The Wolf You Feed
Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Each day we are either growing and living more fully, or withdrawing from the doubt and fear. It is said that we are either moving forward or sliding backwards—there is no such thing as stationary—the movement is in one direction or the other.
My heart’s desire is to have a full and abundant life filled with health, prosperity, joy and creativity. My authentic self when connected to my Higher Power knows that the possibilities are unlimited and feels this connection to Source and the energy around all the possibilities. But there is another side of me that can be paralyzed by fear and doubt, and those feelings feed my addictive self.
I recently came across a story I had once heard that spoke to this:
One evening an old Cherokee 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, kindness, 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 was just one of many recent nudges from Spirit that have come to me right when I needed a sign. I have felt a strong push to start this blog, website and eventual podcast for the past year and it has been slowly growing momentum and energy for me to launch. As I have said before, I don’t believe that I have new and unsaid things to say—but I continued to feel the guidance to create a space where recovery, spirituality, and positive psychology can be shared and tell my story with the hope of helping others. However, in the past few weeks since I launched the site my inner judge and critic has reared its ugly head and begun to scream at me. This critic is telling me that this is a crazy and stupid idea and that I am not smart enough or do not have enough to offer, to move forward. The wolf that drags me backwards was wanting to be fed. I was allowing those self-denigrating thoughts and feelings to tear into my emotional flesh. These feelings are also the ones that feed my addictive behaviors—I have found myself not wanting to get out of bed and binging on sugar and Netflix instead of healthy self behaviors such as reading inspirational books, writing, exercising, eating well, or playing my guitar—in other words, feeding the wolf of love.
I tell myself that after attending a Unity Spiritual Center for 18 years as well as being involved daily in spiritual development and recovery that I wouldn’t fall so quickly into the space of doubt and fear, but the fall is fast and always catches me off guard. In darker years of my life, when I was drinking heavily, I could stay in this place for a long time, feeding the wolf of fear and control. Although I told myself that the glass of wine or Moscow mule was a reward for a hard day, or how I was going to have fun, the truth was that it was a mask for the darkness that I felt. In recovery, I recognize that I am falling, and I have more strength and awareness to connect with Spirit and my inner wisdom. I remember who I am and use the tools to get back on track. Without the fog of alcohol, I can see more quickly and clearly what is happening and remember to pause and reflect on which wolf I am feeding.
It can be all too easy to be hard on ourselves but it seems that all the great teachings come back to loving and accepting ourselves as the first step. I have found journaling to be a direct way to work through the issues that are swirling around in my head because the writing on paper forces me to slow down and process the thoughts. When I first start journaling, it’s the fears and criticisms of myself and others that pour onto the page—I am feeding the wolf of anger and control. Then a shift happens as the writing continues and I begin to hear a different narrative—a loving kind and supportive voice that begins to feed the wolf of love. I almost always gain perspective. More and more often, I am overcome with gratitude for a healthier and more gentle mind. It is like the writing is an energy that flows through me and as I surrender and move away from the pain I can feel a physical letting go of the hurt that started the writing in the first place.
When I was journaling about the voice of the critic a few days ago, I had a tarot deck on my desk. I have been slowly trying to learn tarot as a way to connect to intuition and guidance. I reached into the deck and pulled one card, and turned it over—Strength! I immediately started to cry as I read the interpretations I had written for this card. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Look within yourself and you will find the strength to survive and thrive. Use your inner strength to enrich your own life and those around you. If you understand your desires and passion, you can achieve your goals.” I knew right then that I was connected to Spirit, and that the doubts and fears are those of my ego-self that doesn’t want to grow, or do better; it wants me to stay small and safe. I know that is not what Spirit wants for me, or for you. I know that Spirit called to me to find my way back to sobriety and a life that is without drama and fear, to a life that is abundant, full, and wonderful. I also know that it takes a lot of work to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, trust a Higher Power, and stop feeding the wolf of anger.
Life, recovery, and spiritual transformation are not steps that only go forward with each lesson, only needing to be learned one time—no, we continue to be offered experiences that show us like a mirror what is ours to do. I will continue to remember to be kind to myself, and I hope that today you will remember the same and we will be feeding the wolf of love.