a Resilient life [blog]

November 4, 2016

I was 37 when I came across Brene Brown's book I thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't) at the library. I didn't know that book would alter the course of my life, and lead me to the work I do. Most importantly, it would teach me about Shame and how I lived my life by its rules, thinking I was the only one who could possibly feel this afraid, this much of a failure, and this alone. When I picked up this book, I had just stopped trying to conceive with my husband at the time. We had tried for about a year. I never imagined the amount of shame I could feel over not being able to do something so simple as creating human life. I looked around and everybody else was doing it! What was wrong with me? About half-way through that dreadful year, I got a tiny little plus sign on my pregnancy test. I felt the instant rush of relief. "I AM capable of doing this thing that all women should be able to do! I AM worthy of love after all!" So, of course, I told my peeps the good news. After all, the...

October 26, 2016

Last night my friend and I went to Together Live in Denver, along with over a thousand other women and a few brave men. It was breathtakingly inspiring, mostly because of the headliner Glennon Doyle Melton, author of the wildly successful book Love Warrior. The point of the whole event was to take advantage of this chaotic, divisive political climate, and use the contrast to launch a collective dream of inclusive community on a grand scale, where differences are cherished, and love reigns. Many things were said that pierced me in that place of truth, but one idea that Glennon offered stands out. She said we are all here to Create and to Serve. And many people ask her - how do I know what I'm supposed to create or who I am supposed to serve? The answer lies in two important questions to ask yourself: 1. Who are you envious of? Whose work can you not bear to look at because you wish you had done it? That is what you are here to create. 2. What breaks your heart? Is is oppressio...

October 5, 2016

There is nothing like basking in the last golden rays of sunlight before it dips behind the mountains here at the edge of the Rocky Mountains. I have recently moved from Boulder to Longmont, which is only 15 miles north, but I am given at least another half hour of late sunlight, since Longmont is further from the mountains. Recently I discovered a magazine - it's more like a book really - called Bella Grace that is filled with these kind of warm glowing photos that make you want to wrap up in your favorite shawl and sip some Early Grey. It inspired me to walk outside and see what I could find before the sun went down. I remember what I was thinking when I snapped this photo: My life is so very beautiful. Within that pure moment of being human -standing in the warm glow- I felt connected to all things. And that felt really good.

I collect these kind of moments like seashells or garden gnomes, and tuck them away for times when I am sad, hopele...

September 28, 2016

I was taught from the earliest age that the most important thing was to be nice to everyone, to put my needs second to others', and in short, just to be good. To be fair, it was mostly religion in the deep south talking, not my parents, who have long since found deeper meaning outside the confines of the Baptist faith. Still, the message that selfishness is sinful was etched into my psyche, and it is hard to erase. For starters, my name is Sharon, and there is nothing that makes me happier than to share. I was born that way; my mom said when I was 3, I gave away my favorite doll, Baby Glory, to a child I hardly knew. Generosity is my nature, and I don't want to lose that in my effort to stop the cycle of people-pleasing. But many of us fear that if we begin changing our behavior around those who are accustomed to us putting our needs second to theirs, we risk being accused of being selfish.

There are two ways to interpret the meaning of this dreaded word. Of course there...

September 18, 2016

I find myself in this magical moment of my life: writing to you from the kitchen table in my new home while watching my man and his son standing at the counter eating mango for breakfast. The reason this moment feels so dream-like is that I yearned for it with all my heart for many years. I felt the absence of this moment many times -and I wished it away - but it would not let me go. I endured two years of online dating - most of which was great fun - but full of small disappointments. And then I met Noah, whose unfamiliar way took me a while to place in my life, but soon became the love I had been waiting for. We have just moved in together - me and his two kids - to a sweet, simple home that I couldn't have imagined if I tried. I have a family! I feel found, finally. 

This feeling brings to mind a poem by Anna Swir that describes a woman like myself, who has a love and a warm home. And on her way to that warmth, she...

September 4, 2016

When it comes to poetry, no one can rock my world and open my heart like Mary Oliver. Her voice is both vulnerable and fierce, and she knows how to remind you of what matters. What doesn't matter to Mary Oliver is what other people think when you 'wander away, from wherever you are, to look for your soul'. We have all experienced times when we know we need to take bold action to free ourselves, and people will disapprove mightily. But if we don't act, we will die while we are alive. When I was not bold enough yet to take that dreaded action, eventually the dreaded thing happened despite my efforts to stop it - bringing with it the freedom I needed - but with a good dose of suffering. There is a difference between the pain of taking action that will be judged harshly, and the suffering of not taking that action. However, there is no judgment in not being ready to act courageously in the face of potential shame. There is a reason we avoid doing things that will bring on criticism and rej...

August 30, 2016

The world was made to be free in, says poet David Whyte. I feel most free when I feel loved for who I truly am. Love and Belonging: two essential human needs that are often elusive, yet we never stop searching for them until we find them. When we feel like we don't belong, we often settle for fitting in - a pursuit which Brené Brown has termed "hustling for your worthiness".  You know how it goes: A dinner party with your new love and all his friends you've never met. You agonize over what to wear. When you arrive you pull out all your tricks, your best stories of when you traveled the world, name dropping subtly and wondering if there's anything stuck in your teeth...The Agony!!!! We have all hustled for our worthiness at some time, but it's a miserable affair. Because at the root of it you believe, "If they find out who I really am, they will not accept me. And then I will be abandoned by the tribe and eaten by a prehistoric cave bear...

August 24, 2016

If you are at a scary place, these four words can be a lifeboat: Begin, Believe, Behave, Become. I wish I could remember where I read this simple, powerful phrase that acted as a guide to Unraveling myself, as Susannah Conway would say. What I didn't know on the beach in Santa Monica 15 years ago when I read this revelation was that you don't just do these steps once and then find yourself healed - you do them over and over and over. And therein lies the magic; the joy you seek is in the process of having the courage to begin again a thousand times- because you finally start believing you're worth it. Sometimes you can behave your way into believing you're worthy of love, fake it till you make it actually works in many cases. Believe and Become work together like a feedback loop: When you believe you are worthy, you start behaving like a person who thinks they are worthy, which makes you believe more strongly that you're worthy, and so on. The vulnera...

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Located at 703 3rd Ave. Longmont, CO


Compassionate counseling for individuals,

couples and families

© 2016 by Sharon Wharton.