Remember that Cherokee story? About which wolf do we feed—the one below the line—reactive, suspicious, fearful, defensive, resistance. Or the wolf above the line—curious, optimistic, accepting, trusting. The grandfather teaches that the wolf who survives is the one we feed.
We share some global, totally understandable reactions to the pandemic. Folks are feeling anxious, distracted by the news, and unfocused around unimportant, everyday, normal activities. So we end up feeling even more stressed. Because we’re paying more attention to stress than to regular life, feeding that wolf.
There’s another version of the story that’s more conscious. Grandfather teaches that you feed each wolf just enough, so the one who could harm you doesn’t unexpectedly attack out of hunger. So you give it a little attention, enough to keep it from devouring you in the dark.
Let’s try this. Receive exactly enough information to prevent further harm. Learn to read the body signals when you’ve had enough information—fuzzy head, ball of fear in the belly, increased heart rate, shallow chest breathing—all signs of enough.
So, feed the Worry Wolf one prayer, then get back to work, however that is for you right now. Feed the Anxiety Wolf one deep breath, then dive back into that project. Feed the Media Wolf 5 minutes, then take a walk, practice 5 minutes of asana, dance for one song—time to feed those wolves.
Chunk your projects. Set a timer, schedule a reward, make a pact with a friend. Return to the structures that work for you. If the world changes in an hour, and it may, you either got something done, or you stressed your immune system in the worry rocking chair, doing the rest of us no good at all.
Your friends and family need you to be strong, healthy, and proactive right now. They do not need you to fret, hover, and fuel their own worries. If you’ve read this far, you get it. It’s time to step it up, time to be the leader you want for yourself. Feed that wolf.