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You are what you feed

As I write this, I am awaiting friends at a lovely resto in Toronto. It’s a locavore’s delight. Their slogan: Food is Fuel. Food is Medicine.


And, while I am being more mindful of what I’m putting into my body (you know: Vita-Mixing kale like it’s my job), this isn’t a post about that.

It’s about what I’m feeding.

I recently ran across a story about a Native American tribal leader describing his own inner struggles. He said, “There are two dogs inside me. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.” Someone asked him which dog usually wins, and after a moment’s reflection, he answered, “The one I feed the most.”

Living a Life That Matters, Harold S. Kushner

Have you ever noticed how much time is spent on the problem? The pain, the worry, the fear? How we feed those with our time, energy and devotion, even as we recognize how it depletes us?

And how we merely tend to our successes and move on quickly to the next problem?

Now, Darlings. Please do NOT get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we ignore the pain, worry, fear, betrayal, disappointment. That would be unrealistic and arguably, irresponsible. After all, what we resist persists.

I’m suggesting we flip this around.

Tend to the pain. But feed the joy.
Tend to the fear. But feed the love.
Tend to the anger. But feed the freedom.
Tend to the worry. But feed the excitement.

Do you feel the energy shift? Do you feel how important that is? Do you see how this changes everything?

Yeah. Me too.



Tend to the pain. But feed the joy. (TWEET THIS)
Tend to the fear. But feed the love. (TWEET THIS)
Tend to the anger. But feed the freedom. (TWEET THIS)
Tend to the worry. But feed the excitement. (TWEET THIS)



  1. Your posts are always so well timed to exactly what I need to hear. How do you do that oh wise one? You are obviously soooo in the zone:) Thanks for another great post, Tanya!

    • Thrilled it landed when it did.

  2. first of … Rachel Cole is amazing. Yes…go to her retreatshops. She is a rare listener.

    A few years ago in Idaho and Wyoming there was a concerted effort to kill wolves because they were seen as dangerous and predatory. They killed cattle and sheep and so they impacted bottom lines.

    So wolves were shot and poisoned and driven near extinction in that part of the world.

    And less cattle and sheep were dying so it seemed like tough luck for the wolves. But while wolves are scary they don’t kill indiscriminately. They kill to eat and to teach the skill to their pups. Those cattle were put into wolf land…what do you want them to do?

    But another problem happened shortly thereafter and took a few years to manifest…the elk and antelope (and other herd animals) that live in the same area started to boom in population without the natural check of the wolves. The grassland prairie areas started to get over-consumed and these herd animals started to die from starvation and the prairie itself was being eaten down to its roots that it was degrading in its capacity to sustain life in the way that it was.

    Scientists started to see a connection here and recognized that the environment NEEDS wolves. Wolves have a huge part to play with making the prairie fertile and the forests thick with trees. They are part of the cycle of life. Wolves keep the number of elk and antelope in check which allows the prairie to stay healthy which allows…which allows…which allows… The wolves, the herd animals and the prairie are just three parts of a huge system.

    This is all to say that you need wolves. But you can’t have only wolves either.

    The voice of the wolf needs to be heard and have a place in balance with the other voices.

    The wolf may be scary and snarling and predatory…but that is its nature. Don’t exile it. You’ll end up with too many elk and antelope and a devastated prairie.

    Have your wolf appear with consciousness and not out of habit.

    What can you do?

    One thing might be to let the wolf have a specific time and place that it is free.

    For example on Tuesdays from 9 to 10pm (or whatever time you want) the wolf is encouraged and allowed to speak freely. The wolf will want to come out at other times because it used to have free reign but just say to it “Wolf, you’ll have a brilliant opportunity on Tuesday to do what you do best but not until then.”

    Don’t kill the wolf. Feed the wolf. Feed it consciousness as opposed to gossip or criticism. The wolf has a role to play don’t kill it. We need to be whole and we don’t become whole by cutting off the parts of us that are scary or disorienting – this is the same reason that we shouldn’t try to get rid of mental chatter (positive or negative) but simply bring conscious attention to it.

    • “Have your wolf appear out of consciousness and not out of habit”. So, so good. I choose to engage with the wolf, with the grief, with the fear when it shows up and ask it what it’s here to share. There is 2% (more?) truth in everything, and I’m not a “throw the baby out with the bathwater kinda gal”. (Writing about that in an upcoming post precipitated by a conversation with my daughter, Matt). Scheduling time to commune (or as you say, feed) is new to me and I look forward to experimenting with it.
      Thank you for this gorgeous perspective, and for your presence.

  3. I’ve heard this story before about which wolf you feed, and I found it resonated with me very much. It still does. Caroline Myss talks about unplugging our energy circuits from things that we don’t want to empower anymore. One of the things that she once said that I loved is that the more emotional weight you’re carrying around, the longer you have to wait for things to happen (or change). Thanks for the reminder!

    • Thank YOU for sharing that bit of resonance. It’s a truly powerful thing to be intentional about what you choose to feed or carry.

  4. I tried to post before, but I think the internet ate it–which wolf is that?! :) Anyway, what I said was I’d heard that wolf story before, in a book by Pema Chodron, and it always comes back to me. I often find myself wondering “which wolf am I feeding?”

    I love, love, love the list of what to tend and what to feed!

    And I also wholeheartedly recommend the Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop with Rachel. I hosted her in Colorado, and I am still, weeks later, walking around in the afterglow. If anyone needs more convincing,read my review.

    • Glad you persisted with the wolf that tried to keep us apart! It’s good to have you here.


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