The Medicine Wheel is all about change, movement and growth. A Wheel has a purpose - to turn. It brings us to new places with new challenges all the time. It is nice to sit in the center of the Wheel occasionally and be still. But if we are to live life fully, we must step out again and start a new wheel, a new set of experience and live new lessons that will bring us to wholeness and abundance.
Being faced with change at this stage of my life is very different than when I was young. Being closer to 60 than 50 gives me an entirely new perspective on life, one that I am not yet fully comfortable with. When I was in my 20's, 30's, and 40's - I loved change, adventure and excitement. Now I find that my body can't handle things the way it used to. I can't just jump up and go hitchhiking across the country or camp out in the cold hard ground with only a sleeping blanket. I can't dance the way I used to either. I miss that most of all. I used to love to dance for hours on end. Now, those days are gone for me.
At our Great Gathering with my Teachers and community in Kingston last month, there was a woman who was an Elder and needed a change, to do something else that wouldn't be so tiring for her. I see that in myself. I need to let go of the hippie-gypsy lifestyle and find a calmer, quieter way of being and doing. It is not a bad thing, in fact I am beginning to enjoying stepping back and watching others do their dance of life.
But I am not dead yet, not by far. There is still much to experience, live and learn. This time of becoming an Elder is just as challenging as entering Adolescence. Only it is in reverse. Both times, our bodies change and we also must change along with it.
On the inner circle of the Medicine Wheel, there are the 7 Clans... The one I belong to is the Butterfly Clan. We Butterflies are all about change. We crawl around as catepillers, munching on leaves and building strong bodies in anticipation of what is to come. Then we go inside and turn to mush, and then we come back out transformed. As human butterfly people,we go through major transformations many times in our lives. I believe that is what keeps us young. Butterfly people are idealist and excited about life. We know how short life can be and we want to live every moment of it to the fullest.
I had lost my enthusiasm for life these past few years, I think I got stuck in my cocoon for too long. But now I am preparing to open my wings and fly again. This time, it will be as an Elder, a wise woman who has been around the wheel a few times.
Lately, there have been white butterflies everywhere in the back yard. They love the tobacco plants. And I love to watch them flutter by, meeting and dancing around each other, rising up and down, back and forth like happy children at play. When I find myself getting too heavy and serious, I just need to think of my Clan's Totem and remember that I am meant to be light and playful and open to the unknown with innocence and trust.
Change is what I am all about. For this I am grateful.