Whenever I feel that I need to bring balance back into my life I turn to my medicine work - I like to go right to ceremony. In the Inka Tradition we have a word - Ayni - which means balance - not just balance in ourselves but balance within every area of our existence - with all of our relations.

Here is a simple ceremony that anyone can do to assist in bringing back balance into your life - a medicine mandala:

Go out onto the land where you live - collect a bunch of natural materials - stones, sticks, flowers, or other plant or natural material.

Open sacred space by saluting the four directions South West North and East (this is the order that we go in my medicine tradition - North American tradition starts in the East - where you start is not as important as the intent to call forth the forces of the four directions to assist you in your medicine work) and calling upon both Mother Earth and Father Sky or Sun to assist you in your balancing work.

Create a circle of any size. Place into the circle several stones - each representing an aspect of your life - proportionately sized to how much of your time and energy this aspect is consuming - some examples are intimate relationships, family, children, friends, career, community service, personal time, education, etc. Use your breath to blow that aspect into the stone. When you have all of the aspects of your life outpictured and are complete with this exercise see which aspects are the "BIG" rocks and which ones are the "teenie tiny" rocks (this is most often personal time!!).

Now sit with your "current reality" picture and allow it to inform you. When you feel as if the awareness that you need has been received by you pick one aspect that you'd like to change and replace that stone with a larger or smaller stone - notice how the picture and the energy shifts for you. Each day for 7 days you are invited to go to your medicine mandala and re-arrange your "reality" picture - replacing some of the larger stones with smaller ones and some of the smaller stones with larger ones until you have by the end of the week created a more balanced picture of "what do I want instead".

Mother Earth and all of the forces of Nature will be assisting you in shifting at the energetic level whatever needs to be released in order for you to come into greater balance and you may, over the course of this exercise, surface hidden emotions, old subconscious beliefs, thoughtforms or patterns of conditioned behavior that you weren't even aware of for transmutation and release from your energetic field. You may even desire to get some additional assistance in the form of energy work, body work or talk therapy to facilitate clearing whatever surfaces.

Your intention as you go about this work is very important - you are creating the intention for balance and asking all of the forces of Nature to assist you in this work at a deeply energetic level. At the end of your week - dismantle the mandala - scattering the materials that you used in a way that leaves the land cleared as if nothing had ever happened there. You may if you wish take anything burnable and have a little fire - a final cleanse and releasing that is really powerful. Be sure to "close" the four directions - thanking the forces of nature and Mother Earth and Father Sky for assisting you in this work. I'd also suggest that you journal your experience and continue to journal beyond the experience so that you will be able to have a written record of the shifts that you instigated through this process. With clear intent, sacred ceremony, connection with Nature and a desire for true balance this little practice packs a powerful punch - before you know it all that was keeping you trapped in an imbalanced state is unleashed and you will find yourself enjoying a greater sense of personal balance and control over your own life and destiny.

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