October 04, 2007

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

I don't know a lot about my Cherokee ancestors. I wish that I could have found out more about my grandmother, and her family, but she died when I was quite young. I lived with her until I was nearly nine years old, and I remember that she was a very serene, gracious, woman. I remember that she taught me to know when it was going to rain, by smelling the air, and oberving the leaves of a certain tree. I remember that she said that I had feet like an Indian, and walked like an Indian--softly, lightly, with one foot in front of the other. She taught me to walk with my head up, shoulders back, back straight. A few years later, I won an award at school for best posture. She taught me how to make warts go away, and most of all, she taught me kindness. Even at that young age, she told me that I should not say anything about anyone, if I had nothing nice to say--she said that it was better to keep silent. She told me that we must judge no one until we had walked in their moccassins. She explained what that meant, because she always talked to me, as we walked, or went about doing whatever it was that we were doing. She listened to my questions, and answered them. I wish that she had lived long enough for me to be wise enough to ask her about her family. I know that I have not always lived up to everything that she taught me, but to this day, I can still observe the signs she taught me concerning the weather. And I still walk like an Indian.