My personal mantra since leaving my 9-5 job three years ago, has been “what you feed grows.” I use it as a reminder to myself that if I choose to focus on the negatives in my life then that is all I will see and feel – the negatives. I got very trapped in living in the complaints of my 9-5 job and the more I focused on it, talked about it at work happy hours and allowed myself to remain in that space, the worse it got. The day that I realized that if I wanted to live a different life, then it was my responsibility to change it, was the day that I started feeding the other side – the side that empowered me and made me realize that life could be different. For me, making sure I feed the parts that nourish my being is a daily struggle, but I’m beginning to realize that it is the most important thing I can do for myself. So, I was very intrigued last week when I discovered the podcast The One You Feed. The show and title are based on the parable of two wolves:
An old grandfather told his grandson: “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”
The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”
The show’s host interviews people on how they “keep themselves moving in the right direction – how they feed their good wolf,” pointing out that “it takes conscious, constant and creative effort to make a life worth living.” All ideas I can get behind, so I listened to their interview with Krista Tippett, the host of the public radio program On Being (love the title).
Krista’s story is very interesting because she is a journalist by training and her experiences in the field ultimately led her to get a Master of Divinity from Yale University. She examines the intersect between our lives, faith, religion, science and what that means within the world we live in today. Here were some of my favorite highlights from the interview:
- “Listening is spiritual technology…it is an essential way that we can reach across the mystery of the other. There are not many things that we do in our lives that are more important then that…listening is an absolutely essential tool that we need to cultivate…we live in a very busy, noisy world…we need to create spaces where real listening can happen. Listening isn’t just being quiet while the other person takes a turn speaking…listening is about presence – really-really being present. It is about all kinds of wonderful things, like being open to being surprised, be open to be amazed. It also about some frightening things, like being vulnerable…you have to be open to soften and open to be changed…not in giving up who you are, but in making room in who you are and in your sense of the world for the integrity of these other words and other person.”
- “Neuroscience is on our side here, because it says that we all can keep learning and changing across the span of our lifetime, but the downside of that is that it says you have to practice. If you want to change, then you have to practice. If we want to become better listeners as an individual and as a culture, then you have to practice it.”
- “Our culture is so focused on answers and on competing answers and in fact we have kind of been trained to start getting nervous if we don’t have an answer to something pretty quickly…if we have some very complex challenge in our society we try as quickly as possible to resolve it with a law…but so many of the things that we are dealing with is that we are living during an amazing moment in time when we are reposing the big questions…on a very practical, human level, if we would just step back from all of the things that we think we need to fight about…and take in the fact that these questions we are raising are huge…dwell with the questions and understand that they have power in and of themselves.”
How do you ensure that you are feeding your good wolf?
As you go into the weekend, try and remember…What You Feed Grows.