As the Thanksgiving season is almost upon us, I (and every podcast, blog, and IG post) have found myself pondering what i'm most grateful for. I try to be mindful each and every day about what I'm appreciative of. Whether it is just the way a dental procedure went and how a patient reacted to the stress of it, or the way that my child hugged me before I left for work, I'm actively looking for things to be grateful for. When I look for the little things each day, I notice more good in my life. It's funny how that works. It reminds me of the story of the two wolves...
An old Cherokee chief was 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, self-doubt, and ego.
"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
"This 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 chief simply replied,
"The one you feed."
This works the same in our daily lives. The more we focus on the good in our lives, the more that wins out in your mind, in your outlook, and in your interactions with others.
So yesterday, I had the unenviable task of getting a biopsy done. A routine screening test had revealed that I had atypical cellular growth, and that more diagnostic information was needed to determine what (if anything) needed to be done.
Since the discovery of this anomaly, I have been surprisingly calm. I have had many thoughts about how grateful I am that there are early screening tools for this type of cancer, the power of modern medicine, and the incredible intellect of my doctor. Of course, there have been moments of sheer terror, when my mind runs wild with the possibility that this could be serious and life-changing. My own mom and brother have recently been through serious bouts with cancer and subsequent treatments, so this has weighed heavily on my mind. I could have completely freaked out though, and been totally inconsolable for the two weeks between the discovery and the testing, but I've chosen to take a deep breath, calm myself, and focus on "feeding the good wolf" every chance I can with daily helpings of gratitude and positive thoughts until I get more information.
"My conscious choice has been to try to find the opportunity in the difficulty presented."
My conscious choice has been to try to find the opportunity in the difficulty presented. Hopefully, all ends well, I don't know yet. The most important thing about gratitude is that it is up to ME. Sometimes terrible things happen, such as cancer being diagnosed. Sometimes we make awful mistakes and regret the path we have chosen. It's a choice how you react to your life and the circumstances around it. So I choose to keep believing in the power of good, and the power of gratitude, because I'm giving my "good wolf" all the food she needs to win the fight. Which one will you feed?