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The Truth Behind Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux's Quote

quote by paradise, "You can sit in the corner and cry, or, you can go out and dance in the rain. Either way, the storm is coming.", with a paris stormy sky in the background

Life is full of ups and downs. We all face challenges and adversity at some point, which can leave us feeling defeated or overwhelmed. However, how we respond to these difficulties defines who we are. Rather than giving in to despair, we all have an inner power we can tap into to find strength and resilience, even in the darkest of times.

I learned this lesson early in life. I created a simple quote during a particularly difficult period that has stuck with me since. It reminds me that even when things seem bleak, I have the power within me to persevere. I've shared this quote with others over the years when they faced struggles of their own, as a reminder we can choose how we respond to life's storms.

In this piece, we'll explore the importance of empowerment in overcoming challenges. We'll also get personal as I share some traumatic experiences from my childhood that led to the creation of my signature quote and its ability to provide strength in adversity. By getting vulnerable and opening up about my past, it is my hope others can relate and find the power within themselves to push forward during their own storms.


The Storm

My childhood was filled with many challenges that forced me to grow up quickly. When my siblings and I were living in a house without electricity, water, or gas, it presented daily struggles. I had no way to easily bathe my younger brothers or flush the toilets. We had very little money for food, so we all had to share a single pack of hotdogs and a box of macaroni and cheese that we cooked outside on the barbecue grill. I was still too young myself to get a full-time job, and we were constantly worried about child protective services intervening.

On top of that, we were dealing with the recent loss of our sister, who we had just buried. Losing a sibling at such a young age added more trauma to an already traumatic situation. We leaned on each other for support during that devastating time. The house may have provided some shelter, but living there without basic necessities like running water made day-to-day life very difficult. As the oldest sibling, I did my best to hold things together and take care of my younger brothers despite our unfortunate circumstances. It was a formative experience that forced me to grow up fast and develop my instincts for nurturing and protecting others; something I later had to learn balance for.

Creating the Quote

One particularly gloomy afternoon, my brother said to me, “Great! Now it’s raining so we can't even play outside, and we are running out of wood for the fireplace and grill. How will we eat?" I could see the frustration on his face. We were all feeling the weight of our circumstances. With barely any food or money, and no utilities in the dilapidated house we were living in, the rain only made things feel more hopeless. My brother was right to worry about how we would stay warm and fed through the stormy weather ahead. But I refused to let him see how concerned I was too. As the big sister, I had to be strong for my siblings. I was worried also that if they lost hope…I might too.

Understanding how he felt but refusing to allow them to see that I was very worried for us, I took the three of us outside. We sat on the front porch and watched the rain pour down. The world felt small and gray, but we were together. I looked at my brothers' worried faces, wanting more than anything to see them smile. That's when the quote and an idea came to me:

"You can sit in the corner and cry, or you can go out and dance in the rain.

Either way, the storm is coming."

Using Rainwater

Our literal storm was already happening so I did what any big sister might have done. "Let's make the most of this rainy day," I told them enthusiastically.

I instructed them to gather rainwater to flush the toilets and boil for baths. I figured out a way we could filter some for drinking water too. We were going through a storm, but I was determined to find silver linings, however small. Taking off their shirts, I had my brothers put on swim shorts and we played in the downpour. I shampooed their hair and let the rain rinse it clean. We laughed and splashed until we were soaked and smiling. Though life was hard, we shared lighthearted moments that I'll never forget. Rather than sitting and sulking, I wanted them to understand that even though we had hardships, we could still find moments of joy if we approached it with the right mindset. My hope was that this quote would give us the perspective to persevere.

After the death of our sister, we lost everything we owned. We'd bounced around motels, but they weren't safe. At least we were able to finally get into a house...even if no utilities and very little food.

Dancing in the Rain

When I first said the quote to my younger brothers, dancing and playing in the rain lifted their spirits in that moment. But there will be times when the storm is too heavy to do anything but endure. What mattered most is that we are there for others (and ourselves), showing love, care, and hope even in hardship.

Sometimes the best we can do is hold on, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and remember that storms do not last forever. Dark clouds eventually give way to sunshine, and tough seasons pass. The human spirit is remarkably resilient when we refuse to walk alone. For those of us who don't have any other options except to be alone...we lean in further.

This also doesn't mean that things will be easy or quickly resolved. Life can truly test us sometimes. A key thing to remember is that this is YOUR life to live. If you need time to crawl under the blankets and grieve....SO BE IT! Grieve accordingly, just don't let it swallow you up. At its core, that's what my quote means.

When I was going through other difficult situations in life, I would reflect back on that stormy day with my brothers. I would remind myself that even in the hardest times, you can find reasons to carry on and even smile. I shared the quote with my close friends in high school when they were struggling. I told them that the storm is coming no matter what, but you get to choose how you respond. Sitting in the corner crying leaves you helpless, while dancing in the rain empowers you.

Even now, when challenges arise, this quote comes back to me. It encourages me to change my perspective and take action. Rather than crying over what I can't control, I look for opportunities to turn the situation into something positive. Though life continues to change, this simple quote still applies. By choosing to dance in the rain, I find inner strength that allows me to weather any storm.

paradise rodriguez-bordeaux on campus at harvard

Applying the Quote

As you continue on your personal journies (especially those who are caretakers of others), remember to be gentle with yourself as well. Reach out to others for support if you can.

Within each of us remains an inner strength, waiting to be awakened. Though the path may twist and turn, have faith that it leads you exactly where you need to go. Every experience, no matter how challenging, offers an opportunity to grow in wisdom and compassion.

This quote has guided me through life's storms since 2007, a reminder in difficult times to stay centered in hope. While the seas may rage, I know that calm waters lie ahead for those who navigate with courage, acceptance, and grace. My journey has brought lessons of resilience, and moments of joy shared generously with others. Through it all I am grateful, and resolved to lift others as I continue rising. Life has been very different for me since those days with my siblings, but I am grateful for those lessons and moments I shared with them because that broken road led me right to where I am today and it led me to launch the Catch A Falling Star Foundation.

I continue to share this message of empowerment with my peers, that together we might find light even in life's darkest nights. Though clouds may gather, the sun still shines above. Within each heart dwells an indomitable spirit that no circumstance can diminish or define. Push on, my friends, with love for yourself and faith in your purpose. You have the power to transform even the mightiest obstacles into stepping stones.

Taking Action

This quote gained the power it has because it wasn’t something I merely said, but I was able to live through those truths.

Harold S. Geneen once said, “Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions”. I had to be a leader for my siblings, and I found myself doing that with my peers. I believe words are just that until you put action behind them. Actions are what give all words power, whether positive or negative, and I believe that is the very reason this quote has become positively life-changing for my siblings, many of my peers, and myself.

It encourages us to change our mental positions of the circumstances and gives us a physical direction to allow ourselves to breathe and realize that life is going to be what it is, but we have the power to decide how it will affect us and our response to it. Leading by example for my siblings, I showed them we could still find moments of laughter and joy even during incredibly difficult times. I didn't just tell them we would get through it, I showed them through my own resilience, creativity, and compassion how we could endure those storms together.

Empowering Others

This quote was my rock when all of the major mountains I had to climb felt like the mountain was just too slippery. This quote was my anchor in storms of illness and injustice, a reminder that from suffering comes wisdom, and from wisdom, compassion. Countless others now draw strength from the same truth - that we each hold the key to our own liberation. With patience and understanding, we can meet life's challenges without losing our autonomy or peace of mind. Whether I was fighting cancer or with persons abusing their authoritative positions, this quote consistently reminded me that I had and still have a choice. Over the years, thousands have told me they also use my quote to empower themselves. In the words of my quote, we are giving ourselves space to grieve as needed, and are still holding ourselves accountable for our responses. Above all, we are retaining our individual autonomy in hectic circumstances. I believe this quote gained the power it has because it wasn’t something I merely said, but I was able to live through those truths.

Growing Forward

Staying anchored through life's storms requires courage, faith, and support. We each have inner reserves of resilience we can tap into during challenging times. My journey shows it's possible to transform hardship into wisdom when you refuse to face trials alone.

Though clouds gather and winds howl, the sun always rises again. Each day is a chance to start anew. Focus on lifting others and nurturing your spirit. Lean into whatever sustains hope. Move with purpose guided by love.

Trust your instincts, stand tall in who you are, and dance freely through the rain. Take comfort knowing you have the power to endure life's storms. Your spirit may be shaken but never broken, for you hold the key to your inner liberation. Believe in yourself and push forward one step at a time. The only path is through.


About the Author:

Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux

🌎Global Business Strategist: Building Your Business To Sustainable Profits 🌟Empowerment Coach | Philanthropist #TrouverParadise #IntentionallyInnovative

A Paradise Company / Paradise Rodriguez-Bordeaux Inc.

best-selling author, entrepreneur, and thought leader.

Paradise Rodríguez-Bordeaux, the 2018 Woman of Strength and 2022 Human Rights Activist awards recipient, says, "Sustainability is the bare minimum." As an author, coach, and mental health advocate, she is a passionate advocate for those who have faced adversity and discrimination in life. She has been a philanthropist for more than 15 years, giving back to her community by supporting organizations that provide solutions for poverty alleviation and social justice. Her work as an innovator in business solutions led to the founding of... Learn More "We need to consistently produce effectively efficient solutions.

This world, the communities, it's all of our responsibility. Leaders HAVE to lead."



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