09-13-16

Sinner or Saint?

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I’ve recently started working part-time in the IT department at a private school. As I’ve been meeting and greeting new colleagues, the Wisdom Wheel has served as a great underlying support system.

It’s also helped me stay calm as I encounter the many problems to solve within their technology infrastructure. Complex systems are inherently unstable. No sooner have I fixed one problem, then two more tasks are added. It’s been a slow Process, but I am slowly getting to understand the school’s spider’s web of the computers. I try to embody Eternal Present as I listen with Compassion to my colleagues’ tales of technological woe. I’m happy to help. Someone even called me a saint. So, so far so good! I am neither saint nor sinner, but an amalgam of both, as we all are.

I try to stay above the fray of the school politics. Someone pointed out that I’m the only person unaffected by the school bell. Hah! The tools of the Wisdom Wheel aid me in my walking the red road. I aim to be a warrior for collaboration and Creativity not for Power or control. The people at the school don’t know about the Wisdom Wheel, but they are in the midst of an individual who is positively influenced by it.

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/9O1oQ9SzQZQ

Truth and Consequences

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What are the consequences of not speaking the truth? The Ultimate Reality of lying is that we cannot be Trusted. Lies cost more than truth over the long run. Truth has a way of shining the light on our Shadows.

Truth puts us in Right Relationship with ourselves and others when we have the Courage to face up to it.

There’s a Buddhist saying: “Everything is perfect, with room for improvement.” When we go inward on the Journey towards self knowledge and understanding, we begin to Love ourselves just as we are. Then the need to live a lie on the outside is alleviated, because we are not living the lie on the inside. Yes, we all have flaws and live imperfect lives and would prefer to hide certain things from others, but would we all not be happier if we embraced the truth of who we are? I feel it would free us up to be more creative and accepting of ourselves and others.

I’ve come to understand that lies are ego-led, whereas truth is spirit-led. The truth of recent wars the US has engaged in would overwhelm most of us, so we rely upon the platitudes of our leaders and swallow half truths. These are lies, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Wars are often based upon lies, a false rationale, to justify the impending action. Far more soldiers have died from suicide than from battles abroad this century. Now that is a truth worth fighting for.

08-25-16

Shadow Season

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Welcome to the Shadow Law. We’ll be living under this law during Leo season, which ends on August 23. The Journey Law will begin next, and we’ll start celebrating Virgo birthdays.

Working on your Shadow is hard work. We must look at what really motivates us and clean up our acts.

If our self-esteem is determined by how others treat us, that vulnerability can be manipulated by others. Social pressure and the need for approval can weaken our own confidence. Some people exploit this by shaming and judging. These are toxic methods for dominating others. The sad part of this is how many of us allow it.

People who have done their Shadow work see through this abusive behavior. They leave and the perpetrator is rendered harmless.

Shadow work brings the less pleasant truths about our fears and shortcomings to the surface. Once we recognize these beliefs and behaviors for what they are, we can accept them and the need to change.

A photo by Boris  Smokrovic. unsplash.com/photos/57MQfOjGj50

A Life of Balance

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One of the regulars at our Sweat Lodge ceremonies is a friend of mine. He lost his right arm in a car crash when he was a young man. Now he’s a grandfather in his 50s who has lived over 30 years with only his left arm.

As we beat our drums and sang the native songs in the pitch black lodge, he dropped his beater. I sensed him urgently trying to find it as the song continued without the pounding of his drum.

And then… suddenly, his drumbeats returned.

Long after the ceremony ended, I kept thinking about life with one arm. My friend is out of Balance. He must make adjustments for everyday activities we do without thinking, like tying shoes, eating, typing on the computer.

For me, Balance requires considering the four quadrants of the Wheel. On the horizontal axis we have the mind in the East (Right Action) and the body in the West (Higher Purpose). On the other axis, we have Spirit in the North (Integrity) and Heart in the South (Trust).

Considering all four quadrants of the Wisdom Wheel helps me Journey through life, embracing challenges and issues honoring not just my Self but also others.

I have so much respect for my friend with one arm. Whenever we send time together, he shows me no matter the challenges we face, they can be surmounted.

08-15-16

In or Out?

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Like many people, I wake up and sip my morning tea while I check emails and read up on news on the web. Sadly, it’s mostly stories of abuse and violence painted in harsh letters across my screen.

Psychologists say anger is a smoke screen for fear. So as I read these stories, I mull over the backstory of fear. Recently I read about a Muslim woman Nadiya Hussain, a chef, who has suffered abuse. What fears drive people to project their rage onto others?

It is not the outer Journey that we need to look at, but the one on the inside. Merely focusing on our lives in the external world encourages violent and abusive behavior when we don’t look or become Aware of our own Shadow.

Carl Jung introduced the concept of the Shadow to the western world in the early 20th century, the idea that we have issues and feelings that we prefer not to look. We relegate them to the Shadows of our lives. But when we do this, these Shadow issues fester. They can become unbearable, and so, people lash out at others and project their emotional angst onto others. This is played out in the life of Nadiya Hussain, and many others who are perceived as “Other” by folks.

When a person chooses to go on the inward Journey they must deal with their own stuff. It can be painful, but ultimately very rewarding. Why don’t these absuers look at Nadiya and ask in wonderment about her creative cooking? Rather than identify her as a Muslim, in their minds a threat to be feared.

When we go in towards our soul, to our spiritual self, we begin the Journey of embracing the whole Self. When we can achieve that, we can embrace whatever life throws at us in a good way.

Many years ago I wrote a poem called “Voices” Here is the first stanza:

There is a voice waiting to be heard
In each of us, there is a voice, waiting…
Quietly, and then sometimes not so.
Do I hear these words in me?
Can I look back and know that I have heard this sound?

When we hear the voice, deep within, it will calm our fears and lead us to a tranquil place. Are you ready to hear the voice within? It is wiser than the voice without.

08-08-16

Preparing for Winter

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Although we are still in the warm embrace of summer, the icy claws of winter are beckoning. Like the ants in Aesop’s fable, I spend an hour a day preparing for the upcoming season by cutting, splitting and stacking wood.

There’s an old truism that says “When you provide your own fuel, such as wood, it heats you twice.” When I look at the steps in the Process of preparing the firewood, I recognize that it heats me up many times. The Process requires me to:

– Cut the large trunks into about 18’ lengths.
– Use the green hand cart to move the logs to the splitter.
– Unload and split as required.
– Transfer the split logs to woodshed and stack with the wheelbarrow.
– Carry logs into the house as required.
– Feel the heat from the woodstove.

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That’s 6 distinct activities that expend my energy during the Process, and, especially now in the height of summer, do I get hot!

It feels good. Although my body tires, my heart and arteries are no doubt thankful for the workout. Also, the physical exercise provides a good Balance to the more sedentary lifestyle that requires me to be in front of a computer every day. And, not only is it good exercise, it’s also cathartic for me. It puts me in Right Relationship with nature.

Sometimes, when I split a log, I’ll discover a seething mass of ants rushing around. Are they in the Process of preparing for winter, too, like me?

08-01-16

Going Home

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This morning, I was reading an article online and needed to get back to the Home page. To start fresh, so to speak. I easily found the “Home” symbol I was looking for.

It was a reassuring, simple friend in our complex world. In fact, I felt a hint of relief when I saw the symbol. It brought me a sense of Balance and calmness.

I believe that people who lack a Higher Purpose or sense of Right Action burn up, because their inner turbulence consumes them. As a member of the Wisdom Wheel community, I feel energized. During my work assignments abroad, I work long days yet I rarely feel tired. I attribute this partly to the Wheel. Being able to map my unfolding life on the Wheel helps me. I can recognize the Shadow when I see it, I am able to call upon my Creativity (the mental, emotional and spiritual kinds). I never feel lonely as I carry my Home with me, wherever I go.

Going home, for me, is going back to the center. Understanding Cause and Effect, Giving and Receiving, and Trusting in the Journey. I have Faith that things will work out. As a child going home was not necessarily a pleasant experience. Going home now, anywhere, always results in serenity.

07-28-16b

The Middle Ground

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It’s the Shadow time of year on the Wisdom Wheel calendar as our Leo friends celebrate their birthdays. One of the most famous living Leos is President Barack Obama who will turn 55 on August 4. Currently, he is living at the center of the Wheel of Life, under the Law of Balance as we all do, from ages 0-2, 27-29, 54-56, and 81-83.

Couldn’t we all benefit from more Balance right now? Do whatever you need to to get yours back, especially if you feel manipulated by those who exploit divide and conquer tactics during these Democratic and Republican conventions. It’s a relief to know the Balance Law is nudging the Commander in Chief at the moment but each of must work to help hold the center.

On social media, I’ve actively resisted being pushed into opposing camps. For the sake of Balance, I am seeking out and welcoming differing viewpoints. Otherwise, we end up in an echo chamber, only hearing what we like, and ignoring the reality of the rest.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats have spoken enough about how to heal the riffs between their parties. Their conventions have further polarized voters. And no one can talk about improving things for the middle class in the US or other countries, without talking about enlarging the middle ground at the center.

Have you heard about how either party is going to level the playing field so 85% of the additional wealth being created in the US is going to be shared across the board in the future instead of going into the pockets of the 1%, like it has lately? Tax reform alone will not restore us to Balance, which is another word for fairness, justice and equality.

Hatred, acrimony and violence come from those who feel marginalized and excluded. How can we bring them back into the Process? If we abandon the center, and fail to build consensus and restore Balance, others will continue to employ the Shadow side of prejudice, ignorance and fear to take advantage of those who already feel vulnerable and in need of a savior.

Recognize the tactics and resist being pushed into warring camps. Polarization keeps us off Balance and unable to unify. This weakens everyone. Don’t fail to see how crucial the middle ground is.

07-26-16

Life Lessons Over 18 Holes

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My young Japanese friend Rintaro is golf-obsessed. So I recently took him, and myself, for a golf lesson.

There are about 7 golf courses within a 20-minute drive of my house – no lie! In the past, I played golf one or twice a year. Now I’m hitting the green at least twice a month.

Our instructor Isaac first watched me swing the club. He immediately identified a key problem with my technique. I followed his directive and soon, I was hitting the ball much better.

Isaac understands the Process of the golf swing and he helped me figured out how to be in Right Relationship with the club and the ball. He sees the Cause and Effect as I prepared to hit the ball.

The following day, I played a round of golf with Rintaro and his father. It was the best game of my life!

If only it were that simple in life! I need to practice more, but I have confidence that I will improve, even at my age.

When we Journey not the golf course, but the path of our life, the Wisdom Wheel can give us pointers like Isaac did, so we can succeed and feel that we have accomplished much.

The Wisdom Wheel laws can each play their part as we journey towards old age, giving us life lessons along the way. A golf course has 18 holes. Life has 81 years (or more) if we are lucky. The Wheel can be with us each day, of each year, helping us score well, in our jobs, with our families and friends, and with ourselves.

07-20-16

The Good Life

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In these turbulent and violent times, I am grateful to live in such a peaceful place. The other evening, the toughest choice I faced was whether to order fish or clams strips.

Tom likes his fries!

Tom likes his fries!


This was Friday night. Little Tom (whom I wrote about previously), our guest Rintaro and I went to the beach to frolic by the sea and enjoy some seafood. As we all tucked into our food, it seemed like all was right in our little corner of the world.
Rintaro chows down on his fish and chips!

Rintaro chows down on his fish and chips!


Tom and Rintaro know little of the Wisdom Wheel. But they are Loved and nurtured. Although they haven’t studied Right Relationship or Right Action, they exist in an environment where folks can Trust and feel empathy.

As I walked along the beach feeling the sand between my toes, I wasn’t on high alert. I meandered and meditated as I took in the sea air and the cascading waves tickled my calves. Still, I felt sadness for the victims of the recent violence. I carry the laws of Right Relationship and Right Action in hopes that I can make a positive impact on the environment I live in, and that others do the same.