Sacred is not safe. Sacred invites wholeness, compassion, and curiosity but it does not protect you from feeling uncomfortable or even frightened.
Too often folks are promised they are in a safe environment which is often interpreted as you will be kept comfortable. Usually, in these circumstances, the people holding the container have an expectation, and in some cases, an unspoken mandate that those who participate will share vulnerably and honestly. When this expectation is not grounded in sacredness, the potential for harm increases.
Sharing vulnerably and honestly, for most people, does not feel safe. It feels scary, and in some instances, can cause a long-lasting, negative impact on the person who speaks their truth. (Why do you think whistle blowers are so rare?)
If the goal is to create a container in which truths can be shared and judgments withheld, then trust is needed. Trust that what you say will be heard and respected. Trust that mistakes are forgiven and amends are encouraged.
Notice trust does not mean agreement or condonation. Folks are allowed to disagree with each other and to question ideas.
What a sacred container does is foster openness: a willingness to learn from each other and to be receptive to different viewpoints and opinions.
A sacred container also establishes group norms so folks know how to manage strong feelings, how to resolve conflict, how to set boundaries, and how to communicate respectfully. Group norms let folks know from the onset the purpose or intention of the group as well as the expectations. Group norms also serve as type of informed consent, giving people the opportunity to opt in or to walk away.
The beauty of establishing group norms is each member is empowered to uphold the agreement. No one person is solely responsible for maintaining the agreement: all members are committed to the same outcome. This set-up is a form of shared leadership and encourages confidence-building and grows courage.
Imagine spending time in community where sacredness is promoted as opposed to safety.
How would your relationships and perspectives shift? How would our collective ability to problem solve and seek peaceful resolution change? What is possible?
At Shakti in the Mountains, our circles and classes work toward this goal: establishing sacred containers. We are constantly learning and growing in our understanding of how to hold sacred containers and in our ability to hold them. (Healing emotional wounds is a part of the growth.)
If you would like to experience a sacred container, I invite you to join one of our free or paid offerings. Whether you choose to participate in a stand-alone offering like Poetry Dive or in an offering like Making Peace: Navigating Challenging Times with Body Wisdom, I hope you will walk away with a taste and a craving for more sacredness in your life.
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.
Five years later, Kim is still in the flow of supporting and building 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.