I recently participated in a day-long retreat composed of people who want to develop a regenerative economy in Northeast Tennessee. I loved being with folks who have similar values and who are invested in addressing the needs of our community.

I plan on writing more about regenerative economics and why I believe this type of system is healthy and necessary for our region, so stay tuned. (If you want a short primer on this system, then check out this article which outlines the 8 organizing principles of regenerative economics.)

For today’s article, I decided to focus on the way our retreat was facilitated. I was so impressed with the facilitator’s skill and their kindness that I had to share some of the lessons I learned by observing and by receiving their good work. I figure we all could use some pointers on how to navigate the needs and the desires of multiple people, even people who like each other and have similar goals. As always, take what you want and leave the rest behind.

Notes from watching a kind, fair, and boundaried facilitator or Pointers for Navigating Group Dynamics (Family?) With Love

  • Informed Consent: Tell folks what you have planned. Ask them if they agree with the plan, and if not, ask them what they want to change. Get group consensus before proceeding with the gathering. As Brene Brown says, “Being clear is being kind.”
  • Give everyone present an opportunity to speak. Too often we are in rooms where only some voices are heard. Making sure everyone who wants to speak can share their voice is one of the foundations of participatory democracy. It also increases innovation by inviting different perspectives and insights. Plus people like to feel heard. 
  • Acknowledge that trust is integral to building relationships and collaborations. One of my favorite insights I heard from our facilitator was the following: “We move at the speed of trust.” I loved the reminder that we cannot force trust or compensate for the lack of trust. Building trust is a process that will take as long as it needs to take. 
  • Building trust requires good boundaries. Keeping promises, being honest, acknowledging mistakes, asking for directions, giving clear directions, saying no and saying yes are just some of the ways we create and understand our and other people’s boundaries. People are more likely to keep a boundary if they can trust what they hear. Actions really do speak louder than words, so model your boundaries by respecting other people’s boundaries. 
  • Consistently monitor the function of the group. Check-in and ask if anyone is outside their range of tolerance (unable to tolerate the current situation). If the answer is “yes,” then stop the process until everyone is back in their range of tolerance. Forcing people to “get with the program” in order to “advance a cause” is the OPPOSITE of building trust. To grow healthy and sustainable collaborations and relationships model kindness, respect, and acceptance with each interaction. Give people permission to take care of themselves. 

I hope the above pointers support your upcoming gatherings whether they are professional or personal. Please let me know if you have any questions or additional insights. 

Before I close, I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all the folks who stocked the Little Free Pantry either with food donations or gave monetary donations. I am very, very grateful to everyone who supports feeding the hungry in our neighborhood.

Looking forward to being with you community!


Kim Bushore-Maki

Winter Yoga

Yoga for the Winter Season

An 8-week practice to support your energy.
With unpredictable weather, shorter days, and fluctuating energy levels, Yoga for the Winter Season is being offered as a pre-recorded, online class, so you can choose when to practice.

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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