Feeding the good dog

Tsali and me

There’s an oft-repeated parable that goes like this:

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other.

One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.

The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed.

I like this but I wanted to bring it a little closer to home. I decided, therefore, to make it about dogs. One of the best dogs I know is my friend Blaire’s dog, Tsali. Tsali is a Golden Retriever of the first order: happy, friendly, and loving.

Since I want to feed the good dog, I thought about the ways I can best do that. Here are some I came up with:

  1. Spend a little time in quiet meditation and prayer every day. For an extrovert like me, this isn’t always easy but it is important.
  2. Eschew all but essential news. Let’s face it, you can generate much angst right now if you soak in all the news and current events. You really don’t need to wallow in it.
  3. Be with people who make you laugh, who make you seem lovable, and who draw your attention toward the many good things in life.
  4. Read good books, listen to good music, and watch good entertainment.
  5. Don’t get lost in materialism. Don’t forget that if you are not careful, what you own can end up owning you.
  6. Be careful with your words. To some extent, what we speak becomes our reality.
  7. See things through young eyes. “A child sees everything, looks straight at it, examines it, without any preconceived idea.” (Olive Schreiner)
  8. Get plenty of exercise and outdoor time. Exercise integrates our body, mind, and soul.

Over time, your life will be filled with light, joy, and friendship. Those things which you nourish will become the biggest part of who you are.

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