Choice has been a big word for me this year. I have written previously about how we cannot always choose our circumstances, but we can ALWAYS choose how to respond to our circumstances. Last week, in a beginning staff meeting, we discussed ways that we can choose our inner dialogue as a way to create satisfaction and a sense of purpose. Consider this Fable:
ONE EVENING, AN ELDERLY
CHEROKEE BRAVE TOLD HIS
GRANDSON ABOUT A BATTLE THAT
GOES ON INSIDE PEOPLE.
HE SAID "MY SON, THE BATTLE IS
BETWEEN TWO 'WOLVES' INSIDE US ALL.
ONE IS EVIL. IT IS ANGER,
ENVY, JEALOUSY, SORROW,
REGRET, GREED, ARROGANCE,
SELF-PITY, GUILT, RESENTMENT,
INFERIORITY, LIES, FALSE PRIDE,
SUPERIORITY, AND EGO.
THE OTHER IS GOOD.
IT IS JOY, PEACE, LOVE, HOPE, SERENITY,
HUMILITY, KINDNESS, BENEVOLENCE,
TRUTH, COMPASSION AND FAITH."
THE GRANDSON THOUGH ABOUT
IT FOR A MINUTE AND THEN ASKED
HIS GRANDFATHER: "WHICH WOLF WINS?..."
THE OLD CHEROKEE SIMPLY REPLIED,
"THE ONE THAT YOU FEED"
We each have both voices inside of us. Sometimes one is louder than the other. How can we feed the good wolf that produces joy, peace love and all of those other attributes that bring a sense of fulfillment and positivity? Here are a couple of practices that I do to bring out that voice I want to feed.
- I make a list of my blessings at the end of every day a practice. It is how I journal in the evening and how I end my day. If in the middle of the day, the wolf I don’t choose to feed is breaking into my thoughts, listing five blessings right then and there is a good way to break the negativity. This year our school is noting those things we want to feed in our school. Every day each of us is listing something positive that occurs every day during the school year. I know for me, this list will be a well of support when I have a dark day and nothing seems to be positive.
- As I do my evening journal, I set an intention for the next day, based on what I think I might need to help me maintain that centered place. Today my intention is to have relaxed productivity. I knew that today would be non-stop and, when setting my intention, I knew that I would need to be relaxed within the productivity to keep feeding the wolf I want to nourish. Having this intention allows me to hold that space through the day.
There are days that the wolf that brings us down grabs a hold of us. On those days, negative feelings and thoughts naturally creep in. When I was a principal in a primary school, there were those days when I thought I could do nothing correctly and my negative thoughts were bigger than life. In those instances I would often reflect on what I was feeling and the whys of that feeling. If the feeling was based on something I could control, I might make an action. Sometimes I realized that I was overly tired. In cases like that, I might choose to not make any big decisions and to get a good night’s sleep the next night. I am always amazed at how a good night’s sleep changes perspective. Those days came less and less as I quietly and gently looked at what was happening inside and acknowledged and supported the voice that gives me power.
What are ways that you feed the positive wolf? How do you teach your students to do the same?
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for dedicating space and time for teachers and teachers of literacy to come together to share ideas, practice and life experience.