Uncovering Our Roots

Roots come in all shades of earth. Dark roots are hard for me to look at, uncomfortable to acknowledge. Light roots are the stories I love to tell, the people in my lineage that make me proud. 

Dark Roots

There is privilege in my roots (acknowledged and unacknowledged); Race, gender, and socioeconomic status provided people with resources and unearned opportunities. 

There is abuse in my roots; Abuse of alcohol, abuse of women and children, abuse of power. 

There is silence and abandonment in my roots; Immigrants without a language and women of little means left to provide for their children without help.

Light Roots

There is resilience in my roots; Hard work, long journeys from the old country of Yugoslavia, and people who made a way where there was none. 

There is laughter in my roots; Men who were animated storytellers and larger than life characters.

There is rebellion in my roots; Men and women who went against the grain, questioned authority, and took risks. 

And much like many of you, there is mystery in my roots. Secrets, half truths, plain old delusion, and unknowns. There was no time for note taking and history gathering during times of displacement, separation, loss, and the struggle to survive.

As we stride into Fall, I invite you to uncover your roots and see what you find!


Transition

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Transitions

Navigating Life’s Rhythms of Change


Happy Fall! The changing of the seasons always allows for some reflection on transition. In Northern California, we're lucky enough to see the transition happen as the leaves begin to fall and change colors. Transitions evoke all kinds of feelings - Excitement, concern, fear, joy, impatience.

I find that I do well with in-stage transition, but the calm after the storm can be a little rough. I'll use moving to a new place as an example (I've done that a lot!). I am high energy, so I can easily get into the flow and excitement of looking for a place, packing my stuff, getting furniture, organizing and rearranging. Eventually I settle in and get to business of living within the rhythm of daily life... But then what? Left unchecked, my mind can go to some tricky places and confuse stability with depression. If my personal recovery isn't solid, a serene existence can look like boredom and get me thinking..."Is it time for a change?" At my best, I can enjoy stability for exactly what it is.

Grief can be a thorn of transition. Last year, someone that I loved passed away and transitioned into a new realm of the spirit (or as the Lakota say, "walked on"). It was an incredibly painful transition that felt like it stretched over a lifetime. There are days when that transition still feels incomplete.

Vitality and opportunity are the roses of transition. When windows close, curtains can open to a vision of possibility. Transitions allow for rebirth, re-creation, and renewal. Transitioning to a new job, a new city, or into a new relationship can be exhilarating.

I find that I am best equipped to handle transition when I am grounded in community and willing/able to accept the support of those who love me!

Walking My Talk

Walking my talk isn’t easy, but before I can even get to the walk, I have to look at my talk. Am I using my voice to speak truth to power, lift up others, and promote peace? Or am I using my words to engage in negativity, gossip, or destruction? My talk is informed by my beliefs and values.

I’ve had the experience of saying one thing, but doing another, and it never feels good. Integrity with my word is really important and every day is filled with opportunities to get a little better. Telling the truth, setting boundaries, treating others with kindness, and practicing patience are all concrete ways that I can “walk” my talk. But sometimes I feel so justified in acting out of alignment with my values – When I’m judgmental and critical of others, I’m basically paying for two second satisfaction with an indefinite period of discomfort.

Staying in service has helped me walk my talk. If I share a suggestion with a woman I sponsor, I need to have taken that suggestion myself or be fully willing to take it in the future. If I tell someone that it is important to be on time, I better be on time. I’ll never walk perfectly, but my step gets a little sturdier every time I act in alignment with my values and tell the truth when I don’t.  


Grief of Domestication

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Grief of Domestication

ReWilding with Mama Earth

By Angie Hensley

The earth itself is alive and sentient. This idea of “world soul” or “Anima Mundi” is used in Jungian psychology to link the archetype of the great mother with the planet. This is the animating force of the world. There is a relational field between people and nature. As we have attempted to domesticate our land, we have felt increasingly domesticated ourselves- trapped, tamed, civilized. There is a longing present in our human-nature soulscape for re-wilding.

At Shakti, we are interested in supporting people to cultivate vibrant, embodied lives connected to community rather than isolated and alienated and connected to a planet ensouled rather than inanimate. As we reclaim our sensual, bodily experience, we connect with our environment and other people. This connection leads us to a desire to care for one another and as Abram says in The Spell of the Sensuous, a “rejuvenation of our carnal, sensorial empathy with the living land that sustains us.” 

Embodiment and the focus on sensuality and pleasure as a source of power, aliveness and creativity equips us with a sense of enoughness. There is a way in which becoming embodied and being in touch with the sensual aspect of nature strengthens our connection to a resource rich ecosystem. We come to our knowing from inside our bodies and as fully embedded and connected to our environment. Having a lived sense of our place in the web of life, the world is critical to our collective survival. This is how we rewild. Get your feet in the dirt, listen to the birds song, collect rocks and feathers, listen to what the earth is saying to you in her non human language. That is your wild mother tongue and you need her as much as she needs you to remember.

Blame is a lonely island.

Blame is a lonely island.

Blame is a lonely island and the journey back to the mainland of personal responsibility can be rough, but it is so worth it.

I spent some years feeling stuck/unhappy and eagerly pointing my finger at other people, outside circumstances, general misfortune, and majorly bad luck. This quick fix was more like quicksand. The more I pointed the finger, the angrier I became.

Finding joy in chaos

Finding joy in chaos

As I write this post from a cafe in Melbourne, I am supposed to be at 35,000 feet, on my way to LA via Sydney for the final piece of training before graduating from my intensive year long training in the Desilets Method.

So why tea and eggs in a cafe in Melbourne instead of an airplane breakfast?

My morning started well, if early, check in at the airport was smooth, everyone was relaxed, but then when things started to go wrong they really, really went wrong.

From one strong woman to another:

From one strong woman to another:

I meet many strong women; Strong women that cry by being touched in a healthy way because they never have had that experience. Strong women who laugh in the face of what seems like insurmountable oppression. Strong women who teach me daily why getting out of bed in the morning is worth it.

STRONG WOMEN NEED TO BE HELD STRONGLY.

Boundaries are not a 4 letter word!

Boundaries are not a 4 letter word!

I haven’t met many women who don’t struggle to hold their boundaries. Even the word alone can bring up emotion: frustration, shame, resentment.

As a recovering people pleaser I know that I find it hard to hold my boundaries - I work longer hours than my body and being tell me is right for me, I allow other people’s needs to be more important than my own, I go against what my Soul is telling me in order to keep the peace.

This is what I know: as women, we are educated out of holding our boundaries. Being nice, being good, being well behaved and not rocking the boat is far more important. We are taught that only rude or aggressive people hold boundaries.

We are so very asset rich!

We are so very asset rich!

As a woman recovering from disordered eating with an ongoingly wobbly sense of my own beauty and overall worth, after decades working through my education around wealth I still catch myself on social media thinking horrible, judgemental things about other women who are thinner, more beautiful, more wealthy, more ‘obviously’ lovable than I am. Because if they are going to be the beautiful and lovable one in the room, that leaves no space for me. When there isn’t enough to go around…

Gratitude is part of the history of humanity - what are you grateful for?

Gratitude is part of the history of humanity - what are you grateful for?

Before we go any further, let’s stop for a moment and reflect on our relationship with gratitude. Can you name 3 things that you are grateful for? Does it come easily or do you need to focus and search for gratitude?

For some of us gratitude is a familiar practice, and for others it may seem very unfamiliar.

For those that practice gratitude regularly and have a strong relationship to appreciating and noticing what is inside and around, is this something that you practice in your private life but is separate from your working life?