The wheel of life is a wonderful tool for self-discovery. It can be used during the Flowering Tree exercise but it stands alone as a way to gain a better understanding of our life. The positive and negative uses of the male and female energies will give us an example that we may have seen illustrated by others or in our own behavior. Remember, we all hold male and female inside ourselves. Women will be capable of both positive and negative uses of male energy and visa versa. Familiarity with the behaviors associated with the directions on the wheel will make it easier to recognize negativity when we see it. When we know someone is using negative energy we can either try to help them, if they are receptive, or avoid them in order to protect ourselves. Helping a person who is using negative energy is demonstrated by simply showing them love, listening to them and asking questions that will lead them to discover more about how they feel and finding better ways to express themselves. It does not entail telling them how to live their life. If we recognize this negative behavior in our own actions we have taken the first step in moving towards using energy in a more positive fashion. It is wise to think on one’s behavior often, especially if one is unaccustomed to the practice.
SOUTH – PERSPECTIVE
The attributes of the south include the emotions, the heart, water, plants and children.
Our personal beliefs are also represented by the south. As we grow we develop into the people our caregivers want us to become. We have changed for the sake of our very survival. This often creates pain. We can use the South to focus on changing our personal belief about who we really are, not simply on what others have wanted us to be. Instead of seeing ourselves as the victim, we can choose to see ourselves as the hero or heroine in the story of our life or as an agent of spirit in the world. As Charles Dickens wrote in the beginning of David Copperfield, “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” The choice is ours. We can use our emotions, let the tears flow and cleanse ourselves with them, allowing us to celebrate our individuality.
Negative use of Female Energy in the South
This often manifests itself as the helpless victim needing to be rescued like a character in a movie. This helplessness is often viewed as a desirable feminine attribute and can be seen in a woman who believes that she is incapable of living by herself and that she is lost when she is alone.
Positive use of Female Energy in the South
This is characterized by one who is not afraid to be humble and is willing to be vulnerable. They chose pleasure and knowledge over pain and ignorance. They use the positive energy to align with nature and its cycles and are grounded in such a way that they can not be thrown off balance.
The goal is to choose pleasure and knowledge over pain and ignorance, even if it means being vulnerable. We should not be afraid to be sensitive, gentle and tender. This will give us the ability to align and connect with the Earth, the four directions, and all plant and animal worlds, creating a centering balance that cannot be disturbed.
Negative use of Male Energy in the South
This is characterized by the macho male who needs to always be in control of every situation. It is seen in persons filled with their own self-importance. This energy is good for fighting in armies and aggressive business practices, if one must, but it uses emotions to battle for control.
Positive use of Male Energy in the South
This is characterized by one who can help others when asked and touch the world around as well as himself, with beauty. It is comprised of total compassion, a sense of justice, and is able to see the truth in multiple perspectives. One is not dictated by emotions and is able to persevere.
SOUTHWEST – INTERPRETATION
The southwest attributes are concerned with how things are deciphered and interpreted. We should think more of things happening for us rather than simply to us. We decide what meaning to place on what has happened in our lives. One must be willing to seek out new experiences and not become complacent. If we do not practice this, our growth will stagnate. If we do not seek new stimuli we cannot challenge our interpretation and beliefs. Growth is impossible without new stimuli.
Negative use of Female Energy in the Southwest
This is characterized by the ones who believe that being a woman means one must be weak, lost, and forever destined to be the victim of abuse by men, women, society or circumstances. Because they see no other way, they allow such abuse to continue. They are afraid to seek change.
Positive use of Female Energy in the Southwest
This is characterized by those who enjoy exploring new ideas and activities, possessing what Zen masters call “a beginners mind”. They are able to see multiple views of how everything is, how it could be, and hold no expectations. They are not afraid to utilize their resource circle or expand it. They are not afraid to do necessary tasks themselves or to delegate authority when necessary.
Negative use of Male Energy in the Southwest
This is characterized by the emotional and physical manipulator who believes the only way to succeed in life is to use or diminish others. They can be successful executives and are often the protagonists in our television and movie shows. But they can often be vindictive and brutal, wife-beaters and rapists.
Positive use of Male Energy in the Southwest
Here are those who know it is necessary to take responsibility for their own lives. They can recognize their motives and their mistakes. They will learn from their experiences and eventually allow their reflections to become the catalyst for change.
WEST – IMAGINATION
The attributes of the West are the Earth, our physical body, introspection and intuition. It is also the place of holding or transforming energies. The inner personas are in the West. If we do not communicate with them we run the risk of living in the past or being worried about the future while ignoring the present. This leaves us in the dark and we blame life and others for our reality rather than creating the new realities of which we dream. When male and female energies are balanced we are able to do as we say and be the example we wish to set for others.
Negative use of Female Energy in the West
In this case there is a war between the male and female sides. It is personified by women who give their power away to men in order to survive. The male energy is blamed for everything that is wrong in order to avoid feeling guilty and ashamed for not honoring the feminine. The solution is for men to become more like nurturers and women to become more like braves.
Positive use of Female Energy in the West
One must use creativity to take control of needs and wants, remembering one must defend the dignity of both life and death. There is a difference between things we actually need for survival and those we simply want or desire. Priorities must be kept in order.
Negative use of Male Energy in the West
This is a driving need for material gain and success that overrides relationships and personal intimacy. This is characterized by the supreme manipulator and collector who mistakes these attributes for those befitting a warrior.
Positive use of Male Energy in the West
This is characterized primarily by sensitivity and respect for others and all life; secondly, by prioritizing, protecting loved ones, and providing for their needs; and thirdly, providing the wants of one’s own self. It also provides the ability to maintain a stable environment in a chaotic situation.
(Continued in Native Strength – The First Step on the Path to an Indomitable Life)