The fight of two wolves within you.
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.”
Last week started off a bit rough for me as one thing after another seemed to roll in. Things I thought I had battled returned. Wounds I thought I had healed reopened.
As a consequence, and a (temporary) return to a past mode of existence, I started overfeeding the first wolf, the familiar one. I started to feel angry and resentful. Anger is where I used to find so much power. When I was angry, really angry, I felt alive. I felt like no one or no thing could touch me. I’d tell the world to fuck off, drive fast, play hard rap, and sling sharp words. In a way, it was true, I was untouchable when I was angry. Because anger kept people at a distance. It was ‘safe’ but it was isolating.
Over the years, I realized that anger wasn’t my only source of power and vitality. I learned to find strength in vulnerability and in the full range of my emotions. I learned to soften, to show compassion, and to come from a place of understanding.
But what I believe this last year has taught me in particular is that anger, feistiness, and fierceness can coexist with softness, compassion, and vulnerability. You can’t starve one wolf and feed the other. You have to care for both and continually work to quiet the battle between the two. Wolves are meant to run together in packs, not solo. You will always be the leader of that pack.
There’s another version of this story. The Cherokee’s answer; “If you feed them right, they both win."
Life by Design was born out of a need for my own self-healing after decades of unresolved illness. It wasn’t until finding the courage to look within that I discovered it was my own belief system holding me back from experiencing a truly thriving life. We all have access to that thriving life. We just need to rediscover our power and ignite the healing-self. Only then can we unapologetically live a life by our own design.