At a recent staff professional learning meeting on ‘restorative practice’ within our ‘positive behaviour for learning’ focus, the following Cherokee Indian story was shared. It has had a big impact on me as I see these two wolves within me. In fact, I see these two wolves in all of us.
The story goes like this:
One day a young Cherokee Indian boy was complaining to his grandfather that another boy who was a friend had betrayed him and was now spending more time with another friend. The boy was hurt and was very sad.
The wise old Cherokee Indian said to the boy, “A fight is going on inside all of us. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – full of anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is full of joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The 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 Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Isn’t it so true! The problem is we can never permanently get rid of the angry wolf inside us. Both wolves will always be there waiting. We can’t be sure no matter how hard we try to rid ourselves of the negative wolf. Life continually will take us on a journey of sadness, hurt, worry and joy.
When things are going badly for us it is so easy to blame others or a set of circumstances outside of our control. This can sometimes turn us inward and shut others out of our life, be defensive, uncommunicative and downright stubborn blaming the world for our troubles.
The trouble is this just feeds the angry and bitter wolf and stalls any personal progress ahead. It becomes a self-fulfilling poisonous cycle feeding the evil wolf more and more.
In many ways it is easier to flounder, feel sorry for ourselves and sulk. The hard part is to try and feed the compassionate wolf within and if you are being hurt or hindered by someone, try and walk in their shoes, ask to meet them to try and resolve issues with an open mind, hear their story and confront their truth alongside your truth. This takes guts, energy and compassion.
The reality of life is both wolves live within and it is human nature for anger to rise within us, particularly when our core values are put to the test. It needs strength and courage to stand up for what is right, even if that means confronting the situation and being clear about what your values are and what you can and can’t accept.
However for our own well-being and to have peace in our heart we need to strive to feed our humble, generous and good wolf because eventually anger and hurt will take everything worthwhile from us.
I think this Cherokee story is powerful and we should teach our children to always try to feed the compassionate wolf inside us but also be prepared to stand up for what is right using the principles of ‘justice’ and ‘fairness’.
Imagine if the world lived this way! War might be a thing of the past.
Picture ref: https://nz.pinterest.com/explore/wolves-fighting/