Eliana Reyes had just graduated college. It was 2008, and she had a job in Brooklyn that had nothing to do with any of the things she was passionate about. One day as she was journaling, like she had since she was younger, ten book titles appeared on the page before her as if, she said, someone took hold of her pen and wrote them for her.
“What is this?” she asked herself.
“You’re going to write these ten books,” a voice inside her answered. In disbelief, as the title “Purpose: Live it!” stood out strongest in front of her, a string of excuses as to why she couldn’t write them filled her head. Reyes thought she wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t good enough, and that she didn’t write well enough.
After more than a year of what she deemed the most emotionally, spiritually, and physically challenging time of her life, in 2010, it all hit her like a ton of (purposeful) bricks. She attended a leadership conference in North Carolina, and while she sat through a lecture, she pleaded with God to get her out of the rut she found herself in.
“You’re so full of life and purpose, and there’s so much more to you than you think.” – Eliana Reyes
Reyes clicked into full gear. She began her own motivational speaking company called Made 2 Live later that year, and last March, in true full-spiritual-circle form, she launched her book “Purpose: Live it!” (Godzchild Productions) back in North Carolina at a conference called “Driven by Purpose.” She then released her book in New Jersey with Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-32nd) in attendance.
“Eliana is an extremely intelligent, enthusiastic and talented young woman with a passion that inspires,” Jimenez said. “I can see many more great things to come from this wonderful role model for our community.”
Not just another statistic
While the message behind Reyes’ book and company applies to everyone looking to find their purpose in life, she has “a soft heart for young women,” she said, having been raised without a father figure after moving to West New York from the Dominican Republic at the age of five.
“I know what it’s like to have the option to become a statistic as a Hispanic woman, or to go against that,” she explained. “The fact that my mother raised my sister and me by herself is the strongest example of love, because she sacrificed so much in her own life just to make sure we were women of character, and women of purpose.”
Reyes speaks to life issues she feels people don’t discuss enough; for example, how fear and pain, left unconquered, can hold someone back from achieving what they want in life. She has found that many young women raised without a father figure, or who are faced with difficult circumstances such as teen pregnancy, feel that their lives are not their own or that they’ve missed the chance to be what they want to be.
“I tell them, ‘You’re so full of life and purpose, and there’s so much more to you than you think,’” Reyes said. “‘Your life is not over. You can get it done.’”
Getting it done
“I thought, ‘God, you’re going to have to come down and smack me and tell me what I have to do with my life,’” Reyes recounted. “Meanwhile, this book is inside of me, and I’m complaining I don’t know what to do!”
While she had the privilege of a spiritual smack to get her on the right track, her relatively early discovery of her own life path was hard-won and interspersed with bouts of self-doubt inherent to any quest. She thought she’d be able to publish her book in December of 2010, and she thought she’d be able to do it all on her own.
She was wrong.
“Did I want to give up during the process? Absolutely,” Reyes explained. “There were many times when depression kicked in or I thought I wouldn’t make it, but in that process there was always someone who helped to pull me through.”
Like Sean and Anna Saunders of Godzchild publishing, for example, whom Reyes met in December of last year through a mutual friend.
“Speaking to them I was very humbled,” she said. “Sean told me it would require a village to help pull this book out of me, and I learned that sometimes you can’t go it alone. Trust me, the entire process of writing and publishing has been a lesson in humility.”
But it has paid off. She spends her time promoting her book and continuing to inspire others through her workshops and speeches. Reyes even donated her time to speak to West New York students at the middle school career fair held earlier this month.
In the works are two more books to complete her three- part series: “Love: Give it,” and “Truth: Speak it.” She plans to release the second in February (the “love season,” she said), but based on past experience, Reyes knows the books will come out when they’re meant to.
For more information on Reyes and her book, visit www.made2live.net.
Gennarose Pope may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org