One evening, an old Chippewa 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 Chippewa simply replied:
“The one you feed.”
It’s so easy, in this day and age, to fall prey to one wolf over the other. I would love to say that it was easy to not gossip, to think the best of everyone, to believe in innate good, to find peace and happiness in all people and in all situations.
But I’m no Pollyanna, if you haven’t noticed. I see things for what they are…and people for who they are. I’ve given the benefit of the doubt too many times, hoping that a person would prove their critics wrong. I make excuses for them, and have allowed myself to be taken advantage of in the process. There are those that are utterly predictable…and they conform to the worst versions of themselves. I cannot imagine walking in those shoes…they must pinch.
I paraphrase Confucius when I say we learn wisdom in three different ways: by reflection, which is noblest; by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. I quote myself when I say “Hells yeah.”
I hate being a realist, but I despise being a pessimist. I wish I naturally saw positivity in every situation…that I could see that all pain eventually recedes to happiness, that tears are wiped away by a smile, that a pound of fear can be easily destroyed by an ounce of hope, that a downpour would unconditionally lead to a rainbow. I’m working at it, but it’s not easy. It’s too easy to feed the evil wolf.
However, what gets me out of bed every morning is the firm belief that what you put out there is what you get back. Which is why I continue to laugh, and smile, and be the one to crack a joke. It’s when I come home, place my purse on my desk, sit on my couch, and breathe in the quiet that I begin to think too much. It’s times like this when I have to remind myself that “scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue” and just because you knew someone doesn’t mean you know them now. Life and people are not complex. We choose to make them so.
And so we continue… throwing ourselves into something difficult, working the long hours and pushing ourselves beyond our limits,in hopes that we achieve whatever it is we’re looking for. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, and I’m looking very forward to my big red bow. I just hope that I have the full heart to recognize the Good when I see it.