Happy Imbolc! Today marks the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. On this day, you are invited to turn your thoughts toward spring and ask yourself: What would I like to grow in my garden this year? This inquiry includes the garden outside as well as the garden inside.
Last Sunday, I co-facilitated a Witch’s Hygge: an event where women gather to talk, to craft, and to eat. During the circle, we asked the women to connect with a dream, vision, or intention they wished to explore in the upcoming year. (A very Imbolc-type question) After the responses were shared, I asked the women if they noticed any themes or patterns in the responses. One woman said, “I noticed that a lot of us wanted to focus on our own needs versus focusing on the needs of others.”
“Yes,” I said. “I noticed that too.” Lots of head nods. “In fact” I said, “I’ve been noticing that particular response from women ever since working in the mental health field.”
Another women said, “Why do you think that is? Why do you think women are so focused on the needs of others? Are we just socialized that way?”
“Yes,” I said. “I think that is part of the reason, but I don’t think socialization is the only reason. What do you all think?”
The ensuing discussion was wonderful. Women shared their desire to be of service and to care for their loved ones as well as their desire to pursue their dreams. They also shared the pain and the disappointment they felt when a partner or friend did not ask about their needs. As one woman put it, “I embrace my caring and loving nature: I just want someone to return the favor.”
If you resonate with the above sentiments, then you may be asking yourself, “How do I find the balance between caring for others and caring for myself?”
While there is no one-size-fits-all plan, I do recommend the following protocol. Consider this protocol a launching pad into a personal journey: a journey which only you can navigate. Keep an open mind and allow your intuitive self to guide you on the journey. I welcome any shares and encourage you to email me with your responses.
In the meantime, please check out our most excellent February line-up. I am really looking forward to having fun with everyone who shows up.
Protocol for Balancing Care for Self and Care for Others
- Find a comfortable seat and close your eyes. Drop your sitz bones down while lifting the crown of your head up. Roll your shoulders behind and down. Keep your back long and perpendicular to the floor. Your chin is parallel to the ground. This is neutral position.
- Take a deep breath in and hold. Scrunch your face and tighten your neck muscles. Now let your breath out with a sigh. Relax your muscles and find neutral position.
- Take another deep breath in and hold. Lift your shoulders toward your ears. Make fists with your hands and flex your arms. Tight. When you can no longer hold your breath, release your breath with a big sigh and relax your arms, hands, and shoulders. Go back to neutral position.
- On your next deep breath, tighten the muscles of your torso. Clench your abdominal muscles as well as your butt muscles. Hold as long as you can hold your breath. Release and find neutral position.
- Take one more deep breath and hold. Tighten all the muscles in your legs and feet. Curl your toes. Hold and then release on a big sigh. Go back to neutral position.
- Find an easy pace of breathing. Notice what is happening in your body. What sensations are present?
- Next imagine you are standing next to a beautiful mountain lake. The water is crystal clear and very still. Now imagine your mind is as still as the lake. If a thought enters your head, then picture the thought being absorbed by the crystal clear waters of the lake.
- Finally visualize a tranquil beam of white light entering your body through the crown of your head. As the light fills your body, say to yourself:
- In this moment, I have nothing to defend.
- In this moment, I have nothing to promote.
- In this moment, I have nothing to fear. *
- Say this refrain as often as you need. When you feel complete, slowly bring your five senses back online, noticing sounds and smells as well as anything around you in the room.
*Meditation and refrain adapted from Shakti Leadership by Nilima Bhat and Raj Sisodia
Listen in the here and now for answers: With a relaxed body and a still mind, sit with the following questions:
- What do I need emotionally, physically, or mentally to remain conscious of my needs and the needs of others? (Never underestimate the importance of taking care of the basics. For example: Do I need water? Or to go to the bathroom? Or to get something to eat?)
- What would bring me joy, peace, and comfort today (or even in this minute)?
- How do I want to show up for myself and for others?
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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