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Medicine Wheel

I am unsure the title fits the poem , but I left it as is. This was a hard poem to write as I delved into something I am not 100% confident with and that is quantum spirituality. As a quantum physicist writing from a feminist perspective, Karen Barad writes about entanglement. In short, we are entangled with one another, with non-sentient beings, and the inanimate of the Universe. This involves moral responsiblities in relating to those other beings and things, without even knowing what it is and how we are related to each of them.

Medicine wheels are part of many First Nations’ cultures. They connect people to Nature and reflect our interdependence with Nature and each other. They signal the need for harmony in lives and ground us with and in our world. In my understanding, they have quantum aspects to them as we are entangled in ways that suggest we are always seeking harmony in hopeful ways. What a medicine wheel asks us is to acknowledge interdependence, something those who wield levers are woefully reluctant to do. Instead, humans become resources and chattel in making profits in a zero sum game.

After my post In Seeming Chaos, Hope, I wondered about the current state of world affairs e.g. political crises, health crisis, economic crisis, etc. They are entangled with each other. I cannot simply wish one away and the others remain. Moreover, they existed before COVID-19. We did not see them easily. A lack of access to health care was in place for many people before the pandemic. We warehoused elderly people (the not-so nice term is aging people) as has become our custom in the advanced world e.g. schools.

I began to look for a spiritual connection with quantum physics and entanglement and found it. What was interesting was I have been reading about the connections for years in the writings of The Dalai Lama and Fritoj Capra. (The link is to an article where both are referenced.) What Karen Barad does is presents a detailed case for it from a scientific and feminist perspective. I think the feminine perspective is essential, as I consider bell hooks, Mary Belenky, Riane Eisler, etc. to understand how we move away from what Eisler termed a dominator, patriarchal world based on binaries and assigning a number to one that incorporates a participatory, matriarchal world. In this world, Belenky refers to intuitive, feminine, and I would argue, indigenous ways of knowing and wisdom based on the quality of living we each experience. These are impossible to quantify. However, we can describe them in poetic language. What if we had leaders like Jacinda Ardern and Angela Merkel instead of people who pass themselves off as leaders and fall far short of leading?

Basking in Brother Sun’s warmth–

Healing (in)spiriting waters–

(In)haling sweet air–

Replenishing.

Here,

Feeling welcomed–

Homing in on what’s proper,

Resting in one’s responsibilities.

In relating to the Universe–

While standing in Nature–

When Supporting other beings–

Discovering hope(ful) ways.

Intuiting as quantum beings–

Accepting unfelt entanglement–

Hearing unheard voices–

“Crossing love’s hearth.”

Enriching alchemy–

Inspiring magic.

Seeking peace,

Speaking truth to power.

I took the picture on Bowen Island and began to write the poem.

The Way It Is

William Stafford wrote this beautiful poem about letting life emerge. There is something that guides each of us. We can call it wisdom, intuition, tradition, or common sense. It is at one level indefinable and, yet very real. Life unfolds for us despite our best plans. Retrospectively, I see the path I walked is different than the one I might have envisioned in my plans. Something helped with each step; that indefinable thread. I am grateful for many of the things I received which I did not plan for.

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change.  But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread

Balanced Holistic Education and Values

As I reflected during a morning commute on a recent conversation, I discerned a glimmer of wisdom about the role values can play in learning and education. I use the word wisdom purposefully as it is not knowledge and represents an essential counterweight to compassion. Like my recent musings that passion without com-passion is potentially blinding and harmful, compassion without wisdom can be equally damaging. Discernment allows wisdom to emerge and helps us ask and answer, “What do we value that keeps us true to what we love?”

Discernment leading to wisdom is not ‘relativism gone wild’ where everyone is entitled to an opinion regardless of the cost it exacts on others. Compassion is patient, humble, and less judgmental, allowing wisdom to be more than one’s opinion or the reiteration of ‘edutrivia’. Wisdom individually and collectively springs from within to be shared.

Community values and community provide stable cultural anchors and emerge from relational and internal processes. Community, itself, is a value, but too often contemporary advanced society turns it on end and replaces it with expedient catch phrases: collaboration, cooperation, and team player. Values such as community, wisdom, compassion, and integrity also appear under the corporate and organizational rubric of corporate mission and vision exercises. I am not dismissing these activities, but question their arbitrary, hierarchical, and limited implementation as pronouncements from the executive suites.  Can we actually engage community voices in what appears to be merely a greasing of bureaucratic wheels? Institutions truly serving community will reflect community values and not those of bureaucratic, technocratic elites seeking conformity arrived at through groupthink or oppressive processes.

What values do we want children to learn? Perhaps we would like them to care for themselves and, in the words of Martin Luther King, show compassion for the beloved community and act accordingly. Perhaps we would like them to make wise decisions as stewards of the Earth and its gifts. Perhaps we would like them to be one with Creation to provide a sense of integrity. Values emerge from within us, individually and collectively. What we want for children is accomplished by finding balance in learning ways to safely and reasonably express communal values. Learning as a cognitive exercise only will not produce the adults we desire; physical, spiritual, cognitive, and emotional balance is essential to educate children of the 21st Century to learn the values of that beloved community. It is an imperative. This no longer a new millennium. We are 12 years into it. Will we wait longer?

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