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How to Create Balance in the Mess of Real Life #TruthbyBrenda

Resilience | 0 comments

Balance. Does it exist? Is it possible? Or it is balance shmalance? My quick answer is YES and NO. It exists if you can allow for mess and chaos to exist within it. We can’t have perfectly balanced lives with no contrast, but we CAN create a sense of balance within the mess of real life.

Since my son transitioned 4 months ago, I’ve been feeling out of balance – well, more like a tornado hit me and spit me out in some alternate reality I wanted to get away from. When I told this to my elder/counsellor, she told me to check in with how I’m doing on the Medicine Wheel. In case you’re not sure what that means, it’s a tool to help you create more balance in your life, as well as to notice the stages or seasons of life that you are in.

So as I checked in with my own personal Medicine Wheel today, I thought it might be helpful for me to share a little bit about the Medicine Wheel with you.

I know some of you are familiar with some sort of coaching wheel? That’s not what this is, although I’m pretty sure that model is based on this much older model or the pagan Wheel of the Year, both from time immemorial. Because I’m an indigenous shaman, and also Irish and Scottish, this is what I work with. The Ojibwe Medicine Wheel and the Celtic Wheel of the Year as I know it are both almost the same in so many ways. Based on both, I created the Medicine Wheel of Success™. This image is one layer of it.

The Medicine Wheel Of Success™:

The way I was taught and certified by an Ojibwe elder in Medicine Wheel teachings, we start in the East, which represents new beginnings (spring), the element of air and the mind, meaning your thoughts, beliefs and mindset. Sometimes we get too much up in our heads, thinking and trying to figure things out instead of using our intuition. Or we can get caught up in our beliefs and be unwilling to change them. Perfectionism lives here in the East as well.  I’ve been questioning my belief system and it’s been rewired within me because of my son’s death. Sometimes when we have major life events, our beliefs are disrupted or we choose to change them. Often old thought patterns can become irrelevant. On the other hand, you might be working with a belief system that serves you really well. Where are you with your mindset?

Then we move to the South, where Fire lives. Spirit and summer also live here. It’s all about creativity and the sacred feminine, birthing, passion and sexuality. As spiritual moves and shakers, we can often hang out in what I call Spiritland, which can be helpful when you’re giving a healing session or creating art or singing… but not so helpful when you’re out of balance in the North. You need to have a strong Earth connection and be grounded in order to do powerful spiritual work or be on a spiritual path. Otherwise, you can end up taking on other people’s energies and dis-ease, exhausting yourself, and you also won’t be able to get as deep a spiritual connection as you can when you’re grounded and in your body. So in order to do the creative work you want to do, you’ll want to bring your North direction into balance with your South on the Medicine Wheel as much as possible.

After that, we move to the West, where Water lives, with dreaming, emotions and the concept and visioning of living your dreams. It also represents autumn. If you’re in transition or getting ready to create something new but not quite in the creation phase, you might be in the visualizing/dreaming phase. Also, if you’re wanting to uncover or activate your purpose, it all begins here. You might become overly emotional. Or maybe you’re going through something life-changing, like I have been. Then you’re going to be spending a lot of time here and that’s okay. It’s just, make sure you’re balancing it out and if needed, getting the support of a counsellor, healer or mentor. Or on the other hand, are you experiencing a phase of feeling emotionless? Check in to see where you’re at with your emotions, dreaming and living your dream.

North represents the Earth and is all about the body and all things physical, including money, career/business and health. It’s also the winter season. This is where you manifest what you want, where you bring that vision into form. If your health is in trouble, it’s time to connect more to the Earth, literally, and to ask your body what it needs and take care of it. Your business or career might need some extra attention. Or it could be the opposite, that you’re overworking or underpaid. How are you doing in your North, with the physical aspects of living your life? North is also about taking action. Where might you be holding back? Or perhaps you’re taking too much action and wearing yourself out?

The middle of the circle represents Above, Below and Centre and the key focus here is on spirituality and connection to your soul. When I got the spiritual download to create my Medicine Song Oracle Cards™, Spirit was represented here in the middle of the Medicine Wheel, not in the South. In any case, the middle 3 directions are all about YOU and your connection to All That Is as well as your intuition. You are in the middle of your own Medicine Wheel. The spokes come off of you to the different areas of your life. So how solid do you feel in your connection to who you really are? Are you tuned in to your intuition? Are you connecting your whole human self to your personal Medicine Wheel, to how you show up in the world as a human being?

Just do a quick check-in with yourself. Look at each direction and see how you’re doing. Mind, Body, Spirit, Emotions, Centre. There is no right or wrong. There is just awareness and then you can do with it what you like.

Know that your walk on the Medicine Wheel is ongoing as long as you are living, and it’s important to note that you will likely find yourself working with all directions at once. You might find that you have a lot of balance in one area and none in the others, or that you’re quite balanced between the 7 directions. What’s most important is what you do to make improvements when you find you’re off balance, and to just have the awareness that hey, maybe you’re supposed to be in the New Beginnings phase right now, or maybe you need extra spiritual support to activate your purpose.

The elders could teach Medicine Wheel teachings for months and still have more to teach you, so this is just a taste of it. I hope it helps you to feel more empowered with creating more balance in your life.

Please share on the blog any insights or aha’s you might have about balance or the Medicine Wheel. I’d love to hear about it. (:

Love & Blessings,

Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman



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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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