​Last Saturday, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, a Mexican American poet, novelist, painter, mother, and plantswoman, guided a School of the Lost Arts’ workshop entitled “Decolonizing the Garden.” Through beautiful and thoughtful conversation, Raquel shared the following tenets which guide her relationship with the Land.

  • The Land can hold trauma, bad intentions, and curses.
  • The Land can be healed.
  • The Land contains spirits and is a spirit.

As we dove deeper into the significance of the tenets, Raquel encouraged us to acknowledge humans are part of a vast and interconnected web of life. She also invited us to recognize this web does not rank any being – animal, plant, insect, bird, stone, fish – as being better than or more important than another. In the web of life, there is no hierarchy.

These tenets can be applied to any existing system.

Imagine if we engaged with our health care, economic, educational, justice, religious, and political systems as if there were no hierarchy? That everyone who participated in the system was considered as important as the next person. That each need was considered with the same amount of respect as the next. That decisions were based on the health of ALL life, in particular the life of the planet.

It is important to remember that hierarchies are created by the people in power to keep their power. Hierarchies do not value all life – just the lives that the dominators value. Hierarchies are designed so that only certain people and issues will win.

When an outlier “wins” or advances up the ladder, it is not proof that anyone can rise in the ranks, rather it reflects the existence of tokens or people deemed “appropriate” by the dominant culture. This advancement is not a win: this advancement becomes a gilded cage entrapping a very talented and capable person in a dysfunctional system.

To heal the system you must first recognize and acknowledge the trauma, bad intentions, and curses. This action requires letting go of biases and wishful thinking. Quoting documents written by people at the top of the hierarchy is not evidence of truth.

To truly know what is happening, you must be willing to listen to others who can share a different perspective than the one you have.

Imagine what a fish who swims in polluted waters might say to you or a plant which grows near a toxic waste site might share. These beings speak to us all the time – just not with words. What are ways you can tune into the web of life in order to learn about how your actions impact others?

To heal the system also requires an open heart.

Meeting any being with love is an act of healing, including oneself. I recently heard Meggan Watterson, theologian and author of Mary Magdalene Revealed, say:

“Humans are uniquely positioned to be the voice of love on behalf of both realms: the material world and the angelic world.” (House of Mary Magdalene Sermon, November 7, 2022)

Meggan believes humans are the bridge between the world we can see and the world which exists beyond sight. When we bring love to the places to which it has not been, then we transform them. When we love ourselves, we transform ourselves. When we love another person, we transform them. When we love the Earth, we transform the planet.

“The only thing transformation asks of us is to be present.” (Watterson)

In this moment, can you be present?

Can you be present to both the beauty and the brutality?
Can you be present to what is?
Can you trust your ability to witness is an act of love?

As a recovering Good Girl, I struggle with the belief that my presence is enough. Sometimes I slip into my default behavior and try to fix what I perceive as broken or hurt. When I move into fix-it mode, I deny the spirit of the being I am trying to fix. Fixing is not healing. Fixing disempowers the spirit of another.

Being present to another, and to oneself, is healing.

Our presence alerts us to what is ours to do and allows us to release what is not.

One system that I am bringing presence to is our economic system. I am exploring different ways of engaging in commerce. Fortunately, I am not alone in my exploration. One of my fellow explorers, Adam Dickson, is co-hosting a conversation with me about Community Wealth Building: a concept which investigates how we distribute resources to all. If you would like to be a part of such a discussion, then I hope you will join Adam and me tonight at 6:30 pm at the Langston Centre.

In the meantime, please check out the upcoming community events. I am excited to have new offerings (free meditation class on Thursday) as well as to welcome the return of Exploring Our Wild Roots (this Saturday).

Much love,

Kim Bushore-Maki

Shakti in the Mountains’ Cookbook

Pre-order Your Shakti in the Mountains’ Cookbook

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. Pre-order yours now!

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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