If belonging relates to a sense of community, and a community is a congregation of beings with shared values, then the capacity to determine our values and stay the course with them is what writer Toko-pa Turner calls a “competency of belonging.” A sense that we are participating as cocreators of something greater than the individual, participating in what Hermeticists call “the great work of creation”. (Tarot for Change p.239)

The above quote encapsulates the on-going work of Shakti in the Mountains. Since May 2010, our mission has been to build an inclusive, collaborative community which elevates and nurtures the feminine. In the intervening 14 years, I have experienced both beautiful and exploitive partnerships, financial successes and mistakes, easy and hard boundary setting, moments of great joy and sadness, and opportunities and challenges. Throughout this journey, I have been sustained by the Shakti community.

Last Friday afternoon, during our Makerspace Open Hours, I felt the competency of belonging deeply. It began with the help of Monica and Teri who volunteered to help unload and spread compost for the Shakti Garden. After spreading dirt at Shakti, we then unloaded and spread compost at a neighbor’s house. By the time we finished, I was starving and needed sustenance.

Lucky for me, I was greeted at the Shakti backdoor by Ellen and Frank who not only brought a basket of seeds to share but a huge container of salad. Next walked in Raquel and her son Ansel who brought fruit, cheese, and chocolate to eat. Everyone pitched in to set the table and to make two dozen Deviled Eggs.

Food for all!

Food for all!

While we worked in the kitchen, Laura walked in with multiple skeins of donated yarn that she offered to air out at home. As other folks arrived, they immediately helped Laura roll the yarn into balls as they said hello and caught each other up on their lives. The atmosphere was relaxed and festive. 

When the food was ready, we gathered around the table and ate and talked and laughed. It felt so good to be surrounded by people who enjoyed each other and wanted to share with each other. As other folks walked in the building, they were greeted warmly and invited to sit at the table. 

Shakti Community

Deana helping roll yarn; Elise and Teri coloring eggs; Ellen handing out seeds

After eating, we adjourned to the garden where we planted onions, garlic, peas, radishes, beets, lettuce, and kale. We also started seeds to place in the new greenhouse. Thanks to donations, we planted more seeds than the Shakti garden needed so we would have plenty of plants to share with the community. No one was expected to bring food or seeds – that has never been the case at Shakti – and yet we had plenty.

Our gatherings have happily arisen from a model of reciprocity, which allows for the natural give and take among people where trust and compassion are shared values. Last Friday, Ellen and Raquel brought food. Next week someone else may bring food or another gift, including intangible ones, for the community. There is no scoresheet or ledger. The focus has and continues to be on balance, which includes clear boundaries. 

Shakti Community

Frank planting peas in the garden.; Laurie tending to the stone pile.; Carol and Laura planting seeds for the greenhouse.

Fortunately it is very rare that I feel challenged by someone who does not respect the community’s boundaries. When the occasion warrants it, I will communicate a firm and clear “no.” Often the boundary is presented with an opportunity to repair, and the person is invited to address the misunderstanding or mistake. Sometimes though the person is not safe, and consequently, asked not to return. 

In the 14 years that Shakti in the Mountains has existed, I only have had to ask a handful of people not to return. I attribute the low number of exiles to the community building effort that I and others have done over the years. Since I am clear on the mission and vision of Shakti, I can more easily recognize when someone is not able to uphold the boundaries of our community. As a result of this clarity, folks who are willing and able to be co-creators are the people who primarily show up and contribute to the competency of belonging

As with any type of creation, growth is necessary for health. Over the years, Shakti has evolved while remaining true to our mission and vision. I am currently working with several individuals who are dedicated to taking Shakti to the next level of evolution. My goal is to finalize the details this summer and to share the results by fall. While the details are fuzzy, I can share that Shakti’s evolution will include opportunities for: 

  • White people to address systemic racism, white privilege, and unconscious bias 
  • People of Color to heal the intergenerational trauma of chattel slavery and ongoing trauma of racism in our society today 
  • The Shakti community to participate in a membership program
  • Folks to receive training in healthy, collaborative stewardship

I look forward to sharing more details and witnessing how our beautiful Shakti community will traverse this next level of evolution. In the meantime, I invite you to check out the wonderful opportunities available during the month of April. (See below.) Please be mindful that registration closes 24-hours BEFORE an event. Out of respect for our facilitators, Shakti will not accommodate last minute requests to attend events. 

Wishing everyone a wonderful 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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Shakti Badge Program

Shakti Badge Program

The type of fun that gives you permission to explore new ideas, to try new things, and to shift your perspective. We hope that people who participate in the program not only gain new skills but also make new friends.

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