It’s what you feed. What you feed is what will grow.
Hungry? Find goodness and inspiration to feed your spirit, just like you need nourishing food to feed your body.
That’s a lesson I’ve learned a number of different ways over the years. The lessons that mean the most are the ones that have involved direct inspiration, or have come by way of personal instruction from those I love most.
When I was a kid, my parents and I were driving to visit some relatives. Stopped at a gas station, we saw a few boys kicking, shaking, and rattling a Coke machine. Finally, they had their success. They got their Cokes – free. My dad, who was brilliant at teaching a long lesson in a few words, said:
See those boys, Vickey? You don’t want to miss heaven for a quarter.
I never forgot that sermon. And there have been so many Coke Machine moments in my life. It has been interesting to learn how to feed the good, and starve the ugly and dark.
Some appetites are easier to diminish than others. Looking at myself in the mirror, and facing the weakness straight-on has been un-comfy on many occasions. But, the starving of the vice is a great trade-off. If I live long enough, I hope to have my diet, so to speak, in acceptable order!
One of my favorite stories is one called Two Wolves. I’ve used it for years to make a point during speaking engagements. This evening, it sits at the front of my mind. So here goes:
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.
One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealously, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, 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 grandson thought for a minute and then asked his grandfather: Which wolf wins?
The wise old Cherokee simply replied,
The One You Feed.
I love this story. As one who loves her food, I’ve had some intrigue with my eating vibe. Italian roots, and from the South, you can imagine how much feeding my brood matters to me. More than the meals, though, I have cared about feeding them good, solid truths. As best I could, in my imperfect way. It feels more satisfying than any banquet when someone I love ‘gets it’, and strengthens another Good Thing as they toss aside a Lesser Thing. Good and inspiring things, while rarely drawing much attention in this world, make all the difference in the quality of life we live.
As I continue to go through some rough waters from time to time, and watch my growing family deal with the different hungers of this world, I quietly go back to the story of the old Cherokee. And I remember, with gratitude, that what we win is based on what we feed ourselves. It’s good to know the difference.
And goodness matters!