Susan Grace Lawton, CMP
According to my age, I was in the south of the wheel when I first went to Wrights Beach in Bodega Bay on the northern coast of California. Close to the shoreline were millions of beautiful stones. On a perfect, sunny, breezy day, I lay on my stomach amid the stones and began to choose my favorite ones. It was well over an hour when I stood up to depart, my pockets filled with pleasing stones. I realized what a wonderful meditation it had been to carefully regard the world of small things and the rejuvenation I felt from the whole experience. It didn’t take long to start to arrange the stones in Medicine Wheels, as my feet were firmly planted on the “Good Red Road” by then. The medicine wheel kit developed further as I entered the west of the wheel, the goes within place where we must travel to gain our wisdom. Here is a photo of those original stones and the first day of a new way of being.
The term “Medicine Wheel” summons some deep within me. My first Medicine Wheel gathering was on the July full moon on Maui, Hawaii in 1983. The experience brought about feelings I had as a child when my mother brushed my hair… cherished, acknowledged, loved and at home. I was in the right place, at the right time. The rituals that we created that day awakened me to a new way of being.
My continued interest in what I experienced that day brought me to the Medicine Path, or the “Good Red Road.” I was initiated and received a Medicine Pipe later that year through the loving hands and courageous heart of Joy Bishop, and from the lineage of Grandmother Mahadjuni (Evelyn Eaton). My medicine pipe was dedicated to unlocking my creativity, showing me the way to my true essence, and helping me give birth to the Medicine Person that was already within me. In seeking a greater understanding of what it means to be a “Rainbow Warrior” who holds a sacred pipe, I have been guided on an incredible journey.
It wasn’t long before I realized that everything I was learning through the wheel was about healing. I began studying massage and hands-on healing techniques with the many gifted teachers and friends on Maui and later became a Integrative Massage Therapist through my course work at Phillips School of Massage in Nevada City, CA.
I have found that the power of loving touch and loving interaction plays an inestimably valuable role in our path to healing and enlightenment. I have had the privilege of working with many teachers along the way, and I have also sat in silence posing simple questions. What does it mean to experience wholeness? How do we define health? How do we create authentic relationships with ourselves, with others, and with the divine? How do we learn to share all the gifts we have been given so that others can experience their richness too?
I have facilitated Medicine Wheel ceremonies since I first came to the teaching, for each time that we come to the circle with reverence and respect, we find rich soil in which to plant our visions, water and sunshine to help them grow, and challenges to help them grow strong. I have learned a great deal about myself along the way. Although a contemplative at heart, in order to be happy and healthy, I need a tribe: a sense that I belong to something bigger, something that I can count on. Sharing these teachings has provided me with this. I belong to a moveable tribe of wisdom-walkers — a cross-cultural tribe that honors how each of us holds a piece of the sacred mirror and teaches that all of our stories are important parts in understanding the whole. It is through ceremony and metaphor, through sharing our stories, that we find a common language. Through intent and authentic relationships, we heal ourselves, support the healing of others, and we can perhaps, bring our precarious planet back into balance.
Thank you for coming back to the wise ways of those who have walked before us. May you take these teachings, make them your own, and share them freely. May we all become an authentic part of the healing that must begin with ourselves, and is for those who are yet to be.
Beauty above us,
beauty below us,
beauty all around us
may we walk the beauty path.
To all my relations,
— Susan Grace Lawton