An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is 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 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.”
It turns out that I’ve been feeding the wrong wolf for a long, long time. In my haste to transcend beyond my own limitations as an author and man, I starved the wrong damn wolf and allowed the other to grow fat with the spoils of a one sided war. I’ve always seen myself as different from my fellow man, and I always will. But for a time I thought that because of this altered perspective I needed to fuel my creativity with an abundance of anger, greed, arrogance and resentment. I pushed myself to become a real arsehole because I thought that if I wanted to be more than I currently am I had to really drive home that disconnect between myself and society as a whole. I didn’t just want to be an eccentric and offensive writer. I wanted to redefine what it meant to be different. I wanted people to begrudgingly admire the bastard that I had become.
Jesus, didn’t I mess that up…
I mean what kind of moron not only feeds the wrong wolf but actively goes out of his way to hinder the better angel of his nature? I may as well have pinned the compassionate wolf to the damn floor and exposed his jugular. I’m talking in riddles I know. So let me just say this: I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of pushing others away. And I’m damn tired of actively going out of my way to become that disgruntled, reclusive writer stereotype who is a real arrogant piece of work. You may have noticed that my blogging has been more regular as of late, more focused too – and it’s purely because I’ve learned that feeding the wolf of pure evil has bought me nothing but frustration and heartbreak. So I’ve changed tact, and now I’m focusing more on the beauty in this world and as a result my mind is clearer than it has ever been.
What bought about this change? Well, it’s a long and complicated story made up of many complexities and variables, so much so that I’m not even sure that I understand it myself. So let’s simplify it and say that I starved the compassionate wolf for so long that it did what any other frightened animal would do: it came out fighting. With nothing left to lose and a whole world of inspiration to gain, that sickly side of my heart and mind that I had left neglected limped onto the battlefield and faced off against a stronger wolf comprising of twisted intentions and idiotic arrogance, and kicked its fucking arse. The hatred in me had grown complacent and weak, leaving both itself and me totally vulnerable to a hostile takeover.
But this isn’t the end of my two wolves and their fighting. It’s a never ending battle, just as the old Cherokee told his grandson. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Life is sempiternal. So while right now the compassionate wolf reigns supreme in my mind, the wolf of pure evil has slunk away to lick its wounds and plan its next attack. But unlike my past where I actively fueled the bastard in me, I’m learning to let it fend for itself. That’s not to say that I will starve him though. Because if my current brevity has taught me anything it’s that an animal with nothing left to lose is too powerful to ignore. I’ll always be jealous of the writer who strikes it rich while I still toil away at my manuscripts. That’s human nature, and nothing to be ashamed of. But I will no longer actively feed those negative thought processes. That jealousy will be a result of respect, not abhorrence and hate.
Life really is a beautiful thing, and to be blessed with the gift to breathe a second life to it through literature is something that I will cherish until the end of time. So while I was once fueled by the bitter wolf of greed and hate, wanting only to transcend beyond the man that I am now; I now want to create something that transcends beyond myself and becomes an entity unto itself. I don’t want to be an overzealous and aggressive genius anymore. I simply want to be the man who fell in love with the world and used that inspiration to make beautiful literature.
12 thoughts on “The wolf you feed”
Very nice, enjoyed your experience of that truth.
Reblogged this on Julx's Blog.
Such honesty… love the post. The story is one that has resonated with me…
Beautifully reflected inner world. Rightly said that good and evil both exists in us.
Thank you so much for this. I am greatly enlightened. I wish you all the best in your life journey. 🙂
Your writing is inspirational and your quote “hinder the better angel of his nature” is beautifully written. This article relates to readers who admit to themselves we all have duality inside. The wolf is our teacher. You have come through the hero’s journey, Chris, and have brought a gift to the world. Thank you. I am now following your blog.
Lovely post and truth I really enjoyed reading this 🙂
Another way of putting it is: We are in service of the song.
Reblogged this on Kat Webber and commented:
I actually just read this story in “The Book of Life”by Deborah Baroness and I love how truly accurate it feels to me.
Long live the good wolf!
Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.
Good points to follow. I have heard this story before. It was presented as a rabbinical argument but it was about dogs; whichever one you feed.