Have you ever noticed that writers are a tad more emotional than say accountants? We feel, we sense, we envision, we experience. In the words of Shakespeare and from the mouth of Shylock in the Merchant of Venice:
If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
Yes. Yes, we do.
So when I watched the new George Clooney movie Tomorrowland and heard a retelling of the ancient Cherokee folk tale of the two wolves, it made me think of the power of our attitude and how it can affect our ability to be creative and develop the stories that are in our heart.
In case you are unfamiliar with the story of the wolves, here it is:
ONE EVENING, AN ELDERLY
CHEROKEE BRAVE 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,
TRUTH, COMPASSION AND FAITH.”
THE GRANDSON THOUGH ABOUT
IT FOR A MINUTE AND THEN ASKED
“WHICH WOLF WINS?…”
THE OLD CHEROKEE SIMPLY REPLIED,
“THE ONE THAT YOU FEED
Stop for just a minute and let that sink in. A friend of mine loves to tell stories about her ex-husband, perhaps to demonstrate why he is her “ex,” and one of those stories is a perfect example of how feeding the wolf can impact your day.
“I’ll never forget those mornings when something little would go wrong. He’d stub his toe or nick his face while shaving and would then allow it to color his entire day. It was a brief little moment first thing in the day. I’d say – just get over it. But no. He’d let it fester until by the time he came home for dinner it was a boil on the butt of an elephant.”
Colorful, isn’t she. Need I tell you that she is also a writer?
Anyway, the point of the wolf story is that we get to choose. Each day we are faced with the opportunity to nurture and encourage one of the wolves. Some may call that a Pollyanna way of living but would you rather be around someone who is a “Debbie Downer” or “Judy Joyful?”
If you consistently feed the angry wolf that embodies evil, you will start to see each day as a disappointment before your feet hit the ground.
Warning: I’m going to digress for a moment.
Have you heard of the prayer that goes something like this:
“Dear Lord, so far today I have been productive and kind, loving and accepting, healthy and forgiving. But in a minute I’m going to have to get out of bed and start my day and I know I’m going to need help.”
I’ll wait while you chuckle.
So back to the wolves; think about a day when you really felt great. You smiled and people smiled back, you sat at the computer and your fingers obeyed, you opened the refrigerator and vegetables actually looked good. What was it about that day that helped make it so great? I’ll bet it had something to do with your outlook on life.
And of course we all have those days, some say they are ruled by Murphy’s Law, when everything goes wrong, whatever you touch breaks, including the feelings of those you love. What is different about that day? Could it have something to do with how you reacted to those negative things that happened?
Once again quoting a classic, we need to dance like Taylor Swift and just “shake it off, shake it off.”
As you go about your day today, this week, this month, be mindful of those two wolves that live within you and make a decision which one you will feed. My guess is that whichever one you feed will help, or hinder, your creativity. Here’s hoping you feed the one that is kind, because you deserve a life filled with light and joy!
And now to help feed your good wolf…here is Taylor Swift!