“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 remind myself of this story often, especially when I feel my Ego is about to get the best of me, and I am about to dive into an Argument and prove that I’m right. Or when I dream of a goal that I really want to accomplish but I start to Doubt my abilities. Or when Envy creeps in when I scroll down my social media. Or when I start showering myself in Regret over past mistakes. Not to mention how Impatience and Control seem to be always at arms’ length when my children and my parents are around, and Guilt following right behind, especially when I give in to my addictions.
And there are familiar faces of Shame, Inadequacy, and Inferiority staring me in the face making sure I feel discouraged enough to show vulnerability. And then Pride surprises me once in a while looking for the spotlight again, pushing humility and empathy off the stage.
And no amount of meditation can have one say “I’m set for today. I won’t give in into temptation.” It’s a DAILY struggle. The frequency might lessen with meditation, reflection and prayer, but it’s still a moment-to-moment struggle. This is why learning how to be fully present in the moment is a habit worth pursuing and acquiring especially in this day and age.
What helps me when I sense the presence of the darkness is to remember that is rooted in fear. Fear that if we don’t prove our point we won’t feel smart enough and show others our value; fear that if we are not looking, speaking and behaving a certain way, people won’t love and accept us; fear of being inadequate; fear of not being enough.
In those dark moments of the soul, as they say, I remind myself that it is only fear speaking, and that Love trumps fear every time. Forgiveness trumps resentment, Patience trumps frustration, Kindness trumps anger.
In those moments, I look for things to be Grateful for, take deep breaths and focus on something near me that brings me Joy, like my dogs, books, a roof over my head, water, nature, beautiful views, being able to feel. Anything and everything really that sparks Joy and Gratitude.
So when I catch myself making decisions based on fear, I pause and acknowledge it. I reset and ask myself, what would I do differently if I were not afraid?
So, which wolf will you feed today?