Family As Strangers

 

If you think you’re enlightened,

go spend a week

with your family.

Ram Das

 

Growing up among cousins is a gift I wish I could give my own brood. While I have fond memories of this in my childhood, I look back as an adult and wonder, “How did my aunts, uncles, and grandparents navigate the politics of living together?” This Powerful Goddess is so blessed by her constant charm, beauty, and a super tight-knit extended family.  I tell my young adults:  That’s the kind of family you want to marry!

What is their magic?

We put our best face forward, stretch patience an inch farther, and find that extra ounce of consideration to bite our tongue around strangers. Yet after a work day wearing the mask of diplomacy around colleagues and clients, some come home to snap at whoever greets them at the door, forgetting that this person has had a long day, too.

When we are around our supposed loved ones, we feel way too comfortable to be ourselves and toss compassion to the wind. Our lives are so intertwined with theirs that we sometimes confuse their choices as personal affront. Who left this cup in the sink I just emptied again?!!!  It is scary knowing that they see all of who we are, they’ve seen us at our worst, and they know the precise combination of buttons to push us over the edge. Then there’s our human tendency to slack off and stop trying even as we expect these same people to hang around us in tough times.

Venting, while convenient in the moment, will naturally corrode any relationship over time. Pressing the pause button instead of exploding? There’s a gift we all can use more of!  If nobody is in the mood to see the situation from a different perspective, take a deep breath, go for a walk in the woods, and do what you need to distract and reboot.  Later, when everyone’s in a more receptive mood, preferably well-fed and rested, explain to the person how you feel when they act a certain way and what you prefer they say/do next time instead.

While who we are and whom we live with may already be baked in personalities, I hold on to the hope that each time I take a deeper breath and bite my tongue a bit shorter, the next generation might be watching and learning how to make a habit of compassion and assume the best of intentions in the closest of their relationships. Self-compassion and empathy are essential ingredients in this magic brew.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you stay cool and collected when it’s dark and stormy indoors or out.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people!

 

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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

 

 

 

Moving to Mars

 

They say love is entirely a matter of chemistry.

This explains why

my wife treats me like toxic waste.

David Bisonette

 

 

 

My teen has determined that between a government that doesn’t care and irresponsible commerce and consumption, we simply must move to Mars.  Why such a  complicated solution and, more importantly, why give up on this planet? How can we use our circle of influence, however small, to make a difference?

Ride the bike or walk.  Get your workout (and make memories if you do this together) along the way to school, lunch and running errands in town.

Donate used clothes and books. Look for local Thrift Shops and the nearby bins for donations.

Leave re-usable bags in the trunk of your car so they’re handy for grocery and shopping trips.

Use washable plates and cutlery.  Ok–I hear the groan especially for parties! Make clean up a snap by soaking used ones until you’re ready to tackle them. Learn to use bamboo chopsticks!

Grow a garden. Getting fingers dirty and familiar with the source of all life is necessary for us to remember that we are not superior but interdependent with all creatures, including the humble earthworm and even germs. Start with a pot of herbs by a sunny window if going outdoors sounds too daunting.

Unplug and opt to be outside.  Good luck convincing teens but if they must know, fresh air and movement are the best antidotes to depression. Assign each member of the family to think of a fun activity outdoors that everyone can do together at least once a week.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share on Earth Day and everyday, how we can give our young a deeper awareness of their role in protecting the oceans, the land, the creatures of our one and only planet.

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice In Wonderland

 

 

Everything in the world

is about sex except sex.

Sex is about power.

Oscar Wilde

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Scarier than zombies, ghouls and witches, my Halloween thoughts wander down the rabbit hole of sexuality having three know-it-all teens curious about tricks and treats. Excerpts from Deborah L. Spar’s Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection:

Until the shift in social norms that Helen Gurley Brown captured and Erica Jong brought to conclusion, women were still bound by the contractual nature of courtship: sex in exchange for a husband/protector, two cows or true love.

Women may lead themselves to believe that now that they can have casual sex, they are truly playing the same game as men. In theory, hooking up means men are now commodified as easily as women. In practice, though, it also means women are no longer in a position to ask for anything but sex in exchange for sex–not marriage, not a date, not even a phone call the next morning or a ride home.

Unless women actually enjoy casual sex, they may have struck a deal that works against their own best interests.  Women may like sex as much as men. They may want it as frequently and in the same infinity of permutations. But the link between sex and relationship is stronger for women, as is the social penalty for promiscuity.

Ultimately, the question is whether women truly enjoy the freedom of uncommitted sex.  Are women equally content to give and get sex for nothing, or have they given men what men want (easy and cheap sex) without getting much in return?

The widespread embrace of the hooking-up norm may be one of womankind’s greatest gift to men: No real commitment. No real feelings required. This is like a man’s paradise!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what you have gained in pursuit of this liberty.

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 Wife & Mother

 

Many Thanks, Many Mothers

 There is no way to be a perfect mother,

and a million ways to be a good one.

Jill Churchill

These photos of 5 generations of mothers are mere copies of photocopies, their originals lost to the gods of posterity.  In the first, I’m the screaming baby on my elegant mother’s lap and, in the second, I’m the chubby new mom showing off her firstborn to her 104 year old great grandmother.   These thin slips of paper are priceless treasures, photography’s unrivaled power to bear witness to our journey of growth.  I am thankful for the many women who have helped get me to where I am today with their love, example, and counterexample.  It all works and it’s all good!

My grandma taught me that gratitude is the key to happiness, my myriad talents are worth exploring without apology, funny is in the irony, and today IS the special occasion for my best dishes.  She taught me to be generous with praise towards myself when others can’t, to forgive and choose to put my attention on what I want more of.

My mom taught me to mind my own business and give advice only when asked, to celebrate myself instead of waiting for others to do so, to have my own money, to speak well of my husband and to be present for my kids.  And if I can’t be the mother they want, that’s ok, too.  One of life’s greatest gifts is that we all get the mother we need.

My aunts, my sister, my friends teach me the pleasures of love without obligation, to bring joy where I am and to welcome more of those who remind me of my fabulousness when I forget, to explore possibilities that thrill my heart, to respect other people’s choices because acceptance and breathing room feed the soul.

My daughter teaches me that no one’s ever too young to want to mother, no one’s ever too old for mothering, and no matter what else I do for my kids, I hope they see that in mothering myself they, too, are the first reliable guardians and mothers of their own happiness.

Happy Mom, Happy Wife, Happy Life!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share with us:  How do you mother yourself well?  

xoxox

Let’s celebrate what you love about your life today!

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

Madame Butterflies Are Free

You cannot say to the sun, “More sun.”

Or to the rain, “More rain.”

Arthur Golden in Memoirs of a Geisha

Madame Butterfly’s latest run at the Metropolitan Opera ended last week fluttering on to other world stages, for who isn’t fascinated by the exotic?  Who isn’t intrigued by the mystery of the geisha?  Who doesn’t want a faithful lover who pines for our return–when and if we feel like it?

My young daughter tells her brother “I love you” and waits for him to reciprocate.  He–brothers being the way they are–rolls his eyes and she cries indignantly, “But he’s supposed to love me back!”

I assured her that loving someone doesn’t make him obligated to love you back.  And to remind them that childhood sibling squabbles are practice for dealing with their future spouses, I added, “Even when you’re married.”

“Ha!” My son laughed incredulous, “Even with my wife?!”

Yes, we are free to love as we choose.  And there’s no greater freedom than in loving simply because.

Special thanks to Mountain for the quote he shared in response to the “Love After Love” poem on this blog’s “Be Divine” page:

True love begins when nothing is looked for in return.  -Antoine De Saint-Exupery

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

In Praise of The Artist

True artists work for pleasure.

Auguste Rodin

I love the drama of black and white, the glamour of the roaring twenties, the memory of good old days when movies didn’t require censorship and guaranteed wholesome family fun–except for all that smoking.

Raised in the magic of Pixar color animation, my kids unanimously pronounce all black and white films as boring even if they came with a soundtrack.  Now that the Oscar has gone to Michel Hazanavicius’  The Artist, there’s a good chance even my husband will join the family and “Make room for the old!”

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

Giants and Other Winners

If at first you don’t succeed, find out if the loser gets anything.

Bill Lyon

My neighbors’ kids got her hooked on football this year.  Sunday’s Superbowl sealed her conversion to the sport and their family took the day off from school to witness the NY Giants parade down Manhattan.  They dove into an ocean of blue shirts, ducking streams of white paper rolls tossed about like footballs, amazed at the fervor of adoring fans who reveled in their heroes’ success as if they had played the game themselves.

With the lure of big checks, diamond rings, and celebrity perks, it is easy to forget that there could be more to gain from our disappointments and frustrations–if we choose to see them as steppingstones for learning and growth.   Many lose a good night’s sleep fretting over their fumbles, missed passes and Hail Mary’s that went unheard by the gods.  Unsung heroes like my neighbor wonder, “What about MY parade?”

 How can you give yourself a parade for showing up in the game of life?

© Sharon Birke

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

xoxox

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