One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
“My dear one, the battle between two ‘wolves’ is inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, 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 about it for a moment and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”
If you have read other monthly Hope Has a Cold Nose updates, you have “listened’ to me talk about our dance of grace between opposites. I was in one of those dances yesterday, the 20th anniversary of 911. Prior to yesterday, I had set the intention I would write this month’s HHCN update the day after. Though many of the extraordinary co-authors of HHCN have an incredible story to share because of the impact of 911, at least in part, there was more within me that felt there was a sacredness to September 11 in which I should hold a silent space. I felt I should hold the space for others to share their perspectives and their memories as they travel their own healing journeys with a moment in history in which life became before and no longer the same.
After all, as you read in HHCN when I quote Cheryl Richardson’s wise words, people start to heal the moment they feel heard.
Throughout yesterday I started to dance. Perhaps I should write and post this month’s update on September 11. As people shared in their social media posts and stories over and time again let us not forget, I didn’t want anyone to perceive I was forgetting how much 911 created the puzzle pieces that now make up Hope Has a Cold Nose. As I danced with my heart that was whispering wait for the 12th, my mind was speaking hurry and write, the day is nearing night.
And then a special friend wrote these words at the exact moment I needed a messenger.
9/11/2001. About 6AM PST. I pulled into the base gas station, and someone goes turn on your radio, the Twin Towers have been attacked. It was acquisition excellence day, we all sat and watched it on a giant screen TV until my commander looks at me and goes, “I forgot my speech notes. Can you run back to the office and get them.”? The 5 mins it took me to get back we had gone to the highest Threat Condition. I’m now “in charge” of about 100 civilians and a young Captain. Thankfully I had a retired Master Sergeant in the office who walked me through most of the day, I’ll never forget John. I’ll also never forget the anguish on mother’s faces as all they wanted to do was leave the office and get kids from the base day care. I told them leave and security forces is going to stop you. I said I don’t care what you do but you need to stay until we are released. It was hard for everyone that day.
You know what wasn’t hard 9/12. I wish today on the 20th we focus more on what made America less hard on 9/12. We need 9/12 America more now than maybe then!
You know what wasn’t hard 09/12.
We need 09/12 America more now than maybe then!
A special friend who read my heart, for I already knew the message I wanted to write for September. My dance was which day to write it.
September 12, 2021. Twenty years and a day after.
I was reminded of the Cherokee legend a few days ago when I was watching Kutana as my deer whisperer. Kutana, my head-strong, fiercely determined, diligent in fixating on that which has caught her attention, bold in her attitude when she knows what she wants girl becomes gentle, sweet, almost reverent in her sitting as she watches when a deer crosses the yard. Ginger, on the other hand, my compassionate, tender, beautiful smile of adoring love when she looks at you girl, becomes my stern, vociferous, ready to rumble – or at least chase – a deer she is certain is invading her domain.
The wolf within both Kutana and Ginger. Their dance between gentle and bold, quiet and loud, share with others and draw boundaries.
I started reflecting on us as human beings. How I believe is similar to the Cherokee legend. We are in this lifetime to learn. We spend our lives experiencing things that cause us anger, and those same experiences create opportunity to understand and forgive. We spend our lives experiencing doubt and worry, and from these experiences we create opportunity to develop trust and hope. I like to think of a diamond that is getting its shine. A diamond in the rough that through polishing begins to glisten its brilliance.
All elements like those shared in the Cherokee legend are necessary for a human experience. After all, anger was one of the things that brought us together September 12, 2001.
The challenge comes in when we feed one element and starve the rest.
Judgment, for example, keeps us safe and aids our decision making. We use judgment when we decide not to walk alone down a dark alley, for example. We use judgment when we are making life decisions such as to rent or buy a home and where to live or what school to attend. Feeding the element of judgment is not a negative thing to do, though we can perceive the action of judgment as negative. (Perhaps now you have an image in your mind of someone sitting at the front of a courtroom deciding guilt or innocence, judging each case being heard.)
Where we are at risk in the dance of opposites is when we start feeding hate along side judgment, and we stop feeding such things as curiosity, humility, empathy, and intuition.
Yes, intuition. Seems like an odd word to write, doesn’t it? And yet.
Each of us have an inner knowing that becomes hard to hear in a very noisy world of perspectives and opinions. Each of us has a collection. A collection of values, of experiences, of passions and interests, and of what we believe to be facts. We also have a collection of elements such as sorrow, regret, compassion, and peace. All of these combines to give us a starting place each and every time we listen, read, hear, and see something shared from another person’s collection.
Where are we starting from? Are we starting from the mind only where often certain elements are fed more than others?
Or are we also starting from that inner knowing? A place where, when it is quiet, reflects on all elements and then begins to dance with an awareness that a balance is trying to be reached between two opposing foundations. This inner knowing understands well that it depends on which one gets fed.
And a decision is made accordingly based on what experience wants to be had as a human being and what opportunities this experience will teach.
As shared in HHCN, pain, trauma, sorrow, despair, and grief are something that all of us know at least one of in our lives at least once. These elements brought us together twenty years ago.
Maybe we took on the depths of pain, trauma, sorrow, despair, and grief more than we realized, and now too much is present for us, too much is on each person’s shoulders, to help bare the weight for others. Maybe many stopped feeding innocence. Maybe like what they say about how in order to love others, one first must love themselves; perhaps people who struggle to hear others’ who differ in perspective as someone worth listening to are first trying to find a way to feel heard and worth be listened to themselves.
You know what wasn’t hard? 09/12.
Nor December 2021 for I can still remember my first trip to New York City, walking past fences with pictures of extraordinary people their loved ones were now mourning the loss of. Not a large city girl by nature, I fell in love with NYC on that trip. Not just because it was a city in unity because of a life changing traumatic event. It was a city in unity because it was a diverse population of humanity.
And the joy of diversity was being fed most of all.
We don’t need to go back to 09/12/12, for that would be a large amount of pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair to reexperience – more than some already do with their memories. But perhaps we can go forward finding a way to equally feed all the elements that make us human.
You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. – C.S. Lewis
Stay tuned for future updates regarding the translation of Hope Has a Cold Nose into its first of what I hope are many languages. Initial steps have been taken to translate HHCN into Hebrew. My deep gratitude to a commander of the Israeli Army and his direct team for their time they have given in studying HHCN and the exploration they are now doing in how the messages of the book can be proactively used. I am deeply appreciative of the seed you have now planted! I look forward to how our paths may intersect further!
Two stories now make up the beginning of Book 3! Continue to stay tuned! Hope in the form of a Moose and other Inspiring Stories….
Also be watching for October’s update. I have had a very sacred honor of writing life stories for an exceptional organization called Resilience. I will share more about their mission and a link to learn more next month!
If you have enjoyed this month’s message, please pay it forward to others. They can also subscribe to future emails by visiting www.christinehassing.com.
In addition, if you, or someone you know would like to learn how to write your / their own life story, visit www.christinehassing.com for more details.