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  • Writer's pictureTracey Lee

How Much Light Can You Hold?



My introduction to Sharon Halliday was through her writing. Two of her short stories shone a light on her childhood growing up in Young, NSW. Sharon is a farmer’s daughter. Her early life was all about the business of a rural life raising pigs and growing cherries. My sense of her, from my knowledge of farmer’s daughters, was that she would be a capable, pragmatic woman who had a capacity for hard work, an immunity to the ‘fragrance’ of a piggery and the ability to fulfil all my other stereotypical images (drive a tractor, reverse a trailer, ride a horse, look fabulous in an Akubra and RM Williams boots etc.). And while I don’t know for sure if she can do those things it would take nothing to convince me that she could or would give it a pretty good shot.


But like everyone else this amazing human isn’t just your run of the mill rural raised woman. She is the holder of much light. Sharon is a writer, a writing coach, parent, partner, podcaster, businesswoman, reiki practitioner and an angel intuitive. So how did this one young woman become so many things? And what precipitated her interest in spirituality and intuitive practices? What made her fall in love with writing? And where is she going with all this?


Sharon’s life started with her developing a deep understanding of how much hard work is required if a farm is to be productive and make money. ‘My parents worked 7 days a week.’ And they needed to diversify from raising pigs, to growing cherries and making the farm a regional tourist destination. And this was Sharon’s first foray into the power of writing. At 15 she wrote her first tourism award submission to put her parents’ farm on the path towards becoming a state recognised destination for visitors seeking the region’s famous cherries and jams. Every year from the ages of 15 to 22 Sharon single handedly wrote the family’s submissions winning awards along the way. The tourism, writing, and winning connection had been well and truly forged.


And her writing life possibly started in a similar way. A poetry award at the age of 11sparked the idea that she would be a writer. Along with reading her favourite Enid Blyton and Anne of Green Gables books the love of words grew from her childhood experiences into a career. Sharon told a wonderful story of her grandmother ordering the Green Gables books through the local bookstore. When each one arrived they were wrapped in brown paper making the magic of reading so much more than just words on a page. The shared experience of the pleasure of storytelling, the immersion into another time and place, the impact of language that brings characters and events to life all shaped her love of writing.


What about as a student? Much of Sharon’s schooling was in the local area. A good student, interested in science and maths, known for her writing and entrepreneurial capacity. But she was also something of a rebel teen. With busy and at times overwhelmed parents Sharon was able to stretch the boundaries in terms of finding freedom. An older boyfriend, a defiant spirit and the occasional rock concert (Guns N' Roses) were defining elements of the teen years. It was, however, a bit of a double life. The wild rebel child was also a hardworking farm girl writing those long 40-page tourism award submissions. There was also a move to Canberra as a boarder at Canberra Girls Grammar for Years 10-12. So how did Sharon fit in at such a privileged establishment? Well her arrival in shorts, a Guns N' Roses t-shirt and a pair of long footy socks must have raised an eyebrow or twenty! But the girls found the newcomer a genuine delight. Funny, bright, determined and her own unique person. Sharon finished her final years successfully and headed off to university to study, not unsurprisingly tourism.


Sharon is also a deeply spiritual individual. She speaks of divine guidance and intuitiveness as elements of her development as both a writer and businesswoman. It started with an introduction to self-help literature, astrology and card readings. Primarily with her mother who was struggling at the time with the myriad of problems that life often presents. Through her own reading of many books on the subject and attendance at seminars Sharon began to realise that she had another gift. She describes herself as an angelic intuitive who has a strong belief in the divine. She felt drawn to the metaphysical from a young age. These skills lead her to writing her column 'Ask Sharon' for The Griffith Area News and writing her own book Messages from the Heart:39 Answers to Your Life Questions


I call her a sage (a wise woman not the herb). She is perceptive, knowledgeable and a genuinely good person who radiates warmth. She is not what I assumed one with her gifts might be. The stereotype suggests an ethereal mystic with little practical substance but this is not Sharon. In fact, if anything, her gifts make her an excellent leader, a focused mentor and someone you might just like to spend some time talking to.  


And in answer to the question…how much light can you hold? What does that even mean? The Quaker religion first used the term to hold someone in the light to mean someone was struggling and needed to be upheld to God. Held up in hope, peace and goodness. In Sharon’s case I think it simply means how much good can she do. Whether in her writing, her mentoring or in her new business venture Sharon may very well be the kind of light holder we are all looking for.


Her new business the Authentic Author Academy is all about supporting writers who have a story to tell and a book to write.


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2 Comments


kimulrickwriter
May 10

What a great piece. I didn't know all of this about Sharon but can definitely see her spirituality shining through, along with her cheeky smile.

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Carolyn Dawson
Carolyn Dawson
May 10

Wonderful write up about an equally wonderful person. You have captured the bright light that resides in Sharon's soul and is a perfect depiction of the gorgeous human she is x

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