I am grateful today is the last day of January. January historically is a challenging month, and this January has been no exception. January embodies the difficult aspects of winter and requires the tenacity of the goat, the Capricorn symbol, to survive the darker, colder days. (Clearly I am writing from a Northern Hemisphere perspective.)

I have noticed two consistent themes emerging over the past 31 days.

They are:

  1. a need to set and to maintain clear boundaries
  2. a need to empty

Let’s unpack the need to set and to maintain clear boundaries. Yes, I am sure that you have heard this message before, and perhaps, are getting a little, or a lot, tired of hearing it. I know I certainly have felt irritated by the recent reminder to address the places where my energy leaks. Unclear, inconsistent, or squishy boundaries drain our lifeforce, and left unchecked, can wreak havoc in our lives.

Thank you Teri Lee for providing an excellent quilting demonstration during our last Makerspace!

Thank you Teri Lee for providing an excellent quilting demonstration during our last Makerspace!

Thank you Lesley for another wonderful herbal workshop!

Thank you Lesley for another wonderful herbal workshop! Folks had an opportunity to make their own tea blend based on the herbs that they needed.

I suspect the biggest source of my irritation lies with the judgment that I should (there’s that word) have already plugged these energy leaks ages ago. I delay making changes because I am too busy berating myself for the need to make changes. Not very productive, I know. Once I move past the need to self-flagellate and am ready to make some changes, I sit with the following questions:

  • What is my irritation/anger/frustration telling me is important or necessary?

  • What do I need in order to maintain my energy?

  • What do I need to release in order to preserve my energy?

  • With whom do I need to share this information?

The answers to the above questions help me get back on track and establish boundaries that are clear, consistent, and firm. Not only is my energy more constant but the likelihood that I will act out decreases considerably. Sometimes my anger, which always alerts me to a boundary violation, comes out incompetently. When I behave incompetently, it means that I allowed an energy leak to go on too long. Wanting to avoid incompetency is a primary motivator for addressing ineffective boundaries sooner rather than later. 

Thank you Beth for the beautiful Amaryllis!

Thank you Beth for the beautiful Amaryllis!

You never know what folks might be crafting during Makerspace Open Hours.

You never know what folks might be crafting during Makerspace Open Hours.

The other theme I noticed this January is to empty. Emptying is a practice in releasing thoughts, beliefs, and expectations that keep you stuck and cause you pain. To empty is to make room for new perspectives, ideas, and solutions. Emptying also gives you space to be and to listen. When you are full, it is hard to make a decision which aligns with your values and desires. Emptying allows you to pay attention to and to invite in what you want.

Sometimes emptying elicits fear. The Buddhists name this fear as attachment. I’ve been noticing the people, ideas, and material objects to which I have become attached. Some of what I cling to is easy to detach from… once I recognize the attachment. Other attachments, typically the places where I exert the most control, are extremely hard to release. The difficult attachments, I have discovered, require mourning accompanied by reassurance. One mantra that helps me to move through the pain is:

In this moment, I have nothing to defend.

In this moment, I have nothing to promote.

In this moment, I have nothing to fear. 

(Source: Shakti Leadership)

As you may imagine, shoring up energy leaks and practicing non-attachment takes effort and consciousness. When I am working diligently, I find that I need more rest and more alone time. I believe that is the gift of winter. It is why I love snow days: days where you get to stay home from school or work. Whether or not you are able to “take a snow day,” I invite you to pare down your schedule and create space for restorative and reflective practices. I encourage you to say “no” to additional commitments and to ask for what you need. 

If you have noticed some themes popping up for you this winter and want to share, then please send me an email. I love hearing from you.

Wishing everyone a peaceful week.

Love,

Kim Bushore-Maki

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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