Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Two wolves: What do you feed?

Revised version of a post from earlier this week on

I posted last week, prior to the election, about listening in a political season. Essentially I was reminding you that we all need to be better listeners and this deeply divisive election perhaps reflected the deep listening deficit in our culture.

Now that the election has passed I am certain of it. Our culture is fractured and this will be reflected in every relationship and organization in the country. Even if everyone you know, everyone in your communities and work voted the same way and has the same feelings about the election, the national divides will have an impact (that may be the understatement of the year). There is a great deal I could say here about politics and fear and empathy or the lack thereof - I have said some of it elsewhere in this blog - but here I'd like to take a moment to tell you a story.

This story is attributed to the Cherokee people, though no one is sure of its origin.

One evening an old man looked at his grandson. He could see the boy was growing up, was beginning to compare himself to others and hunger for things that he has never wanted before. 

He told his grandson this story.

He said, “My son, there are two wolves that live inside of me. They live inside of you, too. One is evil. It is full of anger and jealousy, sorrow and regret, greed and arrogance. It is every darkness and unkindness. The other is good. It is compassion and joy, love and hope, kindness and empathy. It is every light and moment of connection. They are both fierce and powerful, and they are fighting.”

The old man was silent and watched his grandson consider the wolves. The boy thought, then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old man replied, “The one you feed.”

I tell you this story now, when we will experience stress and division made visible post election, because we need to remember that what we feed, thrives. How can you help your community feel listened to, especially those who fear they may be about to lose their voice? What kind of listening do you need? What about those who just voted very loudly? How do we create safety for all of our friends, our families, our communities and ourselves? What stories do we need now, in a rapidly changing world?

Please let me know if I can help.

(c) 2016 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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