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 recognize there are two wolves inside me. One believes anything is possible. It yearns for the stars. It honors its spirit and seeks limitless freedom. This wolf wants to live and experience life at its outer edges. In one word this wolf is wild.
The other wants none of that. Safety, security, comfort, and pleasure are its aims. This wolf has one concern; survival. Fear and doubt occupy its heart and mind. It is an intelligent manipulative child who wreaks havoc on all things inner peace. In one word this wolf is tame.
Choosing which one to feed isn’t the best choice. When you starve one it begins to howl. Its existence is backed into a corner. Like any animal clinging to life it fights, scratches, and claws with all that it has. My attempt to starve one at the expense of the other is futile. The inner civil war that ensues turns the landscape of my spirit into a war zone of blood, guts, torture, and pain.
As Yung Pueblo once wrote “the energy within us will eventually seek outward expression.” Just as an ocean can’t refuse a wave from crashing to the shore harboring this battle inside me has created a life of pure havoc and misalignment.
Starving isn’t the answer. Honoring and loving is…
What does it mean to honor and love the scared part of me? To treat it as a scared child. A child who is afraid of the dark. Just as I would never lock a wailing child in a closet to starve it, I will no longer do the same to the scared parts of me. I will acknowledge, love, listen to, and honor those parts of me. I will give them the space and love I never valued myself enough to feel. I will learn to interpret their cries and needs. I will heal the inner child.