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Balancing Act: Embracing Polarity

Insights from a Cherokee Tale and the Somatic Spiritual Approach

The Cherokee Parable: A Tale of Two Wolves

There is an old and wise parable, likely familiar to many, that goes like this:

One day an old Cherokee man sits down with his grandson to teach him about life.

“A fight is going on inside of me,” he says to the boy. “It’s a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil – he is full of rage, jealousy, arrogance, greed, sorrow, regret, lies, laziness, and self-pity.”

He continues, “The other is good – he is filled with love, joy, peace, generosity, truth, empathy, courage, humility, and faith. This same fight is going on inside the hearts of everyone, including you.”

The grandson thinks about this for a few minutes, and then asks his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replies, “The one you feed.”

Feeding the Wolves: Striking a Balance

Judi Blum, Somatic Spiritual Coach, Two Wolves parable

An alternative and captivating conclusion unfolds in this Cherokee two wolves tale. Let me share how it unfolds:

The grandson thinks about this for a few minutes, and then asks his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replies, “They both win if you feed them right.

“You see, if I starve one wolf, the other will become imbalanced with power. If I choose to feed only the light wolf, the shadow one will become ravenous and resentful. He will hide around every corner and wait for my defenses to lower, then attack. He will be filled with hatred and jealousy and will fight the light wolf endlessly.

“But if I feed both, in the right way, at the right time, they will live side-by-side in harmony. There will be no more inner battle. Instead, there will be inner peace. And when there’s peace, there is wisdom. The goal of life, my son, is to respect this balance of life, for when you live in balance, you can serve the Great Spirit within. When you put an end to the battle inside, you are free.”

Beyond Dichotomy: The Somatic Spiritual Approach

In my effort to draw upon the parable above for the analogy that follows, I would like to diverge from any interpretation, wherein the physical world is likened to the dark wolf and the spiritual world to the light wolf. Please grant me a degree of literary flexibility in exploring the comparison between these two extremes.

Over the past three decades of my diverse spiritual pursuits, I often found myself nourishing the light while denying the significance of the physical dimension. Conversely, during my 30 years in the realm of holistic wellness care, my focus was primarily on the physical aspects. A bit of a conundrum! What this invaluable experience has taught me is the imperative need for balance. Ultimately, these dimensions are not isolated; the visible is composed of the invisible, and the unseen finds expression in the seen. An extreme tilt in either direction results in a dis-ease in our engagement with both realms.

The Somatic Spiritual coaching approach provides a space for messages from both the physical and spiritual worlds because, indeed, they are inseparable. We slow down with intention to listen to the profound wisdom emanating from the body (somatic wisdom) and Spirit (insert your preferred term here). We craft practices that honours each realm, fostering resilience when societal influences emphasize one over the other.

May we cease the internal and external battles, allowing Life the freedom to fully express its wholeness through us.


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