Key To The Labyrinth

Getting lost is 

just another way of saying

“Going exploring!”

Justina Chen

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Excerpts from Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter:

When you’re in the middle of initiation, when your “old” womanhood is dying away, you may think you’ll be stuck in that dark place forever. You cannot see your way out. It is hard to keep moving, to put one foot in front of the other, because they are always landing on some new and unfamiliar ground, and half the time, that place is a swamp.

In a Greek myth, Ariadne gives Theseus a saving thread to drag into the labyrinth so he can find his way back out after he slays the Minotaur monster within. For a woman, the thread is the life cord that sustains you as you move through the spirals of life. Your Ariadne thread is the thread of your feminine Self.

We each have an inner destiny, one imprinted in the soul. Each of us also possesses a very goal directed energy that seeks to bring the seed of ourselves to fruition. It pulses inside use, trying to complete who we are uniquely meant to be. In science, this energy is called entelechy. This is the wise force that spins the Ariadne thread, wanting to take us toward our fulfillment as women. When you deny it or refuse to trust, refuse to pick up the thread, you feel lost, afraid, off center.

The way to find your thread again is to be still and remember who you are, to listen to your heart, your inner wisdom, as deeply as you can and then give yourself permission to follow it.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share who your best permission giver is.

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

Best Books for Couples

 

Women marry men

hoping they will change.

Men marry women hoping they will not.

Albert Einstein

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Yes, there are plenty of fish out there!  Yet bliss can be found with one–or with one at a time. 😉 Now, will someone please hand us some handy tools for navigating the dynamics of commitment?  In celebration of the end of this fabulous summer, some book recommendations for healthy relationships by Huffington Post’s Dr. Nikki Martinez:

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  Things get lost in translation when we are not aware that people speak different languages in the ways we give and want to receive love. How do you and your partner differ?

Couple Skills by Matthew Mackay. How can you communicate with compassion while coping with differences and resolving conflict?

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum.  Should you stay or should you go?

The Relationship Cure by John Gottman. How do you strengthen relationships we tend to take for granted?

When The Past is Present by David Richo. How do you understand the different places where you and your spouse are coming from in navigating your relationship?

I Love You But I Don’t Trust You by Mira Kirshenbaum.  Be it daily dishonesties or a monumental betrayal, how can you heal and build trust again?

Love, Sex and Staying Warm by Neil Rosenthal.  How do you keep good old comfy relationships from going totally ho-hum?

47 Love Boosters for a Happy Marriage by Marko Petkovic. How do you connect and deepen your bond even when you’re both terribly busy?

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your favorite(s) to this list. And may you be happy with however many fish you have–or don’t!

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

My 7 Fave Books About Paris

America is my country

and

Paris is my hometown.

Gertrude Stein

“I don’t like reading!” must be the only chorus my two younger teens agree on. They usually bicker like cat and dog yet form a united front on the topic of books, stubbornly glueing their noses to the computer. If it’s any consolation for a mother, at least, their older brother in college actually values the occasional recommendation, discussing his insights and revelations when we talk on the phone. He says this may simply be a function of age and how the book resonates with his current life journey. I say one out of three kids is not a bad average, yes?

In honor of this blog’s favorite French fan’s birthday, here are  stories set in Paris you’ll want to chill with on or off the beach this summer:

The Flaneur by Edmund White. Because meandering strolls with no particular destination is so very Parisian, observing the everyday theater on the city streets.

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Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik (2001): What would it be like to raise children in Paris? An American writer shares his adventures starting a new career and family abroad.

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Almost French by Sarah Turnbull.  An Australian’s memoir of her giant leap, moving to Paris and marrying into a different culture.

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The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain.  Would you marry a struggling writer much younger than you? Could you be friendly with your husband’s mistress? A story told from the point of view of Hemingway’s first wife.

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My Life in France by Julia Child.  How did the student become the master? Julia tells of her move to Paris with her husband before she figured out what she wanted to do when she grows up.

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The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. A bookseller helps heal wounded hearts by prescribing the perfect story for them to read, eventually mending his own.

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Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott. shares her 20 style secrets learned while living in Paris.

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Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what’s on your summer reading list.  Stay cool and tres chic!

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

The Perfect Mother

My mother’s menu

consisted of two choices:

Take it or leave it.

Buddy Hackett

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This Powerful Goddess has fond memories of growing up inheriting her mother’s good looks, sunshiny personality and a romantic vintage trousseau. May we all be so blessed! For those  whose gifts from their mothers did not initially appear this lovely, an excerpt from Byron Katie‘s A Thousand Names for Joy:

When my daughter attended her first of my workshops with a large group of therapists present, she was working on “the mother from hell”–which was how she had experienced me as she was growing up. She couldn’t bear to look at me as she was doing her Work; it was hard for her even to hear the sound of my voice. I was the root of her problem, she thought, and I was also her salvation; she had to ask the monster for help, which made her furious. At a certain moment she became very passionate and got right in my face saying I should have mothered her differently. I said, “That’s not my job. Mother yourself, Honey. You be the mother you always wanted.” Later she told me that that was the greatest gift I ever gave her. It turned out to be her freedom. I know the privilege of mothering myself. It’s hopeless to see it as anyone else’s job. Here’s what I’ve told all my children: “You have the perfect mother. I’m responsible for all your problems, and you’re responsible for the solutions.”

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you’ve been a good mother to yourself.  And have the happiest one yet!

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Earth Friendly Fashion

I’m just trying

to change the world

one sequin at a time.

Lady Gaga

Earth Day treats for the fashion conscious includes Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion

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… and these clothing brands that strive to raise the bar on the matter of making style kind to the earth:

H&M Conscious  H&M’s affordable options to those who want eco-friendly fashion without breaking the bank or compromising on style.
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Litke Behind the minimalist design, eccentric tailoring and unique touches of Catherine Litke’s self-titled line are quality organic fabrics, handmade details and a business model that puts local manufacturing high on its priority list.
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Amour Vert Leading the eco-style industry with its French casual chic, incredibly conscientious style, “With Every Stitch a Purpose” motto, made-in-the-USA manufacturing, non-toxic dyes, sustainable fibers, innovative fabrics and zero-waste design philosophy. And who else plants a tree for every t-shirt they sell?
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Study NY The female version of Tim Gunn, Tara St James creates minimalist style with contemporary flair using eco-conscious practices, including zero-waste, environmentally friendly fibers and local production.
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Zero + Maria Cornejo Using ecological and sustainable materials and techniques when possible (with everything from fabric made from recycled cassette tapes to llama wool), Maria Cornejo creates timeless, modern designs that have been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Tilda Swinton.
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Reformation Every list of green clothing brands must  include Reformation, the manufacturer of super chic products in an environmentally friendly sewing factory, then ships off their garments made of sustainable fabrics and vintage garments in 100% recycled packaging.
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Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add your Earth Day fashion tips here. Photos on this page are from Google Images.

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Seen in Sicily

The Mafia gets points

for having

the best restaurants.

David Beard

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A tour of Sicily for 11 days? I imagined this island to be just a bunch of rocks so I had serious doubts. Sarah Murdoch, the Goddess of Packing Light and honorary Sicilian, won me over with her enthusiasm and passion, swearing 11 days is not enough to see all of Sicily’s best.

Turns out, Sicily has always been the bread basket of Italy and driving through the island revealed a rolling landscape of fertile farms, vineyards, citrus and olive groves. Even if you don’t have 11 days, here are more than 11 things worth seeing and doing:

1. Visit the charming Contessa of the Palazzo Conte Frederico. Her family converted their Palazzo’s stables into Palermo’s most royal B&B.  She will be thrilled to host your private party and her love story with her husband will make you swoon.

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2. Take the local pulse at bustling open markets and catch quaint domestic street scenes like this genius manual elevator.

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3. The Cathedral of Monreale has 68,000 square feet of mosaics illustrating various passages from the Bible. Each tile measures about the size of the fingernail on your little finger. What’s even more amazing is  that the artisans of this Catholic church were Muslims imported from Constantinople–which explains why the work is similar to the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul.

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4. The Sicilian Goddess of Pastry, Maria Grammtico, hosts group lunches and pastry baking demonstrations. Signora Maria was orphaned very young and had to work at a convent crushing almonds as a little girl. Her biography Bitter Almonds: Recollections and Recipes from a Sicilian Girlhood tells how she turned the difficulties of her childhood into a literally sweet life.

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5. If the kids tag along, this family of puppeteers in Ortigia will remind you of the Von Trapp family of the “Sound of Music” with their Italian productions.

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Trivia for lovers of antiquity: Where do you find the world’s best preserved Greek ruins? Sicily, of course!  In the very long history of this strategically located island’s revolving door of ruling powers, the Greeks had their turn and a few of Sicily’s hills are littered with their art and architecture.

6. Sing an aria at Segesta’s amphitheater. With its incredible acoustics, you can hear the person on stage whisper even when you’re this far. And do notice the backdrop of mountain, sea and neighboring island off the horizon.

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7. On the rolling hills of Agrigento, the Temple of Concordia stands majestic, looking out to the sea. If you’d rather not melt your wings in the heat like this fallen Icarus, visit Sicily off season. At night, this temple and its neighboring ruins are lit for your viewing pleasure as you sip a granita at your hotel terrace.

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8. From the Roman chapter of Sicilian history remains the mosaic floors of the Villa Romana Del Casale from 500 BC. Carpet sellers could not possibly have made a penny from this family who had every inch of their 4,000 sq. feet covered with a variety of scenes and patterns. My favorite was the long hallway of now extinct exotic animals captured in Africa for the Roman extravaganzas at the Coliseum. The “Bikini Girls” in the next room are actually  female athletes of their time.

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9. “Passeggiata” is for people watching. In the early evening at every town especially on Sundays, locals meander down Main Street to say hello to each other and catch up with daily gossip.  Dress well for La Bella Figura, a good first impression and photo opportunities.

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10. Eat well and/or cook better! Learn how to make Arancino rice balls, caponata, fresh gelato, Sicilian pizza,… at the Nosco Culinary School in the hillside town of Ragusa.

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11. Can chocolate be made without heat, butter or artificial additives? Solve the mystery while chocolate tasting at Antica Dulceria Bonajuto in the town of Modica. Had to bring home their pistachio chocolate Easter Eggs.

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12. Wine tasting does not get more charming than in the company of the handsome father and twin sons who run the Benanti vineyard on the slopes of Mount Etna. I love how the labels of their wine bottles  combine the family patriarch’s love of wine and Renaissance art.

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13. In Siracusa, whisper in the Ear of Dionisio or sing your heart out with a grand chorus.

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I didn’t even make it to Sicily’s beaches! Taormina is popular with its pebbles and if you prefer sand, head towards the Southern coast facing Africa.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your Sicily travel tips.  La Dolce Vita Easter to you!

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

How To Raise An Adult

I think

if I make it to 40,

I can be pretty amazing.

Wendy Wasserstein, Uncommon Women & Others

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Wandering Rome with my teen surrounded by magnificent sculptures, I imagine the discipline it took artists to mold hard stone into flowing robes and graceful figures. They give me a measure of comfort realizing that parenting teens requires as much patience and dedication–while remembering to keep our hands tied behind our back.

Why did parenting change from preparing our kids for life to protecting them from life? How has this shift left them unprepared to live life on their own?

Julie Lythcott-Haims sums up the effects of “helicopter parenting” from her observations as a parent and as an academic administrator working with college Freshmen in her book How To Raise An Adult.

The central aim of parenting has evolved to preparing children for success and every act of nurturing gets judged on the basis of whether it will usher a child toward a life of accomplishment or failure. This standard holds our everyday choices hostage to worries for their prosperity and future. As the New York Times article of Heather Hevrilesky puts it, “A child who soaks in the ambient anxiety that surrounds each trivial choice or activity is an anxious child, formed in the hand-wringing, future-focused image of her anxious parents.”

Much as we want to exempt our children from pain and suffering, Julie Lythcott-Haims underlines that learning through experience is the best way humans learn. If we don’t allow our children to suffer the tribulations of life, we are not doing our job of preparing them to be adults. It is necessary to hold our tongue and stay out of their way as they stumble, learn how to pick themselves up and arrive at their own answers.

This book is both pro-parent and pro-child, well researched, easy to read, and full of comforting and practical advice for parents walking the tightrope of being supportive without being controlling. Tough, I know!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what it takes for your to allow your children to figure things out on their own.

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

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