I feel like we just finished a marathon and can finally rest, at least for a moment. After months of watching the presidential campaign, after a harrowing week of waiting for the votes to be tallied, Americans can collectively take a deep breath.
Obviously, the election results are not the end. As our President-elect Joe Biden recently tweeted, “The work ahead of us will be hard.” Our country still needs to address systemic racism, poverty, underfunded schools, inadequate health care, gender and sexual orientation inequality, immigration reform, systemic violence, substance abuse treatment access, and oh yeah, a national pandemic: just to name a few of the challenges ahead of us.
Knowing what is ahead is daunting, which is why it is important to celebrate the victories along the way: these victories keep our spirits up and remind us that hard work pays off. So let’s pause for a moment and celebrate the first woman elected to the Vice Presidency of the United States, Kamala Harris. Holy sh*t!
Last Saturday as I watched Kamala Harris speak, I cried. To see a woman, especially a woman of color, in one of the highest offices in the land was amazing, wonderful, astounding, fantastic – pick your superlative.
100 years after women gained the right to vote, Americans finally elected a woman to be the Vice President of the United States. Let that sink in. It took 100 years from the time women were eligible to run for office to elect a woman as Vice President.
Take a deep breath in, pause, take a long breath out, pause. Savor this moment of equal representation. Notice how it feels in your body. Soak these feelings up like sunshine and store the memory in a safe place. So on rainy days, when you feel a dark cloud hanging over your head, you can pull out this memory and experience the sun.
Then roll up your sleeves and take the next step. The next step toward making our world a better place for ALL people to live and to work. To quote American Civil Rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
Not sure what your next step is? That’s okay. Knowing you want to take a next step is half the battle. Below is a quick guide to finding your next step. Feel free to share it with your friends and to find an accountability partner (or group) to keep you moving forward.
Wishing everyone a beautiful week!
A Quick Guide to Finding Your Next Step
Identify what you are good at and enjoy.
Make a list of your skills which include your areas of knowledge. Now star or otherwise indicate which skills you enjoy. A good litmus test is what would you gladly do without pay.
Notice what you feel the most passionate about.
If you are like me, there are a lot of inequalities and injustices in the world that you hate. In fact, thinking about all the inequities is overwhelming. So pause. Find a quiet place to ground and to get into your body. Ask yourself the following question: “If I could change one thing about my community, nation or world, what would it be?” Then let the answer float to the surface.
Research the cause.
Find out more information about the subject. Read books and articles. Watch documentaries and movies. Speak to activists and educators. Have conversations with people directly impacted by the injustice or inequality. (Talk little. Listen more.) Get a solid foundation for the many factors or variables which comprise the subject. **Important note** Researching the cause is an on-going endeavor and does not occur in isolation. In other words, you can BOTH act and learn simultaneously.
Discover local and national organizations which address the inequality or injustice.
Want to address the climate crisis? Research groups which work toward a more sustainable future. Find out what your local city or township is doing to minimize their carbon footprint. Notice what is already occurring as well as methods, which if enacted, would make an even bigger impact on your local community.
Make a commitment to volunteer.
Go back to the skill list you created. Notice if there are organizations in your area which could benefit from your skill set. Remember that sometimes what an organization needs is mundane labor: stuffing envelopes, hanging flyers, data entry. Resist the urge to put forth your agenda and simply offer help where needed. This does not mean your skills won’t be used. Quite often organizations can’t address the infrastructure issue until they complete the daily necessity work. As a former volunteer coordinator, I ADORED the volunteers who showed up when they said they would and did what needed to be done without complaining. Those volunteers gave me time to breath, to lift my head and to plan the next big move.
Talk to your friends and family.
Let people know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Answer their questions with patience and kindness. Abstain from preaching and instead ask them what they know about the topic. I have found that sharing some facts is useful but listening to and addressing concerns is even more useful. More often than not, actions speak louder than words. When the people around you see the difference you are making in the community, when they see how happy it makes you, they are more likely to be curious and even join you.
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Five years later, Kim is still in the flow of supporting and building a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.
Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.