Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

This is one of my favorite wisdom teachings because the universal truth is so simply and beautifully shared. Whether or not you are familiar with this ever-so-relevant Native American wisdom, it is always worth revisiting and taking it to heart.

A wise Cherokee grandfather sits surrounded by his grandchildren and offers this teaching.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he says to the wide-eyed children. “It’s a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is negative and destructive – I am calling him the bad wolf. He is all about anger, envy, self-pity, sorrow, regret, greed, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.” The grandfather continues. “The other wolf is positive and constructive; I am calling him the good wolf. He is all about joy, peace, love, hope, forgiveness, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, and compassion. The same fight is going on inside each of you, and inside every other human being, too.”

At this, the children pause and reflect for a minute. Then with great concern they anxiously ask the grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

“The one you feed,” their Cherokee grandfather quietly replies.


It’s always easy to feed the good wolf when all is well in your world and in the world at large. The skill is learning to feed the good wolf in challenging, stressful and chaotic times. Right now the world is very volatile, and the Earth itself is changing rapidly.

As if this was not enough, holiday season brings its own pressures. Knowing how to nourish the good wolf right now will benefit your wellbeing and upgrade the big picture too. By doing this, we take charge of our collective human destiny by contributing our positive energy so the good wolf can win in our world.


Journalists and yogis have learned the valuable skill of observing people and events objectively with no judgment. They see what is. This perspective allows them and you to stay centered, to keep an open heart and to make informed choices for your highest good. This makes it possible to care deeply about what’s going on and to not react by absorbing distress and spreading more fear.


If you find yourself focusing obsessively on gloom and doom, be aware this only creates more of the same. By the laws of attraction, you are informing the universe/unified field of consciousness that you are fascinated by the negativity.

The universe has no opinion about this, and simply brings into your experience more of what it notices you appear to be interested in. In the face of disturbing events, the good wolf practice is allowing your emotions to pass through like weather. Acknowledge them, feel them and let them go. You’ll feel better right away and regain both your positive center and mental clarity.


It can be so tempting when you are upset, stressed and in disagreement with what’s going on, to complain, criticize and commiserate in conversation with friends about how awful a person or situation is. Talking with others in these ways spreads the energy of the bad wolf in you and in others.

The high road here is to clearly and objectively express your concerns and ideas without reliving and/or reviving another round of emotionality. When you are with like-minded people, further feed the good wolf by sharing a positive vision for what’s possible and generating actions to support this.


Another way to replace knee-jerk negative reactions and judgments is by shifting your emotional reactivity from anger to warmheartedness. By being mindful, you can immediately move your awareness out of your head and into your heart. As you change the channel from contraction to warmheartedness, you’ll feel so much better about yourself and not so triggered about them.


Practicing feeding the good wolf as consistently as possible is how we are all empowered right now to contribute to a collaborative and inclusive world reality in which separation and negative polarities no longer rule the day. Feeling you are too insignificant for your attitudes and behaviors to make a big difference? Here’s a great answer to this concern from the Dali Lama: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito!”