I’ve been thinking a lot about a story I heard years ago. It seems to be reappearing in my life right now and I think I need to listen…
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
About three weeks ago I wrote a post and accidentally published it. I deleted it but not before one of my dearest friends read it and was very concerned. I also learned later that quite a few others read it and I thank them for expressing their concern also. That post was born out of fear, desperation, anxiety and overwhelm. It was dark. I am grateful for my friend who stepped in and helped me seek the help I really needed in that moment.
Since then, this story has shown up in my life in movies I am watching, in books I am reading, in social media posts. Sometimes the Universe has a way of gently nudging, and other times She slaps us in the face.
Forty-Five Things was originally about me accomplishing some things I wanted to do in a year. It has become more of a place for me to express what I am learning, to be vulnerable and to show who I am. I have been so touched by the response I have received, to know that just by showing up I am helping others to see that they are not alone. It has been a place to help feed the wolf of compassion, truth, empathy and faith. In the days leading up to that dark day, I had been working through the effects of a concussion, dealing with some scary health issues and struggling through relationship challenges. In those days, I could not see light. I could only see anger, sorrow, self-pity and fear. I was feeding the dark wolf.
We all find ourselves feeding each of the wolves at different times. For me, I had to make a choice: do I continue to feed the dark wolf? What will I choose to believe about myself? What will I do to start feeding the good wolf? It wasn’t easy. I had become accustomed to only seeing the darkness. But, thanks to some people who love me enough to be brutally honest with me, I was able to make some changes. I have taken a leave of absence from work to allow my body and mind to heal from the concussion, to make some changes to the way I handle stress and anxiety. I have reconnected with my Mom in a very healthy and supportive way (not that she wasn’t helpful and supportive before, but I wouldn’t allow myself to believe I needed anyone else) and I have made some other changes which will be difficult but will ultimately allow relationships to heal and transform. In short, I am learning to feed the good wolf. This is a practice I know I will need to nurture, and it is one that only I can do for myself. No one can do it for me.
I am totally up for the task.
How are you feeding the wolf in your life? Which wolf gets your attention?