Reina Starke

Creating Safe Spaces for Women to Thrive: Reina Starke Facilitates Circles of Care and Community

“My passion is creating safe spaces for women. That's really what I think my gift is, being able to set up the stage for women to be able to feel vulnerable,” Reina Starke shares. She is a Vancouver-based Métis woman who hosts retreats and events for women where they can gather, be themselves authentically, collaborate and share. She also hosts workshops through Connected North. 

With a degree in Child and Youth Care, Starke started out doing family support work and working in housing with younger moms and youth. After taking a break from that work, she had her own kids and started envisioning what she could do as an entrepreneur. She hosted self esteem workshops for girls that moms would drop their kids off to attend. Those moms longed for a space of their own, which evolved in Starke’s basement. Over time these events grew to include dozens of women. 

“It's been a slow progression but I would say divinely guided. It’s been perfect timing, even though it may feel like a slow exhale and inhale. It feels like a very natural unfolding,” Starke muses. While she loves the work she does, it can be heavy as everyone shares their challenges and wounds in an intense experience as Starke navigates her own difficulties. She is learning how best to stay balanced and present for her participants. 

Growing up, she was homeschooled until high school, a big adjustment to being around people all day. With bells ringing and all the smells of the school environment, it was a lot to take in but she got through it. She progressed into university and spent five years getting her degree and doing her practicum. Alongside her formal classroom education, she attended wellness retreats to improve her self-awareness, inspiring her to host her own learning experiences for others.  

Opening up events to the public was anxiety-inducing at first, not knowing who would show up to her home to attend but she trusted that things would work out and surrendered that those who were meant to attend would be there. As a spiritual person, she trusted the event would be divinely guided but was still nervous of the unknown and doubted her own capabilities. Starke practiced and showed herself she was capable of her dream. 

Her advice for people making big transitions like she did out of homeschool into mainstream education is to trust their intuition. “We all have this inner voice inside of us that we're able to tune into for guidance. Trusting our own inner voice beyond anyone else's voice out in the world, I think, is just so important,” she offers. Starke also reinforces the value of getting out of your comfort zone to find personal growth and soul expansion.  

“Courage is always rewarded. If you're willing to be courageous, and take the leap towards your dream, the benefits will just be insurmountable. It just takes that courage, that trust that you can do it and a lot of positive self-talk,” Starke urges. To keep her wellness in check, Starke follows medicine wheel teachings, checking in with herself to see what her body needs to bring herself back into balance. From moving and nourishing her body to being intentional about what she thinks, she journals about what her intuition is telling her about how to get back on track. 

Illustration by Shaikara David

Over time she’s learned the narratives in her head creates the life she lives and she has to be mindful about negative self-talk and how useful the stories she tells herself really are. With 60-90 thousand thoughts every day, many of which are repetitive negative thoughts, she tries to make the most of her powerful mind by being more positive and giving her body commands in the form of mantras that validate her value. Instead of ruminating, she tries to feed her spirit by doing what lights her up and keeps her in the present. Starke leans into feeling her feelings and trusts her ability to handle her emotions and to use tools like meditation to support her wellness. 

If she could give a message to her younger self it would be to be proud of her uniqueness. “8 billion people on the planet, there's one you and that's a miracle. Remember that you're here for a purpose so tune into your uniqueness instead of trying to push your uniqueness away,” she reflects. 

As a teen, she was teased about her teeth and her nose, something that really impacted her self-esteem. Looking back, she wishes she had been more confident. “Own what you've been given and trust that you're perfect just the way that you are and your authenticity is powerful. When you can just be fully yourself that's your magic. No one else has that magic but you,” she continues. 

She would also want to tell her younger self to trust herself more. “Beyond any other judgments or people pleasing or validation you might want from someone, just listen to your own intuition. You don't need someone else to confirm that you're worthy or lovable or enough,” she affirms. 

"You don't need someone else to confirm that you're worthy or lovable or enough."

When she needs inspiration, she moves her body to get out of her head and back to her heart. She runs indoors to avoid the cold and she journals as new ideas come to her. That movement has been a game changer for her mental health. She also loves listening to personal development podcasts and reading books. The practice of automatic writing and journaling helps her clear her head too. 

Something she tries to be intentional about is focusing on what she wants instead of past hurts outside of intentional healing of trauma. Fixating on the past means the present passes her by and becomes the past too and she prefers to be more forward-looking. She bonds with her future self in meditation and connects with her future vision to keep what she wants close enough to attract what she desires. 

To inspire Indigenous youth, Starke suggests they cultivate self-compassion and gentleness. She is on a journey of reparenting herself, speaking to and touching herself more gently to self-soothe. She’s creating a list of things to do to bring herself comfort when she’s struggling, whether that’s a cup of tea or time in nature, exercise or meditation. 

In pursuing her passion to create safe spaces for women, Reina Starke is sharing her gift and setting the stage for women to feel vulnerable in sharing with each other. Helping girls find the self esteem she needed as a child and for women to find community and care amongst themselves, she’s creating an empowering future and change for the better. Trusting herself to find a way forward, she’s learning what she needs and to help others do the same.

Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.

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Key Parts

  • Career
  • Identity
  • Province/Territory
    British Columbia
  • Date
    May 27, 2024
  • Post Secondary Institutions
    No PSI found.
  • Discussion Guide
    create to learn discuss

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