You are invited to do less.

You are invited to do less. To sit in silence. To stay home. To slow down. You are invited to connect. To your Self. To your values. To your intuition.

During the dark part of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere), nature invites you to descend into the darkness, to remove external distractions and to reflect on your soul’s work. This time of year is ripe for revelations and discoveries. Pay attention to your dreams. Listen to your inner voice. Notice what is showing up for you.

Maureen Murdock in her outstanding book, The Heroine’s Journey, speaks about the descent into darkness as a necessary and vital process for women to reclaim the lost parts of themselves. In a larger context, the work of reclaiming lost parts also happens when communities let go of the shackles of oppression and welcome diversity of people, ideas, and beliefs.

Letting go of what is oppressive requires self-reflection. Yes, some oppressive situations are obvious, but most are not. Quite often we make excuses for what is not working because we don’t want to rock the boat or we feel sorry for someone or we are afraid of what will come. The urge to ignore, justify or suppress what we know to be true is called denial and requires a great deal of our energy: energy that could be used to heal, to serve and to enjoy both self and others.

If your intention is to create a life which reflects your values and your dreams as well as brings you joy, then make time to reflect on what is happening within you and around you. Notice what feels good, what makes you curious, and what no longer serves you. Take stock. Ignore “oughts” and “shoulds” and instead pay attention to thoughts that begin with “I wish for…” or “I enjoy…”

Change begins at home. If you want to live in a different world, then you have to create the change within yourself first. There are no shortcuts. Let go of the idea that to be busy is to be productive. Some of my “busiest” moments look very still and quiet on the outside.

Now is the time to do your internal work. Colder temperatures, rainy days, less light: this weather is Mother Nature’s invitation to connect with the depths of your being and find the buried treasure within.

May you find what you seek.

Love,
Kim Bushore-Maki

 

Notice what feels good, what makes you curious, and what no longer serves you. Click To Tweet

What would a bigger version of you bring to this world?

In small steps with stops and starts, I am feeling into a different way of being. I imagine my experience is how a snake feels when she begins to shed her skin: itching sensations with an intense to need to scratch. What once fit is now too tight, and just like a snake, I look for a rough edge to rub against – to break free of constrictive space.

I recently read that snakes shed their skin for two reasons: to accommodate growth and to get rid of unwanted parasites. Slough off the old, let go of what no longer fits, remove things that leech your strength: all reasons I feel the need to change the way I move in the world.

And just like a snake, I was not ready to shed the old skin until I finished growing the new skin underneath. I’ve spent these last 6 months listening to my inner wise voice, identifying what I need and creating what I want to see. And just like the physiological skin which houses my muscles, bones and vital organs, my figurative skin – the part of me that houses and protects my soul – needed time to grow.

I feel the old skin molting. I do not feel grief, rather, this shedding process feels liberating and exciting – like a gift waiting to be unwrapped.

To expect our “skin” to remain one size for our entire life is unrealistic. To need only one skin means to never grow, to never change. Organisms that remain static die. Just look to nature for confirmation: animals and plants that do not adapt to their environments become extinct.

While adaptability means change, however, it does not mean self-sacrifice. When a snake sheds her skin, she does not stop being a snake. Rather when a snake sheds her skin, she takes up more space in the world – becomes more snake.

I, therefore, extend an invitation to you all to grow. To let go of old beliefs, patterns, and practices that constrict you. To find new ways to feel more alive, more you. To take up more space and to do so with a sense of how your “youness” is here to serve the world.

Snakes do not shed their skin to become rabbits or bears or birds. Snakes shed their skin to become a bigger version of themselves. Now more than ever our planet needs everyone, needs you, to bring your gift to the light of day. Ask yourself: What would a bigger version of me bring to this world? Share this gift. The survival of our planet depends on it.

Love,
Kim Bushore-Maki

 

Let go of that which constricts you. The #survival of our #planet depends on it. Click To Tweet

How to Stay Connected during the Winter Season

As we move further into the dark part of the year, I invite you to honor the gifts inherent in this winter season. To enjoy the sun when it is present, to go outside and move, to visit with your neighbor, to share what you have. This time of year is also about being in the dark. To go within, to ask tough questions, to connect with Source (however you define it), to create — be it messy, fluid or with stops and starts.

It is tempting to sleep walk through this time of year. There is a lot of pressure to spend money, to attend parties and to go, go, go. Even extraverts like me can feel overwhelmed with the cultural expectations and general frenzy around the holidays.

This time of year is also when a lot folks feel the keen pain and disappointment of loss. Whether you are mourning what was or sad for what has never been, the commercialization and socialization of winter holidays can leave you feeling there is not enough of anything: time, money, resources, love, family, friends or good will. Is it any wonder that you want to anesthetize until spring?

But wait! There is a solution: a solution which involves staying connected to community but not succumbing to social pressure. This solution requires daily practice and clear boundaries, and if you adhere to the guidelines below, you will notice a change in your energy, your outlook and your relationships.

Give it a whirl and let me know what happens. I want to hear about your experience. Plus you may have discovered some other strategize that will benefit the rest of us — so please share in the comments below.

Sending you the courage to try something new and wishing you much peace and joy for what unfolds.

Love,
Kim Bushore-Maki

 

 

How to Stay Connected during the Winter Season
(without angst, overwhelm and pressure)

  1. Establish a daily practice of self-reflection. This practice need not take a lot of time. It could happen once a day or multiple times a day. Some people set an alarm on their phone, and every time it rings, engage in a short, checking-in practice. Other people set aside time to journal. There are many ways to practice. Find a strategy that works for you and stick with it. Some questions to ask yourself may be: What I am noticing right now? Am I acting with intention? Do I want to stay here?
  2. Schedule weekly movement. Our bodies need to move daily, even in cold weather. I highly recommend adding some variety to your movement and notice how different types of movement produce different results. Movement does not have to be in a gym or in a class. You could play your favorite music and dance in your living room. You could try a Qigong class or talk a walk outside. It doesn’t matter what you choose — just move.
  3. Find a creative project and make time for it every week. Whether it is something new or an old, familiar activity make time to create. Is this the winter that you make your first quilt, paint your first portrait, write your first song? Perhaps you want to design a class for your community or knit scarves for the homeless or learn to cook Thai. Notice what you are curious about or feel the urge to make and then do it. It’s not about being perfect or world famous. You don’t have to show anyone your efforts. Being creative is about engaging the feminine and bringing new life into the world. (Be on the lookout for Shakti Creativity Time.)
  4. Feed yourself clean, whole foods. I hate to say it but what you eat makes a huge difference in how you feel. As a recovering sugar addict, I can vouch for the benefits of eating clean, whole foods. Taking the time to shop, prepare and eat food that makes you feel good is a major contributor to having enough energy to do what you want to do. Plus clean, whole foods bolster your immune system and prevent you from getting sick. Will I eat some sugar over the holidays? You betcha. But I will not eat as much as I used to and I will make sure I eat a variety of clean, whole foods too.
  5. Make sleep a priority. Sleep matters. Not only does sleep give you energy, it also keeps your body and mind healthy. You make better decisions when you have enough sleep and you are less likely to use caffeine and sugar to keep you awake. Sleep also supports immune system function. If you find yourself staying up late to get “me time,” then consider what you need to change in your schedule, i.e., say no to, so you can get “me time” before 11 at night.
  6. Determine now, right now, how you want to honor this time of year. Do you want to attend social events? If so, how many? Do you want to send holiday cards, exchange gifts, serve big meals? What rituals are important to you? Listen for your “yes” and put your “yeses” in the calendar. When someone asks you to attend or to participate, then you can consult your calendar, and with great authority say, “No, I am already booked.” If it helps you say no, then place your sleep, food prep, creativity project, movement activities and daily self-care practices in your schedule too. You will quickly see that you will not have time to do everything you are invited to do.
  7. Make time to connect with Source. Honor what is meaningful in your life — what makes you feel connected to something larger than yourself. Establish a daily practice that keeps you connected to what you identify as love. These practices vary as widely as there are beliefs. Do what feels right to you. Whether you pray, meditate, sing, chant, dance or sit in nature, connecting to your Source makes life easier. Look for ways to connect to Source in private as well as in community. Our world can always use more love, so let’s make time for it.
How to Stay #Connected during the #Winter #Season (without angst, #overwhelm and pressure) Click To Tweet

 

The ugliness is out in the open.

The United States Presidential Election is final over. Thank the gods! We can now get back to work: the work many of us have been doing for quite some time – the work of raising the feminine consciousness.

I find the gnashing of teeth, the angst, and the fear surrounding this election a delayed response to the harmful, painful consequences of patriarchy. The oppression of civil rights, the bigotry toward marginalized groups and the abuse of power is not new.

Just ask any person of color, any person not of Christian faith, any person who identifies as LGBT, any person with a disability, or any woman if they have been treated differently because of who they are and you will hear story after story of racism, religious persecution, homophobia, ableism and sexism.

Throughout history is example after example of the negative consequences which arise from a dominant group using their privileges at the expense of others. I think what makes this election different is the overtness of the abuse. When a candidate can openly make fun of disabled people, gloat about sexual harassment, and exclude people of certain ethnicities and beliefs and STILL get elected president, then the proverbial skeleton is out of the closet.

Here is the good news: the ugliness is out in the open. You no longer have to pretend that things aren’t that bad. Things are that bad. But they have been for a while – it’s just that now we have no excuses for apathy. We know and now we are called to act.

But what does that mean to act? It means:

  • Reach out. Find people to connect with and to listen to. Learn what is going on in your community. What are your community’s needs?
  • Pick one area you want to make a contribution. What calls to you? Do you want to help feed the hungry? Do you want to help children feel safe? Do you want to comfort the lonely? Make a commitment to volunteer on a regular basis.
  • Address bigotry in the moment. When you hear someone put down or trivialize another, let them know you don’t agree. Find a way to connect with their pain instead of contributing to their anger. I often find that if I stay calm and address a painful remark with curiosity, I invite dialog. Dialoging about differences is a great way to shift deeply held fears.
  • Pray for peace. Be mindful of your words, thoughts and deeds. Create a daily practice which calls forth what you want to see in the world. Avoid spreading hate and fear by talking about what you don’t like. Instead give what you want to receive.

Know that I am here. You are not alone. I do not know what the tipping point is or when it will be reached, but I trust that it will happen. The more of us who do our part – who make our corner of the world safer, more loving and kind – the closer that tipping point will be. What you say and do matters, so make it count.

Love,
Kim Bushore-Maki

 

What you say and do matters, so make it count. #tippingpoint Click To Tweet

You have to walk through the liminal space to reach your destination.

Welcome to November, dear friends. You are entering a liminal space: a time in which you leave behind what you know without a clear direction for where you are going. Liminal spaces can be frustrating, painful, and even discombobulating, especially if you are someone who likes to make and to execute plans. But they don’t have to spell doom and gloom. Liminal spaces can be…hopeful.

The concept of liminal space is referenced in many fields of study – Psychology, Literature, and Anthropology to name a few – and is considered an important and necessary phase of transformation. The Latin root of liminal is limens and means “threshold,” so think of liminal spaces as the betwixt and between stage of a journey. You have to walk through the liminal space to reach your destination.

Luke Skywalker’s apprenticeship with Yoda and Frodo’s journey to Mordor are examples of characters moving through liminal spaces: Luke is neither the boy from Tatooine or the Jedi Master. Frodo is no longer the hobbit who lived in the Shire but neither is he the hero that saves Middle Earth. Both protagonists are in transition: letting go of old, familiar patterns to make room for what is next.

Nature has liminal spaces too and you are in one now. The last of the harvest is in and the days are getting shorter. As you wait for the light to return (Winter Solstice), you stand at a threshold. The question then becomes: What do you do in this space – how do you navigate the transition?

I’d like to suggest that the first thing you do is be: be with what is, notice what is happening, take stock of your situation. Liminal spaces aren’t about executing a plan, rather liminal spaces are about preparing for what is to come. Yes, Luke Skywalker trained and Frodo walked – a lot, but the most important thing both characters did was put to rest their demons and come to peace with themselves.

Joe Bunting, author and founder of The Write Practice, reinforces the role that liminal spaces play in mindfulness or in being with what is. He says:

“This is what liminality is all about, learning to live with tension and pain and even the boredom of waiting.”

Ah, waiting – the thing one has to do but never wants to do. Waiting in line, waiting for test results, waiting for approval: waiting is usually not fun and can be downright fraught with tension. Is it any wonder that you distract yourselves from the discomfort of waiting? Waiting in line – pull out your smart phone and scan social media. Waiting for test results – binge watch Netflix. Waiting for approval – obsess over every word, every gesture in an attempt to predict the outcome.

Be with what is, notice what is happening, take stock of your situation. #liminalspace… Click To Tweet

What if instead, you observed the feelings and thoughts that arose as you stood in the threshold? What if you used the liminal space to move toward what you wanted rather than to avoid what you cannot change – the past, or to fear what has not happened – the future?

Moving toward what you want is the beauty to be found in this part of the year. Cocooning in the darkness is an opportunity to go within and listen to your inner voice – your source of wisdom. Just like Luke and Frodo did, I invite you to take advantage of the natural liminal space in which you are. Use this time to rest and to nest. Practice listening to your intuition and honoring your instincts. Trust that you will emerge on the other side of the threshold exactly where you need to be.

Love,
Kim Bushore-Maki