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Two Wolves Part 1.

Two Wolves P1.

The moon light radiates off the serene mountain side. Thick air, gigantic trees, so tall and wide you sense hope. Darkness sets in, the trauma the howling of the darkness of night but the brightness of the moon still shining. The light beams off the rivers water. A breath of fresh air.   A grim smug of hunger, a craving, anxiousness, an adrift. Emptiness so cold it takes your breathe away. A silent fear and groaning of - will I ever find it? There are two starving wolves running around this mountainside forest. One is completely black like the night. The other is white as the snow. These starving wolves are chomping at the bit, sniffing everywhere, senses on high alert, looking all around for food. Eventually they go to a stream and look down at the water and sense the phantasmagoric power in the reflection that the two wolves are actually one…

I want you to picture a pie chart now. One side of the chart is 85% and let’s say that’s white. The other side is 15% and let’s say that is black. If this wolf is starving… what side is it going to feed? Think long and hard….If the wolf is starving is it going to feed the 85% or the 15%? Is it going to choose to feed the dark or the light? Which side is the wolf going to feed?

I ask this question in therapy all the time. Everyone answers it differently. Some it’s the light, some it’s the dark. The funny thing is it’s a trick question. The answer is: whatever side the wolf (You) chooses to feed. The wolf has choice to feed its dark side or its light. Most people don’t know which side they are going to feed. We unconsciously and consciously feed both sides of this wolf. We obviously are the wolf. Most humans actually have no idea this is happening all day, everyday, with all our decisions behaviorally and even with our cognitions.

In the words of William George Jordan, "Into the hands of every individual is given a marvelous power for good or evil--the silent, unconscious, unseen influence of his life. This is simple the constant radiation of what man really is, not what he pretends to be."

Self awareness is the key to change. Understanding your personality, your character, your morals, your programming, and your trauma is vital to success. Understanding why we do and believe the things we believe is also very important. If we don’t pay attention to our antecedents, cognitions, trauma, emotional response, and behaviors we will be a volcano waiting to erupt. Let's wait and see what the aftermath will be. Most of us are emotional wrecking balls just waiting for the next building to crush. Not realizing the pain and suffering we are causing by our behaviors. If those behaviors are hurting our kids by yelling at them or spanking them. Constantly being reactive instead of responding to them rationally. If it is telling our partner or kids all the ways they have failed us. If it is blaming our parents for the way they have “made us.” If it is feeding into our negative thoughts and beliefs about our sense of self.

We as humans have the choice everyday to feed the light in us or the darkness in us. There are always at least two paths. The broad path and the narrow path. The narrow path is significantly more difficult to go down. It’s not even close in comparison to how much easier the broad path is. Humans like the path of least resistance. Just like water we will flow to whatever pathway is easiest.

The narrow path is always the light. It’s always harder to choose the harder choice in the moment. It is harder to use will, power, discipline, and determination to make healthy choices for yourself. It's harder to not feed into slander and gossip in a moment of weakness. It's hard to not want to justify our behaviors but blame everyone or everything bad in our lives. Feeding darkness in our thought life is easy. Feeding negative habits and paradigm's in our life is easy. An example of light is to look at a situation you’re in and see the good in it. To see the cup half full is harder than to see it as half empty. Our mindset impacts everything. Our mental health impacts everything. To think about whatever is good, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think or focus on these things. To think about creative ways to solve my problem (light). Verses instinctually thinking about all the ways I could get hurt (dark). Do you feed the constant dark ruminations of protection of self from getting hurt in the future? The broad path is easy, simple, less resistant, barely any friction. It’s easy to say negative comments about a situation that looks bleak. It is easy to give up hope on something that you have been longing for. It is easy to satisfy yourself momentary emotions with pleasure instead of focusing on your long term goals.

A lot of our world is set up for our lives to flow like a river down the waterfall. Easy, fast, and destructive. A simple example of the broad path is being hungry and going to get fast food. It’s way harder when you are hungry to grab something from the store healthy than go home and cook and then clean it up. It’s way easier and less energy has to be spent by just going to fast food. Simple solution we get fed and feel better. Problem is we all know fast food is unhealthy. It Is also expensive, impacts our budget, mood, and our gut. It also usually doesn’t produce left overs so now you still will have to cook again later or eat out again.

Gluttony the desire of more pleasure and self indulgence at the expense of self or others. Another good example could be over eating when food is good. Having a second helping after you know you are full. The pleasure of taste and eating again satisfies the body and brings us pleasure, so we want that feeling of pleasure, just a little more. If we are sad emotionally then eating something pleasurable helps satisfy the sadness momentarily. Then after doing that over and over and over we gain weight and/or dependent. We are now coping with our emotional sadness with delicious food. Slowly not realizing it and then we are overweight, or have diabetes, or heart disease, or high cholesterol. We also might have a negative viewpoint of ourselves and our body now because we are overweight. So the momentary indulgence doesn't actually help much except for in that moment. If it’s food, attention, alcohol, drugs, sex, television (shows, movies), whatever the vice is in the moment we are choosing to feed.

Feeding the darkness is feeding into negative thoughts. Negative thinking impacts everything in our life. Seeing the cup half empty or seeing it half full changes everything about a situation. It also changes the way the body feels emotionally based on the cognitions that we are having. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a scientific proven modality to treat tons of mental health disorders. One of the most important parts in the modality is recognizing the negative thought patterns and then changing negative thoughts. It is proven scientifically that our cognitions impact how we feel and our feelings (emotions) dictate our behaviors. Recognizing and reframing thought patterns in any negative sense is positively helping us every time.

A lot of people will be upset with me saying this but we can choose to be a victim and swim in negative thoughts of darkness of depression, shame, guilt, anger, or anxiety. Or we can choose to fight those negative thoughts and emotional responses and find victory. Part 2 will elaborate on negative thoughts and being the victim in situations.

Let's dive deeper into more examples of feeding the light and feeding the dark.

“After desire is conceived it gives birth to sin, when sin is full born it gives birth to death." James 1:14-16. Feeding the darkness is easy, and when we feed the negative aspects of our lives it impacts things negatively.

Let’s say for example a married man has a sexual fantasy but doesn’t feel comfortable sharing it with his partner. His mind is entertaining a desire or a craving. He doesn’t know how to get that hunger satisfied because he doesn’t trust or believe his partner will meet his needs. Or if he has tried and been rejected in the past. Then in place he starts to look elsewhere (usually internally first) that could be images on social media or porn. If neither of those satisfy the craving then it could progress to another level with strip clubs, prostitutes, massage parlors, or other people. Furthermore, if this man has used masturbation as a way to cope as a child for any negative emotion or negative situation in his life then the craving will come back faster and stronger. Matthew 12:44-45, "Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ On its return, it finds the house vacant, swept clean, and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first."

Obviously demons aren't coming back to live in the mind but the metaphor and power of the darkness is there. It is easy for an alcholic or drug addict to return to the addiction and have a major binge after being clean for a while. Feeding the darkness is entertaining something behind your partners back. The other part is in his mind thinking negatively about his partner even after they rejected him. Not believing or seeing how to make change in the situation or learning how to properly communicate to the partner to get needs met. Which is likely just the rejection or sadness emotion impacting the brains ability to problem solve and be rational because of the sadness in the brain. Coping with the emotional response is the first thing that needs to happen to help get the emotional response under control and out of the body so the brain can begin to be rational again. Coping with the emotional response is feeding the light and leads to healthy behaviors and cognitions in our lives.

Think about our thoughts as emotional trains that are dictated by the emotional state that we are in every moment of every day. Whatever the emotion is will dictate the thinking patterns until we get the train to derail onto a different track. If you are sad all your thoughts are now impacted by the sadness until you cope. If you are anxious your thoughts are now anxious until you cope. If you are angry and feel jealous now your thoughts are full of jealously or vindication. In other words cope with the emotion. First, feel the emotion, name it, see it, know what it is. Second, have a coping skill ready to use, and use it. Third, think healthier and feel better. When we don't cope and are sad then now my thoughts will be sad. So if I am trying to solve a problem for my partner and I how likely am I going to see the good or fun or happiness? Or be creative to problem solve? How likely am I to judge the situation negatively and probably impact my partner in that moment. You are the conductor of the train, you can control the emotion, it doesn't have to control you.

I like the metaphor of watching tv. You could envision yourself watching a really sad movie. That sad movie is the emotion you are feeling and your brain is having a hard time changing the channel. We have the remote and need to find what the skill will be that will allow us to change the channel. If it is a scary movie that is making us anxious. We need to change the channel and get off something scary so that we can now think positively or rationally at least.

Quick note on coping skills is that the first time you rode a bike you probably fell of and or had a hard time finding your balance. Coping skills are very similar to riding a bike, we fall and don't have balance the first few times we do the coping skill. It is hard to feel comfortable or to trust that it is actually going to work. Once we get used to it we now know that when I start peddling the bike will move with momentum and I will be safe riding. Coping is a skill set that we learn and that we now get to utilize as I need them just like when I need excerise or desire fun I choose to now ride my bike. If we don't know what emotion we are feeling in a moment it is impossible to cope in that moment. If we don't deal with the emotional reaction to a moment then we are compartmentalizing (stuffing).

In healthy relationship, healhty communication will lead to the partner understanding and learning how to meet his or her needs eventually in time. They both might need to work on how they share their cravings or needs. It could be similar to asking someone to cook for you in a different way. Not allowing space to think positively about the situation is the first part of feeding the darkness here in this situation. As you can tell not talking with his partner and stepping out further feeds the darkness even more. Feeding the light could have been coping with the rejection and disappointment and then first thinking positively about the situation. Maybe saying things to himself like “I need to learn how to seduce my partner. My partner wants to satisfy my needs but doesn’t feel comfortable with that yet but I will help them feel safe to get there. I might not get that now but that doesn’t mean I can’t have it in the future.“ There are tons of different positive thinking that could help the mind to understand a better approach to changing the situation. After the changing of the cognitions (thought patterns) it will change the behaviors in the situations which will lead to feeding more light and not feeding the darkness. Then what good happens from there?

The next step in the maturation process and for deeper results in trying to feed the light is to plant seeds with his or her partner on what his or her needs are and be patient trying to help them get to the place where they can meet that need developmentally sexually or be able to engage in the fantasy. More over, not feeding the craving or desire in the mind until the partner is closer to being ready will also help in the short term while you are waiting. Having sex with your partner will also help with that process of being patient because the physiological aspect of the body craving sex instinctually will be tamed momentarily with healhty sexual interactions with your partner.

In relationship, feeding the good wolf together is another amazing way to grow. Helping set healthy expectations, healthy goals as a couple, helping meet each others needs as we achieve and reach after those goals together and as individuals. Making sure that you as a partner are bringing your best self to your partner and loving them out of the overflow you want to give. Helping them and showing unconditional love in the process of commitment.

Couples constantly have expectations for their partners and get emotional with their partner for not meeting their needs or expectations. Another healthy example of feeding the light here could be communication with the partner. Tell them the expectations and needs you have and help serve, love, adore, them out of the good energy you have and then in turn hope they will help meet your needs in return. If in relationship you are using someone else to get a need met, you are feeding the darkness in your life. Being creative and problem solving with solutions that my partner could help me with. A lot of people aren't ready for all of someone's fantasies or desires either right away. Sometimes it takes patience and helping the person feel loved, safe, and accepted to be able to get some of those needs met. Feed the good in your heart and in your life and watch the blessing and good follow behind that.

A lot times the trauma is what is underneath these maladaptive coping skills and unhealthy view of self. Trauma changes the brain and impacts it to never want to experience pain again. Either physiological or psychological. Physically in the body or emotionally in the spirit. We have to learn how to control these responses in the brain and in the body to help overcome some negative habits in the brain. We need to learn how to sense that the brain is signaling red alert (like a smoke detector) or sense that my body isn’t operating correctly. Maybe I am anxious or nervous and need to feel it in my body and cope.  Not feeding darkness in our lives could be many different areas but understanding our trauma and our body and controlling what we can control in us not in others is monumental.

In Part 2 I will further break down more positive and negative patterns in life. It will continue the narrative of the two wolves. It will discuss ways to help to see positive choice and feeding the light helps for a healthier happier life than feeding the darkness. There will continue to be practical insight for healthy living. I have not clearly been able to express all that I needed to in this post. Please embark on this journey with me and read part 2 soon to further gather more of what I am trying to articulate.

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