What Wolf Are You Feeding? Are you Fearful or Peaceful?
This might not be the first time you heard this legendary tale about the two wolves with the choice of feeding its fear or its inner peace.
An old Cherokee Indian chief was teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he told the young boy,“ a fight between two wolves. One is evil, full of anger, sorrow, regret, greed, self-pity and false pride. The other is good, full of joy, peace, love, humility, kindness, and faith.” “This same fight is going on inside of you, grandson…and inside of every other person on the face of this earth.” The grandson ponders this for a moment and then asks, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?” The old man smiled and simply said, “The one you feed.”
What does this mean?
This simple story is a good reminder to many of us who are confronted with difficult treatment choices and receive disappointing news every day. Many with metastatic breast cancer face choices pertaining to new drugs, new tests and new ways to heal. It has helped me realize that with each doctor’s visit, upcoming blood work results or scan results, I have a choice to embrace these decisions mindfully. This story also reminds me that we need to take a path that might be different and will lead to alternative or naturopathic ways of healing.
What is metta meditation?
It is good to meditate on a daily basis and recently, I have discovered metta meditation. This type of meditation calls you to have loving kindness to self, to someone you greatly love, to the one you casually know and to a person you might be having difficulty with. At first, that idea of loving kindness to self was a strange concept. I never thought to show myself any time let alone show love to myself. The best gift metta meditation gave me was the one where you show loving kindness to someone who you are struggling with and in that case that was my oncologist and her staff. The minute I put this into practice, I was able to listen carefully and calmly to my options and then I was able to walk away and discern what was best for me.
Metta meditation evokes the following phrases:
- Self: May I feel safe, may I feel content, may I feel strong. May I live with ease.
- Others: May you feel safe. May you feel content. May you feel strong. May you live with ease.
Applying the concepts to manage difficult situations
Imagine this picture, it is my monthly appointment to meet with the oncologist. She enters the room to tell me my tumor markers have gone up. It is something in the past that could have thrown me into an anxious state. I look at her and, in my mind, I begin the phrases of metta meditation. "Dear Doctor… May you be safe, content, strong and live with ease." Immediately, my mind and spirit embrace the peace I need to make the best decision for the present moment. I am remembering the wolf who chose peace over fear. Choices are so very important to our path and it is good to have icons on the way such as the wolf in this legendary story.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on November 5, 2019, Linda passed away. Linda’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.
Have you gotten a second (or third) opinion after your breast cancer diagnosis?