what we feed

I start with the story we shared in our last group of 2014-2015 year.

The Wolves Within

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice . . . “Let me tell you a story. I too at times, have felt great hate for those who have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It’s like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.

“I have struggled with these feelings many times.

“It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way. But . . . the other wolf . . . ah! The littlest thing will send him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all of the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.

“Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

— A Native American tale told many times around the Sacred Fire.

At the close of this year, I am thinking a lot about what we feed one another through our shared writing practice. Almost all of us wrote about how there are often not just two wolves, but many, an entire pantheon howling as we each set out to do anything: make a decision, form a relationship, recover from addictions, write.

How do we begin? One woman wrote of her many wolves and how to love all of them, spoke of a radical acceptance of what is present within her before she decides which to feed. To her, there is potential and wisdom in each one, something to fuel her growth and expression.  Continue reading