From Chapa-De News: Medicine Wheel Teaching On Staying in Balance  

The latest edition of Chapa-De News is now available. Each quarter we feature a collection of cultural stories, news, announcements, and events relevant to our local American Indian community. Below is a selection from one of the stories you will find in our newsletter and you can read the full version HERE. 

Medicine Wheel Teaching On Staying in Balance  

Written By Holly Castro, Substance Use Disorder Counselor with Chapa-De Indian Health

There are many teachings around the medicine wheel that have been handed down throughout the generations and various tribes. There are teachings around the directions, seasons, people, animals…the list could go on and on. Please know they are all wonderful teachings and worth learning! This is just one of the many teachings on the Medicine Wheel that may be helpful to you.  

There are four quadrants on the medicine wheel. The colors on the wheel are red, yellow, black and white. In this teaching the colors represent the four aspects that make up humans; mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. We are always striving to maintain harmony and balance in life. As we all know, issues arise and we can find ourselves in disharmony. Here is one example of how we get off balance and how to find our way back.  

Imagine, if you will, you get an unexpected bill in the mail and begin to think, “how am I going to pay this?” Your thoughts (mental) are captivated with worrying and concern over this bill. When our thoughts are happening it begins to flood the body with stress hormones. We feel tension (physical) in our shoulders, get stomach aches, raised blood pressure and headaches etc.. Once this happens we experience anxiety, worry and stress (emotional). After the cascade of things that our mind, body and emotions just experienced over this bill we can lose faith (spiritual) that it is going to be ok, have a loss of hope and can feel spiritually disconnected.  

This is just one example of countless ways our “medicine wheel” can get out of balance. However, here’s the good news! We can find our way back to harmony.  

We find ourselves out of balance and decide to;  

  • Go for a walk and call a friend to talk about what’s happening (physical and emotional)  
  • Take a bath and relax our body while imagining the stress leaving our bodies (physical and spiritual)  
  • Go to Yoga and have a guided meditation at the end (physical and spiritual)  
  • Attend a therapy session and process the feelings that come up (mental and emotional)  
  • Get a pinch of tobacco, offer your prayer, burn some sage,  or go to sweatlodge (spiritual)  
  • Listen to some music and dance to release stress (physical)  

There are many ways to find our way back to harmony and these are just a few examples on the teachings of the medicine wheel. Dealing with life is not always easy but having healthy coping skills can be a game changer! Feel free to try any of these if they are appropriate for you and we’d love to hear from you on what works for you. A’ho all my relations. We are all connected.  

Chapa-De News 

Find this and other culturally relevant articles in our latest edition of Chapa-De News. 

Read Chapa-De News now by clicking HERE. 


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