‘One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on within people. He said, “My Son, the battle is between two wolves inside of 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 that you feed.”
I recently called on a friend and asked him to help me process something, craving a man’s perspective. We met for coffee and he graciously gave space for me to download with him for about 30 minutes before we headed to yoga. He listened attentively as I expressed and unleashed raw emotions. I felt held, seen, and validated.
As I landed on my yoga mat, it was as if Pandora’s Box opened in my mind, and I started to witness a plethora of critical thoughts flood in. These were common thoughts, ones that frequently flood my head when I allow myself to be emotional and vulnerable. From my perspective, this is all in attempt for my ego to feed a core wound and deep belief that I am just too much. I then experienced feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety within. Physically I felt a constriction in my breath.
In the past, I would have fed the feelings of being too much, and then apologized profusely for the way I dumped on my friend. I had an hour in class to witness and be with those feelings. Instead, I chose to watch them and extend kindness. I internally showed compassion and understanding toward those feelings.
‘I hear you... it makes sense you would feel that. Here’s the thing: You are GLORIOUS. You allowed yourself to be expressive, raw, and authentic in what you were feeling. You allowed yourself to be seen and to share concerns that you wanted support on. I love you BECAUSE you can allow yourself to be expressive and real. I love you in your stillness and silence, and I love you in your chaos and your emotion. I love you.
I continued to internally override the catabolic thoughts with love, compassion and acceptance. Eventually, I even noticed the corners of my lips turned up in a slight smile toward myself. I also reminded myself that my friend loved me for all that I am. I reminded myself that I am a conscious woman and have chosen to surround myself with people who accept, love and appreciate me for who I am in present time and only want me to be authentically Val in each and every moment.
As I intentionally moved on the mat, breathed deeply, and continued to build this new muscle inside of me, I started to experience ease, peace, and centeredness. These were extremely different emotions than I would have felt in similar past situations.
After class, instead of apologizing, I let my friend know how much I appreciated him for being there for me and supporting exactly where I was. His response, ‘Of course.’
We have a thought, or a feeling, depending on what comes first in that moment for you. From the feeling, we take an action and get a certain result. If we don’t like our result, most of us just take a different action. However, if that action is supported with the catabolic (negative) thought and/or feeling, we will inevitably get the same or similar result. Ultimately, we are feeding the wolf of fear.
Learning to get in front of the thought and draw in different feelings, which in any moment, all feelings are accessible to us, we can retrain our minds and feed the wolf of love and courage.
*In the times you are vulnerable and expressive about your emotions, or reach out to someone to process, what story plays in your head about doing that? Is it one that supports you or negates you?
*In those moments of authentic expression, what are your internal thoughts toward yourself? What feelings run through you? It’s so important to be aware of what is behind the action we choose to take.
*If you notice you are feeding the wolf of fear, what thoughts would you rather have? What feelings would you rather have? Practice drawing in something different and learn to feed the Wolf of Love. This may be uncomfortable at first and may even feel fake and forced. Yes, it is the whole idea of ‘fake it ’til you make it’: which believe it or not, can be an extremely useful tool.
You are not your mind. You are not your feelings. That said, most of us are conditioned to believe our thoughts and feelings without questioning their origins, or if they are true to who we are in present time. If you find that you feed the ‘Fear Wolf’ frequently, you are not alone.
Having support and tools in your back pocket, is like getting a personal trainer if you have been out of shape: someone to hold you accountable, give you new tools, support you in building new muscles, and creating a new lifestyle. That is what a coach can support you with. LEAN IN. You are not alone nor do you have to do this alone.
Check out vdacoaching.com and all of the different offerings we have to support you in learning to feed the ‘Love Wolf', in order to experience more joy, healthy connections, and abounding love!
With love and deep respect, Val