Terry Laszlo-Gopadze
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Archive for September, 2010

Story Circle Book Reviews

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

reviewing books by, for, and about women

I had to shake my head several times in awe when I read the stories in The Spirit of a Woman. So many women featured here have overcome vast obstacles in their lives in order to survive and even thrive.

I kept looking to the back of the book to the bios to see what the women are doing now. They’re all taking what they learned from their life experiences into the world as peace activists or in community or international efforts, as writers, lecturers, teachers, storytellers, shaman, artists, mentors, spiritual directors, doctors, and runners. The word “runners” is to honour Bobbi Gibb, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1966.

There is one exception to the ongoing efforts in the world and that is Nicolette Tal who lived with a motor neuron disease. Before her death in 2004, she was able to write by twitching her lower lip to activate a laser hooked up to her laptop computer. I should say her efforts in the world are ongoing as we have her story and the people who knew her remember her determination to focus on what was important to her.

All of the women’s stories are full of courage, compassion (including self-compassion), discovery and authenticity.

Click here to read full review

Light from Within

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

by Terry Laszlo-Gopadze

backyard“If you are too busy to purr, you are too busy.”
-Meow Tzu, Meow Te Ching

One day not so long ago, Jenny Parker and I enjoyed lunch together, and I was struck once again, as I have been many times before, by how pretty she is. As we spent a few hours together, I also realized that she is so much more than just a pretty woman. She lights up the space she occupies. Jenny glows.

Jenny is an anesthesiologist. When she was young, making the kind of choices that young people must make, she considered a career in design. Eventually, however, she chose otherwise. She took a very different path and became a physician, and for a number of years she conscientiously did everything that her professional life required of her. But it was not without personal cost. Year after year there were heavy responsibilities, long hours, and late nights, and all of it took a toll. Finally, she knew it was time to make space for a life she could truly love. She was years away from retirement age, but she would retire. Friends and family were surprised, perhaps worried, and they warned, “You are too young to retire.” “You will regret this.”  “You are going to be bored.” But she knew in her heart that gardens were her destiny, and she hungered for the joy that their beauty would give her. She turned away from all of the warnings and followed her heart. These days she spends as much time as she wishes in gardens, those of her own and those of others. She is not bored. Jenny glows.

Although she has retired from her full time work as an anesthesiologist, Jenny has not retired from medicine. As she talked about the “doctoring” she does now, her smile was continuous and contagious. She told me about the indigenous Mayan people in Guatemala who need basic medical services and about Mexican people who haven’t money enough for the surgeries that will restore them to health. She told me about traveling to Guatemala and to Mexico to help those people, as well as others who live in remote areas where there is no health care at all. Her voice rang with passion as she talked about the joy of using her medical skills in these ways.  She is not bored. Jenny glows.

And as we shared a meal, what a joy it was for me to be witness to my friend’s happiness! I was reminded of the wise saying “You will feel fulfilled when you do the impossible for someone else.”  (I found that bit of wisdom on a Yogi tea bag …really!)

Jenny does the impossible for strangers.  She is not bored. Jenny glows.

Terry Laszlo-Gopadze

The Spirit of a Woman Available at:
Barnes & Noble

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