The Two Wolves That Live Inside of Me

 “A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, ‘I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.’

“The grandson asked him, ‘Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?’

“The grandfather answered: ‘The one I feed.’”

~ Native American Story

Tell me about the wolf you feed.

Comments

  1. Barbara Keller says

    I love that, but I don’t think it’s true. Those two wolves are there battling away regardless. OK, maybe a little true. Sins you feed do get stronger. But the struggle never goes away, and neither really wins for your whole life. Does one die of hunger? I don’t think so. How many years do we make New Year’s resolutions and carry on as usual without more than a wrinkle in our behavior? Yes, it’s a power struggle and anyone who reads my posts knows what I’m going to say. To change the direction of the battle, you really need extra, outside power. I recommend God’s power. I love this group and this opportunity to communicate. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

    • Hazel says

      Thank you for sharing. Happy Holidays wish to you and all.

      I believe that even with God’s power there is always the struggle between good and bad and we choose which way we want to go. I have chosen but the beat goes on.

    • Laura Davis says

      I guess I see it as a choice I continually have to make each moment. And that choice reinforces the groove I make in terms of my habitual behavior, making it easier to follow that path the next time.

  2. Hazel says

    Two wolves are actually in play in my house everyday, all the time. My husband is bipolar and we have been together for forty years now. I knew when I married him that he had some problems that we would have to deal with but I never thought it would turn into listening to a string of obscenities all day long every day. I know how to deal with the “highs,” I know all the signs and take charge with the appropriate medications and all that needs to be done to get our lives back on track. But the daily stream of negativity is so wearing.

    I love him. He saved my life. Now we have gone through so many things together that our lives are wound together inexplicably. They can never be separated out from one another. Every day I wake up and think, “It is a good day to smile and be happy.” “I will be the good guy today, because if I am nice and pleasant it will influence the mood of the whole house.” By noon the “bad wolf” is beginning to nag at me saying, “respond in kind, swear back at him” “snarl, you can do it.” I think, “yes, I know I can do it but I will not.” I know that he will never be able to see what his negative remarks all day long about every single thing do to those around him and that he does not mean most of it. But, it is so hard to listen to.

    Once in a while the “bad wolf” wins and I lash out. It does not make me feel better nor does it help. We have adopted two little terriers from the pound and he is so kind to them and loves them so much, and they love him, that he is pleasant with them. His interaction with them provides the bright spots in my day. I will not let the “bad wolf” win. There is a “good wolf” in both of us and I look for them to show themselves every minute of every day.

    • Laura Davis says

      Thanks for sharing that honest, poignant portrait of the wolves in your home. Living with anyone with a mental illness is incredibly challenging. But it sounds like at least at moments, you have made your peace with it.

    • Debbie says

      Hazel – I am impressed by your sense of perspective and how you find aspects of the day, and your husband, about which you can feel love. Thank you for sharing how you “manage” the wolves in your life.

  3. Linda Gassaway says

    The animal (whatever form it takes in me) that I feed is FEAR. This was brought most clearly to my attention a few years ago when I read the short, yet effectively written, chapter #56 in the book, Life of Pi. I have read that chapter many times since to remind myself that fear is my greatest opponent.

    I normally don’t feed this monster every day, but I keep it fortified often enough to reinforce its behavior – its hold on me…its quest to keep me from trying new things…from leaving the house. It’s a daily struggle, and lately, a minute-by-minute struggle to manage this relentless beast.

    Here’s to those of us who have a similar “wolf” that we feed – even if subconsciously. Peace to you all.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Hi Linda. You are so succinct. I can relate to feeding the wolf of fear. It’s hard not to do when the world is often so volatile. I use this wolf to help me stay vigilant out in the world where there are dangers. Thanks for this.

    • Debbie says

      Hi Linda – I enjoyed your post. I wrote of a similar wolf – for me – which is the fear that keeps us trapped in negative thoughts and lack of self worth. Peace to you as well – thanks for sharing this piece!

  4. Dianne Brown says

    The wolf I feed I named Beauty. Over 12 years ago, I consciously chose to beautify my Soul. It is a constant decorating process in which I choose to see the beauty in what ever it is that I perceive. There are some things like the Sandy Hook tragedy that have all the makings of ugly. But the beauty of the love and the compassionate outpouring to Newtown in their incredible grief has a glowing beauty that I have copied and pasted in my Soul’s living room.

    I am not saying that I always have idyllic days filled with Maxfield Parrish colors, but in the midst of the turbulence of monster storms and almost passing out from fear, I choose to find at least a thread of gorgeous color in those clouds that would be perfect in my Soul’s dining room–perhaps to match the drapes or the funny piece of asteroid my husband gave me for my birthday–which I use to hold the napkins in place.

    Feeding Beauty is a life-long commitment for me. I realize that the other wolves exist, and often some come sniffing around my door. I usually put a few scraps out for them to keep the beauty of contrast in my life.

    • says

      Dianne, I really enjoyed what you wrote, especially this line, “I realize that the other wolves exist, and often some come sniffing around my door. I usually put a few scraps out for them to keep the beauty of contrast in my life.” I like that you don’t shut out what isn’t beauty and know that, that too, is part of life.

      • Dianne Brown says

        I have been finding out in these two days since I wrote that last line about the other wolves, just how much I don’t want to shut out anything in life lest I miss out on all the wonderful cacophonous sounds that make up the incredible song of life . . . and my “noises” are part of that universal melody–all of them–and all of everyone’s and everything’s! Thanks Laura, for tossing a spark on those twigs.

    • Terry Gibson says

      Dianne, I love your image of feeding Beauty. I relate to it too, as that’s something I try to keep front and center in my life. It helps bring me back when I go too far the other way. Thanks Dianne.

      • Dianne Brown says

        Thanks Terry . . . I’m glad it didn’t sound too selfish . . . I wish you many beautiful images and colors for this new year . . . Dianne

    • Debbie says

      Dianne – I admire your commitment to find beauty in all aspects of your experience – even in challenging situations. I enjoyed reading your perspective on this this prompt.

  5. Polly H says

    I wanted to comment hours ago when I first saw this, but taking that first step of mentioning anything (to anyone other than the exclusive few people I talk to about this) was daunting.

    I struggle with these wolves myself, as I’m sure we all do, but quite honestly, I have to learn how to feed the angry one on occasion. Over the past few months I have discovered things about my life that I feel a lot of anger about; letting that anger out (ever) is an entirely different matter. The angry wolf is emaciated and exhausted, and needs to gain enough strength to express herself, release, and one day move on.

    I think the key thing is to acknowledge both wolves on occasion. The dark clouds have to come before the rainbows.

      • Hazel says

        Polly,
        All my life (76 years) I have repressed the “angry” wolf, so much so that when I do get angry and blow off steam everyone I have ever known has just laughed at me and said, “you just don’t know how to get angry, you are so funny” That only makes me feel more angry but I usually just go and hide and cry rather than stand my ground and be laughed at. That doesn’t feel good either. I think my angry wolf is dead or nearly so. It only snarls once in a while. I would have liked to have fed it so there was a balance as you describe it.

        Thank you for sharing.

        • Polly says

          Hazel, I agree that it’s not too late! Express yourself as best you can and honour your experience. My mom is 70 and very young at heart. Feel your anger when you need to and just stay true to you.

          I know what you mean though. When I do lash out, people tend to think it’s “cute”, but it’s not about them. It’s really not.

      • Polly says

        Thanks Ilana! I just read some of your work above – it’s very good. The angry wolf is just as important as the loving one, and I think you’re right that they can’t survive without each other. Well said.

        I have a lot of anger lately just coursing through my veins, but I can’t seem to release it. I think I’m scared to relinquish control in that way. So instead, I get angry about all of the tiny little things. The safe things. For now.

        The angry wolf might have to change her diet.

    • Terry Gibson says

      You’ll get there, Polly. I hope you keep coming back. I know it’s hard to share outside of your usual support system. I struggle with that. Being here has strengthened me, let me be more of myself than I can be in other places. Thank you.

    • Debbie says

      Polly – your take on this prompt was really thought provoking. So often anger takes on a negative connotation. But it seems it can also be red, passionate, life sustaining as well. Your writing brought this out to me. Thank you.

  6. Fran Stekoll says

    The wolf I struggle with is the one that juggles my weight. Each morning as I wake up I have good intentions to exercise and follow the weight watchers rules. The winter wolf keeps me enclosed in my warm clothes, prone in my recliner, watching my favorite TV shows and reading great stories as well as writing poetry. The spring and summer wolf pushes me out the door to water
    aerobics, bike riding and walking. Sometimes I fight the winter wolf and bundle up in wolf’s clothing to face the elements. After a brisk walk though I seem to return to my den and eat too many comfort foods and drink more than one glass of wine. These two wolves keep me struggling as the seasons change. I procrastinate by wishing I lived in a warmer climate in the winter. Yet when I would travel to Hawaii during the cold months I took my weight with me and brought it back. I think about the Wolf in sheep clothing and also crying wolf. yet trying to identify with those doesn’t fit my personality. Guess I just have to keep howling until someone comes along and puts the Big Bad Wolf in the Humane Society. I’m ready to let someone else adopt him so I won’t feed him so much.

    • Ilana says

      Fran- I love how you stuck to the wolf metaphor the whole time. As Laura said, many of us struggle with this issue. A thought, though, if I may. Perhaps both wolves have their place. They can help maintain balance. You need to put your feet up sometimes. This may not fit for you. It’s coming from someone who sometimes gets too caught up in the exercise and dieting to a point where it’s really not healthy. If that’s the case then I apologize for projecting my concerns on to you and wish you luck in the future. IM

    • Terry Gibson says

      Fran, I also love the continuation of the wolf in your piece, right down to the Humane Society. Your struggle is mine as well. I used to live where the winter’s were so harsh, I’d feel really pent up without enough physical activity. That’s why I bought an exercise bike and continue to have one even though I’m on the west coast now. I wish you balance with your wolves and a well-deserved rest after hard work. Take care.

  7. Eve says

    Feeding Wolves-
    There is a wolf in me that is fat & happy. The other wolf is starving to death & fighting to survive. Anger, frustration, bitterness, vengefulness & rage have me by the balls.
    I have been receiving a spiritual bitch slap this week as God has been revealing more of myself to me. Often full of love & compassion, I have found that wolf becoming fatigued. As my compassion fatigues, I find that I am feeding the wolf of suffering & pain. I long to put this wolf to rest. To take it to the vet & gently have it put to sleep. Anger raged as God had me take a close look at my behaviors this week. You see, I have been working on this or at least thought I had. Classes to teach heart centering, I took only a week & a half ago. In the midst of my week of unpleasantness, it all went out the window—
    “FUCK THIS!!!!!!! I like my anger!” my self screams.
    It is this anger that helped me to survive. This anger that gave me my drive. I am pissed at society & what I have become. Selfish & bitter my heart can be.
    In this battle I have turned to the one who came to save me. A relationship has begun with the one who has set me free. He wants me to turn to Him when my heart begins to rage, but instead I find myself wanting to be all alone…

    • says

      Eve, sometimes I think these situations are far more complex that black and white, good wolf and bad (even though I gave the prompt). I find I have to live with ALL parts of myself–even the ones I “hate” and wish were not a part of me. I have to accept and love them all to be all of who I am.

    • Ilana says

      Eve- This is beautifully stated and I love the freedom you took to express yourself. I truly hope you find peace soon. Until then, try not to be too hard on yourself. IM

    • Debbie says

      Hi Eve – I really enjoyed the emotion of your piece. I wanted to jump up with you and shout, too. Words are so powerful and how we describe ourselves or behavior shape shifts it from “healthy” to “bad” in an instant. Thanks for sharing your passion with us.

  8. Ana says

    The level of unhappiness and hate I have regarding my job has consumed too many of my 2012 days. Having said that, this has been an increasingly bad situation since the winter of 2002. While some days I’ve wished for a change of attitude in order to take more pro-active actions or have more content/happier days, other days I’ve wished to fall down the stairs and get hurt so bad, I don’t have to go to work. Why not just quit you ask?? Because I’m also in the viscious cycle of the whys and why nots. If I say anything further, I will be feeding that wolf again today. It is taking every bit of my strength to not only not let that angry wolf win, but to tell that wolf “O.k., you’re feeling that way, but my loving wolf and I are going over here to play, make art, and send compassion your way.”

    I’m aware that one wolf cannot exist without the other. I believe the loving wolf is reminded of how important it is to be loving and compassionate, by the challenges the angry wolf presents. They are both angels in their own way. They run along side each other like leaves and wind.

    • Eve says

      I have been letting my job get the best of me for nearly 5 years. My coworkers behaved in an ungrateful & very unspiritual way in a place where love is needed the most. I have been trying to bring my light to this place for three 12 hour shifts a week. My light had been engulfed around April & I hit rock bottom with this life sucking group of vampires. I finally made the decision that no matter where or what, I was making a change. Luckily, an opportunity presented itself for me to make a very political move & cut my hours back. Now I have more time to heal myself & in turn I have an opportunity to do something positive with my unpleasant experience. I pray that the same happens for you in its own way. In the meantime, protect your precious light. Nurture your heart with love & let it know that – This To Shall Pass…

      • Eve says

        Whoops- I really can’t stand my own bad grammar. I meant to say-
        Nurture your heart with love & let it know that—
        This Too Shall Pass…

  9. Ana says

    Just a final thought: I was thinking of how graceful leaves look in the wind, while the wind at times is whipping everything else to shreds. Have you ever seen an ungraceful leaf in the wind? Thank you all for being here.

    • Hazel says

      Anna,
      That is a beautiful picture. I look out my window and see that happening as the last few leaves are persuaded to release the hold on the poplar trees and fly with the wind.
      Thank you for sharing.

    • Ilana says

      Ana- I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. I’ve seen it so many times. I hated my own job, intensely, but it was short lived because after a year and a half there I gave birth to my first child and made the decision to stay home with her. Thank you for this beautiful picture of the competing wolves. I really loved your last thought about the leaves. “Have you ever seen an ungraceful leaf in the wind?” I loved that! It means that no matter how life bats me around it doesn’t make me any less graceful or beautiful in myself. Thank you for that! IM

    • Terry Gibson says

      Ana, I am also wishing you didn’t have to deal with the awful job situation. I was in that place for far too many years; I don’t even want to think of it. I love these words: “They run along side each other like leaves and wind.” Also, about how graceful those leaves are. Thanks Ana. Take care.

      • Diana says

        Ana,
        I can so relate to the feeling of an increasing dissatisfying job to the point of wanting a accident so you don’t have to go!!! The challenges to remain compassionate in an anger producsing situation.

  10. Paula Hill says

    She wracks and raves at me
    with ire earned in her other time;
    And punches me,
    not innocent,
    but untrue to her projections…
    Questions and defenses
    surround me like an ancient forest
    reeling me into the cycle
    with a thrusting doubt of my truth.
    And then
    I howl into the wilderness
    where my soul thrives
    and Spirit presides
    and sentience perceives
    and meets
    the glow of my essence
    and honesty …..
    I bow to her,
    wishing her well…
    Take my leave…
    Grieve…
    Ever grateful for another turn
    of my wheels of fortune
    and watery mirrors reflecting
    my beauty to me…..

    • Ilana says

      Beautiful and mysterious. I love your imagery. There is a sense of freedom to it. Like she “wracks and raves” at you in the beginning but blesses you in the end. Nice job. IM

    • Debbie says

      Paula – I always enjoy how you choose and weave your words into a poetic tapestry for us to enjoy. Loved these lines:
      “I howl into the wilderness
      where my soul thrives
      and Spirit presides”

  11. Ilana says

    My Two Wolves

    When I hear the word wolf the picture that comes into my mind is an angry, ruthless and violent creature. I don’t know much about the animal itself. Perhaps they have a softer side, a more loving side. After all there would be no more wolves if there weren’t mothers and babies. Some tenderness and protectiveness has to exist in that relationship. Doesn’t it?

    My wolves have both sides. They are hungry and mean and battle in my heart continually. Often it feels they will tear each other and me to pieces. However, it is because they are both protecting someone and their loyalty and love are unshakable.

    My first wolf is my own needs. To nourish myself I must take time to write. I must let myself rest when I am hurting and frightened. I must devote enormous amounts of time to my healing and rebuilding of the self that was destroyed by my abusive childhood. This means pushing myself to overcome my fears. It means getting up at 4:30 in the morning to work out when the world is asleep and no one is making demands on me. It means exploring my new hobbies. It means I have to honor all of my feelings, no matter how silly or inconsequential they may seem to me or anyone else.

    And sometimes, Heaven forgive me, sometimes it means locking myself in my bedroom and asking my oldest daughter to take care of her siblings until Daddy gets home from work.

    Enter second wolf. My second wolf is my loyalty to my family. I am a stay at home mom to the three most loving children and the most supportive husband I could ever have asked for. They deserve the best I have to give them. They deserve home cooked meals, patience when they misbehave, compassion when they are hurting and above all they deserve love. All of this takes an enormous amount of time and energy; time and energy that must be taken from the first wolf.

    My two wolves battle it out regularly, each one demanding all I have to give. They are both important, though. I am their master and I must love and feed each of these wolves as fully as I can. It would be easy to say that my family is more important than me but that’s just not true. If I don’t take care of myself then I am no good to anyone else. My family deserves a wife and mother who loves herself. They would suffer far worse for my ignoring myself completely than my taking a little time from them to feed myself.

    And so my two wolves battle it out every single day. In reality, though, they fight all the more ferociously because of their love for each other. Each wolf knows that if she is not fed and she dies so then will her sister. One wolf cannot exist without the other. They both know this and so do I as their master. Just as I love my children, who sometimes hurt me as they express healthy anger, I must love both my wolves, forgive, nourish and feed them as best I can. It isn’t easy but then nothing worthwhile ever is.

  12. Ilana says

    PS. I didn’t like my ending. I want to try again.

    And so my two wolves battle it out every single day. In reality, though, they fight all the more ferociously because of their love for each other. Each wolf knows that if she is not fed and she dies so then will her sister. One wolf cannot exist without the other. They both know this and so do I as their master. Just as I love my children, who sometimes hurt me as they express healthy anger, I must love both my wolves, forgive, nourish and feed them as best I can. It isn’t easy but these two wolves are fighting for me. They are what keeps me alive.

    Thanks for letting me change that. IM

    • Terry Gibson says

      This is eloquent. Beautiful. I really like “they fight all the more ferociously because of their love for each other.” I feel the intensity of the wolves’ battle and am so glad that one of those animals is dedicated to nurturing and caring for you as a person, not just in your various roles within the family.

      • Ilana says

        Thank you Terry- Writing this piece taught me a lot about myself. It felt so luxurious to acknowledge that I must take care of myself and there is nothing wrong with that. Thank you for sharing in that. IM

        • Diana says

          Hi Ilana,
          I loved your honestly of the constant struggle to balance the demands of motherhood! I loved the feeling of forgiving the “the two wolves” for each is being true to itself and both are apart of you. Well done.
          I also liked that the piece evolved and you came back and changed the ending.

  13. Native Cadence says

    Fear has always been the wolf I’ve fed. Childhood – adulthood – into middle age — fear has been my greatest opponent. Fear of failure…of getting in trouble…of hurting the feelings of another.

    Today, and for several years no I allow the behavior of another (an ex) feed that fear (think strong wind feeding the blaze of a bonfire). It’s gone on too long and it is bordering on sexual harassment and stalking. I feel like a prisoner in my own home – in my own body. I cannot stand up to this person because a child lies in the balance — in more ways than one.

    One — their child, whom I miss, and had co-parented. Now used by the ex as a pawn at times.

    Two — the child in me. All the events over the past several years have served to stir up old fears and events experienced by the younger “me”.

    Learning to set and enforce boundaries has been hard for me. A new skill. Why did they not teach this in school? Or did they and I was “absent”?

    A pattern of fear is what I see being woven in my mind’s eye and I don’t like it. I trust (I think) my therapist in that working on this shit may make things worse before they get better. However, all my “child” keeps asking me is “HOW MUCH LONGER?!?!”.

    “native cadence” (that’s what I am trying to find and honor, my native cadence).

    • Ilana says

      This is very eloquent. I can relate to the fear and the children you describe so well. To the child inside of you who keeps asking “How much longer?” I would like to answer, keep going. You WILL get there. I have been climbing out of that hole for a long time and recently I have begun to see a bit of the outside light. Let me tell you, it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Good luck to you. IM

      • Native Cadence says

        thanks, Ilana. I appreciate the encouragement. Thank you for your writing contributions on here – they are very descriptive, and helpful.

        • Ilana says

          Thank you! By saying you appreciate my contributions here you have allowed me to see a little more of that light. We’re both going to get there! :)

    • Terry Gibson says

      First, I must tell you how much I love the words ‘Native Cadence;’ they are very beautiful to me, as is your wolf story. It’s such a precarious place to be. I wish you strength and lots of emotional sustenance through this. I hope your ‘How Much Longer?’ is answered in the near future. Take good care.

  14. Diana says

    Driven to Drink

    A I sit her with my fingers poised over the key board, I reflect on the greatest writers I admire, Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and suddenly understand why they were prone to drink. The moment my brain signals my fingers to touch the keyboard the Voice starts: “You are not a Writer. What makes you think you can write? You have never studied English, Literature or Creative Writing. Think of all the things you thought you could do and you failed. You could fail at this. Do you know how many people more skilled and better educated that you have failed at this? Just because you are a Reader, doesn’t mean you are a Writer. Sure, you got an “A” on papers in college. Sure, you sometimes got marked down for adding a creative bent to “scholarly “work. You are a scientist, a linear thinker. You are not creative.
    As I reach for the glass of wine, I take a sip and I yell “QUIET!!!” I have a story to tell. I have many stories to tell. Sure I may lack skill, but I will learn”
    I choose to listen to the voice of encouragement and validation. My author friend Cassie Alexander says “That’s a great story idea. There is so many ways you can go with that. My friend Liz, says “Don’t give up on yourself. I reread the comments from the blog. Then, I tell myself you are passionate about words, language and how words can change and move people. Remember the professor that liked the “noir” style microbiology report. Remember the instructor that was so deeply moved by a report on female circumcision that she approached you personally.
    Now I understand. Ernest, Edgar, Truman and so many others drank to quiet the Voice; the nagging seed of self-doubt.

    • says

      Diana–an interesting take on this prompt. All of us struggle with doubt–anyone who creates. It’s part of the package I guess. I do balk at the stereotype of the drunken writer–the idea that you have to be dissolute to create. I don’t believe that. The cure for self-doubt is to keep writing. keep writing….keep writing….keep writing, no matter what the doubt whispers in your ear.

      • Diana says

        Yes, Laura. I would agree that it is not necessary to drink to create. As I faced this prompt I found I had greater empathy for the “drunkard” writers that I admire so much and the wolf of self-doubt. In the final analysis, do I feed self-doubt or do I feed self-confidence. Each time I face the blank page I must make a choice which wolf I feed.
        Diana

    • Terry Gibson says

      Diana, Reading this was like you had a little pipeline into some of what goes on in my head. The tortured, drunken, or otherwise addicted writer. I know the stereotype well, lived a bit of it. Always got self-doubt but found when I waited for it to disappear, fifteen years slipped by. Hope you can just keep the pen moving or key board clicking, despite that wolf.

      • Diana says

        Beating that wolf into submission is an on going challenge. I found that posting my first piece to this blog was like taking a dump off the high dive. I’m finding the wolf is a bit of a coward and will cowar to the louder voice of determination. I just keep having to stand up to him.

        • Ilana says

          Diana- I liked the piece. I can connect with the “you are not a writer” demons too. What really made my morning was your last post though. Such positive energy. YOU turned that wolf into a cowered by standing up to him. And your example helped me do the same. Bravo and than you! IM

  15. Paula Hill says

    I’m going to write in prose style what I experimented with conveying in the poem I wrote and posted yesterday…….Which voice am I going to feed?….

    The voice of the “she/her” (he/him) contrasts with the voice of “me/my/I” in the sense that the former conveys a voice outside of oneself whether it actually comes from another person, an outside experience, or a voice within our own inner mind. Though, not necessarily innocent nor perfect, something in me can’t accept this voice that is wracking, raving and punching me. Something in me rebels at whatever story is being projected onto me from what feels an outside voice. Over and over again, it takes a tumultuous struggle to even begin to recognize it as an outside voice. There’s a primal reaction and imprint of taking on the anger, the raving and, as well, absorbing the punches, thinking the truth of “me/my/I is that negativity. I experience this, not only within myself, but all over the world, albeit in individuals, communities and nations.

    To tune into the truth of myself, I go into the “wilderness” where Mother Nature is uninhabited and untouched by human invention, society and concerns, whether in the mountains or upon the high seas, and I “howl” into the adventure of solitude. I cry like the torrential rains falling from the sky; I rage as if a strong wind or hurricane; I shake, shiver and tremble with the force of an earthquake….I howl and howl and howl…..Until…I’m completely spent…..and….I meet my soul and recognize the spirit that shines in everything and connects us all. I can now recognize the difference between my own voice, heart, and soul from any other…and will always hold strong with that understanding.

    I am grateful and humbly bow to the experiences, the people, the situations that have brought the inner struggles in order to reach this “Place”. The Wheel of Fortune is a Tarot card, one of the major arcane that represents a Universal Law. This particular card conveys that cycle of life through all the phases, all the elements of fire, air, earth and water, each with it’s own metaphorical understanding of the particulars of life. The wheel cycles through good, bad, lucky, unlucky, beautiful, ugly experiences thrusting each one of us into situations in which to grow. As humans, we, of course, seem to have to cycle over and over in the same groove, but sometimes we get catapulted into a new level of the cycle with a renewed and transformed sense of life and ourselves. That is where my gratitude resides and wherein I’ve reached the philosophy that it is each and everyone of our responsibility to find that beauty within ourselves so that we can spread it out into the world, be our world small or expanded in a large fashion…..It’s a most necessary responsibility……we owe it to the world….I owe it to the world…..Happy Winter’s Solstice, a time when the light begins to expand and new endeavors begin…..

    • Hazel says

      And, the beat goes on . . . Paula . . . as I go with the flow into the realm of the old it becomes a swirl of days and nights, and memories, of things that must be written down and those that most certainly should not be written anywhere, but an urgency persists to get it done before _______ happens and I either cannot remember or I am out of time.

      Thank you for sharing and Happy Winter Solstice to you as well.

    • Terry Gibson says

      I read this in both forms. I find the poem especially effective, given I’m relating to this form of expression more often these days. The process by which you come around to your true self, clawing through all the murk in between captures similar struggles in my life. Thank you.

  16. Terry Gibson says

    Two packs of wolves sniff at my heels and have taken up residence on my doorstep. Squatters, they are. My breathing hastens and I break into a sweat as I go about my business of running errands, going in and out of my apartment. Conflicts arise all the time now. Often, while raging, they paw at me, toy with me, go for my throat, laugh at me, and show their teeth in contempt for me. They hate me and claim to know me better than I do. To them, I’m just a big joke.

    “How can anybody be so pitifully earnest?” the huge wolf said. (That must be so funny to people. Is it?) With saliva dripping from brownish teeth, he demands, “Where are you from?” They snicker at me with yellow eyes. Sneering, they roll on their backs over the hilarity of me nurturing a friendship, especially each time I struggle—with emotional muscles flexed and ears open—to fight through long-term relationship issues.

    I call this wolf and its cousins “Slow Down.” The hope was when I call out to them, repeating that name, I’d hear those words anew. I’d immediately remember the open bites on my arms where they tore into my flesh, maiming me.

    “Slow Down” is a message to me. It is a reminder that if I do not, I will be dinner for wild animals. We are interdependent, enmeshed. I won’t feed them; they are ravenous. The hungrier they are the more vicious and lethal they become to me. They will never leave, not before having their intended meal.

    Their terrifying reign shoots to its highest level when they see me feed the others. “Do It Now!” are the benevolent wolves who stay tight to me through every breath to keep me safe, in direct opposition to “Slow Down.” These wild beasts are loving, wise sherpas who guide me through the dense forest, warning about snakes, loose rocks, and other prowling wildlife that can seriously hurt or kill me.

    I need these wolves and tend to them with abandon. They always smell like wet musty evergreen. I use my plushest towels to rub them down, brush their hair the way I would a beloved horse, and feed them huge chunks of lean red meat. I try to do it on the sly but inevitably, my enemies see me.

    “Slow Down” becomes rabid with fury and I can feel their hot breath on my legs, even as I hear the steady, calming presence of “Do It Now!” The former keeps me rolling inside, nerves taut, heartbeat a bit erratic, sleepless.

    The latter is my life blood. I feed “Do It Now!” five times a day sometimes. I know that my self-care and continued wellness relies upon it. There is no time to slip up. Too much time was lost, none of which can be recovered. With their help, I can claim what is left of me and forge my way through. Reclaim my doorstep. Enliven my being. Get the best revenge.

      • Ilana says

        Terry- Beautiful. I love how you told all the fear and desperation of the first pack of wolves and then soothed me, your reader, with the description of the “Do it now” wolves who are benevolent, stay tight to you and keep you safe. I really like the new ending about putting bars on the windows. And how wonderful it was to read about how you feed your dear protectors. “I use my plushest towels to rub them down, brush their hair the way I would a beloved horse, and feed them huge chunks of lean red meat.” That was the most delicious part of the piece for me. Thank you for treating me to it. :) IM

    • Polly says

      This is great! I can relate to the “do it now” portion. I know what it’s like to have to keep going, and always accomplish a certain number of things – regardless of what you’re thinking, working on, and processing. Love the composition of this.

  17. Polly says

    I just want to wish all you strong and talented women happy holidays! Let’s feed that celebratory wolf over the next few days, with everything we’ve come through and are currently working through :) P.

  18. Debbie says

    The rumbling in my abdomen, in the third chakra, grows stronger until it erupts into a roar. Unconsciously I reached down to pat the head of the hungry wolf. It only takes a few strokes before I recoil, yanking my hand back abruptly. Damn! Damn – not again! My fingertips burn as I feel energy being sucked out through my arm into the jaws of the ever present, hungry wolf. In moments of absent minded unconsciousness, morsels of precious life energy slip away keeping the wolf alive.

    It only takes a moment to realize which wolf is which. In the presence of the white wolf, energy flows freely between us. There is nurturing, peace and comfort. Time both slows down and speeds up as minutes of pure pleasure feed the soul. This is the place of mindfulness, writing, natural beauty, kindness and compassion. You willingly give of yourself and your effort is met, and returned, many times over.

    The dark brother wolf feeds on fear. He thrives on the dark, musty secrets that swirl inside our hearts carelessly left behind by those who hurt us. Sometimes we mistake the warmth of his wiry body for authentic affection and caring. All the time, the wolf whispers in our ears; be careful, don’t trust, of course love hurts, no one will ever care for you like me, you could never make it alone. We cling, afraid to let go. What is the wolf is right? Isn’t being half alive better than nothing at all?

    All the while, the beautiful white wolf waits patiently. A faithful friend, it needs little more than to be noticed and valued to be fed. When, and if, we forsake fear for faith this caring companion stays close to us. Truth, shared with love, dispels the irrational thoughts allowing us to actually feel and receive the caring we so deparately crave. Gently, gently our four legged guide pulls forward into life, love and soul sustaining activities.

    I know the wolf I want to feed. The one I trust. The one that gives me hope. Yet I must also be ever mindful of the imposter wolf in whose company I spent so many years. The one who fed for so long on my spirit, trapped me with cataclysmic illusions. It will take discipline to ignore the continued whispers and turn, instead, into the bright light of the white wolf. We will both munch on mindfulness and kindness to sustain ourselves.

    If I remain conscious, perhaps one day I will be successful in starving the dark wolf to death and, thereby, finally silence his voice.

    • Ilana says

      Wow Debbie- This is so beautiful, so clearly written and so amazingly insightful. I will be coming back for a second and third read at least. I think this has a lot to teach. Some of it I already knew but sometimes forget. I’m so glad you came back and posted on this one. IM

      • Debbie says

        Hi Laura – glad to be back. Between business travel and three weeks of elder house guests, time for reflection and writing has been limited. I have missed the blog and this community. There are so many new and talented voices who have joined in. Very exciting!! I am working to catch up on some of the prompts I missed. I keep them all like special gifts, set aside to be considered. Then once I post, I reward myself by reading what others have shared. There is so much content over these past weeks!! I am still catching up.

        • says

          Just so you know–if you back post to older posts, you won’t get much response as people don’t usually go back and read further back than the current week. But feel free to dive in!

          • Debbie says

            Oh, I don’t mind and completely understand that the community has moved on. I still get the exercise of writing and the joy of reading everyone else’s contributions. That is more than enough reward for me! Happy New Year!

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