Friday, August 08, 2008


There's this old legend you may have heard before. I read it once and it has stayed with me. If I sound like one of those people in testimony meeting who's always repeating the same stories, please allow this one Velveeta moment. It goes something like this:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he 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 grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Now, my point. Rachel emerged sometime in 1998. She didn't always exist; she sort of grew to life size by feeding off of the scraps I threw to her. I believed they were harmless scraps -- a movie here, a story there, a fantasy written out. She had this enormous appetite. It was hard to keep her satisfied. In fact, it was nearly impossible, and much easier to keep feeding her until she was stronger than I ever intended her to be. Until I became her. At least in my mind, because of course she was much too dangerous and shameful to me to expose.

So there's some wisdom in this old legend, and in the old notion: "You are what you eat." Think about it.


  1. can either wolf ever be satiated?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. How ironic that I heard this exact story on AM Radio today...i'd never heard it before, but found it quite interesting! It's something I will sit and marinate with for a time...but back to Rachel...Do you feel she "overtook" you when you became her (how did you put least in your mind, or do you feel you allowed yourself to be overtaken?

  4. What I wonder is... what purpose do our "Rachel's" serve? (I say 'our' because I have one too and suspect, as you do, that we are not alone.) Is she only there to distract us? Tempting us, pulling us from what we want the most, toward what we want in the moment? Does she feed unmet emotional needs, telling us that if we just TRY to placate her we'll be happy, but in reality, she's pulling us away from the things that give lasting and meaningful happiness? Or does she serve a higher purpose? Does she keep us on our toes, helping us to work harder, protect ourselves better, know who we are and what it takes to be our best selves?
    And finally- can I ever completely choose my "Alex"? My Rachel road looks messy and unhappy and while I can't see me embracing her, I can't quite shake her off either. Part of me is very comfortable with her taunts and tuggings. Part of me loves her and wants her comfort and companionship.... even though I know she'd destroy me if I let her.


Your feedback, please...