Feed The Right Wolf
In case you haven’t heard of the Native American parable, “The Story of Two Wolves,” I thought I would muse about today as it highlights an important power we have in our lives and also serves as a much-needed reminder.
The story goes like this:
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.”
I love this story because it reminds us that we really do have control over our thoughts, where they go ~ and on a minute-to-minute basis.
When you look at the list of “evil wolf's” desires you see darker thoughts and emotions; that if left unchecked could cause harm to ourselves or our relationships with others. Of course, we might have these thoughts or feelings, in one form or another and from time to time, but the key here is not to feed them, not to give them sustenance.
On the other hand and on the bright side, when you see the attributes of “good wolf,” you naturally soften and smile, as these are open and loving states of being. But at times, they are underfed and need attention. It is up to us to consciously cultivate and feed what good-wolf needs.
We have a choice where to put our emotional energy. We are not victims of our thoughts; we have power over them.
So, how do you nurture your good-wolf and encourage her to thrive?
First, begin by noticing these two competing “voices” within you. When you realize the evil wolf is begging for your attention or is repeating negative thoughts to you, just notice.
Let that wolf know you are on to him. “Hey, you! I see you now. I know you’re hungry and want to be fed. Better watch out though, because I get what you’re up to.”
Once you are adept at noticing when evil-wolf is creeping in, you can then take the action step of redirecting your thoughts. So when evil-wolf tells you that you look fat today, redirect that thought by telling yourself that you are beautiful ~ and mean it, because you are. When evil-wolf causes jealousy in you, remind yourself that you have everything you need. This action step takes both practice and persistence because evil-wolf is tenacious ~ and always a bit hungry.
Next, start feeding good-wolf as she is often hungrier than you know. Feed her by taking care of yourself, not letting yourself get rundown, and by creating a positive mantra or affirmation and saying it to yourself several times a day.
After a while, you will train yourself to feed good-wolf ~ more and more and more. And, the more adept you become at this, the happier your life will be.
Evil-wolf may never go away entirely, but he can be weakened to the point where his voice is so soft you can barely hear him.
Good-wolf, on the other hand, is being fed everything she needs. She is sturdy, brave, and alert because she is fortified with nutritious thoughts. Her energy and focus are interrupted far less now; she is calm, joyous, and compassionate.