Around the Medicine Wheel with Jim Frank

—Don’t we all want a map with a big arrow that says, “You are here!”
  • Untitled Document From any spot on the Native American Medicine Wheel we look out at the world around it. In a sense the Wheel is a map and all of life's transitions follow the wheel. A person is baby in the East, a child in the South, adult in the West and elder in the North. The sun rises in the East, travels through the South in daytime, sets in the evening in the West and sneaks back to the sun rise place through the North during the night. Each story or metaphor of the wheel relates to every other and by studying them we allow them to teach us about all of life's transitions. Look to the Medicine Wheel to find where you are in a transition and then look to the other metaphors to find out what's next.
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  • Food:: this is big subject

    Posted By on June 26, 2009

    I recently read Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food – an Eater’s Manifesto,”  and I am reminded of how food fits on the Medicine Wheel and how I use this as a guideline in choosing what food to eat.   GUIDELINE NOT RULE – this is picking food, not a religion.  Mr. Pollan suggests “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  I like that. When he writes that we should eat food, he is saying to not eat anything that you great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.  Read the label and don’t eat anything that contains more then five ingredients or has ingredients with names that can’t be pronounced.  Pass on foods in packages covered in health claims. He makes a case that foods that are claimed to be “healthy” are so over-engineered in the name of the “Nutritionism” that the healthy claim is likely to be just the opposite. (More about the evils of “Nutritionism” in this NY Times article)

    So, having established that we should be eating “food” this is how I use the Medicine Wheel to guide my food choice. The East, being the place of vision, I pick foods that I can see right now, I strive to eat foods that are in season. Secondly, in the South I pick foods that are local. If it grown nearby, it is will be fresher, and maybe even of a variety that has better taste because it wasn’t selected for shipping and storage ability. My next priority will be to pay attention to how it is grown, is it organic? It makes a difference but please note, that is my third consideration. And Finally, the question of how it is prepared and served – whole better than processed. So every week I go to the vegetable market (I shop at Gentile’s in Newtown Sq.) and buy a big bag of fresh veggies. What I have found is that when something is season here in Pennsylvania, it sells for less and is less likely to have been transported across the country. And it tastes better and usually costs less too. It makes me crazy to see people buy “organic” strawberries in January that have been picked early to be ripened in the cartons while being flown one third around the world, polluting the worlds oceans with jet fuel while screwing up the local economy of some less developed country, all in the name of “organic.”  When I finish this post I am going to reward myself by going around to the local farm and buy some peak-of-the-season strawberries that were picked this morning at their very best. … I can’t wait, I’ll write more about this later.

    The Work of Byron Katie and the Medicine Wheel

    Posted By on April 7, 2009

    Byron Katie’s idea to love our thoughts like they are our children fits into my understanding of the wheel perfectly.  We don’t scold our thoughts, nor try to push them away just for being thoughts, we accept them as they are and guide them to right action.

    Thoughts are not our problem; problems develop when we believe our thoughts.  Thoughts come and go, if you have experience in meditation you know that that is true.  In the East of the Medicine Wheel we see the morning light of an idea.  This is merely a thought.  But if we harden this thought into a belief without taking it around the wheel we are in danger of taking the thought into the South where instead of using our emotions to test the thought we use our emotions to prove our belief.   When we give our emotions precedence over our thoughts there is a chance for significant error in the actions we take in the West.  Emotions call for satisfaction and when we act to merely satisfy our emotions we may be disconnected from our vision of what may be.  The West is the place of action and to act in integrity requires that we are guided by our visions not merely to satisfy our emotions.  If we have not done our work in the South we are likely to act out of what the Buddhist call habit energy which is prone to error.   In the North, we receive a blessing but the blessing is to a great extent dependant on how we have handled the East, South and West of the wheel we are on.  If we have not acted without integrity the blessing we receive may look more like bad karma.

    The Work of Byron Katie is a method of seeing what is true, seeing what is rather than what we believe should be. Reality is always kinder than our beliefs.   Whenever we suffer, our emotional reaction is the result of not believing what is.  If we believe that there is a loving God we must be believe that God has everything under control.  There are no mistakes; God is in charge.  If I believe there is anything wrong I am arguing with God.  And every time I argue with God I suffer.

    On the Wheel, the Work goes like this.  We have a thought in the East, and if we form a belief that is not true when we take it to the South we feel that something is wrong.  “People are not acting the way are supposed to act.”  “The economy is supposed to be better.”  “This weather is bad.”  The Work is a way to undo those beliefs that cause us to suffer.


    Posted By on March 31, 2009

    HeyO, I am finally starting a blog.  I have a lot to say, I have been described as “opinionated but loveable” so you know that some of my ideas have been noticeably my own and not always shared by those around me.  What I post here needs to be read with an open mind. This blog, just like me, is a work in progress.  -jimf