Today, I attended a Dreamwork Workshop where I gathered with a few women to share dreams and interpretations, lessons, inspiration. We meet once a month and today one of the women shared her experience of the New Years retreat. The theme was *The Wolf You Feed* and today she brought with her copies of the story that inspired the theme of the retreat. Considering it's a Full Wolf Moon this month, I thought it appropriate to share. You may have heard of this story before.
"One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, 'my son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kinds, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
"Which wolf wins?…"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "the one you feed."
This part of the story, I had heard before with mixed feelings about it. Powerful, yes. But anger, evil?? Really? Anger doesn't feel too hot when I'm experiencing it (actually, it feels REALLY hot, as my anger resembles fire… but I digress), but evil is such a strong word. The story, however, continues and actually ends a different way:
"The old Cherokee simply replied, "if you feed them right, they both win. You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and always fight the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities - tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong-willed, and great strategic thinking - that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength, and the ability to recognize what is in the best interest of all.
You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention. And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing.
How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both." -Cherokee Story
Now this sounds inspiring to me. I can use my feelings to fuel my growth and transformation and healing. Or I can allow them to sabotage or block or get in my own way. The anger I'm feeling can blind me to rage… or I can use it as a flag of my inner truth trying to get my attention: "huh, I'm feeling angry right now… what is causing this fire? Where do I feel unfairly treated or not listened to or where does action need to happen to change this situation causing me frustration?" Emotions themselves are not "good" or "bad". Emotions are energy in motion that can be used as tools to create an intimate and honest relationship with ourselves, as long as they are allowed to do what they do best… be in motion.
So let it flow! Breathe, feel, allow. Reflect. Cry, scream, yell, giggle, dance it out, write it down. Rather than starve your body from feeling your emotions by stuffing them down or numbing out, guide them. Listen to them. And THEN let them go, if they no longer serve you.
Point to ponder: What feelings to you tend to avoid feeling? How might you support all aspects of your multidimensional human self? What are some tools you can use to develop a healthy relationship with your emotions?