>> Friday, September 10, 2010
Originally, I was going to write a whole post on my frustration and disappointment with regards to my teenage daughter's overwhelming sense of entitlement - or at least note that it no way jibes with mine. But I'm not going to. Here's why.
I saw a version of this on Amy Oops and it really appealed to me. I traced down a version to a Cherokee Prophecy:
An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside each one of us," he said to the boy. "It is a fight to the death, and it is between two wolves.
"One is darkness -- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
"The other is enlighted -- he 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 will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
That story spoke to me, not only how people get seduced by the dark side: anger, fear, envy, bigotry, intolerance, but also how people can get overwhelmed with emotions that hurt themselves: self pity, depression, guilt, sense of ill-usage, jealousy, dissatisfaction.
All the energy poured into that dark "wolf," all the credence, time and thought I spend dwelling on slights and feeling under-appreciated, on what I wanted but didn't have, on failings and failures I perceive in myself, that energy is more than wasted. It is an investment in my own unhappiness.
But, if I pour that energy into tolerance and forgiveness, patience and understanding, into a celebration of those aspects of my life that contribute to my happiness, those are an investment in my well-being and, to a lesser effect, the well-being of people around me.
That doesn't mean I can't feel disappointment or can't stand up for myself. The emotions are there whether I feed them or not. But I can choose not to dwell on those aspects that won't go away. The choices those around me make, the things I can't fix. I don't have to hold on to them and let them feed on each other by spending my energies on them.
It seems obvious, even simple. I don't think it's easy.
I suspect, though, it becomes easier with practice.