Feeding the Wolf....

An old Cherokee Chief was 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, self-doubt, and ego."

"The other is good-he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith."

"This same fight is going on inside of you-and every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old chief simply replied, "The one you feed."

Today was one of those days as an educator...a day that by the end I was wondering why I do this job...why I have spent 20 years of my life working my butt off. Although what I am about to tell you did not happen in my class, it happened with my students. My level of disappointment is so deep that my heart actually physically hurts.

Today in one of my teammates classes, a group of students group bullied a student who has a physical disability. They called him names, yelled at him, and when the teacher intervened on his behalf, they turned like a pack on her.

As a parent of a child with a physical disability, I am shocked and dismayed that these students turned with such verbal violence toward a classmate. As a teacher, I am shocked by their lack of caring and compassion toward one of "their own."

For me, the last few days have been over-filled with bearing witness to others (at times) irrational anger that I was unable to keep my own self together today. I skipped two meetings (something I rarely do) and took solace in working with the high school students that come to get weekly help.

The Cherokee tale of the two wolves seems like a fitting metaphor for life right now, both mine and others around me. It brings to light the question, which are you feeding?

Many of us struggle with the idea of light and dark within us. Our daily struggle involves making choices that support and "feed" the wolf that we want to shine. At times, we stumble and feed the wolf of the dark, settling into anger, superiority, or false pride. We let the wolf's teeth fester in our hearts, spreading the poison throughout our soul. The poison spewing when we open our mouths, emotionally cutting people down along the way. The dark wolf causes us to withdraw from our community, anger and resentment building...distrust causing ripples that cannot be controlled. The dark wolf is about winning with others losing...coming out on top a priority.

If we choose to feed the white wolf, we can have a sense of peace, joy, and serenity. We are compassionate toward others, spreading our serenity to them as well. We act with empathy and kindness, putting others before ourselves, sensitive to their needs. The white wolf is not about winning at the cost of others, but rather building up others so that the collective can win.

I feel that today I hit a bit of an emotional bottom...my sense of faith in others, kindness, and compassion has been shaken. Adults and children in my life are acting out in a way that I feel trapped in the woods. There are many dark wolves that are being fed and they are running rampantly in packs, devouring anything they can. The few white wolves in the area are scattered, trying to find the safety of the others...bringing with them peace and hope.

I am choosing to pull myself up, brush the dark wolf away and feed the white wolf. I am here...if you are feeding your white wolf, come to the woods...we will make our pack and together spread the calm and benevolence that comes from being a white wolf...choose and feed well...

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