Happy Sunday! This week leading up to Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to think about how we nourish ourselves. Obviously the first thought that comes to mind is all about the food that we eat. That is certainly a part of it. There are so many other ways however, in which we nourish our bodies and our minds. There is a story that I have heard told a few times by one of my teachers, Anne Marie. It is the story of two wolves who live inside us. These wolves seem to be fighting each other constantly. One wolf represents our fears, anxieties, self-doubt and criticism. The other wolf represents self-love and devotion, kindness, patience and grace. The question that is always in play, is which wolf wins and the answer is always, whichever one you feed the most. How we think about ourselves, the company we keep, the habits we keep and indulge in are all ways in which we feed one of those two wolves. Even the words we choose to speak, read and write, are ways in which we nourish the wolves inside us.
When we practice yoga and meditation we engage the opportunity to really become conscious of how our choices are affecting us both physically and emotionally. How we hold a pose, how we breathe are indications that can clue us in to whether the choices we are making are working for us or against us. For example, if we are in a particularly challenging pose and we keep focusing on all of the reasons that we can't do it, and we hold our breath, we are most certainly feeding into our own self doubt and criticism. If in the next moment we take a deep breath and focus on what it is that we CAN do, what feels good, we create an opportunity to let grace in and feed into our own patience, kindness and self-love.
So often we come to moments in our life when we feel depleted. We might feel tired and that we have nothing to give. In my 16 months of being a mom, I have come up against this several times already. We look at the world around us and we see that same depletion. What's important about this moment is how we then choose to move forward from it. We can continue to feed into the depletion by feeding the deficit, i.e. focusing on whats wrong or turning to habits that don't help. For me, when I'm feeling at my most depleted, all I usually want to do is sit on the couch, eat junk food and watch really bad television. While in the moment it feels like it's helping, I usually walk away from that scenario having gained nothing of substance. It does nothing to help me move out of feeling the way I was feeling in the first place, and instead I just procrastinated doing any of the real, constructive work. I have fed the "bad wolf". If instead, I make the choice to do something that when I walk away from it, I feel positively changed in someway, I notice a huge difference. I may choose to meditate, to practice, to read a good book or even sometimes just sit quietly with a cup of tea or chat with a good friend. Walking away from these things, I almost always notice how alive I am, how grateful I am and instantly the way I feel and the world I see in front of me changes.
I think an important thing to remember is that when one of these wolves has a moment of conquering the other, it is not a permanently won battle. We have to continue to check in and to make conscious choices about how we nourish ourselves. Just as the bad wolf can win today, the good wolf can win tomorrow. We have to stay awake and aware day after day and choose over and over and over again, how we want to be and interact with ourselves and in our life. It would be as if practicing one really amazing yoga class would heal your heart, mind and body forever so that you wouldn't ever have to practice again. This is why it is so vital that we show up as often as possible so that we can "keep it real" with ourselves constantly. Where am I today? How am I seeing the world and myself? What am I choosing that is hurting? What am I choosing that is helping? Also knowing that everything is impermanent so to be grateful for the good days and hopeful in the bad, is really helpful.
This week, as we move into a new season of thanks and giving, I encourage us all to not just focus on how we fill ourselves up from our plates, but how we nourish our hearts, mind and soul as well. What is one action, verse, song, or person that you can look to in those moments when you just need to feed the good wolf? Please share with me below in the comments! Also sign up here to access this weeks yoga class all about nourishment, as well as all the previous classes. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and nourishing Thanksgiving. Namaste.
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.