This Cherokee legend was recently shared with me.
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 though about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Out of the mouths of babes comes the next logical question.
What do you feed your good wolf?
If we keep this musing high level, one would respond with things like gratitude, love, self-compassion, patience. If I take a moment to look back at some of those moments in my life when my own two wolves were sparring, in truth I’ve fed my good wolf fellowship, margaritas, and nachos… with extra jalapenos.
Part of me would love to be able to stake a claim to some sort of higher ground and suggest that my inner war of the wolves has been declared over and that the good wolf was the clear and decisive winner. Alas, someone or something upsets me (or maybe even enrages me) and the wolves are at it again. I am thankful for those people in my life that have tossed me a lifeline and given me space to vent my rage to them rather than foolishly and dangerously act on it and risk something really bad happening. That fellowship, that has on many occasions taken place over a delicious plate of nachos (with lots of melted cheese and, again, extra jalapenos) washed down with a margarita on the rocks with salt (who are these people consuming extra sugar???), has been an indispensable component of my sanity. My good wolf remains victorious thanks to the kindness and generosity of people in and around my life who graciously grant me a few moments to regain my composure before stepping back onto the path of doing good.
Take the time to recognize and acknowledge your warring wolves. Then promise yourself to feed the good one.
What are you grateful for today?