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A Woman Alive

September 11th, 2013
by Diane

My Greatest Loss

Judy Giovangelo is the Founder of Ben Speaks, a not for profit whose mission is to STOMP OUT teen suicide and address the myriad of issues leading up to this final act.  On April 16th, 2009 Judy’s son Ben chose to take his life by hanging himself. In the face of this tragedy Judy made the courageous decision not to sink into the despair that gripped her, but to stand up and speak out for teens through out the world who feel such deep hopelessness that they decide to end their lives.  Her story and her strength are a testament to the power can be unleashed when tap into and acknowledge our most vulnerable and authentic selves.  Thank you Judy.


Ben’s decision to end his life created a shock wave from the core of my being to the ends of the universe.

He was a Buddha in our midst for which I have always sensed and known. The honoring of his life and presence was tremendous. More than I could have ever imagined in my mind. Not only was this honoring a testament to the energy of this amazing young man, but also a testament to each of us, as individuals, within this family. The outpouring of love for all of us, the deep sadness felt by all who joined in his passing was and will always be a true blessing for which I am eternally grateful.
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September 3rd, 2013
by Diane

My Greatest Gifts

Dara Cole is the owner of Sacred Brooklyn, a beautiful and special yoga studio that shines with the light of community gathering, movement and sharing.  The spirit of this studio is not surprising once you begin to get to know Dara, and I am so grateful for her open and vulnerable sharing here on the pages of #authenticlife.  Dara is truly an example of a woman who has found her authentic calling and received “the greatest gifts from her greatest struggles.”  Thank you Dara.  www.sacredbrooklyn.com

Dara_PhotoI’ve always been consumed by righting injustices, both mine and others.

As a child I used to secretly harbor designer clothes I’d received at home and gift them to my peers who didn’t have them.  I did the same thing with Binaca breath freshener and cigarettes.  In the moonlight, I’d write poems about my own salvation, a light at the end of the tunnel.  In the daylight, I was passively suicidal for as long as I can remember.  As soon as puberty hit, most of my struggles were enacted on my body.  I was anorexic, bulimic, abused laxatives, exercised until my entire spine sported a series of bruises and over ate until I couldn’t move.  Everything was shameful.  In college, I recovered from the most insidious parts of my eating disorder and realized it’s roots in abuse and woman-hating and I started talking about it.  In my transparency, a whole lot of other young women were able to begin telling the truth about their own private war with their body.  I was also disastrously un-embodied.  I had checked out of my skin very early on and lived mostly in the clouds observing life as almost a third party.  This lead to; embarrassing gym classes, car crashes, insomnia, and bi-yearly accidents causing broken bones and emergency rooms.  I was almost fatally unaware.  Read more »