I heard a very interesting story a while back that really resonated with me (I first heard it on my friend Kim Weibe's yoga DVD). In my recent yoga/meditation journey, I have been able to take a step back and observe my thoughts and patterns. What I've noticed is that I have a battle going on inside my mind all the time. It's like I have a good version of myself and an evil version of myself and those entities are constantly in a war against each other.
I thought that I was going a little crazy, but this tale put things into perspective:
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 you - and inside 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."
We all have this battle going on inside our mind. Thoughts are powerful, but what I'm discovering is that they are not necessarily real. We have the ability in our lives to take a step back and choose which wolf we feed.
I have had periods in my life where I consistently feed the good wolf and that is where my momentum, optimism and self-confidence has come from. I feel like I am on fire and I can accomplish anything I set mind to. In these times I feel completely comfortable in my own skin and I trust that I am on the right path. I walk differently, I smile more genuinely, I am more eager to help others and I feel an intense desire to give the world a giant HIGH FIVE! I am more engaging, more committed to my goals…life, in general, is a lot more enjoyable.
I have also had periods in my life where the evil wolf takes much of my attention and it's like a downward spiral of self-doubt, negativity and judgement. I always feel so drained and negative when I obsess about ego, envy and sorrow and it often feels like I am in a deep hole that seems impossible to climb out of. I convince myself that my ideas are not worth the investment, I constantly let myself down, I feel guilty about every mis-step I make and I become obsessed with everything that's "wrong" in my life. I want to crawl in my bed and have no interaction.
What I've learned is that at first it's very difficult to start feeding the good wolf, especially when the evil wolf has been so dominant. It can feel awkward and forced. But with consistent acts of positivity and kindness, things start to turn around. Consistent is the key word there - it's not as simple as doing it just once. Making the conscious choice to see the world through an optimistic lens every day leads to amazing opportunity and change. When you feed the good wolf, life starts to unfold in magnificent ways.
We all have two wolves inside of us. We all experience the battle going on in our minds. A great question to ask yourself is: Which one am I feeding?