February 1, 2018
Do you know what your white and black wolf are up to?
Back in 2014, I wrote a blog post about the now famous Cherokee story about the two wolves. Recently, I've noticed that although I'm no longer featuring it, people still return to that story. I understand, it was my favorite too. So back by popular demand, and it's message even more important now than ever, here is the case study, and the original Cherokee story is HERE.
I'd like to share a story about the white and black wolf told from the perspective of the black wolf. This seems urgent and relevant to our times and the story goes like this. A young man with a family, working very hard to put food on the table and provide for his family's welfare, develops a landscaping business. One day, he cuts back a bush and removes a small stump on a client's property. He digs down deep and nicks the water supply line. Water slowly trickles out and then the trickle becomes a steady stream. As more water gushes out and since the grounds are on a slope, dirt starts to move, then it starts to slide. Very quickly, a gusher becomes a landslide and part of the owners' embankment slides down toward the house and into a ravine. The young man did not see all of this happen, but surmises that he was the cause and calls the owner and tells him the recent rainstorm washed away part of the bank.
That's the black wolf alright. Fear, anger.
On a daily, even hourly basis, we're all faced with choices that affect our well being, our means of living, and seemingly even our very lives. We live in a world full of consequences, perceived or real, and the fear of these consequences is like being in chains, reinforcing separateness, alone-ness, and isolation. This is when the black wolf is strong, and can win. If we face these moments with courage, if we tell the truth, accept we made a mistake, got angry or defensive or got it wrong, screwed it all up, even when it might mean we lose something very important, we finally step out of a foggy sense of identity, and we step into knowing who we really are. We achieve a kind of personal mastery and that ultimately leads us to freedom from the image-makers of our times.
This is now being played out on a national stage, as the #metoo movement highlights human behavior in a fascinating way. Why didn't all those women speak up? For a very good and simple reason, and it's logical - there is a gap between what we all would do in a hypothetical situation and what we actually do. Here's an interesting piece of research on this.
The black wolf must exist in all of us; even if we could, it is not in our best interest to starve this wolf, for s/he carries a gift. Anger is the great mover, and it moves us to do something; just as fear is the great changer, and shows us when we must discern our way and choose wisely. The idea here is to walk in balance.
Is the story of the young man a true story? Yes, it actually is. He was offered an opportunity to tell the truth to the homeowner. And when he did, he discovered his nick didn't do all that damage. An engineering firm had accidentally struck the line and caused the landslide. They took full responsibility.
The wolves are circling.... they remind me to be aware of my defensiveness, my resistance to criticism, to be more open and curious, and ask questions, particularly when I screw up. The wolves remind me to choose wisely.
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