This season I guided a group designed to support women dealing with emotional burnout. We met for the last time (for fall) on Sunday to make music, to eat cookies, and to discuss connection. It was delightful.

Our conversation was based on the book, “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle” by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. Burnout explores the causes of stress as well as offers solutions to managing stress.

During our last group, we revisited the Human Giver Syndrome: a phenomenon in which “human givers are expected to offer their time, attention, affection, and bodies willingly, placidly, to the other class of people – human beings.” (p. xiii) A phenomenon, it is important to note, which only can occur within the confines of a dominator culture. In other words, where equality and equity exist there is not an expectation that one group of people will sacrifice their needs above another’s.

Unfortunately, we do not live (yet) in a culture without prejudice; therefore, people who are marginalized have to learn how to navigate unjust expectations without internalizing the message of “not enough.” One way to inoculate yourself from the Human Giver Syndrome virus, according to Emily and Amelia, is to create and to maintain environments which fuel a response of “I am enough.” Emily and Amelia call these environments “bubbles of love.” (p.141)

Bubbles of love require two specific ingredients: trust and connected knowing.

Trust is based on reciprocity and asks us to believe that what we give will be returned. For some of us, trust is extremely difficult. The difficulty often stems from being betrayed. Healing from betrayal requires time and courage: the courage to share vulnerably. When you are ready to trust again, I highly recommend looking at Brene Brown’s work on vulnerability. (A good place to start is watching her original Ted Talk on vulnerability.)

The second ingredient, connected knowing, describes one way to understand an idea. Connected knowing is when you explore an idea within the context in which the idea is happening. Connected knowing occurs when we suspend our judgments and emotional reactions in order to understand another person’s perspective. This type of knowing is different from separate knowing which occurs when we “separate an idea from its context and impose external rules” as a way to understand. (p.145) Think scientific method.

While both men and women use connected knowing, women are more likely to use it. One of the benefits of connected knowing is it gives us a way to understand our internal experiences. Taking the time to learn about another, to imagine what it is like to walk their path, is an opportunity to reflect on our own choices as well as an opportunity to develop our own identities. (p.146)

Connected knowing is a pathway to compassion and to empathy, regardless of whether we agree or would even make the same choice as the person with whom we are connecting. Connected knowing is often slow, requires effort, and is careful. Committing to this way of knowing is a beautiful way to make change.

Recall a time when you felt someone applied connected knowing to understanding you. How did it feel to be listened to without judgment or defensiveness? What shifted inside you as you felt heard?

Now imagine intentionally creating bubbles of love among the people with whom you live and work. If this exercise feels hard or scary, then start smaller. Imagine creating a bubble of love with one other person: someone who feels safe, ethical, and kind. (I believe therapy is an excellent starting place to experience a bubble of love.)

In a bubble of love, you will be reminded that you are enough, that your needs are just as important as another person’s, that self-care is NOT selfish.

May we all create and receive from bubbles of love!

Wishing you a wonderful week.


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 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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