An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life. “There is a fight going on inside all of us.” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. The first wolf is evil. He is anger, jealousy, regret, greed, ego, sorrow and resentment. The other is good. He is charity, joy, compassion, generosity, truth, humility and empathy.”. He continued – “This fight goes on inside all of us, all the time.”
The boy pondered this and asked “Which wolf will win?”
The old Chrokeee replied “The one that you feed.”
Over the last couple of months, my bad wolf has been loud. He was awoken by pain, and by jealousy of the things I can no longer do, but that my friends continue to do without pause.
Too often we get into a pattern of life that we think defines who we are inside. Life doesn’t always like routine, and of course the only real constant is change. So, of course, we must be aware that those things we consider normal can suffer from the world crashing down around us.
I always try and avoid falling into the mindset of regret and suffering. Regret is a pointless emotion, after all. Worry too is mostly useless. Both deal with a time that does not exist – the past and the future. Only the now truly belongs to us.
And so life throws curveballs. We can have our house robbed, break a bone, lose a limb, get cancer or a degenerative disease, lose a loved one, lose our house or car in a fire, etc, etc. But there are things to be thankful for. We have insurance, incredible medicine, and if we are lucky an amazing support network.
Louis CK once said in a bit “Can you imagine if, on top of all the crappy things that happen to us, we were to be back in the food chain” – on top of all of life’s other bullshit, we get chased by a cheetah down the train station platform?
Things can always be worse. My own situation could have gone way worse. I survived without head trauma or significant other injuries. Thanks to advancements in amputation treatment and prosthetics, due in part to Operation Enduring Freedom and the tragically large number of IED explosion victims, my ultimate prognosis is good. Sure, pain sometimes escalates and hands over some morsels to the bad wolf, but the knowledge of what can be, what others in a worse place than I have achieved, and my drive to do my best regardless, feeds the good wolf so much more.
Some tips that have helped me stay positive and help feed that good wolf
– be charitable. I am using my downtime for good, to form a 501c3 and put together its materials
– be active. I can’t work out as much as I’d like, but I can still workout. Something is always better than nothing.
– be healthy. A healthy diet, and avoiding too much alcohol is key in maintaining brain health which in turn keeps depression at bay
– be forgiving. Some people say stupid shit, but the intention is often good.
A good read on pushing through the obstacles life throws at us is The Obstacle Is The Way. This book reinforced many aspects of how I approach life.