I recently learned a new tool to support healthy boundary setting and wanted to pass it along. This tool came from Shakti Leadership by Nilima Bhat and Raj Sisodia: a book I am using to facilitate a pilot leadership program.
The goal of Shakti Leadership is to lead from a space of consciousness.
Shakti leaders value wholeness, flexibility and congruence. They willingly share power and believe the most important goal of any organization is to elevate humanity. As you may imagine, this power-with style of leadership requires consciousness or a willingness to be present.
We cultivate presence to get in touch with our wholeness and to realize that everything we need is within us at any given moment and always has been.
(Shakti Leadership p.36)
I like to think of presence as our internal GPS.
To discover where you are at any given point, all you have to do is tune into the present moment. Presence also is a source of information: a tool which allows us to sense our responses as well as to track the energy and people in our environment.
Presence doesn’t just provide us with information. Presence also connects us to our inner knowing, helps us discern our truth, and supports balance and integration. It should come as no surprise, then, to learn present moment awareness is necessary to having healthy boundaries.
Which brings me to the new tool I wanted to pass along…
Cultivating presence specifically with the intention of understanding our boundaries.
If you are wondering about the health of your boundaries, then here is a simple exercise designed to evaluate, and if applicable, change your boundaries.
- Find a quiet place for reflection. Remove as many distractions as possible.
- Engage in a mindful practice to relax your body and to quiet your mind. Meditation is an option but so is yoga, tai chi, coloring, etc…
- From a place of calm, identify the situation or the specific boundary which you want to examine. Ask yourself:
- How do I feel when I am engaged in this situation or with this particular person?
- Do I wish things were different? If yes, what would I like to be different?
- When I walk away from the situation or the person, do I feel relieved, energized, angry, overwhelmed, tired, desperate, frustrated?
- How do I want to feel when I am interacting?
- Reflect on your answers and then notice if your boundaries are:
- too closed (rigid, overbearing, inflexible)
- too open (porous, too accommodating, non-existent)
- balanced (kind, clear, consistent, respectful)
When our boundaries are too closed, then we are leaning too heavily on our masculine energy. When our boundaries are too open, then we are leaning too heavily on our feminine energy. Our work is to find the balance between these two energies so our actions reflect our values.
This week I had a come-to-Jesus meeting with myself. I completed the above exercise and confirmed what I have been suspecting. I stepped over the line and am out of balance. I have committed to more people and projects than I can reasonably sustain while staying congruent.
I am now course-correcting and making my way back into balance. Course-correcting is not my favorite thing to do, especially when I have to let go of something I like or tell someone I care about that I can no longer participate. And the alternative is worse: wearing myself down until I no longer feel good or behave congruently.
I am grateful to my family and friends who support my wellbeing and who provide me with feedback. You keep me honest and healthy and I love you for it.
If you resonate with my story, please let me know. I value the connection and want to hear from you.
Have 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 people 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.
Kim is a licensed professional counselor and a yoga teacher. She completed the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy program as well as the Shake Your Soul Yoga Dance program. Kim is very interested in somatic expressive therapy, archetypal psychology, gardening, herbalism, astrology, wisdom traditions, and regenerative economics.
Kim continues to build and to support inclusive, vibrant communities. She spends most of her time mentoring leaders, guiding healing programs, and providing mental health counseling.
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