The 96-Word Story That’s Blowing My Mind

Every once in awhile I hear a quote or a poem or a story that sticks with me for days.

That’s exactly what happened recently when I heard Jess Lively refer to a story called “The Two Wolves” on a podcast episode. Immediately, I pressed pause and headed over to Google to learn more.

Lots of different variations of the story popped up; some attribute it to the Cherokee Indians; others attribute it to a preacher or a playwright. 

Here’s the version of the story I found that resonated with me the most.

A Cherokee elder was teaching his grandchildren about life.

He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me…it is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness and lies. 

The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humbleness, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith and truth.

This same fight is going on inside of you, and inside every other person, too.”

The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather,

“Which wolf will win?”

The Cherokee elder replied…

“The one you feed.”

Powerful, right? This story gives me chills!

Ever heard the story of the two wolves? This short, yet powerful story blew my mind with its important message.

I’ve been reading the story in all of my yoga classes this week, reminding my students (and myself) that in any given moment on any given day, we have a choice.

We can choose to be sad…or we can choose to be happy.

We can choose to fill our minds with negative thoughts…or we can choose to fill our minds with positive thoughts.

Most importantly, we can choose fear…or we can choose love.

WE make the choice. WE feed the wolf.

No one else.

Of course, things happen around us that can shift our thoughts and feelings, but that’s where the power of this story begins: we must always remember that WE choose.

Just like we can allow a person or a situation or a feeling to impact us negatively, we can also flip the script and make the choice to change our thinking. 

Easier said than done, of course, but our minds and hearts are more powerful than we know.

I found this story and its message especially poignant given the state of our world right now; with all that’s happened over the past several months in politics and beyond, it’s hard not to feel a little bit fearful. It can be hard to feel hopeful and positive for what’s to come.

No matter how you’re feeling today or what you’re going through, I hope this story strikes you like it did me. I hope it reminds you of how beautiful and wonderful and powerful you are.

I hope it encourages you to always choose love over fear.

So…which wolf will you feed?

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  • Cassie Kinney

    I love this parable, and I don’t think about it as much as I probably should. Thanks for the reminder and the food for thought.