Which wolf will win?

“Which wolf will win?” The boy asked his Grandfather.


An old Navajo and his grandson went walking in the woods. The Navajo spoke to his grandson, teaching him of the plants to eat and the plants to avoid, teaching him how to read the story written in the dusty earth by the paw tracks of animals. When the old man saw that two wolves had traveled across their path, he knelt at the tracks and turned to his grandson to teach him of his spirit.

“Grandson, there are two wolves in your heart fighting for your attention. One wolf is snarling with rage, the other is howling in harmony with the moon and all living things. As you grow up the fight will grow stronger between these two wolves.”

“Which wolf will win?” The boy asked his Grandfather.

“The one you feed.”

I’ve seen this story a few times in my life and came across it again today. It’s a great reminder that each of us control the biggest decisions in life:

Help or Hinder

Build or Destroy

Admire or Envy

Harmonize or Rage

Encourage or Discourage

Explore or Avoid

Listen or Ignore

Care or Neglect

Seek or Hide

Love or Hate

Which wolf are you feeding?



Photo credit: http://www.medicineofthewolf.com

Thinking about Redemption

“It comes down to a simple choice, get busy living, or get busy dying.”

If I’m flipping around the TV and happen to fall on The Shawshank Redemption, I stop what I’m doing and watch.  It may just be starting.  Andy is erroneously convicted of murdering his wife.  Or, it could be in the middle, as Andy and Red’s lifelong friendship is building.  It could be the end as Andy makes his triumphant escape by climbing out of the hole he dug in his cell and swimming down a 500-yard sewer pipe to freedom.  Doesn’t matter, I’m in until the end.  

I could go on about all the nuances of the plot, the symbolism, the character development, and the thematic genius of the movie, but I won’t.  Well, maybe just a little.

I’m focused on one quote from the movie:

“It comes down to a simple choice, get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Throughout the movie, Andy Dufresne is hit with life-crushing challenges.  He takes each hit, feels overwhelmed, and even mourns being the victim.  He then gets up, dusts himself off, and takes control.  He decides to get busy living.  The alternative is unacceptable.

His redemption isn’t just his ultimate escape from the prison, but the redemption all of the people he touches along the way.  Andy brings a new perspective to everyone around him.  He helps the other prisoners find their own value.  He sets in motion a long, and silent, quest for justice.  Even as a prisoner, he controls the direction of his life, and his own redemption.  It isn’t the world around him, but the world within him that points the way.

Each of us get to make choices…every day:

Make progress, or make excuses.

Add value, or take it away.

Be an asset, or a liability.

Build trust, or erode it.

Help, or hinder.

Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

Get busy living, or get busy dying.

I don’t know the full definition of redemption, but I’m sure it lies in these choices.

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