Before the sun rose, as I gazed up at the dark ceiling, my head filled with wonder about the significance of my life. Yes, the people in my life are significant, of which I am honored and pleased. I was more along the vein of personal development and spiritual growth. Yes, formal education is good, when it nurtures a sense of value and supports diversity in thought. This wondering moment was a deeper, more profound ponder in which best to relax into inquiry than push to resolve.

The Urban Dictionary defines shaman as a person who interacts and mediates with the spirit world on our behalf. I met with a shaman for deep ancestral work, to clear and heal space for learning more about this life. We awoke childhood memories and dreams to determine what was real and what was imagined. Nothing actually changed except how I thought about my recollections. Shifting perceptions invites freedom in the moment. My shaman introduced me to the work of the Inka Medicine Wheel.

The Inka Medicine Wheel is a year-long program based on the teachings of the shamanic traditions of Peru. Students follow a spiritual curriculum like a compass with four cardinal directions through the change of seasons within a year. The journey is an examination of how-to show up in life rather than remain stagnant in assumptions.

In the spring, the course begins with recalling the stories of the past symbolically residing in the south. In the summer, the direction of the west and the setting sun is the time to uncover personal relationships with mortality. In the fall the group welcomes the wisdom and enters into a relationship with the ancestors of the north. And then winter is the time for the lessons of the east, the rising of the sun, the start of a new day.

All that was experienced and learned is meant to expand our insight and perspective. This may be all that is needed but may also be an invitation to travel the cycle again. Each direction honors all that is by listening to the wisdom of the Earth and the Moon, honoring the power of the Sun, and appreciating the elemental energy of fire, water, air, and earth. In a sense, the journey is a ceremony of love, nourished with tears and laughter, as the riches of the past are uncovered to accept a brightened future of possibility.

A mesa is a personal altar wrapped in a special cloth. The stories invoked with each direction transmutes into three stones within the mesa. The stones hold the stories and messages of our being. The breath holds the energy of our memories, fears, and emotions. This energy is blown into the stones. The heaviness that keeps us from the natural lightness of our being is released. At journey’s end, the mesa holds our stories, stones, blessings, and promises. The mesa is living and sacred tool, a resource to call upon for healing, knowledge, and direction.

A mesa is a mesa because each carrier received a stone from the sacred valley of Peru during the Medicine Wheel. The stone comes with a calling to return to its homeland.   Our small group flew into the Cusco, Peru airport on a September, Sunday afternoon. We traveled a narrow, winding road, in the darkness of night, to our first destination. The next morning, the sun rose on a different me. The sights of the mountains, the valleys, and smoke rising from chimneys opened my eyes. The sounds of the people who call this place home opened my ears. The smells of the rich earth opened my lungs. Each day was rich with learning their history while supported by the energy of the wisdom. Ancient mysteries unfolded layers of my resistance to uncover more about me. There were a couple of days in which my words were silenced. The fullness of life overflowed from the container of me, as my soul was cleansed with tears of gratitude.

Each morning came with a question of how could this day be any better than the day before. We walked the pathways of many souls before us. The final day of the adventure was infused with the wisdom of San Pedro. San Pedro softened the gaps between the layers of resistance with total and complete surrender. The last evening in Peru was bathed in moonbeams reflecting off the gentle waters of Lake Titicaca. Wrapped in the arms of my love, I released the past and welcomed a future of possibility.

A full mesa carrier signifies a person willing to do deep, uncomfortable, self-discovery. The mesa steps in as a partner on this life journey. The mesa grounds and blesses each day. When life is hard, the mesa holds worries and concerns. When life is good, the mesa vibrates with joy. A full mesa and their carrier contribute to the balance of life and a greater good.