michelle nicole photography


I was laying on my yoga mat listening to soft music and the soothing voice of our instructor Kate as she guided us through a time of relaxation after a Les Mills Body Flow class. My knees are bent and turned in to take the pressure off my low back. We are told to breathe in deeply setting our intention for the day; to focus on the positive things in our lives and let go of the negative. This is my favorite part of the class; it feels like a reward for all the hard work I pushed my body to do. I like to take this class at least once a week to help stretch my muscles, work on balance, to keep vertical and ambulating as long as I can. I am 13 years past the prognosis of wheel chair bound by 40, and while most days the pain is minimal, there are some where I wonder if I can bend to tie my shoes, let alone move into exalted warrior or triangle. It’s these days that I struggle to maintain a sunny disposition. I do a lot of self-talk, sometimes aloud, encouraging myself to get moving; telling myself that I will feel better for having gone to a class.

Kate says she has a special reading she wants to share; the music softly continues, the room is fragrant from a towel dotted with essential oils another class member shares, the combination is relaxing, almost ethereal as the reading begins…

An old Cherokee woman is teaching her grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” she said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – she is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” She continued, “The other is good – she is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandmother, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee woman simply replied, “The one you feed.”

It was beautiful, poignant; I wipe the tears from my cheeks, grateful that the room is dark. We begin to awaken our bodies and slowly sit up ending the class in thanks; I feel refreshed, renewed. Today the good wolf won… again. She wins easily most days, but that wasn’t always the case. When you are a twenty-something it’s hard to hear that you may “only have a handful of good days per month”, a veritable buffet for the evil wolf to feed on. Chronic pain and illnesses are like the evil wolf, they thrive on despair, frustration and hopelessness. I have met many, many patients who are feeding the wrong wolf; their outward display of their inner choice gave me the strength to choose; what about you,
which wolf do you feed?