Where Do You Sit On The Wheel?

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There are many images of the Wheel of Life, from the simplest one with spokes to this elaborate Tibetan tangka. And it’s such a fitting image, as our days turn and turn in varying states of complexity, and often at a distressingly dizzying pace.
The phrase “sit in the center of the wheel of your life” came to me in a sleepy reverie yesterday morning. It woke me up and made me reach for pen and paper to jot down all the thoughts that cascaded from that single image. Here’s what came out:
 
Take your seat in the center of your own life and let your wholeness ripple out. Who are you at your core? What do you stand for in this world? What do you know, believe or trust that is hidden and wants to come out? Are you prepared to shine your light without fear — or shine out despite your fears? What will it take to truly trust your essential goodness, beauty and fundamental OK-ness? Dive into the center of the wheel and begin…
 
WOW. I know that this is my journey and I suspect it may be yours as well…
 
From what I hear, a lot of us feel as if we’re living somewhat left-of-center of our own lives. Pulled out this way toward others’ needs, that way towards food or shopping to fill a void that isn’t even fully felt or understood, off to the south where the weather might be warmer or to the east where exotic wisdom resides; if you looked at your life as a wheel, how would your ride feel? Bumpy or smooth? Off-kilter or stable? Confidence-inspiring or nerve-wracking?
 
Take A Breath and Turn Towards Smooth Pavement
 
Do you have a sense of what it would take to regain balance and steer away from the bumpy terrain? You might think the details of your life won’t allow for that, but perhaps you can clear the pathway a bit more than you realize:
  • Maybe you’re caregiving a loved one and are so used to doing it all yourself you forget to ask for help. Ask.
  • It might be time to hang up your superwoman cape for a while. Let the people who are capable yet depend on you fend for themselves more often. You’re still a nice person.
  • When was the last time you took a day (or even half a day) just for you? To take a long walk with no destination, peruse a museum, linger over tea in a cafe or bookstore? Put something into your calendar that you’ve been putting off, and do it soon.
  • Did you used to have a nurturing spiritual or physical practice that has fallen away? If you used to dance, crank up the music. If you love to walk, grab your sneakers. If you love to chant or meditate, take your seat on the cushion or open your mouth and sing from your heart. 
Within the phrase “live in the moment” is a reminder that every moment is an opportunity to heal and to begin again. This isn’t just New Age, spiritual fluff — this is the absolute truth of reality. Life can change in an instant. What will you do the moment you’re done reading this to seat yourself firmly in the center of your life?
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Start From Fine

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Remember the first Indigo Girls hit from the late 80’s, “Closer to Fine”? The chorus had that great line “and the less I seek my source for some definitive, closer I am to fine.”

Fine gets kind of a bad rap in some circles. If someone asks how you are and you answer “Fine, thanks” it is considered either a not-very-deep truth or somehow inauthentic — neither upbeat nor truly disclosing of what your life is like in that moment.

 
While it seems that answering “fine” is a bit lame and pat, it can actually be quite powerful. Fine, after all, has several definitions: along with all right it means purify; to become pure and clear. And it can be more honest than the ever-so-popular “awesome!” 
 
How often do you feel anything but fine? This can be subtle, an underground current you’re not even fully aware of. It shows up in a gnawing feeling that something is off (but you can’t quite put your finger on it). Or difficulty in receiving a sincere compliment with a simple “thank you” rather than “Really? But I barely slept last night!” or “Oh this old thing?”
 
When you don’t feel fine, you tend to deflect. It is a way of not fully embodying your place in this world, or even within yourself. 
 
We never want to be seen as complainers, do we? And yet we can have trouble fully owning what is ours to own — especially our deep, intrinsic goodness. Sometimes a process of refinement is needed, a path that reminds us moment by moment “I am part of something larger.” Or, as Walt Whitman saidDo I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
 
(Hmmm, quotes abound today! And that’s absolutely fine…)
 
How you can relax into your truly fine self
 
I like to say that awareness is 9/10ths of the job of being human. The next time someone asks how you are and you respond with a rote “Fine,” let that be your moment of mindfulness. Your cue to consider your pure, clear, refined, fine self. 
 
Whatever is actually going on in your life, can you touch the fine place that lies beneath? This is not denial and it certainly isn’t aggrandizement. It is a way to stay connected to the largest truth of all — that underneath the turbulent (or wildly fun) waves of your life, you float in a vast, calm sea of being that is such a part of who you are that you can’t even see it. 
 
May every moment of mindful awareness be the oxygen tank that allows you to dive deep into the still waters of pure being.