Full House, Fool’s Belly


I know a great joke about CoronaVirus

but you probably

would rather not get it.



There goes my empty nest celebration as the husband sets up two monitors to work from home and the young adults fill the garage and basement with their dorm stuff to finish the semester online.  I have only one question for all the universities Where’s my tuition refund?!!!  A son who is a 6’4” lump of inertia at home wondered out loud What’s so bad about this (enforced 24/7 togetherness)? Hmmm… Let’s see…Your mother might kill someone if the virus doesn’t?

An interesting fact from The Economist:  The Coronavirus kills not by destroying cells, but by overstimulating the immune system’s inflammatory response. While all this virus hoopla might pass soon enough, a more serious concern that won’t go away by itself is this: How do we unknowingly stress and overstimulate our immune system on a daily basis?  How can we give our bodies the best chance of weathering future storms?

Gluten, sugar and dairy cause inflammation that may not trigger the shrill bells and whistles of a pandemic. Their symptoms appear quietly and innocently enough as a variety of illnesses such as allergies, diabetes, celiac, autism, MS, Crohn’s, and depression. Most medical professionals resort to medication as the first response and when symptoms are suppressed (which are our body’s means of asking for help), we forget the need to understand the underlying causes. Symptom suppression is akin to saying to our body “Shut up!” when it’s begging for our attention to change something in our diet and lifestyle. Making a change gets doubly tricky because these foods are not only widely popular and convenient, they charm the tongue and comfort the psyche, triggering that corner of our brain which induces addiction.

Should you feel like locking yourself up in a closet to get away from everyone else at home in the long days ahead, one of these books might be good company:







Exercise outdoors, open windows as much as possible and keep breathing deeply. Like all of life’s troubles, this, too, shall pass. Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you pay attention to what your body is saying.



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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Best TED Talks by Women

Women are made 

to be loved,

not understood.

Oscar Wilde


To celebrate Women’s History Month 2016, here’s a short list of my favorite TED talks by women to inspire all. Enjoy!

The Secret to Desire in Long Term Relationships by Esther Perel

Our need for comfort and stability in a relationship goes against what feeds desire. What to do?


Why 30 is Not the New 20 by Meg Jay

Raising teens? A few things to think about…


Can we “Have it all”? by Anne-Marie Slaughter

Can we ever live and let live on the matter of our life choices?


The Opportunity of Adversity by Aimee Mullins

What’s a gorgeous woman to do without legs?


The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What is the untold version of the story you believe in?


Be an Opportunity Maker by Kare Anderson

How can you use our talents if you’re “phobically shy”?


The Price of Shame by Monica Lewinsky

How do you move forward from being shamed on a grand scale?

Why Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads by Dame Stephanie Shirley

How a child refugee of Nazi Europe made her life worth saving

Dare to Disagree by Margaret Heffernan

Is loving people who don’t think like us worth it?

How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over by Mel Robbins

How to get what you really want, just pick one!


The Person You Really Need to Marry by Tracy McMillan

Divorced three times, what if he isn’t the one–again?

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite inspiration.



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



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman



Sitting With Feeling

When something is bothering me,

I write a song that tells my feelings.

Loretta Lynn

In “I Know I’m In There Somewhere,” Helene G. Brenner, PhD, writes:

Feelings, while not facts, are a highly concentrated form of information with their life-affirming story to tell.  There are no bad feelings–only feelings that get stuck.  And there are no bad thoughts or parts of you–only parts that you have exiled and don’t listen to.  No person or authority in the world can tell you what “should be” going on in your heart, nor do you have to prove, to yourself or to anyone else, that you have a “right” to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.

While American culture adulates people who project an unflaggingly positive, cheerful, “can do” spirit,  mental (and physical) health doesn’t mean being happy all the time.  It’s about being resilient, knowing how to heal and recover from losses and difficulties, being flexible rather than brittle.  To do this, we need to allow feelings of hurt, grief, fear or rage to be listened to, not suppressed:

1. Acknowledge.  Human beings are wired to run from difficult frightening or uncomfortable feelings.  The running can take the form of intellectualizing, minimizing, spacing out, panicking, blowing up or going to pieces. When a feeling is bothering you, notice the sensations you feel in your body and simply sit with them.

2. Being With.   Breathe deeply, step back from what you’re doing and notice what is going on inside you, without judgment.  Name the feeling as accurately as possible, “I’m feeling furious right now.”  Take a full minute to sit with the feeling and the sensations experienced by your body.  Notice, observe and describe the elemental feelings that you didn’t know were there, “It’s a big black hole that feels unseen and unloved.” Don’t impede its flow by thinking about how you can try to change or resolve it.  Just notice what else shows up.

3. Compassion.   Go as close to the bone as you can in telling the exact truth about what you feel.  In identifying your feelings, you free yourself to hear them out and learn about them without becoming them.  When you acknowledge the truth of your feelings, the grip of the past loosens and you begin to open up to possibilities.   In paying attention to what the pure feeling has to tell you, you allow an answer to present itself.

Click on “Leave a Comment” above to share what helps you deal with difficult emotions.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947


Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife and Mother


And Marilyn Monroe Lives On

It’s not so much that I’m always late,

it’s just that everybody else is in such a hurry!

Marilyn Monroe

Goddess Gina Bonati was such a joy to play with–a woman who has witnessed life’s ups and downs yet remains mindful of her blessings and comfortable in her skin.   When I tell her she reminds me of Marilyn Monroe, she admits it’s been a long time since she last heard this compliment.  In her youth, she was often mistaken for the bombshell especially when she dyed her hair blonde!  We laugh as she pretends to smoke her cigarette earrings.

In honor of Marilyn’s birthday, June 1st, let’s dare say “I love you, too!” to the parts of our selves that we numb, hide or kill to be pleasing to others.  What we believe to be unworthy of acceptance and compassion is what needs these the most.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) and tell us how Marilyn touched your life.

PS  A new photo exhibit “Marilyn & Me” by Lawrence Schiller runs until the end of this month in NYC.

© Sharon Birke

Let’s celebrate your life today!

201 697 1947


Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


Waking Up Gently

Never work before breakfast.
If you have to work before breakfast,
eat your breakfast first.
Josh Billings

From Jon Kabat-Zinn in “Waking Up to Our Senses”:

We go from one thing to the next all day long, virtually addicted to distracting ourselves, afraid of what might happen if we didn’t fill it up, if we stopped interrupting ourselves and just settled into now.  We fill up our time and then wonder where it all went, why we feel so far from the mark, so far from our deepest aspirations, from contentment, from peace, from really being at home within ourselves and in deep connection with others.

What would it be like to settle into our own body, just lying in bed or sitting around for a few moments?  You can drop in on yourself and purposely not fill the present moment with anything, especially anxieties about the future and everything you”should” be getting done, or resentment about what has already transpired and hasn’t gone exactly as you desired.  You can play with seeing what it’s like to linger with such feelings and breathe with them for a tad longer than you are likely to think you can possibly stand.

Click on the “Leave a Comment” (above left) to tell us how you connect with yourself best in the mornings.

PS  Thank you so much, Powerful Goddess Gina Bonati, for gracing my blog with your divine beauty!



© Sharon Birke

Let’s celebrate you today!

201 697 1947


Photography for 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?  


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

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947


Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


The Guru Within

Cultures are different as can be,

but in their souls, women want the same things:

 dignity, respect, love, freedom.

Jodi Cobb

No other country can claim to be both mecca and inspiration for the proliferation of gurus as India.  Whether the expertise be yoga, business, finances, self-improvement, romance, beauty, etc…, being a devotee to someone who is supposed to know better helps us rise above challenges with the aspiration that “If (s)he can do it, so can I.”  Then there is also the convenience of having  someone else to blame when things go awry. 😉

Author Meryl Davis Landau (Downward Dog, Upward Fog) writes in Huffington Post about gurus who admit they are only human, too: How Three Top Yoga Masters Find Balance, Both On and Off the Mat.

Seane Corn, cofounder of nonprofit activist group Off the Mat, Into the World:  I used to feel envious of people I felt were living their lives fully in ease and integrity. Now I recognize that no matter how I might perceive them, everyone is dealing with issues that I can’t begin to understand. If a shadow of judgment towards others comes up, I’ll immediately come back to me:  What’s coming up for me, what does it remind me of, how can I heal it in myself?

John Friend, founder of Anusara Yoga:  After getting over the feelings of betrayal and violateion when my bookkeeper embezzled all my money, I applied the ‘three As’ from Anusara yoga. Attitude, in terms of first opening myself to the pain without denying what I was feeling, but then being optimistic that I had the capacity to get everything back. Alignment, by, instead of putting all the blame on her, taking responsibility that I had put myself in that situation by turning my finances over to another person.  This calms the mind because by taking back control I knew I was reducing the likelihood it could happen again. And action, by creating a plan to get money in the bank to pay the bills.

Ana T. Forrest, creator of Forrest Yoga and author of Fierce Medicine:     Never waste a good trigger. Triggers — something someone says that gets you white-hot angry or terrified out of proportion — are horribly uncomfortable, yet they can teach you so much. My own childhood abuse led to two key triggers: my quickness to anger and my tendency to plummet instantaneously into an emotional abyss.  A messy room left by my ex triggered my ‘unable to deal’ avoidance feelings and heart stress. He left in March 2008, but I was retriggered by this again just the other day.   I intend to clear any and all emotional trash that I find connected to this. I am okay with being a work in progress. My philosophy encompasses growing, making mistakes and learning from them as a lifelong process.

How do you pay attention to your Inner Guru?

© Sharon Birke


Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

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