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The Story of the Two Wolves

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There’s a story, usually attributed to the Native American tradition, which illuminates different ways of paying attention. An elder, talking to a child, says, “I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is fearful, vengeful, envious, resentful and deceitful. The other wolf is compassionate, loving, generous, truthful and peaceful.”

The child asks, “Which wolf will win the fight?” The elder responds, “The one I feed.”

The Story of the Two Wolves and the power of mindfulness are the focus of this promo video for mental health company Happify. Animation by Katy Davis, Kim Alexander and Lucy Izzard of SuperDoodle.

Mindfulness, The New York Times explains in this Mindfulness for Children guide, is “the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment. It can help parents and caregivers, too, by promoting happiness and relieving stress.”

the story of the two wolves
The narration continues from meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg:

Mindfulness allows us to see our thoughts and feelings as they are beginning. It’s very powerful to know what we’re feeling as we’re feeling it, know what we’re thinking as we’re thinking it.

With mindfulness, we can choose what we’ll strengthen and bring into action and we can choose what we will gently let go of. We don’t have to be at the mercy of old habits, or old ways of thinking, or old ways of being. We are empowered. It just takes practice.

the two wolves in my heart
making peace with the wolf
Related reading: The Mindful Child and Three Ways for Children to Try Meditation at Home.

Plus:, a kid-friendly educational resource about Native Americans and members of the First Nations. Organized from Abenaki to Zuni, it contains over 1,400 Native American legends, as well as information on treaties and agreements.

Follow The Story of the Two Wolves with these: The Importance of Staring Out Of The Window, The Uses of Envy, and How to Forgive.

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