I have concluded that the reason they are experiencing so much pain is that they chose to follow a model that denies who they are.
~Maureen Murdock, The Heroine’s Journey
The current model for success was originally based on a structure in which the majority of power was held by a small number of people. Within this structure, there are levels of power and these levels of power indicate who controls the available resources and who gets to make important decisions. The higher the level, the more power and resources one has.
If a person wants to succeed in this model, then there are certain rules to be followed and specific measures to be met. The rhetoric endorsed and spread by the elite power holders is: If you work hard, if you play by the rules, then you will be successful.
Bull. If this rhetoric were true, then laborers would have the most power and the best access to resources. The people who work the hardest are often financially compensated the least or not at all.
In addition to having the fewest resources, people who are regulated to the bottom of the hierarchal model are often blamed for the position they hold. They are told they should have more education, experience, or speak better English. People at the bottom of the hierarchy also are encouraged to be more like those at the top of the hierarchy, including their appearance. (Why do you think female blazers had shoulder pads in the 80’s or people with tight curls straightened their hair?)
No wonder people are in so much pain.
We are being asked to play a game which was never designed for us to win. We are participating in a model which uses gaslighting and victim-blaming as a way to manipulate the masses and keep the power in the hands of a few. Most importantly, we are in pain because we live and work in a system which tells us to deny who we are.
There is a solution to this pain and it begins with a single word: “no.”
When we make the decision to say no to our inner tyrant – the part of us which bought into the dominant model, then we begin our journey to freedom.
This journey is initially uncomfortable and even scary. We are throwing out the rule book we have played by for the majority of our life and we may not have a clue what the new rules are.
Don’t worry. Most of us don’t know how we want to structure our lives…at first.
As Maureen Murdock explains, we often experience “a feeling of emptiness, of somehow not measuring up” as well as “a fear of disappointing others.” (The Heroine’s Journey, p.82)
Living through discomfort is a necessary part of the journey to freedom. It is the liminal space: the threshold we must cross as we move from the model which denies who we are to the model which embraces our authentic nature.
Navigating this liminal space requires us to stop doing and to start being. Murdock is very clear about the discipline needed to listen to one’s inner voice. As she states in The Heroine’s Journey, “Being is not a luxury; it is a discipline…She [the heroine] must be willing to hold the tension until the new form emerges. Anything less than that aborts growth, denies change, and reverses transformation. Being takes courage and demands sacrifice.” (p.83)
If you are feeling tired, burned out, apathetic, or scared, then consider the radical act of saying no to your inner tyrant. Consider letting go of the should’s and the must’s, and instead, embracing the what if’s. I invite you to sit with the question:
How would my life be different if I made decisions based on generosity, kindness, cooperation, empathy, and reciprocity?
Give yourself permission to answer this question over a matter of days, or even, weeks. Dream about your answers. Notice what shifts in your body, heart, and mind as you contemplate this new reality.
Then consider attending one of the many workshops or classes at Shakti in the Mountains where we hold a sacred container for people to be who they are.
Wishing you a beautiful week.
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.
Since 2010, Kim continues to build and to support 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.
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