Right now as I am writing this, I feel like poop. I would like to take my advice “Take a Break Once It Is No Longer Fun”, but I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus the last few days and need to make some personal deadlines.
But you know what? Because of my mindfulness and meditation practice, I know why I feel like poop and can decide not to let my bodily sensations and thoughts control my actions. I can choose what “wolf” I want to feed.
I used to feed the thoughts and feelings of my “dark” wolf without thinking about it. I’d stew in jealousy, capitulate to self-doubt, judge others for their destructive habitual patterns. All while de-humanizing people or organizations who exhibited similar “dark” traits or activities. Then I realized that my rejection of humanities communal tendency towards darkness allowed the darkness within me to grow unchecked. I decided to become curious about my feelings and to notice when different dark thoughts arose.
Soon I was able to see that my dark thoughts or intentions were rooted in feelings of intrinsic inadequacy, desire for meaning, purpose and connection.
Eventually, I began to practice compassion for my “undesirable” self. Compassion, in my opinion is to regard my imperfections with tenderness and understanding. For, as the narrator says, efforts to eliminate them or berate them into submission is to make them grow and grow. Negative attention feeds the “dark wolf”, just as positive attention feeds the “good wolf”.
Isn’t that counter-intuitive? To seek to embrace one’s imperfections and darkness? Today, this is not only an unpopular way of thinking, but can feel impossible to truly practice in a complex world so inter-connected. When I think about if it is possible for others to adopt this worldview, I forget that I am an “other” to everyone I meet. If I successfully apply this compassion-based approach to my life, I am impacting all those around me positively.
Have you formally met your “dark wolf” or are you ignoring its presence in your life? What steps can you take to apply mindfulness to your unwanted thoughts, emotions and actions?