Feed the Right Wolf

Last week during our normal Heart of Recovery meeting, (Hint: Every Sunday at 6pm!!) this allegory was brought up during our open discussion:

An old Cherokee was telling his grandson about the struggle that takes place within all of us.

He said, ‘My son, the conflict is between two wolves that live inside us. One is Evil. It is anger, resentment, arrogance and ego. One is Good. It is peace, love, humility and compassion.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

Prior to entering Recovery (which ultimately led to my beginning a Mindfulness Practice), I lived my life on what I call ‘All-American Autopilot’ as I think many of us do. Forever treading the nebulous waters of ‘going through the motions of life’ and trying to find that person to love, place to live or thing to buy that would finally ‘fix me’ for good.

Years of unhealthy distractions, unwise habits and unfulfilling behaviors fed my Bad Wolf a hale and hearty diet while simultaneously starving my Good Wolf to the brink of extinction.

With a sated belly full of unrealistic demands, unmet expectations and unaccepted realities, the Bad Wolf firmly took the wheel. Not surprisingly, he is a terrible driver and I pinballed through life in the role of ‘reactionary receiver’ – suffering the slings and arrows of supposed slights, confabulated conspiracies and imagined injustices.

Somehow, I managed to survive and wrest the wheel back from the Bad Wolf long enough to begin heading down a different road and slowly but surely over time, the Good Wolf started to occupy a larger seat at the table.

By doing the next right thing more often than not (a serious improvement, historically speaking) and developing a bit of mindfulness – let’s say, going from a 1 to 2 on a 10 scale (a 100% improvement, btw) was enough of start. Things got better. Life still happens with alarming (ir)regularity – but my perception of it has changed.

These days, the Good Wolf is at the wheel most of the time and the Bad Wolf takes the back seat. On on really good days, the Bad Wolf is tied up in the trunk – but he’s always in the car. Somewhere.

Wolves by nature are almost always hungry. Be sure to feed the right one.

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