I came across a blog post today that shared bits of a story that I hold as one of my personal favorites. It is not okay with me that this story be shared in bits. So I rewrite the whole story here, to honor those who first told it and those who keep it going.
It is for the warrior/leader in all of us. The best I can determine in research is that this is a Cherokee story, although the exact origin, time and location, is unknown. Many take credit for it. I will leave credit where it is due, to the wisdom teachers of all time.
Grandfather sat outside as he was wont to do every day. He noticed that his Grandson was walking toward him, but seemed angry. He was kicking the dirt, and Grandfather could see there were streaks of tears running down his face. Grandson did not pay any attention to where he was, he was lost in his own thoughts. He threw a rock as hard as he could, and with a yelling shout, he continued walking.
Grandfather called out and finally got the attention of his grandson, who walked over toward him. Grandfather said, "Sit down and tell me what has happened."
Grandson began to tell the story. On this day it was his birthday and he received as a present from his parents, a knife. He was very happy with his present and showed it to the other kids. Some boys thought this present should not have been given, they thought him too young, they envied his present, and they started to taunt the boy. Soon, a shoving match started, and then a full on fight. Punches were thrown, the knife was taken. "Grandfather, I hate them!" said Grandson.
"Mmm," Grandfather pondered this. Then he said, "I too have had this inside of me. Let me tell you a story." Grandson was in no mood for one these stories, they were always long and Grandfather always wanted to teach something. Grandson wanted to fight, he wanted to be angry, and he wanted to find an outlet for this anger.
Grandfather insisted, "Sit. This story won't take long and it is a story about me when I was your age and felt these same things."
This was something the boy did not hear often, stories about when his Granddfather was a boy. So he sat.
"I have had something living inside of me my whole life," Grandfather began. "I discovered them when I was your age and went to speak with my father and his father. You see, I know I have two wolves that live in my heart and in my head. They live inside of me in my soul. One of these wolves is a white wolf, and he is a seeker of beauty and harmony, he loves balance and peaceful contentness, and he will fight if it is the only way, but he often knows there are many ways, many solutions to problems. Next to him is a black wolf, and he is angry most of the time, he seeks vengence, and will look first to fight. He lives with jealousy and envy inside of him, he judges everything and has little respect."
Grandson was captivated by this story, and asked, "why doesn't the black wolf kill the white wolf?"
"This, is a good question," Grandfather smiled. "The two wolves live inside of me and are chained at the neck together, not too close, but close enough, they can circle each other and keep their distance. They must be very vigilant and so must I."
Grandson reflected on this, and how he felt when his knife was taken and he got into a fight. He could feel his anger disappearing, but he was still puzzled by something. "Grandfather, I don't understand. If these two wolves live inside of you, and you are saying they are inside of me too, which one wins?"
Grandfather smiled, "This, is a good question."
Looking directly into his grandson's eyes, he said, "The one you feed."
In order for our spirits to truly be free, we must look inside of ourselves and discover who we really are, every little awful wonderful thing. We must accept ourselves in this wholeness, and then, and only then, can we step into right leadership, and be wise men and women, right leaders of our time.
In deep gratitude to those who have passed down this story....