Don’t Feed the Wolf!

The older I get, the saltier I feel. It may just be September blues, but I am feeling more on edge than usual, my emotions often as raw as steak tartare. Blame the hormones, blame the pace of life, blame the teenagers in the house, blame the constant need to pee, or maybe I should just stop blaming and look at myself in the mirror. Who will look back? The good wolf or the bad wolf? Dr. Shannon Albarelli gave me some suggestions for ensuring the nice wolf (like the step-mama in The Jungle Book) meets my reflection. She writes:

Who wants to be happy?

I do … I do … I do!!! I’ll take it anyway you can serve it – dressing ON and a cherry on top. Wouldn’t it be great if it was that simple? I don’t know about you, but I tend to complicate things, and recently, I’ve been thinking that maybe it is more simple than I am making it.

I came across an old Cherokee legend about a boy who received a beautiful drum as a gift. When his best friend saw it, he asked if he could play with it, but the boy felt torn. He didn’t want to share his new present, so he told his friend no. When his friend left, he felt bad. He asked his elder for advice and this is what he said, “I often feel as though there are two wolves fighting inside me. One is mean and greedy and full of arrogance and pride, but the other is peaceful and generous. All the time they are struggling, and you, my boy, have those same two wolves inside of you.” The boys asked, “Which one will win?” and the elder smiled and said, “The one you feed.”

I often feel like I have different versions of myself – the impatient and frustrated version, and the kind and generous version. When one is dominant, the other one seems nonexistent. It’s confusing for me and probably completely confusing for my children and husband. If I can channel my thoughts towards the loving and compassionate side of myself, will I enter into a state of bliss? I don’t think so, but it might help a little. I think the hard part is starving the wolf that is constantly gnawing at my ankles, wanting things to be a certain way and getting upset when things don’t work out the way I envision. If I can take a step outside of myself and notice which wolf I am feeding, then maybe I’ll be able to nourish the wolf that brings me the most happiness. Here is hoping!!!

Shannon Albarelli, Psy.D. practices is Summit and can be reached at or visit her website  Or try one of her classes at The Bar Method where she leads group meditations designed to bring peace, clarity, creativity and kindness to those who participate.

Shannon Albarelli, Psy.D., 57 Union Pl , Suite 212, Summit, NJ 07901. 973 544-8067.


Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness Coach. She helps clients with parenting issues, the challenges of college and young adulthood and issues related to health and habits. Email her at to learn more. She is the author of the Audible Original, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents.


Sign up for our email newsletter