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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘choosing health

Two Wolves

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Last week, Cyndie and I squeaked in time after a hard day’s work to watch the Disney movie “Tomorrowland” (2015) that arrived in the mail on our Netflix subscription. We liked it a lot. It includes significant references to the popular teaching legend about two wolves, which highlights the importance of how our thinking influences our lives.

We have been repeating variations of the punchline with noticeable frequency in the days since.

A simple synopsis taken from the movie:

Casey Newton: “There are two wolves” … You told me this story my entire life, and now I’m telling you: There are two wolves and they are always fighting. One is darkness and despair, the other is light and hope. Which wolf wins?

Eddie Newton: Whichever one you feed.

This resonates for me, because it reflects my direct experience from my years of chronic depression through the ensuing years following wonderfully successful treatment. I learned to feed the good wolf instead of the bad one.

This recent focus on the two wolves legend has renewed my attention to how often I still automatically default to a negative perspective, despite my desire and intentions to do otherwise.

I stepped in the house at the end of a long, strenuous day of laboring on our property and Cyndie checked in with me, commenting on the vast number of things we accomplished. Without missing a beat, my response grabbed the equally vast number of tasks that remain in need of attention.

Luckily, that default response no longer goes unnoticed by me. I caught myself and admitted I was feeding the wrong wolf.

It’s as if I feel the cheery perspective of the state of things requires a counterbalance to keep it from being a false representation of reality. But, thinking about it, I could see that no matter how I chose to frame it, either mental perspective did not physically change how many projects we did or didn’t complete that day.

The reality of whether the grass needs mowing or downed branches need to be turned into piles of wood chips does not change based on how I assess our achievements of the day.

So why not feed the good wolf?

In life’s ongoing battle between darkness and despair, and the alternative of light and hope, which one should we be feeding? I vote for light, hope, love, peace, compassion, understanding, and even more love.

Thank you, Tomorrowland, for sowing the seeds.

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Wondering Aloud

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Cyndie and I have recently found ourselves pondering the limitations of our ability to love someone out of their predicament. It gets downright frustrating to watch others destroy their own lives despite a wealth of loving family support desperately wanting to help.

Frustration Builds to Anger

I think part of the challenge for us is the struggle of overcoming anger that builds up in us from witnessing the neglect of self, and abuse of others, dished out by people in need who choose to ignore all common sense offers of assistance. By our own philosophy, we want to be sending a flood of love to all others, even if they are making us angry. That gets hard to do sometimes.

IMG_iP3072eCHAs a person who lived with a dysfunctional mindset of depression for many, many years, I recognize how self-focused a person with mental illness can become. I understand that the person with mental illness doesn’t logically perceive how much pain and sorrow they inflict on those who dearly love them, especially family. Heck, even if the message were to make it through, it could well be insufficient to inspire a change toward choosing to become healthy in response.

Yes, family seems to receive the brunt of our worst selves, even when they are the ones to whom we are most attached. Well, for that matter, even our own selves tend to become the target of our worst. That’s how these predicaments get started in the first place!

Cyndie and I understand that the only person we can change is ourselves. As a parent, it became one of the driving forces for me to want to become the healthiest I can be. I couldn’t force my children to love themselves and make healthy decisions, but I could make that a goal for myself. Doing so became an influence on my relationship with Cyndie. Our subsequent couples therapy and efforts to grow toward the healthiest possible relationship then imbued our household with that intentional energy.

I can’t say for sure that it is responsible for healthy choices our now grown children have demonstrated thus far in their lives, but I no longer see my past dysfunctional behaviors reflected back to me like I began to experience when they were young and I was ill.

Healthy Choice of Sending Love

The exercise that Cyndie and I talked about wanting to embrace last night is to emulate the confidence of our precious friend, Dunia, and not let our feelings of frustration and anger sidetrack our good intentions of wholeheartedly loving those dear to us who are not of a mind to love themselves. We want to send love with the fullest belief in the power of that love to make a healthy difference.

You see, doing so is an act of making us healthier. We can’t make others choose health. That is their responsibility. We can know we are honestly providing loving energy and by focusing on that, overcome the interference of frustration and anger over things we cannot control.

It doesn’t hurt to have a place like this blog where we can vent some extra frustration now and then. It allows us to let go of that which no longer serves and regain a balanced perspective in love.

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Written by johnwhays

March 16, 2016 at 6:00 am