iceberg

On Right Relationship

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When the Wisdom Wheel would be most helpful, I often forget to use it. I’m specifically thinking about when my husband and I have our spats. Sometimes Malcolm will even chide me, “Don’t you teach others about Right Relationship?”

In my defense, I am a student of Right Relationship. We all are. As students of the Wisdom Wheel, we will never “master” Balance or Love or Great Mystery, but we’ve made conscious Choices to learn more about wisdom and the Universal Laws. Although I am the developer of the Wisdom Wheel, the mere fact that my husband reminds me to use it shows that I am not a master. There is no hierarchy. We can all make a Commitment to be more mindful at any level, regardless of how many years we’ve been practicing.

I made a Commitment to myself years ago: to focus on what I am FOR rather than what I am against. What do I want to support? What do you want to support? I would rather put my time and energy toward what I am for, rather than use my precious resources to attack. There is already too much of that in the world.

Even in the midst of our heated tiffs, I am not against my husband. We are both FOR Right Relationship. As a couple, we learn and teach each other more about Right Relationship everyday.

The Wisdom Wheel is an odd marriage counselor but it has mediated many conflicts. In my marriage, it brings issues to the surface so we can address them. Because my husband and I share the Laws as a common language, we can articulate our values, even when they differ. The stabilizing presence of the stones reminds us daily what our shared values are.

Our behavior springs from of our most deeply held beliefs, even if we can’t verbalize them. Imagine yourself or others around you as icebergs. We can see each other’s behaviors and actions, but not the motivations or beliefs below the water line. In order to understand each other, we must dive down to the values and beliefs and discuss them. That’s what the Wisdom Wheel is FOR.

Stereograph_of_two_American_boxers_fighting_in_an_outdoor_ring_in_Juarez,_Mexico,_ca.1900-1905_(CHS-611)

Some Thoughts on Awareness

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Have you unfriended anyone on Facebook? Was politics the reason? Once the election cycle is over, can we mend those bridges?

Every morning when I check Facebook, I learn more about the issues, but I also witness how we deal with our different opinions. What’s important these days: gaining Clarity on the issues or maintaining Right Relationships with each other?

I do know that the unfriending dismays me.

No matter who lives in the White House, the rest of us need to get along in order to solve our challenging problems.

During this election, social media has become a boxer’s ring. Candidates and their supporters attack each other, but what does all this fighting serve? I resent it when we bicker with one another and it costs us our friendships. Is this all worth more than our relationships?

When emotions run high, it’s important to come back down to earth. Take a deep breath. Reconsider what’s really going on. I sit down on the ground at the stones of the Wisdom Wheel and ask myself, “What am I for?” Not who, but what. I am for Balance, Awareness, Right Relationship, Trust, Integrity and more. Who else can achieve these for me?

For many of us, it’s difficult to define or articulate the beliefs that we live by. Unfortunately that allows others to take advantage of us. When we are knocked off Balance in arguments, or if we lack Awareness on certain issues, or find ourselves dealing with people who lack Integrity, we may be tempted to sit on the sidelines during these political campaigns.

When you feel your Choices are limited to ‘lesser evils’, what’s the best you can do? ‘We The People’ are obligated to do something. Maybe what we can do is live for Right Action, Balance, Awareness, Right Relationship, Trust and the rest of these Laws ourselves. I think it’s the best place to start.

Liquid Metal Days

On Initiation

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On my birthday, I went to the beach with a new student to help her create her own Wisdom Wheel set. We combed the shore for different colored stones together, as some stones should be white, others yellowish, red or grey to signify the four directional quadrants (to learn more about this, download our free introduction booklet).

After she selected her stones, we laid out her new wheel in the sand. It was then I realized her Birth Law is Initiation (like all Cancers). Fittingly, Initiation is the Law I am now carrying at 62 (we all live under the energies of Initiation at 8, 35, 62 and 89).

That symmetry reminded me that we were performing an Initiation right then and there, in the noon sun on a windy spring day of new beginnings. This new student was embarking on an adventure of learning and ceremony toward wisdom.

In the old days, there were many Initiation ceremonies. Where have they gone? How do we mark a woman’s coming of age? Or celebrate her entrance into Cronehood? What makes a man into a man? And who acknowledges this? Confirmations and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs remain popular, but statistics show that people’s participation in the cultures they were initiated to drop off after their Initiation ceremony. Why?

Weddings are Initiation into marriage. Before, a community would gather to celebrate and pledge support to the young couple setting out together. Weddings today are quite commercialized. What happens after the party and the 5-figure bill?

But people still hunger for what good Initiation provide! Meaning. Acknowledgement.

May this humble Initiation to the stones, the bones of the Earth, be blessed. May this sincere woman find what she is seeking in her search for wisdom. May the Wheel and the world offer us what we truly need.

enlightenment

A Month of Enlightenment

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Happy birthday to all Aries, myself included! The Aries season of the Zodiac (roughly March 20 – April 19) corresponds to the time of Enlightenment on the Wisdom Wheel. Of course, anytime is right time for Enlightenment! But for those of us studying the 36 Universal Laws, our annual Enlightenment wake-up call rings with the Spring Equinox.

As an Aries, I (and all other Aries) carry the Law of Enlightenment, for better or worse. It means that Enlightenment is my ‘assignment’ for this lifetime. Developing the Wisdom Wheel has certainly kept me attuned to Enlightenment. But it has also added a lot of weight to my life. If lugging around 36 rocks doesn’t make you appreciate lightening up, what will?

Truly, Enlightenment is a heavy word. It intimidates many people, myself included.

Somewhere along the way, a lot of us started to think that Enlightenment is beyond us mere humans. Where did we get the idea that only the spiritually-privileged monks, saints and gurus can attain Enlightenment? Who told us that we can only reach Enlightenment by renouncing our worldly lives to meditate and pray in monasteries, ashrams or convents?

Suzuki Roshi, an awakened Zen master once said, “There are no enlightened people, but there is Enlightenment.”

No one can buy or own Enlightenment. If someone tries to sell it to you, please run the other way. Buddhists have an anecdote about this: if you meet Buddha on the road, kill him. Many stories warn us about our gullibility and the preachers, gurus, and ‘medicine’ people who exploit it for profit or power.

But this shows me that our society has a real hunger for Enlightenment! Otherwise, this chicanery would be impossible.

What we must remember is that Enlightenment can’t be bought, because it must be experienced. Take the Wisdom Wheel, for example. If you purchase or create a set and leave to collect dust, how much Enlightenment would it bring you? Not much. We experience the Enlightenment of the Wisdom Wheel by laying it out, implementing its strategies during crises, discussing it with others. Reading about it isn’t it. This applies to any religious or spiritual practice — it’s called practice for a reason!

I recently met with the first alumni group of Wisdom Wheel grads. They are all my fellow teacher souls. Where else can I hear the language wisdom speaks as it comes out of human mouths? This is Enlightenment in my life.

gyroscope

The Wobbling Gyroscope

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I lost my keys last week. It was a powerful reminder to me that my Balance was off. Without my keys, I couldn’t access my own house or car. Also missing were my IDs, customer loyalty tags, library card, gym membership, grocery loyalty tags and more. I dreaded the thought of replacing them. I racked my brain, I retraced my steps, I even suspected someone of pilfering them from my purse!

My husband says these things tend to happen during transitions. The risk of falling is greater when we go from one place to another. This is also true psychologically, when we go from one state of mind to another (like shifting from thinking to doing).

To re-center myself, I sat down next to the stones of the Wisdom Wheel. I invited my intuition to raise Awareness over what’s affecting my Balance. Then it dawned on me that most of the media I consume, from Facebook to the nightly news, provokes severe anxiety. Election coverage is enough to knock me off Balance and the mere prospect of a Trump presidency makes me nauseous and dizzy.

These sensations of imbalance were followed by the image of a gyroscope, a three-dimensional version of the Wheel. Mechanical gyroscopes have been used for orientation purposes since Leon Foucault demonstrated the spinning and turning of our Earth with one in 1852.

Gyroscopes are composed of 4 main parts, much like the Wisdom Wheel. In the middle, there’s a vertical axis bar that pierces the center of a flat disk called a rotor. Attached to these are two metal rims, representing North/South and East/West directions, and surrounding all this is an outer frame, which allows the inner mechanism to roll around freely, continuously rotating and realigning.

Gyroscope_operation

What a great metaphor for the Process of reBalancing! This is exactly what we need in our modern lives: a constant, dynamic re-positioning and reorientation to Ultimate Reality to help us adjust to the inevitable ups and downs. On a visual level, gyroscopes remind me how Balance is regained: through Right Relationship to motion, momentum and direction on the Great Wheel of Life.

As our world undergoes this intense transition Process, many of us lose our Balance without a healthy way to regain it. We react emotionally. Some of us ‘unfriend’ people on Facebook, while others shout at political rallies, and still others take up guns with ISIS.

I remembered my keys again and what they symbolize. Access. Door openers, the ability to cross thresholds, to depart and arrive safely. I went back to the supermarket, the last place I had seen them, and sure enough, someone had turned them in. If only it were as simple to locate the keys for restoring Balance in the world at large.

yogabalance

On Deepening Balance

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Last night, the yoga instructor invited us to set an intention for our practice. Usually, the Law I’m carrying comes to mind first. This month, it’s Balance. I thought of “deepening Balance” as my intention. To me, this means being less frazzled by what goes on around me.

Earlier that day, my husband and I had an argument in the car. He was taking me to a new Indian restaurant and relied on his phone’s GPS to guide him. When he turned to take the wrong exit, I mentioned it was the next one. Then he made another wrong turn at a roundabout and still another.

My anxiety rose. I realized I was gripping the armrest, uneasy, as though we might have an accident. Two of us were in the car, I wanted to be useful. Do I shut up and do nothing or speak up?

Balance. How do we hold onto it when we are fearful?

My husband will turn 67 next month. His reflexes are slower than they once were. When I offered to help navigate, he only became angrier.

“You talk a lot about teamwork,” I reminded him, though he was in no mood to have me on his team in that moment. Why not?

No one wants to be appear less than competent, especially in front of a spouse whose opinion counts for a lot. My husband claimed my presence made it difficult for him to concentrate. So I tried to remain calm while he struggled to work things out.

I thought of other women dealing with irascible husbands and trying to keep the peace. For the sake of harmony, we often keep our opinions to ourselves and then suffer when men insist on leading even when they’re wrong. How can we achieve Balance when half of us are not allowed our input?

Eventually, we reached the restaurant and ate our curry. But even now, I can’t stop thinking about how this ties into the world at a macro-level. Wars, refugees, climate change, economic disparity. All these problems require a re-Balancing. So far, my personal micro-level need for Balance has been heightened, not deepened.

gettinggrounded

Getting Grounded

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When I was a kid, getting grounded was punishment. My parents would forbid me to go outside or see my friends, in order to teach me a lesson over something I’d done wrong.

However, as I’ve aged, “getting grounded” has taken on new meaning. Now I envision being rooted, possessing a true foundation and with it, a feeling of security, no matter what life throws at me.

Working with the Wisdom Wheel is one way to get grounded so that the changes swirling around don’t knock us over.

Incorporating changes requires a robust framework, which the Wisdom Wheel offers. And before we can integrate new things into our world, we need a sense of solidness and substance. This Balance emerges from doing the deep inner work of alignment with All That Is, dare I say: The Universe.

There will always be things far greater than our small, fleeting selves. Accepting this is the beginning of wisdom. And then comes the work of orienting ourselves to what is out there!

The order in the Universe is a marvel to behold. Knowing that the patterns of the starry constellations mirror the synapses in my tiny brain gives me an odd confidence. I take it as a sign that I do belong in this world.

In the 20 years since I began studying the Wisdom Wheel, my capacity to appreciate and “go with the flow” has grown in leaps and bounds.

This week as I sat with a new student, I realized again how powerful it is to have a map of the Universe. How did I navigate changes and decision-making before the Wisdom Wheel? As we laid out the stones she’d collected from the beach, we sensed a groundedness at the level of existence.

Sheila organizing her set

Sheila organizing her set

We organized the 36 stones, starting with the center rock that will always represent Balance. The large yellow stone will be placed in the East, the red one in the South, the black one in the West, the white one in the North. Everytime we sit sit circle and lay out the Wisdom Wheel, we’re recreating the Order in the Universe. Invoking and honoring what we are all part of is the beginning of learning to cooperate with All That Is.

Small Wheel

An Experience with Eternal Present

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I recently met a young woman with a philosophy degree. It was her first time sitting at the Wisdom Wheel circle, and the Law of Eternal Present caught her attention.

The Law of Eternal Present has grown more meaningful to me this year because I am living under it for the third time (at ages 9, 34, 61 and 88 we carry the Eternal Present Law).

I put that stone in her hand. Then I picked up the rock across from it: Choices. Choices is her Birth Law. Of all 36 Laws, she focused on the one that balances it! We discussed the pairing of Choices and Eternal Present. I agree with her, staying in the moment helps me make better Choices.

In addition to learning about Laws and their Balancers, we can explore the 4 directions. In the East, we concentrate on the meaning of a Universal Law with our logical minds. In the South, we turn to emotional aspects. Over in the Western quadrant, we consider the physical matters, while spiritual issues are forefront in the North.

At 22 years old, this young woman is living under the Sacred Oneness Law for the first time. This Law belongs in the North, where things of the spirit take precedence. She easily grasped this notion of how the Wheel describes our life Journey and, she helped me regain my sense of being in the moment with someone in the younger generation who ‘gets’ it.