Choosing Which Wolf You Feed
I recently came across a story that I heard many years ago. It struck me to the core when I first heard it and continues to be a guide for my life:
An old Cherokee man told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, resentment, greed, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”
The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”
This story seems so timely for the very reactive energy that we are finding ourselves in this year. If you’re like most, you’ve found yourself being more reactive than usual. The sources are many. From the strong eruptive astrological influences this year, to the long-term effects of living socially distanced for a year or more, to so many old structures crumbling – and more – all of us find ourselves unexpectedly reacting to something that might not normally bother us.
There is a level of stress on us all that cannot be measured. With minimal or no physical and emotional connections, it becomes even easier to lose your sense of peace and centeredness, making it hard to keep anxieties and fears, and worries at bay.
When you are seeing reactiveness everywhere around you, it’s really easy to drop into negativity and act that way yourself. Conversations with my clients, students, and friends reveal that all are finding it challenging. The wolf of anger, jealousy, resentment, and divisiveness is raging. And to an extent, it rages in each of us.
You Have a Choice
Yet we do have a choice. Yes, the forces of reactivity are strong. But they aren’t the last word. There are also powerful forces of awakening afoot.
The very same forces that are triggering us into (over)reactivity are also bringing awakening.
The very same forces at work to deconstruct that old power structures that are not healthy and don’t work anymore are also bringing innovation and birthing new structures that will be more sustainable for all of humanity and for the planet as a whole.
Everyone the world over feels the reactivity; at some level, everyone also feels some sort of resistance to the end of the old, to the ongoing stresses, and more. It’s human nature. Yet at the same time, there are stronger forces at work. For instance, right now we are in a bath of light that is literally upgrading our wiring (see my last blog post for more on this). The shift that began with the Great Conjunction in December is pulling us toward greater oneness and balance.
You have a choice. You can feed the wolf of reactivity, anger, divisiveness, hatred, anger, jealousy, resentment, greed, inferiority, lies and ego. Or you can feed the wolf of love, peace, kindness, compassion, empathy, and truth.
No doubt about it — this is difficult when you’re surrounded by loud, strident voices and acts of anger, hatred, and fear, all of which are intended to separate and create more anger and fear.
If you find yourself caught up in feelings of judgment, anger, and fear, consider them gifts — gifts showing you what is within you that still needs to be healed. If you receive each instance as an opportunity for personal growth, you will not only be healing some deep inner wounding in yourself, but also in the collective.
Choosing the Good Wolf
When you’re in the midst of reactivity, you may think otherwise, but — moment by moment — you truly do have a choice between fear or love, judgment or acceptance. To be clear, acceptance is neither passively letting something happen or condoning something you disagree with – it is that you acknowledge with clear vision where you are, what the situation is, and that you don’t add to the negative emotional energy around it.
Some of this reactivity is calling you to act with confidence and solidarity, to act with the love and compassion that arises from a place of gratitude. Deepen your spiritual practices. Great peace and love are available even in this tumultuous time. Every time you tap into that peace and love – and act from that place – you not only provide an antidote to all its opposites, but you support the emerging, underlying shift. You also become the light that is pouring through you and changing your electrical wiring right at this very minute.
You cannot be in fear and in love at the same time; you cannot be in judgment and in gratitude at the same time. Do your work so that everything you do comes from that place of love and gratitude. Practice gratitude daily, especially when you feel judgment toward others.
Every act of kindness, every act of love, has an exponential effect in this unsettling climate. A wise person has said, “Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
As Rabbi David Wolpe writes, “We bring light into this world not as a source but as a prism – it comes through us. As electricity requires a conduit, so spirit moves through human beings to touch others in crucial moments.” We are in such crucial moments right now. And as Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Compassion can be as powerful as thunder.”
The Power of Acting with Compassion, Kindness and Love
I am reminded of one of my favorite scriptural passages: “Let justice roll down like water; and righteousness like an ever-rolling stream.” (Amos 5:24). “Righteousness” here means doing the right thing, rather than having a superior attitude (it is not self-righteousness). I always picture a thundering waterfall and a swift-moving creek or river when I read this text.
Remember that water seeks its own level. Although it may appear that fear and separation are ruling the day, great love and compassion are apparent, too. It is time to be kind. It is time to be love. Be gratitude. Connect with others. Be in solidarity. And may your compassion be as powerful as thunder!
PS: To offer you support – and to give you a break from the intensity of this very reactive time, I am offering a Celebration, Attunement, and Healing Session that I’m calling “Respite from Reactivity.” My hope is that this will help you feed the wolf that will bring you life. It’s coming up soon – on March 21! Here is the link for more information. And here is the link to register. I would love for you to join me. It’s a warm open-hearted group, and the transformation is nourishing and supportive.