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  • Dr. Shelly Harrell

Wednesday Wisdom: Go Within

Go within everyday and find the inner strength so the world will not blow your candle out. -Katherine Dunham

So, I took a little break from Weekend Wisdom to "go within". In my last post, I wrote about cultivating a soul sanctuary within, a space of inner refuge. I find peace and comfort there, as well as space to refuel so I can re-emerge replenished and renewed. A central aim of much of the soulfulness work that I do is to try to support others in developing this precious space. These past couple of weeks I have needed to practice what I preach!

The wisdom quote this week reflects this theme and is one of my all-time favorites. It is from Katherine Dunham who was an iconic African American dancer. I connect to Katherine Dunham beyond the wisdom of this quote. Dance has been a huge part of my life, particularly from childhood to early adulthood. Dance had also been a place of refuge for me.

So what is inner strength anyway? I think about it as an inner reservoir where we can find what we need to carry on in the midst of adversity, struggle, and challenge. This reservoir also contains what we need to support the realization of our strengths, gifts, and highest potential. However, we must consistently contribute to this reservoir through intentionally identifying, creating, internalizing, and expressing personal, cultural, relational, and spiritual resources. Inner strength is not something that we either just have or don't have. Our inner strength does not stay strong if we don't tend to it and nurture it. I think the foundation of our inner strength develops from ongoing processes of connecting and reconnecting-- connecting to spirit, to ancestors, to the loved ones we hold in our heart, to the natural world, to memories, to lived experience. When we cultivate, enliven, and embody these inner resources, we are activating the energies and wisdom that that they carry-- love, peace, resilience, joy, compassion, hope, authenticity, gratitude, etc. One of the soulfulness practices that I frequently share in the workshops and courses I offer is called "Soul Circle". This practice is all about cultivating an inner community of support, strength, and wisdom that we can call upon. As Katherine Dunham expresses, going within is ultimately about preserving the radiance of our inner light so that we can shine brightly in the world.

What helps you keep the flame of your inner candle from getting blown out?

With Peace, Love, and Soulfulness,

Dr. Shelly Harrell


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