The Wheel of Fortune is a symbol of the capricious nature of fate. Sometimes we are like Imagine Dragons sing, "on top of the world". Sometimes we are at the bottom of the wheel looking for an upswing. The goddess Fortuna is said to spin this wheel at random, and thus why it may feel like quite suddenly our luck can turn for the better or worse. Ancient Indian art depicts a wheel called "The Wheel of Becoming" (Bhavacakra) which represents samsara or cyclical existence. Used in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, the word is derived of two words, "bhava" and "cakra". Bhava means worldly existence, birth, becoming, origin and Cakra or chakra means wheel. This wheels consists of elements or layers that relate to elements of human existence. Without going into too much detail, the bhavacakra presents us with poisons (ignorance, attachment, aversion), karma, layers of samsara, impermanence, and liberation. For more general information visit my sources below.
Last week quite unexpectantly and with no known source, I came down with Covid (again, within 6 months of my last bout). I quickly rearranged my schedule and prepared to take care of myself and lie low. During that same week, I was informed that one of the classes that I have held dear for about 4 years would be given another teacher. It wasn't necessarily my teaching, but the fact that the number of attendees coming to the class were lower than needed to run the class with me as a teacher. I felt defeated on both counts. My body was feeling sick and sore, my mind was distorted from the virus, I could not work, and I have just lost a class that meant a lot to me. So, I did what I always do in these times, I turned to yoga. When I needed to move and stretch my joints, I did a simple practice. I meditated. I took care of myself and others around me. I took time in the sun and in nature. With subtle sadness, I released my attachment to that particular class feeling things open to new possibilities. I welcomed the impermanence of the sickness that had taken over me.
In these moments, the wheel turned and I began to feel that sense of awakening and discovery. These series of events were not Fortuna spinning her hand, but Bhavacakra reminding me to look deeper within myself to better understand karma (action), attachments, impermanence and liberation from it all. I returned to the yoga studios this week, refreshed and awakened to deeper possibilities within myself and others.
How can this translate to parenting?
There are moments in parenting that do not feel like "wins" at the beginning. Whether it's a struggle with breastfeeding or working with your toddler on taking care of their belongings or a call from the police about your teenager, these events can feel like major setbacks in parenting. There have been times in my own parenting, where I feel defeated, frustrated, and completely alone. If we consider these times under the context of bhavacakra we may be able to view them from another lens. Perhaps these are the times we are asked to let go of expectations (attachments), consider our own actions, realize the cycles of life, and understand that these moments will pass. It's how we approach these times that may be the most meaningful of all. Maybe it's not about making lemonade out of our "lemons", but taste the bitterness, let go, and trust the process.
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Hi, I'm Valerie Kacian! I am a mom of three and a yoga teacher. I am also a writer who doesn't write enough. This is my way of giving you the answers you are looking for and also to keep in touch with my first baby, writing.