The Origin of Shoes

My shoes are so high that when I step out of them

people ask “Where did she go?”

and I have to say, “I’m down here.”

Marian Keyes


Before Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, or Jimmy Choo, here is an ancient story of how shoes came to be invented from Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat Zinn:

Once upon a time, a princess took a walk and stubbed her toe on a root sticking out in her path.  Vexed, she went to the prime minister and insisted that he draw up an edict declaring that the entire kingdom should be paved in leather so no one would ever have to suffer her pain.  Now the prime minister knew that the king always wanted to please his daughter in any and every way, so there was a good chance he would actually want to fulfill his daughter’s wishes.  Covering the kingdom in leather might save everybody from the indignity of stubbed toes and make the princess happy, but this could also be problematic in many ways, to say nothing of expensive.

Thinking quickly (I won’t say “on his feet”), the prime ministers responded:  “I have it!  Instead of covering the whole kingdom in leather, Your Highness, why don’t we craft pieces of leather shaped to your feet and attach them in some suitable way?  Then, we will still enjoy the sweetness of the earth, yet wherever you go, your feet will be protected when it touches the ground.”  The princess was well pleased so shoes came into the world and much folly was averted.

Click on “Leave a Comment” above left to share how shoes and possibility thinking have saved you.




© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

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Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother



Woman of Courage

Pain nourishes courage.

You can’t be brave if you’ve only had 

wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore

This bubbly Goddess with her playful curves and glorious head of silver had to look herself straight in the eye to arrive at a difficult professional decision.  She got me thinking about what it takes for courage to overcome fear.

“So many of the models of courage we teach boys and girls are about slaying the dragon, to kill,”  author Riane Eisler wrote, “It’s a courage born out of fear, anger, and hate.  But there’s this other kind of courage:  the courage to risk your life, not in war, not in battle, not out of fear… but out of love and a sense of injustice that has to be challenged.  It takes far more courage to challenge unust authority without violence than it takes to kill all the monsters in all the stories told to children about the meaning of bravery.”

Katherine Martin in “Women Of Courage”:

We lose much when women summarily dismiss their brave acts because they don’t measure up to a narrow definition of traditional courage.  Courage is not about climbing unscaleable mountains, crossing unfordable rivers, flying to unreasonable heights.  Courage is a matter of the heart, a coming home to myself as a woman.  Not a woman trying to be gutsy like a man.

A life of courage is not a single strike but a series of events, an accumulation of dared moments.  It is a constant stretching into places demanding an uncompromised stance.  Courage is magnificent in this way.  It changes us–gives us presence, makes us humble.  It is being emotionally available and authentic even in the glaring light of fame, being less afraid to make mistakes, more eager to see what I’m made of, to seek out challenge and not settle for mediocrity.

Courage can be a fragile, vulnerable thing, a quiet moment.  It can be a deep look into our souls, a stillness with our divinity.  It can be found in the exhalation of love.  In the speaking of truth.  In forgiving and the making of peace.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share an act of courage you haven’t acknowledged as such.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


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