StyleSutstanceSoul has given me many gifts. I have had experiences I never would have had otherwise, been exposed to movies and products I would never have known about or known I cared about; but, most important, are the amazing women I would never have known had it not been for the site.
Terry Laszio-Gopadze is one of those women. I was introduced to Terry by a mutual friend Uli Heine, Director of Development at PCI, a fan of the site and an amazing woman herself. The first time I met with Terry we talked as if we were long time friends who hadn’t seen each other in awhile rather than as the total strangers we were. Terry is very sweet, open and calm, which made sense when I found out she is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Through our conversations and e-mails I learned that she is a giver, of herself, her time and the knowledge she gains from others. She has spent her personal and professional life giving to at risk women through her many acts of charity and especially through her tireless efforts with the organization “Leap to Success.”
Uli thought Terry and I would connect and she was right. She also thought all of you would appreciate Terry’s book, “The Spirit of a Woman;” right again. I am not usually your go to person for book recommendations, as I am not much of a reader; but I hope that in this case you will make an exception. Terry’s book is a collection of short stories, inspirational stories, written by women for women about their own personal and innately female experiences. The book is divided into five sections: Connections; Creating My Destiny; The Gift in the Challenge; Changes and Choices; and Divine Interventions.
Each of these intrigued me and sounded like contemporary twists on “Passages” or at least the stages of my own mid-life condition. My first inclination was to say “mid-life crisis,” but I imagined Terry gently guiding me away from that negative term toward a softer description. I considered situation, but settled on condition, which I think Terry would approve of and that those of you who are in a similar stage of life will relate to.
I can clearly hear her using those five book section titles to more positively describe my negative descriptions of my own emotional state or “circumstances”. I would say I am suffering and struggling with a lot of loss in my life: the loss of my Dad; the loss of my children no longer living at home full time; and other losses in my personal and work life. Terry would describe these losses as “Changes and Choices,” perhaps even “Divine Intervention” in the case of my Dad’s sudden and untimely death.
I might say I am having difficulties with aging in general, and specifically aging in the work place, and with feelings of being obsolete as a full time mother. Terry would encourage me to look for the “Gift in the Challenge,” for new ways to make “Connections,” to “Create my own Destiny,” and she would be right. The experiences of the women who tell the stories in Terry’s book tell me the same thing and give me great examples to learn from.
I asked Terry why she thought the stories in “The Spirit of a Woman” were important. This is what she said.
“The stories of the women who triumph, even in adversity, help us to discover the places inside ourselves that we may not get to on our own. In “The Spirit of a Woman,” we meet women of diverse backgrounds whose stories inspire us with their strength, courage, resourcefulness and authenticity. Their stories remind us of the goodness and greatness in being human.
Stories of hope and transformation help us to remember that we have the freedom to choose. We can choose to follow our rhythms, to speak our truths, and to be faithful. We are always creating our lives based on the stories we choose to guide us. After all, storytelling is the most ancient soul retrieving, healing art on the planet.”