The Good Wives

 

If love is the answer,

could you please

rephrase the question?

Lily Tomlin

 

 

When you’ve seen every hole and gnatty stain on each other’s favorite pajamas, how do you keep the romance going?  Author and TED talk speaker Esther Perel insists on our agency, our vitality and our complicity in making the best out of our long term relationships. From her book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity:

Infidelity has a tenacity that marriage can only envy. So much so that it is the only sin that gets two commandments in the Bible, one for doing it and one just for thinking about it. Lovers today seek to bring under one roof desires that have forever had separate dwellings. Our expectations have gotten all out of hand. Our obsession with transparency, total disclosure and suffocating intimacy stanches desire — fire needs air!

All this before the stigma from choosing to stay in a compromised relationship?! Ayayay!

No better day than Valentine’s to practice compassion for villains and victims alike. They may not always be what they appear, for they are equal in the opportunity to use power to their advantage–overtly and otherwise. In the double standard of society, a man’s exposed dark side becomes a witch hunt for the woman who chooses to stand by him. And I don’t even want to know what price she’s had to pay long before we come around to shame her. Who’s the bully then?

When we focus on blame, we beg the question of what we lead ourselves (and teach our young) to believe. Can there really only be fifty shades of human behavior? Until we move to Mars, power and sex are tradable currencies and commodities on this planet. There is no shame in being a victim but there is also no dignity in incessantly playing the “Poor me, too!” card. There are gallant knights, ogres, wolves and monsters–sometimes all rolled into one person, at times not always male nor blatantly powerful, some more irresistible than others–lurking in the shadows of brightly lit offices, classrooms, cheerful houses, fancy restaurants and especially hotel rooms. The question “What would you say (or do) if someone you trust and respect takes advantage of you?” should be fair game at family gatherings.

Raised by parents who were both sole survivors of their families from Holocaust concentration camps, Dr. Perel learned to distinguish between two types of people: those who were alive and those who didn’t die. Her parents “understood the erotic as an antidote to death.”

There is no greater love than allowing people to choose what’s right for themselves–even between spouses. There is no greater love we can give ourselves than deciding to fashion a full and meaningful life despite difficult and unwanted experiences. That which we don’t allow to kill us, will buy us time to understand the gift it was meant to bring.  If there is one true power that nobody can ever take away from us, it is our talent for alchemy: to take the darkness of pain, hurt and suffering and allow it to push us towards the light of strength, power, wisdom and goodness as we move forward with our lives. This power is the one true guarantee of fairness in the world that we can always count on.

With or without pajamas, best to leave expectations of seeing everything in black and white to photography.

Click on “Leave a Comment” to share how you keep the bedroom fire burning. True love IS always with you! Kiss! Kiss!

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

 

 

 

The Rose Bath

There must be a few things

that a hot bath can’t cure,

but I don’t know many of them.

Sylvia Plath

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Whether someone’s bringing you Valentine flowers or you have to buy/grow them yourself, here are a few thoughts on true love by a favorite Buddhist, Pema Chodron:

People always say that that’s what they want: they want someone to love them unconditionally, and they want to love unconditionally. We think we’d be delighted to have an unconditional relationship, but that’s only as long as it’s on our own terms. Anyone who has been married or in a long-term relationship knows that challenges present themselves constantly. The challenges are to give in, to surrender our way of doing things, and not to split when we feel threatened. Basically, the challenge is to be genuine–to feel our pounding heart or shaking knees or whatever it is, and stick with it. In a nutshell, very few of us ever allow ourselves to be in a situation that doesn’t have at least a teensy-weensy little exit, a place where we can get out if we have to.

By living without “shoulds” we gradually discover our wakefulness and our confidence. Gradually, without any agenda except to be honest and kind, we assume responsibility for being here in this unpredictable world, in this unique moment, in this precious human body.

Every act counts. Every thought and emotion counts, too. This is all the path we have. Are we, at least, willing to catch ourselves spinning off and do that without embarrassment? Do we at least aspire to not consider ourselves a problem, but simply a pretty typical human being who could at that moment give him/herself a break and stop being so critical and compulsive?

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you might love (yourself) more easily this season of hearts. Make it memorable!

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

The New Leaf

This 2016, I resolve to 

accomplish my resolution of 2015

that I made in 2014.

Anurag Prakash Ray

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A delicious new year of possibilities and beginnings, Everyone! Another golden opportunity to see ourselves with more gentle kindness and greater love. What brave adventures will you say YES to in 2016?

In an era when looking younger than our age is the ideal, Carre Otis shares her journey of self acceptance as role model to her young daughters in A Sisterhood of Inner Beauty (on Huffington Post:)

I’ve learned to surround myself with women who lift me up and leave me feeling nurtured rather than drained. I’ve learned to watch my words, too, particularly around my daughters — two of my greatest teachers — doing my best not to gossip about other women or even myself. If they were to hear me put some of those seemingly automatic thoughts on loudspeaker, such as, “I look bad today… Look at those bags under my eyes…” I now understand that it would impact them in a profoundly unhealthy way. Just as young people absorb all kinds of messages from the media, young girls learn what it means to be a woman by watching the older women in their lives.

I’m proud that today, at 43 years old, I’ve come to value the aging process and anticipate growing older with a sense of excitement. I want my daughters to see their mother fearlessly and gracefully claiming her body, her voice and her years. Easier said than done, of course. For me, it’s required discipline: Just as I’m careful about what my daughters are exposed to, I avoid magazines that critique what female celebrities are wearing, what they’re buying and what they look like. I skip right past channels that exploit “cat fights” or reality shows. And I’ve learned to walk away from any real-life judgmental conversations about women. They bring me down. They bring us all down.

And Goddess knows how powerful we can be when we feel good about ourselves! I wish you a most magical year of reveling in your womanhood at any age. Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what new possibilities thrill 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

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Thinner Peace

I want to weigh less,

not by diet and exercise,

but by acquiring a faulty scale.

Jarod Kintz

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Now that both men and women (and, by osmosis, our children) stand firmly united in obsessing about weight, how about a new way of thinking to start the schoolyear? A visualization from Martha Beck on how to keep that weight off for good:

Hold out both your palms. Imagine on one hand a mini-version of your Dictator, that part of you that insists on losing weight, screaming insults that make you feel fat.  On the other hand, see a mini-version of your Wild Child, the kid who’s tired, afraid and frightened from being continually assaulted by the Dictator’s attacks and privations. Notice that both mini-yous are essentially good. The Dictators get frantic when you gain weight just as you would if you saw a toddler wandering into traffic. It screams and yells, pushes and forces, because it’s trying to save you from a terrible, fat fate.  And your Wild child isn’t remotely malicious, just devastated, confused, and afraid.

Realize that both the Wild Child and the Dictator deserve compassion. Offer it to them by saying this:

You are well.

You are blessed.

You are free.

The wisdom traditions of every culture teach techniques (meditation, prayer) for aligning with this compassionate, observing self.

The antidote to obesity is not starvation, it’s compassion.  The opposite of being out of control isn’t being in control, but being in love–not in romance, but as in compassion.

Don’t feel compelled to replace overeating with virtuous work or exercise; instead, make a list of things you love, from watching TV to hanging out with favorite people. Nurturing touch (a pedicure, a massage, sex) is especially effective, since it triggers production of the same opioid hormones as eating.

Stop taking undue responsibility for your spouse’s and children’s feelings.

Become the Watcher.  Be kind toward your anxious self. The body is a persistent teacher, always trying to teach us acceptance:  of our bodies, our emotions, our situations. Love, in the form of kindness to ourselves, is what never fails.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how you show compassion towards yourself no matter what.

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

Thicker Skin

The cause of trouble is that

the stupid are cocksure,

while the intelligent

are full of doubt.

Bertrand Russell

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“Are we allowed?” my children might wonder aloud amongst themselves and I’d get mixed feelings. Because while parental rule is far easier unchallenged, I quietly applaud when they demonstrate defiance and daring, little or no hesitation in going for what they want, and not cowering in the face of authority. Home is mere practice for life’s realities after all.

With three teens, every day is an exercise in pushing against boundaries, questioning or ignoring rules, and learning to bounce back after a “No”–all this even before considering their experience! I love that their personalities differ and how this helps them figure out whose criticism is constructive, whose is plain one upmanship.  Recognizing the types of people you can never please–usually the ones with loud and definitive opinions–eventually teaches us not to let anyone rain on our parade. That even if no one else is, we can always make the choice to take our own side.

I confess I want to pull my hair out listening to them bicker, each one absolutely certain that he or she is right. What saves me is the chuckle I get assuring them they are far too young to sound like an old, married couple.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share who/what helped you to grow thicker skin.

xoxox

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© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Breaking Free

Man was born free,

yet everywhere he is in chains.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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What’s a New Year without new beginnings? Same old, same old.  Unless you are courageous like this Powerful Goddess who enjoyed a good laugh celebrating the dawn of her new possibilities!

How different would 2015 be if we declared ourselves perfect as the day we were born, unfettered by beliefs, convention and expectations? Fearless except for the innate fear of heights and loud noises.  Imagine being guilt free in following your desires, in satiating your ravenous appetites, in heeding the truth you hear in your heart.  Imagine not having to explain, rationalize or defend your choices.

What would be different if you paid more attention to synchronicity and all the good life brings?  If you decided you are your own fun company, best lover, and doting parent? If you said YES to everything and forgave yourself for anything?

This year, may we all dare something new, stop insisting on being happy all the time, and see ourselves with kinder and more loving eyes.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how rosy this year can be when you declare everything is right with you!

xoxox

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© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Beauty and the Beastie

Everything has beauty,

but not everyone sees it.

Confucius

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“What did you love about Maleficent?,” I asked my daughter after our very happy Father’s Day at the movies without the men.

“She’s very pretty!” she smiled. May we all be as easy to please!  Indeed, what’s not to love about a strong and beautiful heroine–albeit a villain, too?

Maleficent is the wronged and misunderstood woman in this revisionist-backstory fairytale. She suffers the deepest betrayal imaginable from the person she loves and trusts the most, the one with whom she shares her first “true love’s” kiss.  While it is mainly about bloodlust after being violated and stripped of our power, it is also about the journey of moving forward and making the most of what is.  I like how it reverses the pedestrian notion of true love, a necessary expansion of every child’s understanding of what real love can be.

Best of all, I love how it is a cautionary tale against quick judgments and our propensity to take every “victim’s” side.  Like King Stefan, it is human nature to choose the version of the story that makes us look good and pitiful.  It takes courage to notice that when we feel like “Woe is me!,” there is an angle of culpability we’re not admitting.  For in every beauty, there is a beast.  And in every villain, a heroine who can save herself.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share the beauty in your beast.

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xoxox

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

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