The author of The Tao of a Woman suggests readers carry the book with them (which easy to do, as it is only about 2X4 inches) and read a section, page or line, whenever one is looking for inspiration, direction or counsel. There are different themes and sections which include, The Gift, The Teacher, Time and Timing, Openings and Closings, Love and Healing, Relationships, Who Be Kind To, Where You Are Now, The Daily Practice and Live The Life Now.
In the forward, Dr. Ritterman tells us that the content is an accumulation of wisdom she has acquired from great books, teachers and personal experience, which she has also used in her private psychotherapy practice by giving her clients small post-it notes at the end of a session, which contain words about what they have accomplished. She has found that these notes end up on refrigerators, in purses or wallets, at desks, on nightstands and countless other locals.
There are a lot of gems in The Tao of a Woman and ways of looking at life, suffering and change, that readers can appreciate and savor. While being both helpful and supportive, what catches one by surprise, are some of the concepts and phrases which throw you outside the box of usual expectations for a “spiritual” or “inspirational” collection of words. Here are a few examples. “The child who knows how to be bad and how to be good, knows twice as much as the child who knows only how to be good.” In the section on time she writes, “A moment arrives when you cannot get out of a country, a situation, a job, a relationship. Borders, doors, opportunities close. Read the signs so that you can leave before you can’t.” In Openings and Closings it is said, “If you see trouble coming, however stunning it may appear to be, whether it is a speeding shiny car, an attractive lover turned violent, or the funnel of an awesome tornado, you can go the other way, can you not?
This book also contains great beauty and insight. “Depart before you would cause harm. Return what you borrow in better condition than you found it. Leave your lovers better off than when they met you. When you go, people will sense a certain cool breeze or discover that you have left behind, in a dark corner, a little basket full of light.” “Healing is dreaming of what is not yet. We work with the forces of love and creativity to make the dream of wholeness come true. It will take all of us to heal the planet, as if we were one body, one breath, one heart and one love. That is the idea of a world at peace. Hatred has no wings to fly us there.” Part of A Lesson From the Heart says, “Your heart is an upside down tree drawing nourishment from the earth and rooted in the divine. Even your broken heart can be port of entry for one who grieves.”
Not only is The Tao of a Woman useful as a practical down to earth collection of acquired wisdom that anybody can use, it is also kind to the eyes, with a beautifully lyrical layout and typeset. Even though it is small in size, it is easy to read. Isabelle Allende wrote the forward for one of Michele Ritterman’s books and it is easy to see why they connected. Like Isabelle, Michele writes with down to earth surrealism that is rooted in day to day life and ways in which we can open ourselves to the unknown, while acknowledging the known.