“One evening an old Cherokee 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 (Negativity). It is anger, sadness, stress, contempt, disgust, fear, embarrassment, guilt, shame and hate. The other is Good (Positivity). It is joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and above all, love.’ The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’ The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed’”.
I have come to realize that the love, joy, happiness and fulfillment I experience in my life depends completely on my perspective. I get to choose what meaning I attribute to what I experience. Do I see challenges as road blocks or as opportunities to learn? Do I judge or do I seek understanding? Do I fear or do I love. I get to chose and my choice has powerful implications on my life.
I have been taking the positivity test for a little over two weeks and apparently I do live in “positivity”. I am flourishing. I seek love in most situations. I approach most challenges with curiosity, and even excitement. I have learned to stop, to take a breath, and to check in with my perspective…which wolf am I feeding? I have a clear intention. I will feed the positive wolf. I will feed joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and above all love.
I have found that amusement and gratitude are two of the most powerful “foods” for my positive wolf. Humor reminds me that humans are pretty silly, thinking small things are so important. Gratitude fills me with love and connects me with all the beauty and joy I experience every day. Happiness is lived moment by moment, and when I remember what I am grateful for I bring many moments of happiness into my world.
But what of anger, sadness, stress, contempt, disgust, fear, embarrassment, guilt, shame and hate? Certainly these emotions find their way into my world…and there are times when I feed them. There are moments when I mull over the same negative thought over and over and over. I am like a the car stuck in the mud, spinning my wheels, running the thought in my head with the pretense of going somewhere, but the awareness that I am only digging myself into a deeper hole.
I know what is happening. I am aware. I get to choose in the moments what path to take. Will I call on one of the exercises I know will get me out, or will I keep spinning. More and more frequently I find I have the ability to make the choice to get out of the mud – to reach into my tool box. I begin by asking myself questions. What am I feeling? What do I want – what needs are not getting met? What do I have? What do I love? What might be going on outside of my knowledge and personal experience? How can I learn? Understand?
I find that most of my negative thoughts come from judgment of my situation, and if I can turn the situation into a learning situation I can reverse the negativity and move into positivity.
Recently, in reading the book Positivity and The How of Happiness, I am realizing the important of quiet moments of reflection. I have begun experimenting with the “open heart” meditations and yoga in my daily life. I find that these activities quiet my mind and fill my heart with gratitude and joy. I find that the openness and peace these activities bring me stay with me for much of the day. Somehow, I seem better equipped to remember to breath and to reflect and ask questions before judging.
I am realize that intentional appreciation of others lightens my heart and deepens my relationships, and so I practice acknowledging and thanking those around me regularly. This is something I have to do consciously, with intention, so that it becomes a habit.
Random acts of kindness also feed my positivity by making me feel connected to my fellow human beings, whether I know them or not. By reaching out and supporting my fellow worldly beings I feel my oneness with all that is. I feel my heart open and expand. I feel comforted letting others know that I have noticed them and that I care about who they are and how the experience the world, even if all I knowingly share with them is the oxygen we breath, the knowledge that they feel – as I feel, and that we all wake up every morning and live our life as best we can. My random acts of kindness to me, are an acknowledgement that, just as every drop of water in the ocean, we are all in this together, we all depend on each other and we all affect each other, whether we are conscious of it or not.
Engaging in activities which are interesting, challenging and meaningful to me increases my positivity. Activities which challenge me physically or mentally require my complete focus, interest, curiosity, creativity & and belief in a solution for every challenge. Basically I become ignited – my passion is erupts. My confidence is called upon and emerges as a strong bright flame. My perspective becomes huge and positive. I know the solution exists and I am excited to use all my strengths to find it. This high has long lasting effects and may bring confidence, excitement, passion and focus into activities and relationships for days after my engagement.
I have many ways to nurture my positive wolf. I realize that I feed my negative wolf without thinking and that feeding my positive wolf instead is something which takes conscious living, awareness, focus, willingness, intention, action. And so perhaps the most important “tool” I can draw upon is mindfulness and savoring of my experience , because if I live mindfully I will be aware of my moment to moment experience – opportunities for gratitude, kindness and challenge and I will be aware of the choices I make which determine which wolf I feed, Negativity or Positivity. I know that within a fully conscious life I will choose to feed Positivity.