There is an old Cherokee legend that some know and some don’t, even though it is quite popular. Here goes:
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 every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute.
He then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Lately, 2+ years of hatred, resentment, greed, self pity, envy, and sorrow has built up in me. Little by little, I “fed” that Wolf, making it stronger and stronger until it grabbed me and didn’t loosen its hold. My ex, Alberto, has a child on the way and is marrying his current girlfriend. I first found out about the child, and I went through two of the most painful days I’ve experienced. Then, just a week and half ago, I found out about his wedding. I fell apart, and looked at every moment of my life since I met him June 1, 2013. My stomach dropped every time I thought of him, and I couldn’t stop thinking about all the pain and false sense of reality he put me through. All of the failed promises, the words he would say because he knew I only wanted to hear them, and the hidden details he kept from me. For the last four years, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Of course, every single person on this earth that lives and has ever lived has had at least one good quality. I lied to myself and gave him hollow excuses. Whenever someone would try to point his selfishness to me, I’d close my eyes and ears because I refused to believe it.
All in all, I prayed to the Wakan Tanka, or the Great Spirit, asking many times for strength to improve my mindset, to help me open my eyes and ears to the world all around me, past and present.
For the record, the Native Spirituality is not considered a religion, but a way of life and type of mentality. I know there are atheists that may see this, Christians, Jews, etc, so I am not preaching or rambling on about believing a book full of unproven stories. The Wakan Tanka is not a “God.” It is…everything. Everything in this world, every rock, tree, animal, wind, light. Mother Earth is the provider. We can pray to the Wakan Tanka for what we wish from the whole universe, or we could pray to a specific energy (i.e. water, rain, animals, sun, etc.).
I have always truly believed that we can ask questions in life, we don’t have to understand every aspect or what happens to us. But, we cannot demand an answer, because the Spirits will show us the answer when it is the appropriate time, when we can best understand the reason. As Black Elk had said, “When that Spirit comes, we don’t ever ask questions; If I don’t understand, I just hold onto it. Then later down the road, maybe in a couple of years, I understand what that Spirit meant.”
When I prayed, I prayed many times for many days. I wished for peace on the anger and confusion I’ve built up and questioned within the past few years. I wished for the ability to open my senses and I refused to continue blind. What happened?
A couple days ago, all of a sudden, I stopped what I was doing and sat for a moment. It was weird, not some supernatural bullshit, but…something inexplicable.
All of a sudden I could make sense of each confusing component I had questioned and could not let go. I could see myself and what I’ve experienced all at once, but in a third person point of view. What I was able to see, in a way:
Alberto was extremely selfish. He told me what I wanted to hear throughout the whole relationship, even if he felt it was the truth in that moment or not. He didn’t care about anyone but himself, he worked hard yet took advantage of what he could. He had no empathy for anyone else’s troubles, nor could even fake caring. He told me he truly loved me, which I knew he meant it, but his own ego got in the way by doing what he wanted in the moment and refusing to think about how the consequences would turn out or how it would affect those around him. He left 11 days after my father passed, knowing he was unable to return to continue the future he had promised me. As he was 1200 miles away from me, his love diminished little by little, and didn’t recognize how his lack of effort was pushing me deeper and deeper into a tunnel without the light at the end. I went through real emotional Hell, and he simply didn’t care. Now, with his new girlfriend, he sleeps with me whenever he comes to see me (yes, my fault too, and I’m getting to that), and I know for a fact he continues to flirt and spread his attention to other girls. I know he sticks with her because she is easy to deceive.
Throughout this time, I have done harm to others and especially to myself. I believed the quote, “You don’t drink poison and wait for it to kill your enemy. Stop hitting walls and plan your revenge.” Guess where that’s from. It was a mistake that caused me to run in circles over and over again, living in an endless wrath of anxiety and hate.
I saw this at that moment. I saw myself anticipating disappointment, getting weaker and weaker until I shriveled up into nothing. I saw myself impatient and without an ounce of hope of getting better. I saw myself simply…unhappy.
After praying time and time again, after following the same path, after being so naturally stubborn, I was finally shown what I have waited and pleaded for. I had fed that Wolf until it was obese and happy, while the other sat in the corner slowly lying down, lowering its head in despair, skin and bones, and full of scars and wounds.
It is amazing to believe that this wasn’t a dream, dragged out within a whole night’s sleep. It was as if 4 years passed within a second. It was clear, and wasn’t initiated by a beg, or a specific action, I was only cleaning a horse stall. Completely and utterly weird, right?
Now I’ve seen the truth. I was given what I had desperately wished for. I could open my eyes and ears to not was physical, but emotional as well.
All of us have questions that cause us to run in circles. They may be simple rare thoughts, or ones that engulf our entirety, but they are there. And we all will receive our answer, whether it be in an expected time, or an unexpected moment. Usually, we think the answer will consist of what will happen in the future, that we will receive or experience something that will make everything okay. We expect it to tell us exactly what we need to do or say or think.
But it will instead consist of the past. It will have us experience again what had caused our confusion in another point of view. It will open up what we had closed, and let us interpret what we had looked for. Our strength and power comes from within, to close those doors and turn the other way. There is no one else who can tell us to do this, nor force a thought into our head. Not God, nor the Wakan Tanka, nor any other deity one may believe in. They only lead us to a certain point, show us the cause, then let us go free to decide the next step. Many say that only time will heal our wounds, but it isn’t time that makes us well again.
We feed the Good Wolf, we comfort it, nourish it, and treat its pain. Little by little, it will grow strong and fearless, only to not defeat the Evil Wolf, but to overpower it. It may be difficult, as healing does not happen in a second. It may take days, months, or years, and all we can do is focus our attention and continue our consistency. The Evil Wolf will always be there, but over time it will grow weaker and its influence will have no impact.
I have finally experienced a true moment of peace and serenity. I haven’t felt this lately, may ever. I can finally be happy for him, finally let go what I had held onto so tight. And all along, I only needed to sit and wait, and focus on feeding the Good Wolf to win the fight.