A PLACE TO CALL HOME

By Marisol B.

MMXV | PAGE 3 of 365

As we begin a new year, I pause to ponder about additional ways in  which I may become my best self. This is something I tend to do year-round, but given the occasion of a brand new year, I wished to give it a bit more thought.

As I kept pondering, I remembered about a TED talk by Elizabet Gilbert that had inspired me in the past, so I decided to search for it to listen anew; and it was then, that I was once again reminded of the importance of recognizing home. That little happy place where I am called to wholeheartedly devote myself for the duration of my life.

I would like to share the talk below, as I hope that it provides just as much inspiration:


A DWELLING FOR PEACE


INSIGHT: A CALL TO PRAYER AND PEACE

By Marisol B.

This little project wants to focus on the beauty that this life reveals in so many ways (sometimes evidently, while others barely visible); yet, there is also the awareness of the reality that many things don't go well. Our senses get to witness tragic images of war, violence and destruction.

It is easy to be discouraged, or even attempt to come up with answers that give a glimpse of justice and resolution (some more objective than others).

Several years ago, I wrote a few words regarding our desire for peace, as we get to witness horrific images and injustices towards humanity. While I pondered about a specific event, I added:

"I believe that the most powerful action towards such situation is first and foremost prayer, because God is the only one with enough power to soften the callous hearts of those involved. We know; however, that apart from putting things in the hands of those who know best, a good part is within our own hands. I personally do not consider myself to be wonder woman; able to rescue the entire human race; therefore, I do my part greatly by being at peace with those who surround me. That is where everything begins; right at the nucleus.

It is interesting to witness how we suffer for the world and wish to attain peace, when we fail to get along with our own family, neighbors, or those who happen to cross our path. We have all fallen into this behavior every once in a while, and that is why I hope that we more deeply reflect upon this and do our part."

Given the fact that the above words were written after the 09/11 event in the US, I then wrote:

"We were asked to create a visual with one word that would describe what had happened, and the word I chose was SEARCH:

Because we are in SEARCH of whoever is responsible of such atrocity; we are in SEARCH of the people trapped inside what remains of the tall structures; in SEARCH of answers, solutions, our identity as humans, and an explanation.

We search for many things, and we will continue to do so; however, I diligently pray that we SEARCH in the right place; that we search within ourselves, and find the right answers; because, he who finds himself, finds something else. He finds peace and true happiness."

This weekend, I am reminded to do my part. To PRAY and to be filled with love, that I may understand suffering, spring into right action, be filled with compassion, and make a difference; no matter how small.

I invite you to join me in #prayer

A couple of years ago, I was getting ready in the morning as I listened to music. When Anna Nalick's song Breath (2AM) came on, I thought about how perfectly "Just Breathe" could be adapted to the words "Just Pray", and that is how a little song was born. If you would like to read the words and apply them to your own reflection, you can find them RIGHT HERE.

A TALE OF FORGIVENESS


PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: By Marisol B.

LETTERING: By Ian Barnard as part of his recent project Inkwell

when you have a bad day; a really bad day, try and treat the world better than it treated you.
— Patrick Stump

I write these lines after a few days of event styling. Despite my tired body and mind, I look back with joy; given the beautiful results of the project. It is; however, a particular experience within the design process that I feel inspired to share.

A few months ago, I was printing a few graphics and I requested help from one of the staff members at a printing company. My request pertained to a specific type of paper offered as an option in the past; however, a usually lovely lady insisted that this particular paper was not offered as an option unless I paid an unreasonable amount for it. What she mentioned seemed out of the ordinary - this was not my first time printing there, and my tired-self frowned upon it; instead of just asking for simple clarification.

I decided to go back at a later time when I had all necessary materials on hand; but as I left, I knew I had not been the most pleasant person to the lady assisting, so I felt a bit silly. I knew I would have to go back to the same establishment eventually, and my pride crunched my heart.

The following time I went back to the same printer, I was assisted by a very lovely staff member and I left with everything that was needed and more. I was grateful, but somehow, I still remembered my previous incident with the other employee.

This week, as I worked on yet another project, I noticed that the one person available to help, was the lady previously mentioned, and filled with pride, I went about my business; however, my heart knew there was a little corner that needed to persevere in love; especially in the small opportunities one is given.

As I began to make some paper cuts, I realized that I was short on time, so I inquired about help for a particular stack of items. She provided a very dry "yes", and proceeded to announce the price for each cut, to which I peacefully replied with a "yes please, that would be wonderful."

At that point, I went back to finish cutting the rest of my items and she began to work on the stack I provided. As I made progress, I began to reflect on whether it would be appropriate to clarify the confusion, we both had a few weeks ago, and let her know I was sorry if I sounded a bit stressed.

After completing my task, I approached the counter and she walked towards me with a worried look. She asked whether I had brought extra paper as she had made a mistake with the cuts and ruined the job. I calmly added that I did not have any extra paper, but would not mind using some of theirs to reprint the job. She showed me the options and one of them included the same type of paper that originated tension on my previous visit.

After I re-printed everything and she made the correct cuts, she apologized and added that she would not charge for them. She said it had been a long day and her eyes were a bit teary. I told her not to worry at all; that I understood perfectly well, as we have all experienced those kind of days.

As I left the place, I was deeply grateful for the opportunity to reconnect humanly with her. I was glad we were both given the opportunity for humility and rectification.

What a great peace is felt when we practice compassion towards one another; regardless of our own little battles and sense of urgency.

A simple lesson of forgiveness within ordinary events of life...

SHINING BEAUTY INTO WHAT MANY FEAR

Every beautiful human person holds great purpose, but sometimes we allow fear to take over. Sometimes we listen too much to the outward noise and forget to look deep within; in order to fully understand, that every single one of us holds great purpose and dignity.

A pregnant mother was genuinely concerned, after finding out that her unborn child appeared to have a genetic disorder. She decided to write a letter to a national Down Syndrome Organization; asking for hope and guidance. The response she received, shines much light into an uncertain situation, and a creative agency was able to bring this story to life in a very beautiful way, with the below ad titled: DEAR FUTURE MOM.

CREDITS
Client: CoorDown
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Italy
Executive Creative Director: Agostino Toscana
Creative Directors: Luca Lorenzini, Luca Pannese
Art Director: Luca Pannese
Copywriter: Luca Lorenzini
Director: Luca Lucini
Production Company: The Family Film
Agency Producer: Sabrina Sanfratello
Head of TV: Raffaella Scarpetti
Original Music: Alessandro Cristofori, Diego Perugini for Stabbiolo Music
Postproduction: XChanges Vfx
Color Grading: Band
Audio Postproduction: Top Digital; Cat Sound International
Voiceover: Pasquale Anselmo

A BEAUTIFUL JOURNEY

by Marisol B.

I find myself a day away from a forty-day journey where I get to detach from little comforts and dive deeper into the fact that we are made of dust, but created for eternity.

During this little journey, I will be giving up sugar (great opportunity to detox), cutting social media time and reading more materials printed on real paper, as opposed to a brightly lit screen. Nonetheless; there is one more thing that I plan to do and it fills my heart with joy and anticipation.

 photo by Berta  via

photo by Berta via

It all begins with a beautiful person; my beloved maternal grandmother, who lives abroad. We have shared many conversations; some of which have occurred in pretend Chinese (I would mimic Mandarin sounds and my grandma would gladly answer in the same manner), lately though; her conversations are short and distraught. A couple of years ago she began to exhibit neurological changes that are taking a toll on her memory and the ability to thread a conversation or relate certain facts.

Before this, she was alert, well-read, and independent. She used to drive around the city and teach a yoga class during the morning; nowadays, she is to stay home for most of the time under special care. This really breaks my heart and that is why I would like to do something special for her.

I am planning on calling her every morning for the next forty days and asking her questions that enable her to focus on the beauty around her. During my last conversation, I realized that it was exhausting for her to keep up with a chat about life or family members; so I asked her whether it was sunny that day and inquired about her beautiful garden.

If you would like to follow along, I invite you to read the conversation within the comments section of this story. I am looking forward to making her days brighter and filled with joy.

If you would like to do something similar for someone else, please post an image or story with the hashtag #GivingBeauty or simply the usual hashtag #FindBeauty

 

THE BEAUTY OF WHAT REMAINS

"To pay tribute to his late wife, a father and his young daughter posed for a series of photos that reflect on their lives without her." These were the words that preceded beautiful and moving images that left me thinking of the love and beauty that remains when a loved one is deceased.

The images portray a combination of love and suffering; but more importantly, they allow us to remember and understand the importance of being present to each other.

This wife and mother's battle with lung cancer did not leave a void. The pictures might not portray her face any longer, but she is nonetheless present through the love and connection that this father and daughter hold so dearly.

We are called to recognize the presence of love in each other at every moment and stage in life. When my own mother passed in a tragic and sudden accident, I found the words that would allow me to know this lesson deep within my own heart. The words read:

"We don't own our cars, our homes, our loved ones, our bodies, our words, our beliefs. All of these things were loaned to us for a time and all of these things can be changed, lost, taken away. So what we truly own is our presence. We choose whether or not we are present to ourselves, to each other and to God."

How beautiful to learn of such profound love by the gaze of a father and daughter, who are present to each other as the days unfold.§

 

 

A REFLECTION OF BEAUTY

Every once in a while you wonder if any life situation would keep you from viewing the

beauty of life itself. Coming across the story of Stephanie Nielson (nienie), I can only confirm once again, that beauty is to be found, no matter what, and that difficult experiences may offer the opportunity of making you more grateful and appreciative of all that, which has been given.

nienie_family_portrait_1.jpg

Surviving a near-fatal airplane crash, which burned 80% of her body, Stephanie cherishes the fact that she is alive and is able to be present in the lives of her loves: Mr. Nielson, Claire, Jane, Oliver, Nicholas and her newest sweetheart, Charlotte, as she lovingly describes them.

What a beautiful example of love and simplicity. I cannot help but be inspired by her courage and determination to reflect beauty, against any other reflection.

nienie_family_portrait.jpg
nienie_family_portrait_2.jpg

Images by Justin Hackworth for Parade found via nienie

Stephanie and her beautiful family were featured on Parade magazine; take a look at some behind the scenes action:

A book written by Stephanie with the accounts of her story will be released Spring 2012, this little video has a beautiful introduction:

How lovely to see so much beauty around Stephanie; just take a look at her little ones, truly a reflection of whom she really is: