There’s a Native American tale about a grandfather trying to impart this wisdom to his young grandson:
The grandfather explains that it’s as if we each have two wolves living within us. One wolf represents all that we consider good: kindness, courage, compassion, love. The other wolf represents the darker parts: fear, hatred, anger, greed. “The two wolves are in constant battle,” the grandfather tells the boy, letting him know that everyone struggles with their own conflict between darkness and light. “Which wolf wins?” the boy asks his grandpa.
“Whichever one you feed.”
What does this parable mean to you?
Personally, I have found that I need to nourish my 'good wolf' in order to make friends with my 'bad wolf' rather than 'starve it'. . For me, starving the 'bad wolf' inadvertently gives it more ravenous power. Ignoring, pushing away, avoiding, burying parts of myself that seem 'bad'... creates conditions for these more difficult feelings to linger just under the radar and then ambush me when I least expect it.
Rather than starve my 'bad wolf' I've learned that when I acknowledge and truly listen to these 'darker' feelings - it allows them the space to 'rise and fall', to loose their intensity and therefore not control me.
In my experience, trying to extricate or 'starve' any aspect of myself sets up a dogmatic approach. I've noticed that when I meet my bad wolf with presence and without judgment - it eventually calms, making it possible for my good wolf to step in and lead the way.
And, in understanding myself this way, I understand, more fully, the truth, complexity, and paradox of our human experience. Which allows me to have more patience, compassion and understanding. Not only for myself, but for others as well.
I Loved talking about this topic with Eric Zimmer on the One You Feed Podcast.
In this interview, we also took a deep dive into the topic of somatic listening; what it is, why it’s important, how to do it and the benefits you can expect. Restorative Yoga is an avenue for this type of work and it can be life changing to say the least.
Enjoy a this simple restoring sequence to open up space for deeper breathing and more energy. It will leave you feeling warm and light.
May you take time to visit with yourself, your wolves, and care for your whole pack.