Welcoming the Snake, Feeding the Wolf

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too”.

The grandson thought about it and then asked his grandfather, “‘Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “‘The one I feed”.

I went to Chinatown on 24th and Wentworth this weekend to shoot the parade with a Chicago Meetup street photography group.  Shortly after I got to the parade, I found that my wallet had been lifted from my camera bag and I suddenly had no money, keys or transportation home.

Even though it was bright afternoon, my thoughts went to a very dark place.

I was in freefall panicked survival mode, wondering how I’ll get home, how I’ll get into my house, anger at my vulnerability, anger and fear of the pickpocket going through my purse for what s/he can sell or use.  I could cry and throw a screaming, howling mindless tantrum at the unfairness of it all,

or I could decide to enjoy being here taking pictures, and deal with the rest later.  

Just like that I was feeling more steadiness where there had been panic a moment before.  I was back in my body, a little shaky for the experience, but ready for the show to go on.

I saw I had money in my pocket–the cost of a ride home.  I had a spare set of housekeys a phone call away.  The thief hadn’t gotten my ‘babies’.  I was somewhere I genuinely wanted to be, shooting something I really loved.

I was okay.  I chose to skip the Meetup, found a good spot, and enjoyed the hell out of the Chinatown New Year Parade.

Emptying my bag after I got home I counted my gifts:  firecracker artwork, New Orleans-style beads, fortune cookies and ‘spring’ calligraphy pictograms.  And a valuable lesson on choosing which ‘wolf’  I am feeding at any time.

(both images below are my own created gifs: click on the picture to see them move.)


parade firecracker

rolling dragon gif

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