Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I am my problem, and I am also my solution.

A few weekends ago, my son found me buried under a pile of books, pouring over my notes and typing away on my computer.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Homework,” I told him.
“Homework!?” he asked.  “Now what for?”
“Yoga training,” I told him.
He watched me for a moment longer before saying, “Mom, remember when you were stressed out about everything that you have to do all the time?”
“Yes?” I replied.
“Well, no offense,” he said, “But you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself.  It is kind of your own fault”.
…My son has this fabulous way of rendering me speechless from time to time.  He makes these wonderful observations, and then he finds these incredibly simplistic yet profound and blatantly honest ways of telling me like it is.  He calls it like he sees it, and far more often than not, he is right.  He holds up a mirror for me to gaze in to just when I seem to need it most, forcing me to stop dead in my tracks and reconsider what I have been up to.  As I do so, I often find myself adopting a new perspective and approaching life from a slightly new angle.  He tends to begin many of said statements of truth with the dreaded No Offense, saying “No offense, Mom, but…” and then the words that follow are some eye-opening observation that he has made.  As I listen to him, it is as if I am dying to know what brilliant statement he is about to make, while simultaneously bracing myself for some tough love.
Yet, even if he does make me wince from time to time, his insight really is a beautiful thing.  Because every time he demonstrates a bit of such wisdom, he serves as a reminder that “I am my problem, and I am also my solution.”  He reminds me that it is I that am the one stressing myself out.  It is I that has the tendency to take on the world.  And it is I that am the only one who can do anything about it, whether I keep on keepin’ on, or I give myself a break.  He reminds me that, for better or for worse, I am up to me, and I had better take responsibility for myself. No matter the problem I am faced with, I must bear in mind that I represent some part of the problem, if not the whole thing.  And, I must care for that part of myself differently if I am to reach a resolution. 
So, today, I challenge you, readers, to take such a look at your life.  And as you do, reflect on how you have become your own problem.  Of course, do  not be hard on yourself, but rather, acknowledge the tendencies you have that might perpetuate issues in your life.  And most importantly, ask yourself what you can do differently to become your own solution. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Consider the following passage: 
One evening an elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandson about life.  He said to him, “A fight is going on inside me.  It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves.
One is Evil.
 It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, dishonesty, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good.
 It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The elder told his grandson of how these two wolves engage in constant battle, and he said, “My dear boy, this same fight is going on inside you.  And it is going on inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about his grandfather’s words for a moment, and then he asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee replied matter-of-factly, “The one you feed.”
…I have come across this passage numerous times over the past few years, and each time I read it, I find myself asking, “Which wolf have I been feeding lately?”
Like most of you, readers, I like to think that I spend most of my energies feeding the good wolf.  I like to think this because I believe that our thoughts really do make our world.  I believe in maintaining an optimistic outlook on life, and I believe in the power of love, kindness, peace, authenticity and all other traits that the Cherokee elder said the good wolf embodied.  And because I believe in this, I also believe that investing my energies in the good wolf will undoubtedly lead me to a more fulfilling reality than its evil counterpart ever will. 
Yet, if I am to be completely honest with myself, I must admit that the evil wolf has gotten the best of me from time to time.  By investing my energy and feeding into this evil wolf, I have allowed it to cloud my perspective, harbor hard feelings, and lead me astray.  Again, if our thoughts make our world, feeding the bad wolf, and thus allowing him to win, will lead to nothing but discontent. 
…I encourage you to take a moment out of your day today and think about which wolf you have been feeding lately.  Is your good wolf, your wolf of love, strength, honesty, compassion, and benevolence, alive and well?   I hope for you that it is.  However, if you find that your evil wolf of insecurity, anger, sorrow, resentment, or self-pity has become more powerful, remember that you have the power to change that.  By feeding the good wolf and investing yourself in positive thoughts, feelings, and actions, the return on your investment will surely be more rewarding than anything that the bad wolf will ever have to offer.