This week we usher in a new season (Thursday) and recognize a new lunar cycle (Sunday). Both of these new beginnings occur in the sign of Libra which is the energy of balance: finding balance in our personal life as well as seeking balance in the world.
I don’t know about you but I have been struggling to find balance. Or maybe a better way to express my experience is to say I’ve really had to work hard for balance. (I do have moments of balance.)
While we all have personal reasons as to why finding equilibrium is a challenge, I also believe there are some universal reasons why we humans struggle with maintaining an even keel.
Denial is a major contributor to being out of balance.
Denying our needs, denying reality, and denying our truth make it impossible to find equilibrium. One very basic way I ignore my needs, my reality, and my truth is the way I underestimate the amount of time I have and I overestimate my ability to get things done.
I have lost count how many times I tell myself I can get this one little thing done before I have to be somewhere. I typically do not have the time to complete the task, and consequently, I am late to my next commitment. Not only is my lateness disrespectful to the person who is waiting, my lateness is an indication that I have either overcommitted or have unrealistic expectations or both.
Being honest with myself and setting attainable goals with the amount of resources I have including especially time is key to addressing denial. A practice I find extremely helpful is sit with the question: What would I have to acknowledge if I was present to the reality of the moment? This question also is helpful when you find yourself engaging in mindless behavior, e.g. scrolling social media, zoning out in front of the TV, binging comfort foods, etc…
Another major contributor to imbalance is greed.
Which does not have to look like someone who desires or hoards money. Greed in a very broad sense is wanting it all…now. I am very greedy about wanting to do all the things.
I want to attend all the functions, engage in all the online courses, accept all the invitations, go to all the festivals, and travel all over the world. I also want to have time every day to make delicious healthy food, to be in nature, to exercise, to read, to create, to play, to be alone, and to hang out with my people. I want, I want, I want. This wanting sometimes shows up as denial (I think I have more time to do all the things) as well as overwhelm (I don’t know how to prioritize or to rest).
The antidote to greed is gratitude: to appreciate what I do have. When I remember to practice gratitude, I notice I want less. I think greed is really forgetfulness: forgetting we have enough and we are enough.
Of course, fear is the third major contributor to being out of balance.
Fear encourages denial and propagates greed. Fear is what keeps us quiet and small. We will do and say a lot of things that we don’t want to because we are afraid.
I recently listened to an interview with Dr. Becky Kennedy, a clinical psychologist (episodes 130 and 131 of the podcast, We Can Do Hard Things). During this interview, Dr. Kennedy said children lie to protect their attachments. In other words, children who are afraid of losing connection will lie to keep their sense of belonging and attachment intact.
I don’t believe lying for the sake of staying attached is exclusive to children. Adults lie for the same reason too. We lie because we are afraid.
When we are afraid, we constrict. Not only do we get smaller, we get tighter and more rigid. Constriction does not lend itself to balance. The antidote is to engage in practices which cultivate being loose, flexible, and open. Physical practices like yoga, tai chi, marital arts, and dance are some great ways to tune into your body and move out the fear.
Contemplative practices such as meditation, prayer, journaling, and chanting center you and give you permission to be with whatever you are feeling in the moment, including fear. We build resilience when we allow ourselves to experience the fear, even when we do so for one-second. This practice sends a message that we can and did survive what we thought we could not.
As we celebrate the Fall Equinox on Thursday, I invite you to commit to a practice which will cultivate balance. Keep in mind that balance shifts moment to moment. (We are not static creatures, therefore, balance is dynamic just like we are.) The balance we find in this moment may not look like or feel the same as the balance we find in the next moment. For this reason, we have to PRACTICE balance. It is not a destination, rather balance is a journey.
I hope you can join us in-person this Thursday as we celebrate the new season. Starting at 4 pm, the Makerspace will be open with an opportunity to participate in a group activity (you can always do your own thing). Then at 6 pm, we feast together on a Potluck Dinner. Please consider making a dish that you would want the recipe to be included in the upcoming Shakti Cookbook. Between 7 and 7:30 pm, Laurie Levknecht will guide a spirituality in nature practice. There is no cost to attend and donations for the Little Free Pantry are welcomed.
On Friday of this week, we have our first Extended Makerspace. Ellen Harbin-Dabbs will be on hand to guide a beginner’s crochet project (veteran crocheters are welcomed!) and to make Stone Soup. I hope you can join us for one or both events: they are free!
Wishing you a wonderful week!
The Shakti in the Mountains’ Cookbook is almost complete!
This e-book will be available for download in mid-December and is full of yummy recipes and heart-warming stories. All proceeds from the sale of this cookbook go to a new Shakti Scholarship fund, which will provide financial aid to folks who need help attending the Shakti Stewardship Program. Minimum donation of $25 will grant you access to this beautiful e-book. You can now pre-order the cookbook here.
A big THANK YOU to Christen Minnick for collecting the recipes and stories and to all the folks who contributed.
P.S. The Shakti Cookbook makes a great Winter Solstice gift!!
NOTE: Your e-book download will be sent to the email you use to donate. Please be sure this is a working email.
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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