Life Is How You Tell Your Story: A Mother’s Quest to Heal Her Son (Gatekeeper Press) by Yamina Kiochu Salomon is an inspiring true story of love, loyalty and letting nothing sway you from your path. Love isn’t, and shouldn’t be assumed, easy. The best relationships blossom when both parties are committed to hard work and consistently showing up for the other person. 

No relationship exemplifies those values like that of a parent and child, and that bond is tested over and over again when parenting a child with disabilities. When the parent is as committed as this one, though, it’s a labor of love that has the power to challenge all external obstacles and shatter every expectation. 

A MOTHER’S VOW

The author is a Jewish woman living in Israel. Her son, Arieldavid, was diagnosed pre-birth with a life-threatening condition later identified as the exceedingly rare Haddad Syndrome. The first response from a medical professional? Abortion. Appalled, she instead made a promise to her unborn child to “do everything in my power to help you heal and have a happy, full life!” 

Appointments for operations were set within the first month of the child’s life. It took four months to bring him home. Pain and hospitalizations inevitably followed, but as Arieldavid grew, he maintained a sunny disposition. Practically speaking, however, “there was hardly any balance in my or my son’s life.” Contributions from well-intentioned friends and family made an enormous positive impact. 

Initially, Salomon tried to keep her promise by seeking the help of doctors to figure out long-term solutions. While a few came through, that trail mostly led to dead ends. Along the way, her son teetered on the brink of death many times. Meanwhile, she began an alternative journey that facilitated the creation of her own game plan to achieve holistic health and wellness, the Storia Method. She outlines her method in detail so readers can implement it themselves. 

A WIDE WORLD OF NEW POSSIBILITIES 

She also discovered the power of ancient Ayurvedic yoga philosophy. Here is where the book becomes a two-edged sword; it’s not just a motivational personal account but a useful self-help guidebook. You’ll see meditation, nature, spirituality and fortitude do their due diligence. There are too many dreams, visions, retreats, pilgrimages, practices and prayers to list in this review: basically, it’s a woman’s search for meaning with fruitful results.  

The book begins with a few smile-inducing photos of the mother and son, and you’ll be happy to see photos make recurring appearances throughout. The addition lends even more humanity to the already-affecting narrative; it’s impossible to look at these faces and not feel a gentle tug of that thread that connects us all to the same human experience. One comes to mind of the duo grinning as they do yoga together, mother and son facing each other in his and her versions of the restorative pose. 

THE IMPOSSIBLE BECOMES POSSIBLE

Every demonstration of a Puja or step of the Storia Map proves fascinating, but the indomitable spirit of the two main characters is what keeps the reader hooked. The author is indubitably a big-hearted woman, and that heartbeat keeps the book endlessly alive. A wonderful example occurs before the story even begins; after naming various individuals, Salomon dedicates the book, “To all mothers, wherever and whoever you are – know that I truly believe in the power of motherhood, a power you hold within yourself. It is the power of cocreation! I know from my own experience as a mother: if you believe and do your part, the impossible becomes possible!” 

It’s wildly refreshing to read a book about successes in healing and overcoming the odds, especially in these times of bad news and attempts to make sense of an ill world. Photos of Arieldavid happily on horseback when we know that doctors first gave him a death sentence? Priceless. 

In the end, as she shares at the beginning, “this book is about stopping our automatic behavior and starting to think about things that do matter to us, such as what makes us feel joy, love and happiness.”

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This is Yamina Koichu Salomon’s debut. Yamina is a mother and creator of the “Storia Map” method developed for her son, Arieldavid, to create the life she envisioned for him against all odds. She is a Storia meditation teacher and certified yoga teacher with therapy approach. Under yoga guru Dr. Bhadury, she became a Bhrigu yoga practitioner. She also holds a BFA from Parsons School of Design (New York) and an MFA from Domus Academy (Milan, Italy). Previously, she designed exhibitions at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and her BFA thesis was exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art at the Workspheres Exhibition.

After her son was born, Yamina devoted herself to his healing and development while using her creative designer background to approach his healing path in a fun and creative way. Today, Yamina offers her knowledge to others for spiritual growth and to facilitate their healing path.