Cherry Hill native encouraging readers to become ‘unSTUCK’ with debut book
About four years ago, Cherry Hill native Shira Taylor Gura was trying to write a children’s book called “Stuck in the Muck.” The idea for the book revolved around a monkey who got stuck as he swung from tree to tree in the jungle. The book would talk about how the monkey got stuck because he was stuck on his own emotions and unable to perform an action to move on with his life.
Not long after she started writing, Gura herself became stuck.
After countless hours of working on what was a 16-page book, Gura realized she was stuck in a similar way the monkey was in her book. As an outlet, she decided to start a blog.
“I just started blogging about my experiences,” Gura said. “At some point, I came up with the acronym S.T.U.C.K.”
Four years after getting stuck on a children’s book, Gura is now “unSTUCK.” On June 29, her first book, appropriately named, “Getting unSTUCK,” was published and is now available to purchase on Amazon.com.
“Getting unSTUCK” is based off Gura’s blog and details what Gura calls the S.T.U.C.K. method. S.T.U.C.K. is an acronym for stop, tell, uncover, consider and O.K., and focuses on freeing a person’s mind from powerful and influential emotions.
Gura was born and raised in Cherry Hill. She graduated from Cherry Hill High School East in 1992 and then attended Rutgers University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Gura later earned a master’s degree in occupational therapy with a focus on mental health from Boston University. Shortly thereafter, Gura got a yoga certification and started a company in California where she brought yoga classes to technology companies. During that time, Gura said she began to learn a lot about mindfulness and meditation.
“In 2002, we moved back to Cherry Hill,” Gura said. “We lived there for about six years. It was during those six years that I started creating workshops for the community.”
Gura credited her experiences and support from many friends for making her blog such a success. After struggling with writing “Stuck in the Muck,” Gura admits she never thought her blog would become as big as it did.
“People were identifying with all of my stories,” she said. “It’s a human experience. We all get stuck on emotions, our frustrations, our desires.”
“People who I didn’t even know across the world were writing back and saying, ‘I get it, that happened to me,’” she added. “It was very encouraging.”
Over time, Gura’s family and friends started encouraging her to try to write another book, this time aimed for adults and based on her blog. Through Facebook, she became connected with a new publishing company called Three Gems Publishing.
“I wrote the most unconvincing email,” Gura said. “I said, I’m not an author, I’m not a writer, here’s my blog.”
The publishing company showed interest in the idea, and last fall, Gura began working on the book. More than eight months later, Gura described how excited she was feeling as her book was about to be released.
In the weeks following the release of “Getting unSTUCK,” Gura plans to travel from her current home, Israel, and speak at a number of locations in South Jersey. She is scheduled to appear at an “UnSTUCK Sisterhood Retreat” at Congregation Beth El in Voorhees on Aug. 6. She also plans to speak for the Congregation Temple Beth Sholom Sisterhood on Aug. 9 and Temple Emanuel on Aug. 16. Gura is also hoping to speak in front of other organizations during a six-week visit to the area later this summer.
“I’m really experiencing the feeling of support,” she said. “That’s what I’m excited to feel somewhat enveloped in the love and support of friends from my hometown.”
The release of the book does not mean the end of Gura’s blog. It can still be found at www.thestuckmethod.com and she continues to update it with her own personal stories.
“It’s a tool I now have to use to help me get unSTUCK,” Gura said.
“Getting unSTUCK” is available for purchase for both print and Kindle at amazon.com. To read Gura’s blog or for more information, visit www.thestuckmethod.com.