Queen of Heart

Honesty is the key

to a relationship.

If you can fake that,

you’re in.

Richard Jeni

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Esther Perel, sex and relationship therapist and author of Mating in Captivity, says we often confuse love as a state of enthusiasm. “To love” is a verb, and verbs are dynamic implying action, intention, and responsibility. If our ability to love ourselves well determines our success in loving another, what can these verbs mean for our relationships?

To Give.  Is it better to give what we believe the other person should have or what that person wants? True giving is being attuned to someone’s needs, to make that person feel special and that they matter. Assuming your partner is not a self-absorbed despot, giving from a place of confidence and generosity frees us from the chains of expecting acknowledgement or getting something in return. With this we allow ourselves the freedom to feel complete joy and empowered by a simple action. Giving when we’re at low points of our lives can also be therapeutic, too, lifting up our own spirits when we channel our energy towards seeking out those who need our help most. Of course, giving to ourselves first is essential to replenish the well.

To Receive. How do you respond to a compliment or a kindness?  If you feel obligated to respond in kind or wonder what that other person wants in return from you, take a moment to feel worthy and simply say “Thank you.”  Being a gracious receiver is a gift in itself.  Allowing others to give to us lets them feel good about themselves, too.

To Take.  Women can learn a few things from male assertiveness and entitlement.  Assertiveness is what we need to land jobs, get a better deal in negotiations, and evolve our (sexual) relationships. Since only you know what pleases you best, share that knowledge with your partner. We save ourselves a whole lot of grief when we surrender to the reality that mind reading is not a very common talent.

To Refuse. From the kitchen, the boardroom and the bedroom, women do things to please others that they don’t necessarily want to do and end up not liking themselves for it. Say no without closing possibilities by giving options and alternatives. If establishing boundaries is essential for a healthy relationship, should it be a stretch to say “I feel free to be speak my mind around him?”

To Play.  Playing lets you be creative and dream together, circumventing the hardships of reality. The ability to laugh and play strengthens a couple’s bond, especially amidst the incessant demands of parenting. Being silly, mischievous and unpredictable is a big factor in keeping your sex life fun. The freedom to be unselfconscious around someone is empowering. When you feel like you’re in a stalemate, think of ways to create happy memories and new adventures together. Great for couples, but even more necessary around moody teens. I grew up hearing “The family that prays together, stays together.” As a mom, I now realize “The family that plays together, stays together” is big.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what the sweetest  Valentine verb means to you!

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

Sparkles For Santa

A wonderful gift 

may not be wrapped

as you expect.

Jonathan Lockwood Hule

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In addition to framing your fabulous Powerful Goddess portraits as gifts you and your loved ones will treasure forever, here are some fun stocking stuffers to add a twinkle to Santa’s eye:

Monogrammed Headphones Case

No more messy tangles in her purse with one of these compact cases in her favorite color.

LP Player

Yes, Spotify works well enough, but how about a little romance and nostalgia with an LP Player with her favorite album in vinyl?

My Life Story So Far

Journaling is my favorite therapy. It is amazing how our mind works and  what eventually pops up when we write out musings, feelings and pay attention to questions we ask ourselves. My Life Story So Far offer pages of prompts to inspire you to write about past, present and what you envision as your future.

Tinder Nightmares 

Unspirational documents the warped and hilarious world of Tinder exchanges that are often awkward, sometimes hideous, and rarely romantic, serving as fair warning for women intrigued by casual dating apps.

Polaroid Zip Mobile Photo Printer

Instant prints fro her smartphone to share and spare anytime, anywhere.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your own bright ideas to make Santa smile.

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

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

Eat Your Heart Out

 

 

I never worry about diets.

The only carrots that interest me

are the numbers on a diamond.

Mae West

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To eat, drink, and truly be merry through the holidays, can we please skirt the topic of weight, workouts and diets at festivities? I do my best by walking away or staying mum when this very popular ho-hum subject comes up. What could happen in 2016 if you chuck the weighing scale, keep active in whatever way is fun for you and just listen to your body–eat natural fresh food when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full?

From Courtney Martin’s book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body:

Sex and food are the two most loaded issues of our time, the Pandora’s box of our culture, universal and forbidden simultaneously. We even use the same language when it comes to both: temptation, pleasure, crave. Just as we are surrounded by advertisements for food that we “shouldn’t” eat, invited to indulge because we deserve it, we are told, in the next thirty-second spot, that we should get back to the gym if we want to work off some guilt and make ourselves worthy of a bikini this summer. Sexual images are all around us, and pornography inaccessible at the touch of a button, but any teenage girl who wants to protect her reputation must exercise absolute restraint, wait for a committed relationship to explore her sexuality, and keep quiet about masturbation.

How can anyone, under these conditions, be expected to know her true desire? How can anyone navigate the dangerous terrain of reputation and expectation on the road toward her authentic sexuality? How can a woman excited about life emerge without hating the body that leads her into temptation?

After publishing The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life, Wendy Shanker traveled the nation doing readings, book signings, and talking to fans. She reflects, “The best lesson I learned touring is that eery woman, no matter how heavy or how skinny, feels fat. When you’re thin, you’re never thin enough.” When I see some hot girl saunter down the street, I used to give her a dirty look, sure that she had a perfect life. Now I know better. I know that she may look different on the outside, but inside she feels the same way I do. Now, instead of a dirty look, I throw a little mini-vibe of compassion her way.”

This is the heart of the matter: A perfect girl can rule just as tyrannically, and a starving daughter can ache just as deeply, inside a thin body. Our dissatisfaction is never, at its deepest, about our bodies. This is why fat women and thin women often experience the world in similar ways. If a thin woman feels inadequate and “thinks fat,” she may endure less hate coming from the outside in than a fat woman but just as much criticism and sadness from the inside out. If a woman of any size is able to stop her negative self-talk and accept herself, she may experience the world with a little peace of mind.

Obsessing over every little thing we put in our mouths takes away our ability to control our own thoughts, our inalienable right to feel good about ourselves regardless of the size of our thighs. It takes away our time, our pleasure, our energy, our vision, our joy. We are not our bodies. Our souls are not our stomachs. Our brains are not our butts.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how well you’ll feed Santa at last. And have the merriest Ho-Ho-Ho!

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

Best Books This Summer

Too much

of a good thing

is wonderful.

Mae West

While I do my best not to get overly baked in the Mediterranean sun, do tell what’s on your reading list?  Here’s a collection by (mostly) women writers for whatever corner of the planet this summer may take you:

The Ladies of Managua by Eleni Gage. Through three generations in Nicaragua and Miami, love, loss, secrets, and the mother daughter dynamic hold true no matter where we live.

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The Wild Oats Project by Robin Rinaldi. Move over, Madame Bovary! This woman’s midlife memoir  is a quest for passion at any cost.

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Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave. A Sonoma vineyard provides the backdrop of a family drama, each character exploring what (s)he wants from relationships and of her/himself.

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Speak by Louisa Hall. Moms will want to read this book recommended “for all teens.” What to do when your kid in high school refuses to speak out of shame and becomes a social outcast?

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The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendetta Vida. In Morocco, a woman reels you in on her journey of reinvention, questioning our preconceived notions of identity, perception, and social blueprints.

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The Rocks by Peter Nichols. Spanning six decades and three generations of two families, a tragic event sets the stage for the tale of two warring expat Brits in Mallorca who used to be married to each other.

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In The Country by Mia Alvar. What stories do we tell ourselves to make our reality bearable? Nine short story vignettes of Filipinos working around the world, each contemplating the masks we wear and the consequences we face after tough choices.

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The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus.  A New York family struggles to hold on to the waning opulence in their lifestyle. When is feeling rich (or poor) relative?

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Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what’s in your beach/travel bag. And have the sunniest 4th of July!

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

 

From Cinderella to CEO

I want to know what happens

after Cinderella rides off with Prince Charming.

Melissa Joan Hart

One of the magical benefits of turning 40 (or 50 and more!) is that we fit more comfortably into the shoes of “CEO of My Life.”  We recognize that rules are all made up, so why not make a few of our own?  We realize there’s no time to blame, just time to face up to the consequences of our (in)actions. We claim our power to relax and reinvent ourselves in ways that suit our values, goals, and reality.  And even as we live under the tyranny of “gotta have it all” and “gotta do more,” we realize we can free ourselves when we are honest with our answer to “What really makes me happy?”
At the heart of Cinderella’s story is the belief in the power of transformation, the benevolence of helping hands, the importance of work done with love and great care despite adversity or while we’re mulling through our choices.  As we age, we realize that when we don’t get invited to the ball, we can host our own party.  When we lose a shoe, it’s ok to walk on bare feet–and sexy does not require the highest of heels!  We look at the hand holding the magic wand and find that this hand has been our own, or at least, blessed by our choices.
Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to tell  us what Cinderella’s story means to you today.
xoxox
Book recommendation:
From Cinderella to CEO:  10 Lessons of Fairy Tales
by Cary Broussard

© Sharon Birke

Book your glamour playdate with me today!

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

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