because I could spend some more time with my family. During the lockdown in Brazil I have spent some really good time with my Mom and sister, but it was hard to have to deal with the distance with my partner because we had no idea when we were able to see each other again. After a few months in the same situation I started panic, I lost my job in New Zealand, I had to put my room, I was far away from the love of my life and things started getting really bad in Brazil.
My life went from a free soul to a bird in a cage, I was feeling that I was losing my life, everything that I had achieved in New Zealand was gone. I have never felt so weak in my whole life, I was stuck in the past or in the future but never in my present. Me and my partner were supporting each other but after so long we were both devastated. We used to video call every single day, but after a while it was getting harder and harder. Life came back to normal in New Zealand. I was happy for my partner, so then we could at least have a life but on the other hand our realities became completely the opposite, I could feel that I was losing him in tiny bits. I had to learn how to be happy again, how to enjoy the little moments inside that apartment, my mom and my sister helped me a lot, we created a beautiful connection. After 1 year apart from each other, me and Oliver started to get so depressed, so hopeless, I will never forget the call we had where we couldn’t stop crying because we didn’t know what to do anymore. We couldn’t believe what was happening with us, it was so sad and we had no idea when the borders were going to be open, it could take years.
Because of this sadness we decided to break-up for a while, such a hard decision but necessary for us to be able to find ourselves again, fully our own love to be able to give love again. After a while, I decided to apply to get into the Country one last time, I was so not motivated
after so many NO. This last time I decided to put all my emotions in the letter for immigration, and somehow they listened to me and accepted me back, and after nearly 2 years apart from my love, I was finally able to come back. I felt like a dream coming true, I will never forget the magic moment of our first hug. It felt as if I had never left, our connection shined up, we couldn’t believe it, it was one of the best emotions I have ever felt, at that moment, I knew we were made for each other. Today, after that thunderstorm we felt that it was meant to be. It makes us stronger as individuals and stronger as a couple, we have never been so happy and sure about our love.
This whole history taught me so much, it taught me that we need to accept that things are out of our hands, we can’t control everything in our life. It gave me such a strong mindset, hard times look like they are going to be forever, but they’re not, we just need to keep going, living, accepting and embracing all our feelings, understanding our emotions, asking for help and to be able to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Being resilient does not mean a person doesn’t experience stress, emotional upheaval, and suffering. Resilience involves the ability to work through emotional pain and suffering. We cannot control everything around us, but I believe we can choose how we will deal with everything around us. Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.
Two months ago, on April 8th 2022, the biggest tragedy happened. I suddenly and very tragically lost the life of one of my younger children…I lost my son. My world suddenly crashed down around me much larger than ever before…I buried myself under layers and layers and more layers of the debris from this sudden crash and all the debris still floating around from all the smaller trauma from previous tragedy. I was broken into so many dusty pieces deep inside it was suddenly dark and cold and all I could see around me was all the heavy debris I felt was forever going to pin me in this deep dark place never to see light again. I wasn’t happy and was I ever happy? I wasn’t loved easily and was I ever loved at all? All the success I thought I had had suddenly was doomed with unsuccessfulness. How could I go on without something I loved so much how could I climb out from this deep dark space without someone I held so close to my heart how could I see or have any sight of the light I once had without my child whom I had suddenly so tragically lost in an instant. There was no right answers there was no more right somebodies there was no right feelings there was no more reason to yearn for better for myself. How could I give to anyone more how could I deserve anything more for myself and why would I to only suffer more and risk breaking more and with those around me. In total whirlwinds of confusion and pain I started to torture myself with these thoughts and feelings of being defeated being stuck being broken but encapsulated in this deep dark space. Overwhelmed I turned deeper inwards I covered myself over and over and over again with more debris blocking all the possible light and warmth and disturbance I might feel. So stuck in emotions I couldn’t even bring myself to train … Then stuck then immersed in darkness then cold My emotions bottled in this deep dark space with heavy debris around me started crying each little tear dropped became a whirl pool around me… I felt the suffocating from the debris subsided until I was drowning in it. Each drop that fell sunk me deeper and deeper and also the drops got louder echoing in the whirlpool around me… feeling numb helpless so very tired and loosing all will to fight it any longer the turmoil and sound of the drops started to fade. There was silence… I was hitting the bottom but there was a sense of peace there… my mind felt buoyant and somewhat calm… I couldn’t breathe but I didn’t feel the need to.. I could rest and be still. As suddenly as this moment arose I soonly heard the voices of sweet angels calling me. The angels voices were so sweet and warm and I was drawn to their beautifulness with much enticement. I didn’t care to be in this deep dark cold place I had burrowed myself into but to follow the warmth of the sweet voices I then heard above me. I didn’t care to be hit with all the huge amounts of heavy debris that had fallen on top of me I knew I was physically strong from my training but if only I could follow the warm sweet voices calling me to be with them. Then fearless of any more hurt and pain knowing full well I could not ever loose much more I reached out my hand slowly at first and then with force in some desperation to catch those with the warm sweet voices calling me…. As my hand reached up as high as it could I called back I called saying I am here I called stating I was deep down I was feeling stuck but I could hear them and I needed some help to catch up to them. As soon as I spoke out loud I felt the warmest realest most satisfying sensation i have ever experienced. I felt my hand being reached for and touched too I could still hear the warmth and sweetness of the angel voices fulfil me. I felt from my fingertips right down to my feet the most beautiful of sensations. I called out again to reassure the angel voices I was hearing them… I was following them… I was calling for help. I opened my eyes and my heart and took a big deep breath in and I found myself seeing the brightest shining warm colourful lights around me. In total disbelief of the elated feelings and the beautifulness of the bright shining light around me I took another deep breath again…. The sweet angels were all gathered around me and encouraged me with all my strength I had to breathe yet again. With my last breath I came to realise the warm sweet angel voices were of all of these who now stood confidently smiling with joy together surrounding me… their faces were so sweet and hearts so loving and gave me all the empowerment I needed to take that breath with much ease. It soon became clear my angels were all my darling children the ones I had been gifted through out all the adversity I had experienced in my past. Elated with joy and realisation all my children were everything I was yearning for. I only ever wanted to be happy, easily loved and successful at being. I wanted to be understood I wanted to be heard and I didn’t want to be different but I wanted to change for the better. The loudest clearest sweet angel voice could no longer be heard amongst the celebratory chatter but My heart knows it was that of the child I had just lost he was the one that led me back to the light! I know deep in my heart I will keep hearing you and you will keep hearing me and that’s something special I will always hold dear to me forever more. You have taught me the most valuable of life’s lessons. You always were proud of me and my bodybuilding always proud of mummies muscles and how strong they made me feel and how strong you knew I was and had built myself block by block of me from the inside out. For the rest of my beautiful warm sweet angels I will stay here with you and among you for as long as you need me and I know that with you all we can be strong enough to fight together any struggles adversities…you are and always were all that I need.
Throughout this journey mentally and physically bodybuilding has been my key. No matter what else is going I. In my life the gym is always there too. The daily routines and disciplines learnt have helped my mental health immensely and I will no doubt continue on this journey to keep building myself from the inside out.
I will happy, I am loved easily and unconditionally and I am successful at being me!
Today I am here a proud mother of eight beautiful children including my darling angel and a grandmother to two beautiful grandchildren.
I am not perfect and that’s ok but I am present and strong and will continue to get stronger Blessed by my forever angels.