The Mandala Center Logo (contains a medicine wheel image)
As we enter a new year I am thinking of the teachings of the Medicine Wheel (“medicine” being life’s lessons and” wheel” containing all that is) as I was taught by Grandmother Twylah Hurd Nitsch of the Seneca Nation.
In the wheel the EAST is the sacred door – the place we enter and the place of new beginnings. Our New Year season is often considered a time of such “new beginnings.” In the EAST we find the rising sun (like the winter solstice returning the light to our world), the place of sacred birth and breath – not just physical birth but the birth of visions, dreams, goals, and ideas. So we make New Year Resolutions to this end.
The EAST is also the place of the winged ones; the eagle that sees far and wide over the land – the bigger picture. The eagle’s wings are spread open and its heart is exposed to the world. This is where vision is born but that exposed heart puts us at risk at the same time.
Have you ever had a dream or vision and shared it with others and then quickly realized they did not understand it? Or worse yet, they found fault with it before you even had a chance to ponder it for yourself? Did you ever have a great idea but did not follow through on it? Or start a project but not complete it? We can spend a lot of time dreaming about flying but we never leave the ground. Habits, fear, disapproval of others, and self doubts can haunt us and lead us to unfulfilled and unrealized “soaring”.
Finding the will power, courage and support to tap into our visions, while remaining grounded and connected to the world in sustainable ways, takes a lot of time and energy (and experience and faith). It is not an easy path – as so many broken and failed New Year’s resolutions would confirm. We can easily be distracted and deterred. We may feel a need to be protective of our visions-which is exactly what we need to be- for this is a delicate place in the wheel of life. But if we shelter them too much, for fear of failure, disapproval, or the need for perfection, we may never allow them to see the light of day.
What visions are being born in your heart right now?? What have you imagined for this year of 2012 that is only now in its infant stage – in need of protection? What calls to you to explore, develop, or change? What are some of the first “baby steps” you can take to make sure your visions/dreams/ideas survive into youth and maturity?
(At times like this some self-reflection is always helpful: What (belief, situation, person) limits you and holds you back? What energizes you? Who supports you? Who steals your fire? What inspires you? What has worked or not worked in your past?)
Visions can quickly turn into fantasies that obscure our sight so it is important to have a good grounding cord. This cord is not meant to prevent us from passionate expressions but to keep us from soaring haphazardly and ultimately ineffectively. We must exist in what seems like a paradox – to fly and yet remain firmly rooted in the earth.
As we move from the EAST into the SOUTH in the Medicine Wheel we become more grounded. We find the “medicine of mouse” which is to be low on the earth and see things up close where details matter. The south is the place of our daily lives, work and family. It is where we labor. The east is only a temporary haven for dreams and visions. They are born there but it is then our tedious job to tend to the details. It is hard work. This may be physical work or it may be inner soul work that calls us to task about our own thoughts and beliefs. Most often, it is both.
Our visions need time and space and most of all nurturing commitment in order to fully mature. I have a sign in my art studio that says “I am your idea. If you do not pay attention to me today I will be gone tomorrow.” A vision imagined is just a vision unless we can make it manifest in our lives – unless we act upon it.
It is important to note, however, that this “action” may not be a quick impulse but rather a slow process of small steps taken over time. Patience is a virtue. It is also important to realize that we may end up someplace very different than we originally imagined, but this is not failure. It is a natural state of creative flow that emerges and guides us when we allow ourselves to be guided while remaining full participants in our own lives. A vision or idea is a starting point and from there many possibilities can be realized.
So do not despair!! We CAN bring our inspirations home and when we live into them we find the world around us makes room and offers support – making the circle bigger. When we value our dreams and stand up for them we soon discover who we can entrust them to and who can help us temper and shape our dreams into realities. Our dreams gain strength and stability. People show up at the right time and opportunities, challenges (setbacks can be blessings), and resources light our way.
This is a quote that Susan, a participant visiting The Mandala Center, left for me upon her departure,
“The moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have otherwise occurred…unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.” Goethe.
For those of you who are soaring in the EAST right now, who are opening up your hearts to new possibilities, I send prayers of support and hope that this New Year brings the wisdom you seek and the Providence you need. May you make manifest the visions you hold dear – however large or small.
Tish Hewitt and her daughter Anna Wolfe manifested their visions here and they have turned into The Mandala Center as we know it today. It was a journey and a process. Now we are building new visions and moving forward with new growth – in small steps and with great faith. Your support of our vision and mission is a blessing! Happy New Year!