I love to read. One of my favorite genres is fantasy. I greatly admire authors who build well-crafted worlds filled with fantastical creatures and complex characters. Despite the predictability of the hero story arc, I enjoy watching the protagonist navigate each step of her journey, and even stay up late to read the exhilarating conclusion. 

Why do I not get bored with the predictable plot line? I have several theories which might explain my ongoing love affair with the hero’s story arc. (In case you are not familiar with the stages of the hero’s journey, follow this link for a quick primer.)

Theory #1: Safe Escape
There is something to be said about picking up a book which is both entertaining and predictable. I seek out authors whom I trust to create a world in which I can get lost and who will provide a meaningful and satisfactory conclusion. I want the hero to be successful and I want the hero to make her world a better place. In other words, I want the journey to have a purpose greater than any one person: a desire which leads to my second theory…

Theory #2: Inspire Action
I am inspired by stories in which characters, against all odds, persevere in their mission. Stories which recognize the difference that one person, or one small band of people, can make to change the course of history. I cheered on Frodo, not only because I wanted him to save the Shire, but also because I can see some of myself in him. Like Frodo, I do not have a special adventure skill set or know how to use a sword. Frodo succeeded because he had a moral compass, a good heart, an inner strength, and Samwise Gamgee. The implication is that we, too, could succeed in our personal journeys if we acted with integrity and sought out good friends. 

Theory #3: Instill Hope
Hero journeys instill hope. They promise a better tomorrow. These stories prescribe to the belief that humans who seek justice and integrate their parts heal themselves and their community. Luke Skywalker didn’t just blow up the Death Star. He also learned more about who he was (Jedi) and sought to become more of himself (master his Jedi skills). A good fantasy novel not only creates an action-packed adventure: a good fantasy novel also recognizes that the protagonist must embrace all their parts, including the unwanted parts, to succeed. In other words, the hero’s story is not only an outward journey, it also is an inner journey of self-growth.

I ultimately read fantasy novels because I want to study how people navigate the inner journey. I love watching characters address their fears, find courage, and navigate unwanted feelings. These adventure stories serve as a roadmap to transformation and invite me to remember that I too am capable of reimagining my own life. 

Enchanted Map Oracle Deck

During last Tuesday’s Community Potluck, we pulled a card from the Enchanted Map Oracle Deck by Colette Baron-Reid. What a positive message for the coming month!

Shakti Garden

More plants need to be transferred to garden beds. Let me know if you want to help this week.

Liam Graduates

Last Friday my youngest child graduated high school!!! We are so proud of Liam and wish him much success at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

If you want to be the hero of your own story, if you want to make a difference in your world, then I encourage you to find a book or watch a movie with a hero’s story arc. Notice what you think and how you feel as the protagonist navigates the various stages of the journey. 

I will admit that there were times during Lord of the Rings where I was really worried about Frodo. It made me uncomfortable to watch Frodo fight with Sam or hold onto the ring. These scenes remind me of times when I push against the people who care about me or act selfishly and jeopardize the group goal.  While some stages of the journey are difficult, it is helpful to see the characters move through the obstacle, learn the lesson, and achieve a measure of peace. 

Wherever I am on my journey, I remind myself that this stage is temporary and will not last: a bittersweet sentiment when things are going well and hopeful when things are tough. No matter where I am on the journey, I am grateful for the people who serve as my personal Samwise Gamgee’s. They make the journey sweeter.

In case you were looking for an escape or need inspiration or hope, below are some fantasy books that I have enjoyed. Please share any that you have with me. I love book recommendations!

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!


Kim Bushore-Maki

Kim’s Fantasy Book Recommendations

  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  • Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
  • House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • The Merciful Crow by Maragret Owen
  • Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
  • A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (The first book is my least favorite. Stick with it: they get better.)

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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