4 Medicine Wheel Secrets to Escaping Holiday Family Drama
By Dakota Earth Cloud Walker
The holidays are upon us, and that means time spent with family, holiday shopping, over-eating, and schedules and routines becoming off-kilter. Although one of the most celebrated times, it’s also a time for a lot of stress and high emotions. Add to this mix is the New Moon on Tuesday, which is said to bring with it a host of energies such as tension, chaos, irritability, anxiety, and anger. It should be fun! It doesn’t need to be this way, and today I’ll share with you some of the tools used in the Medicine Wheel for navigating situations such as the family drama that erupts each year everyone gets together.
Perspective, Patterns, & Planning
The East direction inspires us to take a step back and look at the bigger picture to gain a different perspective on the dynamics. It’s easy to get caught up in old patterns. In my typical day to day life, I’m successful, the founder of my own company, an entrepreneur, and a spiritual teacher. I have people from all around the globe who participate in my classes, and I’m the author of 6 books. And yet, when I go to my family functions, I’m reverted to the “baby of the family,” and we each step back into those old family dynamics that were only formed when we were kids. My opinion and thoughts haven’t always weighed equally with my brother and sister, who are five and six years older than me. Working with the Medicine Wheel has given me powerful tools to take this dynamic and shift it. I’ve harnessed the energy of the East to gain a different perspective without the emotional attachment and to see how I can use these patterns to inform me now? How can I break free of them? What do they teach me? How do they hold me back? This perspective allows me to see the whole picture and to see how it affects not only me but my family members too. Whenever we can step outside the ring, and watch the interplay of dynamics happening, we can make different choices on how we react, or what the deeper intention is at play.
The other East direction energy we can work with is planning. In the East, we are in the building and execution phase. This direction is where we design and create, the blueprint so to speak. Going into any situation with some foresight is advantageous to a successful outcome. If you know what triggers you, expect it to arise and plan to have a healthier reaction than a knee jerk reaction of anger or passive-aggressiveness. My family and I share radically different political and religious views, and I know that no matter how hard we each try to avoid the subjects, they inevitably come up in conversation. When it does, I remove myself from the room and walk outside. I don’t make a scene or storm out of the room; I walk away. Most often, they think I have gone to the restroom, unaware that the conversation is what prompted my departure. This action was my pre-planned action to a situation that could have become volatile and ultimately cause more discord and disconnection.
You have likely spent enough time around your family to know what triggers are most anticipated to surface. Plan the actions you can take, what can you do to diffuse the emotion that will inevitably rise in you? How can you respond from a more open-hearted, selfless place?
Love, Patience, Connection
I used to get irritable when I was out holiday shopping. People everywhere, traffic backed up, long lines, rude people jockeying for their place in front, and impatience running rampant. Then one holiday season, I took it to the Wheel, and the higher perspective of the East showed me that despite it all, each person was shopping for someone they loved. They were searching for the perfect gift that would convey their thoughtfulness and appreciation for the intended recipient. It shifted my perspective and brought me into the South direction, where I witnessed the love and connection that hummed beneath the surface of impatience and rudeness. I found that if I got out of my bubble, and connected with other shoppers, that it momentarily shifted them too. If I inadvertently cut someone off with my cart, I would immediately look them in their eyes. I connect, offer a sheepish apology, and smile, maybe blame my poor driving skills. They nearly always laugh, and the energy shifts immediately.
When we can recognize the humaneness we all possess, including our family, we tap into the underlying, universal energy that is freely flowing through us, and that is the energy love. It’s our “Big Why.” It’s why we brave the crowds, and it’s why we spend hours cooking and preparing a feast. It’s why we drive all over town looking for that perfect gift for the one we love. All of this takes patience, and patience sits nicely in the seat of our soul. It pulls us back from lashing out, from cutting someone off in traffic. Patience lulls us into a state of being that is above the fray. We are untattered by the noise of it all.
With love and patience brewing in our hearts, we open to the possibility of deep connection – with family, with strangers, and with the spirit of the holiday itself.
Shadow, Forgiveness, and Gratitude
In addition to being a time of love and connection, the holidays also offer us an excellent opportunity to reflect on our shadow self. The part of us we deny or hide. Family can be our most excellent teacher; we act and react differently within the family dynamic than we do anywhere else. Most of the time, there is a level of acceptance where we can “get away” with some things that we usually wouldn’t be able to get away in other relationships. It’s a playground for honing our relationship and spiritual tools. Family shows us the areas we may still need to lean into and heal, or overcome. It also illuminates where we need to apply forgiveness. Harboring resentment is akin to drinking poison and waiting for the other to keel over. It shrinks our capacity to love unconditionally or to be heart-centered and authentic.
The West direction is where we harvest the fruits of our life, or not. Farmers will only realize the success of their crop when it’s time to reap the harvest. Some years the yield is plentiful, and robust while in other years, the plants fail for various reasons. It is true of our lives too, if we haven’t nurtured our relationships then you can’t expect to harvest an unconditionally loving and supportive relationship. The West also offers us an opportunity for rebirth. If your family dynamics are full of drama and trauma, it may be time to reflect on what your role has been and what can you do differently? Can you forgive where needed? Are you willing to accept the terms of the lesson handed to you? Can you replant the seed and nurture it differently so that once you have arrived at the door of the West again, you can harvest a more plentiful yield?
And finally, the West is a time of gratitude. Gratitude is the single most powerful energy you can harness next to pure enlightenment. It radiates at a frequency of 900, whereas enlightenment resonates at 1000. Gratitude can remove blocks and obstacles; it can obliterate fears; it can mend even the deepest wounds, and transverse the most precarious of situations. And gratitude is felt, not necessarily spoken. Although spoken is beautiful, it’s energy emanates from your heart chakra and can be sensed by the recipient.
I did a “Coffee Session” talking about healing relationships on an etheric level, if you have family drama that you don’t feel you can heal in real person, you may want to watch this video and see if you can gain some additional tools. You can watch that video here.
Inner Peace, Silence, Introspection
The North Direction is a chance for us to gather up the pieces, and retreat into the stillness of our soul. We can come here to regroup and connect with our spiritual body. In this introspection, we can also harness the inner wisdom within us to gain even deeper clarity about the stories within our life. It is here that I can connect the pieces and view the soul contracts I’ve made with my family. These contracts were made before any of us incarnated as opportunities to maximize our soul growth. Our most changing life lessons don’t come from the white picket fence, the perfect holiday dinner party with each person glowing in their very best persona. No, we learn most when we are met with the shadows, the angst, the moments we have a choice to rise above, or fall prey to the trap of ego.
At the end of the day, when each person has a full belly, and the lights go dim and when the chatter has quieted, remember this: love is the underlying river that flows through us all. It is an unstoppable force. You won’t always be able to stare into the crystal clear waters of love, sometimes it’s murky and muddy, and you have to put on the goggles of trust to see it. But it’s there, and it is what ultimately propels all of us.
The Center of the Wheel
In the center of the Medicine Wheel is the Wisdom Keeper. It’s where we each strive to navigate life. The Medicine Wheel is fluid; it flows from one direction to another to another, sometimes simultaneously. When you truly understand these energies and how they affect one another, it becomes easier to integrate the teachings of the Medicine Wheel into your life. Escaping family drama doesn’t mean running away or being beholden to abuse. It doesn’t imply you can’t heal or create more meaningful relationships. You can escape family drama by taking responsibility for your emotions, actions, choices, and your ability to tap into the current beneath the surface.
Drama is avoidable; love isn’t.
Ultimately it comes down to what do you see and how will you let it affect you? When I was in Northern California I hiked a strenous trail along Point Reyes and I encountered three types of people. Each one gave me a different perspective of the trail I was laboursly hiking. I had to choose which one I would let influence me, or not. If you want, watch the Shaman Short I did about this, I think you’ll find it entertaining and inspiring. You can watch it here.
Power Pouch for Escaping Family Drama
We are human, and sometimes it’s hard to maintain the spiritual front when we’re bombarded with energy. Here’s a quick remedy for relieving stress or escaping family drama.
What you will need:
- Rose Quartz – Promotes love and opens the heart chakra. It supports positive stress response and eases the pain.
- Agate – Used to resolve conflicts and find a resolution, stabilizes your energy, and offers to heal. It supports peace during disputes.
- Kunzite – Heals relationships, emotionally soothing, open your heart, and dissolves any blockages built around your heart from past experiences.
- Chrysocolla – Aids in tolerance, and adds wisdom and magic into your conversations, provides strength and intelligence.
- Moonstone – Adds empathy, soothes emotional trauma, and gives you energetic protection. Keeps your emotions and mind clear and open.
- Center and ground yourself
- Charge each stone with a “task” to aid you during the holidays.
- Put all your stones into a small pouch and keep in your pocket or near you. Alternatively, you can get beads made from each stone and wear on a piece of jewelry.
Note: You will want to clear your talisman every so often. I like to clear mine each full moon and recharge it the next day.
Dakota Earth Cloud Walker (Druidic Shamanic Witch)
Sometimes I write in a coffee shop, or the bookstore. Sometimes I venture to the Irish Pub and sit by the warm fire in a dimly lit room, sipping on Guiness while I hammer out an article. And other times I write at my desk, with dogs at my feet and cats on the back of my chair. No matter where I am, or what I’m writing, I write from my heart and from years of experience.
I love the Medicine Wheel, it has so much to offer us and so much of my writing, and teaching, is in hopes of sharing this powerful tool with you.