Once there was a boy who went to visit his grandmother. She told him the story of two wolves that exist in each one of us, locked in an ongoing battle. One is the “love wolf” who represents everything we hope for, and all that is good in the world. The other is the “fear wolf” who represents our anxieties, worries and fears. “It is up to us which wolf will win each day” Grandmother explained. The grandson thought and he thought about this. But there was one thing he couldn’t figure out. “Grandmother,” he asked, “How do you know which wolf will win!?!?” She smiled at him and said, “The one you feed is the one that will win.”
I have this parable tattooed on my upper arm. When I look down, I see the love wolf, big and happy and confident. On the back of my arm is the fear wolf in acknowledgement that one can never completely defeat the other. But the fear wolf is small and submissive, and I can’t see him at all unless I really make an effort.
Tonight, right now, I need this reminder. I’m a little heartbroken, work feels prickly, and the world feels like a heavy place with so much to be afraid of:
-I’m afraid of the terrible racism in America, the systemic oppression that is evidenced in the ongoing murders of black and brown people at the hands of the police. I’m afraid that someone I know will be the next hashtag.
- I’m afraid of global climate change, and the devastating impact humans are having on the planet
- I’m afraid of conflict with my co-workers
- I’m afraid of being lonely, not being able to pay my bills, not manifesting my dreams fast enough
I could keep this list going. But this is truly what’s on my mind tonight, and no need to search for the other fears that crop up on a regular basis.
The fear wolf thrives on isolation. If he can get us when we’re feeling alone, the heart shuts down, the walls come up, and we feel so overwhelmed that there is no way out. Feeling alone is the worst.
This past weekend I co-facilitated a workshop called “Sacred Balance in Urban Life” in New York City. Sitting in circle with new people sharing our commitment to connecting with the earth was a huge remedy for me. It was for everyone. Even though we were mostly strangers to each other we opened our hearts and talked about our authentic experiences and longings. It was as much a gift to listen as it was to talk. All around the circle, heads nodded and bodies leaned in with attention as each person spoke. By the end, there were so many warm feelings no one wanted to leave.
So tonight, I am calling on that energy. I am calling on the feeling of togetherness and open hearts. I am feeding the love wolf with this affirmation “WE MAKE CHANGE TOGETHER” It’s a time of waking up. It’s a time of action. I believe that with my whole heart, and I feed the love wolf.