The dogwoods are in full bloom and the azaleas are bursting with color: clear signs we have moved deeper into the season of spring. The urge to go outdoors and work in the soil is strong. I can’t wait to remove the weeds and to add compost to the raised beds. These activities are one step closer to planting – my favorite garden activity. (Join me this Saturday, from 11 am to 2 pm in the Shakti Garden.)
The cleared beds feel like blank canvases on which to paint visions of luscious plants dripping with fruit, big full bunches of herbs, and bright, colorful bouquets of flowers. I imagine all the people who contribute to the garden as well as the people who will enjoy the harvest. (Community potlucks which use the food grown in the garden are the best!)
With all the newness we currently are witnessing in nature, it is easy to forget death is a part of the growth cycle.
To remember it was last year’s plants that created this year’s compost. To remember not every seed planted sprouts, and to remember, that no plant lasts forever – eventually all living things die.
The birth-death-rebirth cycle is true for systems as well. Systems reflect the needs at the time in which they were created. Systems which last for many years usually fall into two categories.
One type of system, the healthy system, is one in which all constituents thrive. Cooperation and collaboration are the primary organizing tools. Healthy systems are adaptable and flex with the ever changing needs of the organization.
The other type of system is unhealthy and reflects a competitive mindset which believes the means justify the ends. People who live and work in unhealthy systems often report feeling burnt out, tired, overwhelmed, and sick. Unhealthy systems have an unequal distribution of resources where folks toward the bottom of the organization experience less quality of life than people at the top.
Over the last two years, more and more light has been shed on the discrepancies found in unhealthy systems. One pivotal article, Toxic Culture is Driving the Great Resignation, uses large data sets to confirm what a lot of us have been feeling: no amount of money is worth the impact of working in a toxic or unhealthy environment.
I am grateful for the research which advocates for the creation of and the maintenance of healthy systems. Clearly it is necessary to define the problem in order to find a solution.
Of equal importance is the “need to hospice the death of these old structures and systems which no longer serve us.” (Shakti Leadership, p.11) As Lynne Twist shares in her interview with the authors of Shakti Leadership, we need to focus on the vision we are moving toward while acknowledging the impediments in our way.
By focusing on what we want to create, we are less likely to get stuck in what is not working, or worse, indulge in our desire to punish the people whom we feel are responsible for and who benefit from the old, dysfunctional structures and systems.
(Punishment is different from accountability. Accountability uses compassion and empathy and keeps our humanity. Punishment is vindictive and invites us to become what we don’t like.)
I love the invitation Lynne Twist (author of The Soul of Money extends to us. She encourages us to be both the hospice worker who eases the death of the old, unhealthy system as well as the midwife who supports the birth of the new, healthy system. Both roles are “acts of love and witness” and asks us to create a paradigm in which the focus is on “you and me” instead of “you or me.” (p.12)
If you are interested in learning more about how to embody Shakti Leadership, then please email me. I am in the process of reading the book and recently signed up for an online study guided by one of the authors. My goal is to form a book club which uses the book and the online curriculum to create Shakti leaders in our community.
Wishing everyone a wonderful 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.