Dear Amazing Daughter FEATURED CONTRIBUTORS bring their dynamic insights shared through a collection of intimate letters.
The vulnerability of their life-changing break-throughs and honesty of
their words are shared with the intention to move and motivate many to
set free hidden potentials, overlooked value, and untapped possibilities.
Gayle O Leary.
“If I knew these were the last words I would ever say to my daughter, what would I say? What advice would I give her? What is the most important thing I have learned on my journey? What is the legacy I want to leave behind?
The heart of my letter to my daughter is to heed the call to dance with life. This takes courage, especially when those around us don’t understand and want us to stay as we are. Humans don’t like change, and when someone in our circle changes, it is uncomfortable because a change for one often means a change for all. But isn’t that a relief…otherwise, we would live in stagnation for generations.
My heart’s greatest passion is to encourage others to recognize their own magnificence, to believe in the value of their breath on this planet, and to witness transformation as they find their own wings and share their incredible gifts with the world. Wayne Dyer said, “Don’t die with your music still in you”. This is what motivates me to push myself, and others, to fully express their inner beauty. I have learned that the greatest blessing we can give to another human being is to love and accept them as complete and perfect, however, they show up, without judgment. This journey of writing my letter has shown me that this is what I have always longed for; I thought I needed unconditional love and acceptance from others, but in truth, I only need this from myself. My wish is that we all come to this place.
– Gayle O Leary
“My intention is to inspire girls and women to reclaim and internalize their own power; to develop a deep and honest relationship with their own unique “sacred self” and to encourage them to access and trust their inner voice until it becomes their own inner authority. A woman’s true power is directly impacted by her ability to listen within and take inspired action on the messages she receives. For the intuitive feminine nature of a woman to become a source of power for her, it needs to be consciously evolved through her.
Every woman has the ability to change her own life. Every woman has the power to help evolve the disempowered cultural messages and realities women continue to face in our world by taking action on the guidance she finds within. My intention is that after a young girl or woman reads this letter, she will recognize her own potential to transform her life, realize her destiny and change the world.”
– Bentley Kalaway
“I was born with so much courage for a reason. This story of what occurred in my life is my biggest gift today. With one out of four girls reporting that they suffer some type of sexual trauma between the ages of five - eighteen years old and the number growing every day, I feel it is my responsibility to bring this to the global consciousness. There are hardly any statistics for the age group birth - five years of age. In my heart, if even one girl is being sexually abused, that is too many.
Our daughters are our most precious gifts; they are the hope for our future. They possess the love and compassion that this world needs to balance out the anger and aggression that is so prevalent today. By allowing this travesty to continue, we are destroying the feminine balance of this earth. When a girl is sexually traumatized, her heart becomes guarded. She becomes filled with shame. She becomes angry and in many cases turns her anger inward, practicing self-mutilating behaviors.
As a society, we need to own this shame and provide safe havens for girls to fully recover. They carry secrets that can last for generations, suffering in silence. We must protect our innocent daughters in order to preserve and honor who they are and respect them as intelligent beautiful women.
I feel strongly that this is my service in this life to call attention to this issue and to honor these girls and women as “Warriors” not victims for having come through the experience. As a society, my dream is that we can collectively release the shame around the term “sexual abuse” so that many more women can come forward and begin to heal their wounds. We say we are supportive of those who are “raped” or “suffering” from sexual trauma, but the truth is we are still persecuting these women in more cases than not for coming forward.
I look at my eyes in a picture when I was less than two years old, when my eyes were bright and my life was full of promise. I see a Shameless Warrior™, just as I stand before you today as a free and loving woman, fully alive in my birthright with an open heart. What happened to me is only a story that I tell, not my identity or who I am. I fully experienced the horrors associated with sexual trauma in any young life, however I am representative of what hope and recovery looks like as I stand before you as the Shameless Warrior™ in reverence and integrity.
My letter is to every girl and woman in this world, for we are all Amazing Daughters in our own hearts.”
- Laura Goodman
“Writing this letter allowed my “Soul” to talk to my
12-year-old self, the one who’s been hurting all this time. The one who wished someone had been able to tell her these words and give her the love I’ve now given myself by putting all my love into this project. If it could save just one life from years of misery and feeling unloved then any discomfort I have had in writing it has been worth it.”
– Alma Pineda
“Initially, I felt like an imposter – an awkwardly accidental guest to this conversation. However, as the narrative emerged and began to take shape, my ‘belonging’ here became clearer. What followed, came from an acceptance; an understanding that the calling to write this letter was deeply rooted in empathy. I want to reach women who, like me, have neither birthed, nor have a daughter of their own – either by choice, chance, or circumstance. I want you to know that our mothering capacity remains relevant; why it is, and illustrate how you and I are required in creating and constructing a new leadership model by, and for women.
As women, we cannot avoid being role models. We will lead and influence young women and young men just by our day-to-day interactions. We will teach them through both our actions and our inactions. Young women will be watching and may make decisions based on our example.
You may ask yourself, “Young women – yes, but young men as well”? Yes, and all men.
Make no mistake; women did not come to be from a rib. Women came to be from a miraculous amalgamation of genetic magic that intersected with the mysterious algorithm of love, in partnership with men, which evolved into a family body mysteriously of our choosing. From there, I believe the direction of our lives continue to be shaped based on a series of more choices. I also believe the purpose and opportunity of life to be twofold; to choose to be of service to others, and to choose to leave things a little better than we found them. If women of all ages and circumstances were ignited into courageously activating their voices – knowing their contribution is both relevant and required, we could bring the much-needed healing and balance to our world.
Women understand what is required to collaborate because their bodies have capacity to create new life in symbiotic, parallel partnership with their own. Women have a unique understanding of evolution on a cellular level. Perhaps, this is why women are natural gather-HERS.
The creative ability exclusive to women offers potent evolutionary, and revolutionary access. Women have access to everyone and everything; other women, men, and children. When women gather together, we bring a different dynamic to resolution (or, as I prefer to see it: re-solution).
I believe each of us are born at a time and in a place in the world when we are most needed; and I believe what each of us can offer and contribute is exquisitely individual. Today, we can grow where we are planted, or grow roots in pots where we can be transported and transplanted. The germination of greatness is seeded in every generation. But what if yours is the generation that finally understood that the key to peace is to share all our keys? If each of us holds an answer to a problem – then what do we risk leaving unresolved if we do not collaborate on delivering solutions?
I believe grammatical genderization and phonetics has, literally, played a subliminal role in keeping women’s voices and identities blurred. Women can speak with sacredness; and by sacred – I mean with unique credibility – or ‘say-cred’.
This letter is a rally call for ALL daughters to gather. To join with other dynamic, innovate-HERS and genuinely support each other in transforming from vict-‘hims’ to vict-HERS. Together we can influence and encourage a conversation for women to create, construct and define a leadership structure that reflects new philosophy of leadership – and develop the language to express it so that it can be brought into our communities. This will require deconstruction of the current paradigm in order to reconstruct a vessel that is unified in language; aligned in values with a shared purpose to bring leadership responsibilities into balance.
I hope the collection of letters and legacy in this book facilitates and inspi-HERS women to come together, as we have, to confirm you are not alone in your desire to have your voice heard. Your voice matt-HERS. When we choose to conquer our fears of being silenced or censored and stand for our deepest, most authentic life’s purpose – we will transform the world.
We are ecstatic you are open to taking your place in the pow-HER-ful circle of that conversation. Personally, I welcome you in co-creating The Real Heroine Epidemic™”.
- Laurie Vallas
“I believe that each of us, in a different way, is wounded and we must bring these wounds to the surface if we are to be whole. In my case, it was a quiet wound: one I wasn’t aware of, yet I never knew why no matter how accomplished I was, in spite of how many books I wrote or diplomas or praises I received, I never felt enough: there was always something missing. It was as if I knew something others didn’t and I was a fake. Though unnoticeable, a type of free-flowing depression was always hovering over me; like a dark cloud. However, that dark cloud would dissipate when I was with my daughters. It was then and only then that I KNEW for a fact I was real in my burning desire for them to be happy and secure human beings.
Today I know that dark cloud is called emotional incest and I wonder how that same cloud surrounds/affects other women. Like all abuses, it lives secretly in our unconscious and can manifest itself in many forms. Perhaps it is the most difficult to understand because the adult is often a very loving parent. However, I ask you, what is worse than cheating on your own mother (albeit emotionally) with your father?
It wasn’t until seven decades later and being given the challenge by Marsh Engle to write the most honest and transparent letter I could to my daughters (and all daughters), that I was able to face and articulate the bare truth I had sugar coated my entire life.
Because there are others with the same quiet wound, because I know my wound is also theirs, because I know these women (and men) have unfulfilled potentials, desires and needs just waiting to be expressed, I dedicate this letter. Emotional Incest is a form of abuse that has rarely been addressed and writing about it in a letter of love to my amazing daughters has finally, finally, finally set me free to forgive myself. (After all, and above all, if they hadn’t loved me unconditionally, I never could have loved myself.)
It is my humble and fervent hope that if there are others who resonate with my experience, that they won’t have to wait 70 years to be free; that by giving their silent wound a name and a voice, they will be able to understand, forgive themselves, and perhaps even enter in a conversation about the subject of emotional incest. It is time. It is our time. The truth will ALWAYS set us free!!”
Vicki Gotsis Ceraso.
“When I was invited to contribute my letter to the Dear Amazing Daughter book, I was actually stunned at how quickly I answered a big resounding YES!
It quickly became apparent to me the depth of craving that I possess to inspire and empower women in discovering themselves at a much deeper level. In fact, it felt that this was a pivotal moment in my life, the opportunity I had been working towards and longing for and yet,
I had not recognized it as such until the humbling invitation by Marsh Engle was made.
I do not have daughters of my own. I do have three incredibly wonderful sons whom I respect and adore with all my heart and I am enjoying watching them grow into the incredible men that they are becoming.
However, having worked with hundreds of women on a very deep and personal level for almost twenty years and having a deep connection with my young cousins and nieces, I felt like I had to write to all the daughters of the world and share myself in a deep, vulnerable and unapologetic way.
I dedicate my chapter to ‘my daughters’ Celine Dabate, Sarah and Katie Ceraso, Alessia Kapoulitsas, Zoe Chryssikos and to daughters everywhere!
My wish is that women come away with an understanding that we are each on our own unique life journey and to consider for a moment a very empowering thought and that is, that all the challenges that cross our path have been placed there with careful consideration by us, at a time we no longer clearly remember, a time before we entered into this life experience. This was a time when we knew exactly what it was that we needed to learn, to experience and to teach others.
The power in that thought is evident when you consider we made choices for ourselves and we came equipped with all the tools we need to deal with it all. This way of thinking empowers us to see challenges and adversity as life lessons and in doing so, we discover the gems that are hidden within!
I am insanely passionate in igniting in women a sense of courage, tenacity and feminine fearlessness so that women become empowered within themselves through education, a greater sense of self, discover their unique feminine power, and become a contributor of change in the world. By believing in themselves, their intellect, their talents, and their intuitive guidance, women will be the change our global society so desperately craves and is crying out for.
Imagine how every woman would experience her life if she could learn to access and trust her intuition and use it as a guiding light along her life-path. There is no greater truth than your intuitive guidance screaming at you…trusts me, I know!
Every woman can impact on reducing poverty, domestic violence, corruption, belittling attitudes and destructive female obsession of body image and personal value.
This is why I am creating Ultimate Life School, for women to find and learn how to use their divine feminine power and become an ever-expanding woman who achieves all that her heart yearns for with fearless certitude.
In writing this chapter, what became apparent to me and what I feel I have been most grateful for, is my now crystal clear awareness that my deepest passion and aspiration is a responsibility to share my life experiences so as to highlight and be the example of who you become for yourself and for others when you take charge of your way of looking at your life circumstances.
If I can inspire just one woman to realize she has absolute control of who she becomes in every instant, simply by choosing to foster a mindset that is positive, empowering and resolute and then follows through by taking action towards living a fulfilling life, I will be ecstatic!!!”
- Vicki Gotsis Ceraso