The Medicine Wheel and Me: A Critical Reflection
The Medicine Wheel and Me: A Critical Reflection
An individual who desires to become effective both professionally and personally can advance in skills and understanding through studying the pertinent needs and then, culturally suitable ways of fulfilling them. However, it is only possible to realize this when a person identifies his own cultural and individual identity. Subsequently, establishing situations and conditions that help to promote these two aspects are the core challenges. Individuals struggling with cultural and personal insecurity are often unable to resolve the challenges because they will suffer from anxiety, poor intra- and interpersonal communication, job and school failures, lack of comfortability, and lack of energy and spirit. When translated into different areas, for instance, in caregiving, the person feels some level of tiredness, anxiety, and restlessness. One of the ways of addressing the challenges is to apply the Medicine Wheel framework, which is an approach that has been used historically as a solution. Specifically, it will be important to address how interpersonal and inter-professional communication can benefit from the model, with a specific focus on nursing and caregiving.
Part I: Self-Reflective Analysis Using the Medicine Wheel
The Aboriginal people have for long seen the medicine as consecrated because it symbolizes the different elements of a healthy and well-rounded person. Akin to wellness, the model signals an active health state where the individual advances towards an elevated degree of functioning, hence attaining an optimum balance (Mussell, 2005; Dapice, 2019). The Medicine Wheel comprises four principal sections, where each is representative of a person’s major elements, which are the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. Intrapersonal communication represents a key factor in developing self-esteem and self-concept (Macdonald, 2008). For a person to achieve balance in his life, it is essential to analyze each of the four dimensions and subsequently work towards enhancing communication within themselves before they can develop effective inter-professional communication skills that can enhance self-fulfillment.
As outlined by Mussel (2005), any health physical constituent comprises sufficient “oxygen, food, water, rest, exercise, sensory stimulation, security, and safety” (p. 116). I can describe the physical dimension of my Medicine Wheel based on my field of profession, which is nursing. My perspective on promoting health among my patients shifts with my expectations and expectations, which starts with rest. To achieve my tasks as required, I have to be fit physically myself. Deprivation of rest, for instance, will lead to a state of tiredness and lack of concentration, which I deem as essential for effective health care. However, I do not exercise as regularly as I ought to.
I find my attachment to food a bit excessive, especially when it comes to eating healthy. I have a tendency to treat myself with ice cream and chocolate from time to time. However, with an improved intake of nutritious, health-enhancing diets and foods, I can gain a balanced and healthy state of wellbeing and avoid conditions like heart problems and diabetes. For safety, I contend that I am active to some degree. However, my weakness becomes evident when I become too busy with school, social aspects of personal life, and work. In terms of intrapersonal communication, my greatest setback is my tendency to compare my physical outlook to those of others around me. According to Kemppainen, Kopera-Frye, and Woodard (2008) and (Mussell, 2005), the result is the creation of an adverse self-image, which diminishes the progress to achieving fulfillment. I would desire to drive myself to appropriate physical limits. My adverse intrapersonal communication has effects on how I judge others, which in turn affects my inter-professional and interpersonal communication. The implication is that I could judge my patients based on their attitudes and not their conditions.
According to Mussell (2005), psychological or emotional maturation does not simply unfold in tandem with cognitive or physical development. The components involved in the emotional dimension of the Medicine Wheel include love and a sense of belonging, recognition, understanding, boundaries, privacy, limits, acceptance, and discipline. Overall, I would describe one of my emotional strengths as being able to maintain boundaries. I find that boundaries are important in all social contexts of life, at work, in school, and relations with others. Additionally, I am good at maintaining privacy, which is an important strength in my career. For example, I cannot divulge patients’ medical records to unauthorized entities. I feel that I need to improve in this aspect since it affects my intrapersonal communication negatively, which flows over to my inter-professional and interpersonal communication. For instance, often, when at work, I might get angry with colleagues who I feel are too clingy because they want to maintain a tight attachment to me. I ought to improve on this because, according to Mussell (2005) and Lavallée (2019), attachment with loving and attentive caregivers offers an environment where the rest of the needs are satisfied, right from cultural and socialization transmission.
Mental or Intellectual
All healthy human infants enter the world with brains wired to learn. The infants have cognitive development that occurs through mediated learning proficiencies and express exposure to situations, for example, exploratory play (Mussell, 2005). Here, the elements as outlined by the Medicine Wheel are discipline, habits, thoughts, ideas, and concepts, which influence how one communicates with oneself. One of my greatest strengths is maintaining a mental image of whatever I learn, through either experience or instruction. For instance, I remember things by creating charts, some of which I hand on the walls of my room. I have created a habit of taking down notes in crucial staff meetings or when taking instructions from my superiors. However, my habit of keeping attention to myself has made me receive negative feedback, mostly on my unwillingness to interact with others extensively. During weekends, I prefer to stroll, watch movies, or simply read a book. I feel this behavior has kept me alone and isolated. However, I do find that I get most of my inspirations, concepts, and ideas when I am alone. While it seems satisfying, it is not so because I am unable to obtain the insight of others, which means I might be wrong on most ideas.
Persons born in environments that are respectful, safe, and caring. Thus, they can learn to value their own lives and those of others, including animals, spirits, plants, and the Great Spirit’s creations (Mussell, 2005; Lavallée, 2019; Loughran, 2012). Being a mostly introverted person, I usually have a lot of time to reflect on my spiritual connection with animals and plants. I visit animal orphanages occasionally to help bathe and feed them, which gives me a sense of calm. Besides, I believe one of my strengths is my connection with nature in general. I can visit a park, simply collect flowers, and replant them in my small garden. Through this, I gain inner peace. However, I am still unable to attain personal harmony because I feel the guilt not always having to push people away. Humans represent one of the most remarkable creations that the Great Spirit made and therefore, avoiding interacting with them denies me total inner peace. Besides, I am a transcendent person who believes in the existence of negative spirits who spoil balance in life. I am a believer in the existence of bad spirits that humans can only avoid through honoring and caring for life.
Part II: Self-Understanding and Insight
From my assessment, I have found that among my weaknesses is being body-conscious. Therefore, I tend to compare myself with those around me, which influences negatively on my self-concept. As such, I am aware of my weight. According to Mussell (2005), when persons feel or are deprived of needs like food, it affects their progress towards developing intrapersonal communication. I am unable to communicate with people confidently because I feel they are also judging me. In addition, my apprehension in exercising deprives my body of an essential component that could help me progress to health fulfillment. With the absence of proper exercise, I am often anxious about others staring at me. By becoming too self-aware, I diminish my advancement of personal identity and awareness, which in turn affects my ability to communicate with others confidently. I have discovered, mostly from colleague feedback, that I have a tendency to avoid contact with them during communication and mostly offer brief responses when addressed. Thus, I am unable to achieve the levels of communication and interactions I would have desired, especially since nursing involves many informational interchanges
I have found myself to be prone to judging people who feel too attached because it is not my strongest point. I feel that attaching myself to others is too emotionally draining and even annoying at times. As a caregiver, I have to be attentive and feel attached to my clients to address their needs better. I find that I connect with neither the clients nor my colleagues, as I ought to. As outlined by Mussell (2005), negative emotions can spoil personal and group interactions, which in turn affects one’s own ability to pinpoint his identity. The lack of personal identity has made me unable to describe my fears of belonging. Devoid of s sense of belonging, it is difficult to cultivate effective inter-professional and interpersonal communication. Therefore, the inability to communicate effectively with my colleagues affects my work and overall satisfaction with my input.
From the reflective analysis, I have discovered that I do not let myself learn new concepts or ideas because of my introvert behavior. I have tended to keep to myself most of the time and tended to desire to learn on my own. As outlined by Mussell (2005), right from childhood, individuals learn progressively via mediated efforts, in addition to intrinsic motivation. I have been utilizing innate learning motivation instead of mediated, which involves sharing concepts, ideas, and thoughts with others. Therefore, my habits have largely made my learning limited. I cannot fully make the meaning of life if I do not expand my thinking skills.
Here, I found that my greatest undoing was my inability to connect with the Great Spirits’ creations wholesomely. According to Mussell (2005), it is only possible to find complete inner peace, balance, and harmony when one cares for life in entirety, without fear or favor. By isolating myself from humans, I have effectively deprived myself of an important component to attain self-identity and intra-communication. I do not possess a real sense of identification because I am unable to make different forms of decisions outside my field, which is the result of avoiding pertinent things in life, including song, dance, social interactions, and ceremonies.
Part III: Effective Communication Plan
To overcome the weaknesses, I intend to adopt the teachings posited by the Medicine Wheel. The Wheel’s Eastern sphere is concerned with the physical aspects of wellbeing (Mussell, 2005). I have now learned to take greater care of myself. To function best, I have learned to rest more, engage in minor physical exercises, and adopt a proper nutrition plan. Maintaining a balanced diet will involve limiting the intake of fatty foods and eating disorders. Because of my hectic work schedule, I hardly shop for health food, but now I plan to try harder. These steps will make me develop the confidence to communicate with myself and steadily enhance my inter-professional communication.
The Western dimension of the wheel concerns how a person will express himself, his ability for coping, self-esteem, feeling adjusted, and fostering healthy relationships (Mussell, 2005; Kemppainen, Kopera-Frye, & Woodard, 2008). I find this the most difficult to execute because I still have reservations with becoming too close to people who are not my family. Additionally, I still possess my old ways of desiring to feel or express myself, but I have started making progress. Despite keeping to myself mostly, I have seen individuals at work and even friends starting to approach me for advice, and I have even started having some close friends. I am slowly discovering that it is not hard to gain acceptance if one tries. My uniqueness alongside another person’s uniqueness creates social cohesion and enhances interpersonal communication. I now comprehend what constitutes healthy relationships, but I believe it will take me some time to adapt fully to the regimen.
The Southern element of the Wheel addresses the intellectual or mental aspect of health (Mussell, 2005). In this regard, I have the plan to take time to balance my schedules, be creative through writing, visit acquaintances, and talk more with clients and colleagues. I desire to start building steadily a network of individuals I can exchange information within formal and informal settings. For instance, I intend to go out more, attend work gatherings, and ensure to exchange contacts with people with whom I can relate. I feel that this will be a positive step in the progress towards achieving effective inter-professional and intra-professional skills.
The Northern component of the Wheel addresses the spiritual (Mussell, 2005; Dapice, 2019). As an individual who often experiences anxiety and being introverted, I easily tend to isolate myself. I only reached out whenever I had to. Now, I have a plan that involves going out each week to meet people or even call them. I have to come out of my shell, exit my apartment, and socialize with people even if I have to squeeze my schedule. I also intend to enhance my volunteering activities as part of being selfless. Besides, I intend to find ways of clearing any negativity, even if it means reconnecting with nature through yoga.
The four dimensions of the Medicine Wheel, namely spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional provide a means for individuals to evaluate their weaknesses and strengths concerning inter-professional and interpersonal communication. For one to communicate effectively informally or formally, he has to develop a completely healthy state that the four dimensions integrate to provide. Each of the dimensions has to exist in balance, as well as develop equally for humans to remain happy and healthy creations. I have identified my strengths and weaknesses using the Medicine Wheel model and found ways in which they affect my inter-professional communication and ways to solve them. I have made a plan based on the model to eliminate the strengths to achieve a state of healthy balance.
Dapice, A. (2019). The Medicine Wheel. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 17(3), 251-60.
Kemppainen, D., Kopera-Frye, K., & Woodard, J. (2008). The Medicine Wheel: A versatile tool for promoting positive change in diverse contexts. Collected Essays on Teaching and Learning, 1, 80-101.
Lavallée, L. (2019). Balancing the Medicine Wheel through physical activity. Journal of Aboriginal Health, 4(1), 64.
Loughran, J. (2012). Effective reflective practice: In search of meaning in learning about teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(1), 33-43.
Macdonald, C. D. (2008). Using components of the Medicine Wheel to develop a conceptual framework for understanding Aboriginal women in the context of pap smear screening1. A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, 6(3), 95.
Mussell, W. J. (2005). Warrior-caregivers: Understanding the challenges and healing of first nations men. Ottawa, Ontario: Aboriginal Healing Foundation.