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Though stone structures have been a dominant element of human history, few have done as much to bridge the gap between the physical and spiritual realms as the Native American medicine wheel. Wholly non-intrusive, these simple configurations of stone blend into their environments, becoming objects of ritual, meditative, and ceremonial importance to those who perceive their deeper meaning. An outer ring is linked to the center of the medicine wheel by spokes that echo the four sacred directions (north, south, east, and west) and their corresponding colors (white, red, yellow, and black).

Creating our own medicine wheel can be just as profound an experience as visiting the site of an ancient wheel, for the mere presence of it changes our relationship to the universe, opening us to new depths of insight.
No matter what the configuration, the wheel represents the circular path of being. It illustrates the journey of all Mother Nature’s children, encompassing cycles of life, death, and that which lies beyond. When we walk the outer edges of a medicine wheel, sleep in its spokes, or lay our hands upon the center cairn, our inner vision is enhanced. We recognize ourselves as a vital part of a larger whole—a product of the universe as well as a force acting upon it. Peering through the lens of the medicine wheel, the harmony that unites disparate elements of the universe reveals itself to us. Each living entity will visit every spoke of the wheel in its lifetime, honoring the sacred directions and colors. However different we may be, there is no reason we cannot find peaceful concordance in our similarities.

Whether your goal is to internalize the wisdom of the self, nature, society, or soul, the transformative energy of the medicine wheel will help you attune yourself to the interconnectivity of all reality. It can consequently serve as a powerful communication tool for groups in need of channels of understanding, for the universality of the wheel’s significance facilitates bonding without asking disparate peoples to sacrifice their individuality. Your energy and that of those who accompany you will mingle with the universal flow at the focal point of the medicine wheel, reminding you that all beings are equal, and all are fated to travel round the great loop of existence until the end of time.

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The creative power of the universe is infinite. A single molecule’s destiny is as important as the consequences of the largest supernova. Human potential is subject to this power, but because we are sentient beings, each of us is permitted to choose whether we will struggle against it or work in tandem with it. When we give voice to our desires through focused meditation or solicit the help of spirit guides, we draw upon the universe’s creative power to achieve certain ends. However, because our words are not all the universe hears, the response we receive may surprise us. The discourse we establish through our appeals is a blend of speech, thought, intention, and subconscious reflection. When we ask the universe for something, the unspoken message is that what we want does not exist, and the universe accepts this as truth. Conversely, we manifest completeness through affirmations in which we declare our desires as if we have already obtained them.

When we affirm that we are fulfilled instead of articulating deficiencies, we are asserting that contentment is a natural and necessary element of human existence. Our essence is an expression of fulfillment—the universe wants to satisfy our needs and desires. When we describe our realities in positive terms, we are not denying the challenges inherent in existence. We choose not to focus on lack or dissatisfaction because we understand that the energy of our thoughts will determine the response we receive to our entreaties. Ask yourself how you would feel if your wishes were granted, and then allow yourself to internalize that emotional state. Try to create a picture of satisfaction so vivid that its reality is unquestionable and tell the universe that your vision is fact. At the close of your appeal, express your gratitude, as it is your acknowledgment of the truth of your fulfillment that will set the creative power of the universe into motion.

Working in perfect unison with the creative power of the universe will empower you to manifest spiritual realities in your material existence. As you affirm the beauty, peace, and goodness that already exist within in your life, your capacity to sense and understand their influence will become increasingly sophisticated. To meet your needs and achieve your desires, you need then only banish all thoughts of emptiness so that the energy of completeness can attract fullness into your being.

The first step to getting what you want in life is knowing what you want. This may sound obvious, but a surprising number of us are going through life without really coming to terms with the truth of what we want. There are many reasons for this, and they range from parental influences that curb our imaginations to external factors that curb our ability to take action. We may feel that getting too caught up in exploring our deepest desires is wasted energy when it seems we want things beyond our grasp. This is a very practical attitude and has its benefits, but it can be safely balanced with a more imaginative and unlimited approach to the question of what we want.

Perhaps you are 40 years old and find within yourself a desire to be a ballet dancer. You see the impracticality and seeming impossibility of this idea, so you reject it without exploring it. But perhaps you should allow yourself to feel this desire and perhaps even take a dance class. Allowing yourself to participate in ballet in small ways may provide inspiration that leads you in a new direction in life. And time spent doing what you want to do is never wasted because it generates energy that can fuel the rest of your life.

You can begin to uncover and discover what you want by doing a simple, timed writing exercise. Set your timer for 15 minutes and write without stopping, starting every sentence with the words “I want.” Writing without stopping for a set period of time enables your inner voice to override your inner censor and helps to unearth buried dreams. It also creates a feeling of relief in the mind, heart, and body. This exercise can also be practiced orally, alone or in the company of a friend. You might try doing this exercise every morning for a week, looking back at the end of the week to see what has come up. Sometimes the simple act of expressing a want actually releases it, while other yearnings retain their energy, asking us to pay attention. When we pay attention to what we want, we are that much closer to getting it.

What do you think?

A person who is said to possess greatness stands apart from others in some way, usually by the size or originality of their vision and their ability to manifest that vision. And yet those who recognize that greatness, whether they display it themselves or not, also have greatness within them; otherwise, they could not see it in another. In many ways, the achievements of one person always belong to many people for we accomplish nothing alone in this world. People who display greatness rely upon others who are able to see as they do, to listen, encourage, and support. Without those people who recognize greatness and move in to support it, even the greatest ideas, works of art, and political movements would remain unborn.

We are all moved by greatness when we see it, and although the experience is to some degree subjective, we know the feeling of it. When we encounter it, it is as if something in us stirs, awakens, and comes forth to meet what was inside us all along. When we respond to someone else’s greatness, we feed our own. We may feel called to dedicate ourselves to their vision, or we may be inspired to follow a path we forge ourselves. Either way, we cannot lose when we recognize that the greatness we see in others belongs also to us. Our recognition of this is a call to action that, if heeded, will inspire others to see in us the greatness they also possess. This creates a chain reaction of greatness unfolding itself endlessly into the future.

Ultimately, greatness is simply the best of what humanity has to offer. Greatness does what has not been done before and inspires the same courage that it requires. When we see it in others, we know it, and when we trust its presence in ourselves, we embody it.

All people have their own way of being in the world. It is easiest to comprehend this basic yet profound fact when we consider that every human being on the planet occupies a distinct role in the universe. We grow up in different environments, affected by a unique range of influences. The preferences, values, and beliefs we embrace are frequently related intimately to our origins. And the need to individualize our experiences is instinctive, as doing so enables us to cope when we must face challenges on our own. Consequently, each of us has developed a perspective that is uniquely ours. Interacting peacefully and constructively with people from all walks of life is a matter of first understanding where they are coming from. Then we can adjust our expectations so that we avoid making undue assumptions about what they are about.

In the face of emerging interpersonal conflict, it is easy to assume that others are being difficult, unreasonable, or stubborn. We are apt to grow frustrated when someone in our environment does not share our opinions or feel compelled to support us in our endeavors. It is likely that the individual or individuals before us may simply possess differing notions with regard to what is and what is not important in this life. We can ease the tension that exists between us by reaffirming our belief in the fundamental right of all beings to determine their own destinies. To foster a harmonious relationship, we need to do our best to relate to the unique universes they inhabit. And as we discover what makes them tick, our ability to find a mode of interaction that is pleasing to both of us is enhanced.

When there are barriers keeping you from connecting with someone else, think of questions you can ask them to gain a more thorough understanding of their point of view. You may discover that in addition to the differences in perspective dividing you, they are subject to insecurities and other personal issues that influence their way of seeing the world. It is likely that you will never fully grasp the myriad complexities embodied by humanity, but you can go a long way toward encouraging mutually satisfying relations by reaching out to others in the spirit of sympathetic comprehension.

Sometimes the best guardian angels are the ones you meet in the most surprising circumstances.

By Therese Borchard

Our lives are guided by natural rhythms that are particular to each of us and cannot be altered by force of will alone. Life itself is a journey made up of processes and events that manifest before us only to be swept away when time marches on. Whether we envision ourselves creating a career, building a family, or developing the self, we instinctively know when the time has come for us to realize our dreams because all that is involved comes together harmoniously. When the time is right, the passage of destiny cannot be blocked. Yet as desperate as we are to touch these beautiful futures we have imagined, we cannot grow if we are not fully present in the evolutionary experience. The present can be challenging, uncomfortable, and tedious, but life unfolds as it will, and the universe will wait patiently as we make our way into the unknown.

The fate that awaits us is not dependent on our pace, which was preordained before we ever appeared in human guise. Therefore there is no reason to rush through life to reach those pinnacles of development associated with the paths we have chosen. Enjoying and fully experiencing the journey of life is as important as achieving goals and reaching milestones. There are lessons we can learn during those moments that seem immaterial or insignificant that we cannot learn at any other time. Appreciating these takes patience, however, because human beings tend to focus on the fulfillment of expectations rather than the simple joys of being.

Like many people, you have no doubt longed for a device that would give you the power to fast forward through certain periods of your existence. Yet haste is by its very nature vastly more stressful than serene fortitude. When you feel yourself growing impatient because the pace of your development is deceptively slow, remember that everything that will occur in your life will occur in its own time. Quelling your urge to rush will enable you to witness yourself learning, changing, and becoming stronger. There is so much to see and do in between the events and processes that we deem definitive. If you are patient enough to take pleasure in your existence’s unfolding, the journey from one pinnacle to the next will seem to take no time at all.

We have all faced moments in our lives when the pressure mounts beyond what we feel we can handle, and we find ourselves thinking that we do not have the strength to carry on. Sometimes we have just gotten through a major obstacle or illness only to find another one waiting for us the moment we finally catch our breath. Sometimes we endure one loss after another, wondering when we will get a break from life’s travails. It does not seem fair or right that life should demand more of us when we feel we have given all we can, but sometimes this is the way life works.

When we look back on our lives, we see that we have survived many trials and surmounted many obstacles, often to our own amazement. In each of those instances, we had to break through our ideas about how much we can handle and go deeper into our hidden reserves. The thought that we do not have the strength to handle what is before us can be likened to the hard surface of a frozen lake. It appears to be an impenetrable fact, but when we break through it, we find that a deep well of energy and inspiration was trapped beneath that icy barrier the whole time. Sometimes we break through by cutting a hole into our resistance with our willpower, and sometimes we melt the ice with compassion for our predicament and ourselves. Either way, each time we break through, we reach a new understanding of the strength we store within ourselves.

When we find ourselves up against that frozen barrier of thinking we cannot handle our situation, we may find that the kindest choice is to love ourselves and our resistance too. We can simply accept that we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and stretched, and we can offer ourselves loving kindness and compassion. If we can extend to ourselves the unconditional warmth of a mother’s love, before we know it, the ice will begin to break.

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