Two Wolves

Two Wolves Oct 29 2013 (2)Seeing synchronicity adds meaning to life. The more I leave myself open to it, the more I marvel at the mystery of its frequency.

Recently, while talking to a friend about the letter I just received from my third grade spelling teacher (see my blog, “Singing to the Morning Star”), I shared the learning that love was around me even when I hadn’t seen it. She exclaimed: “I can’t believe we’re talking about this. Listen to what I found inserted in my concert program last night.”

“One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. ‘My son, the battle is between the two “wolves” inside all of us.

‘One wolf is Evil. It is anger envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

‘The other is Good. It is honesty, joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, compassion and faith.’

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

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

I love this story. If we feed ourselves resentment or envy, we feel resentful and angry. Conversely, if we care for ourselves with kindness and compassion, we have more to give others. My former mentor, Norman Cousins, used to tell me, “We head in the direction of our expectations.”

Every day I practice doing something nice for myself and others. It can be as simple as taking a walk, listening to a friend, lighting candles for my husband and me on our dinner table at home, or letting someone go ahead of me in the grocery store line.

Daily acts of kindness are the yeast for leavening love. The more love we knead into the world, the more there is to go around. But it takes a conscious choice.

Which wolf will you feed tomorrow, and beyond?

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12 Responses to Two Wolves

  1. Phyll says:

    Wonderful story! Love it! My next-door neighbor recently butchered my Rose of Sharon bushes without my knowledge and is acting like she had every right to do this. I’m hurt and angry, but if I keep dwelling on this violent act, then what? I need to let it go. But, it’s been challenging for sure.

    • Eileen Rockefeller says:

      I really understand your feelings of hurt and anger. Rose of Sharon trees are beautiful. Her act was disrespectful and you must have felt invisible. I know I’d feel angry. But I have a confession to make. I did something similar to my husband last summer, when I butchered the trees on either side of our front door. They had been shading the house and I couldn’t stand it. I was also missing him as he went fishing for two weeks, (a bucket list trip for him. A childish act for me.) So I wasn’t very proud of myself, and he was hurt and angry when he returned. We ultimately worked it out by talking about it together, sharing our feelings, and playing back what we heard each other say.

      I wonder if you can ask your neighbor why she did it? Did she just not like the plant? Did she think it was on her property?

      A good friend of mine once said, “Don’t get angry. Get curious.” Perhaps you’ll learn something about her that will help you understand and feel less angry. If not, well I sometimes punch a pillow. But you are right to let the anger go. It won’t be helpful, and luckily plants grow back.

      • Phyll says:

        Oh, my goodness! Thank you, Eileen, for not only sharing words of comfort, solace and support about my Rose of Sharon Bush but, also, for candidly sharing an act of horticulture havoc of your own. I appreciated your candor and revelation of an act you weren’t proud of but which highlights the “human condition”. In other words, we all slip up from time to time. And, it may be more enlightening (for everyone involved) to get “curious” rather than angry or harbor, i.e. “carry” hostile or vengeful thoughts, deeds or acts around in our heads and hearts.

  2. Susan G Cobb says:

    I will always try to feed the good wolf because I feel the evil wolves biting my heals everyday. But it is a conscious decision to do whats right, but remembering I am human I had to learn to love ME no matter what, being the youngest of 11 and no mother from age 2 on? This has been a life long challenge for me. The good acts are what lets me sleep.

    • Eileen Rockefeller says:

      What a wise person you seem to be. It must have been so hard to lose your mother at age 2, and then have all those older ones wanting a mother too, but having to care for you. Choosing the good wolf takes practice, I find, and especially if you have had to find it on your own. I hope you have good friends to share stories from your childhood. Blessings and sleep well.

  3. SAIF DEAN says:

    Well, since i am a tutor in a university , i am trying all the time to instill the good wolf in my students’s hearts and minds. this will be an ever- lasting good thing, to act well and nicely is what i and they need. the good wolf will never ever die. nice story.

    • Eileen Rockefeller says:

      Lucky students to receive such good modeling. I do think we need to listen to the “bad” wolf, because it has most likely served us in some way, but ultimately it’s about making the choice to act from either place with consciousness. Thank you for sharing.

  4. What a beautiful post and important reminder. Starving the evil wolf is not always that easy to do. Also, I loved your bread analogy at the end…your way with words is exquisite! Thank you, Eileen!

  5. Eileen Rockefeller says:

    Thank you Ginny. Glad you liked the leavening. It’s something we could all use a little more of in this world!

  6. Rebecca Weil says:

    Eileen, This is a beautiful story and post, thank you for sharing these images and thoughts!

    • Eileen Rockefeller says:

      Dear Rebecca, I’m so happy to hear you are reading my blog posts! I know this story speaks to you as much as it does to me. May we always choose to feed the good wolf!

  7. Renée Reilly says:

    Wow, I can’t believe this website. I was in the hospital recently and received a Prayers and Meditation pamphlet. This same story is in there and I literally just typed it up in a word document so I can print it and hang in our home for all of us to read. I was looking for a picture of wolves to place above the story and clicked on the image on your page only to see the same story. WOW! Really like this story. And it is a beautiful message. Thank you.

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