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Deer Diary, Feed Me to the Wolves

A Native American Cherokee Story – Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves 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 minute and then asked his grandfather:

“Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Diary, I am in a dark place. I returned from being back east, among family and friends, and found myself very, very homesick. It's true that things are beginning to open up here in LA, but I long for those deep relationships, conversations, comforts that come from spending longer than 6 months in a place. That is where I am, six months in. All is coming, right? Some will read this and say, "just come home!" But that's not it. I chose this so as to grow. It is what I am doing, although right now, everything seems - really hard and lonely and dark.

I am normally a very positive person, you know that Diary, but I have found myself in a storm, that at my core, and after all of my studying, I know shall pass, it still doesn't mean I'm not standing, right now, in the pouring rain.

I felt it all starting to lift, when after my morning meditation on Thursday November 8th, I turned on the news to yet another shooting. Down I went. Back down. Way - back - down.

"This is our new reality," they say, "our new normal."

I just can't ever, won't ever, accept this as normal. Each time, I sink a little further. I recover, but it hits me hard. I spend sufficient time really thinking about the victims and those they left behind. I can't take my eyes or my heart off the situation.

I've always been this way.

The shooting at the yoga studio shook me, like they all do, but this one threw me off in a major way. I teach yoga. But I also go to concerts, the movies, run marathons, eat at restaurants, and visit temples. I found myself unexpectedly uneasy the days that followed. I couldn't stop from imagining the scene. What those students, whom were only seeking refuge from the heaviness of the world, of their lives, must feel now? This is what I do. Then after learning of Thousand Oaks, I felt paralyzed. The only place I could safely be was my yoga mat. After an hour of home practice, I went into the studio to take a class, then home to work on my own class sequence to occur that evening.

I made myself leave my mat and the tv, and go for a walk and a coffee. As I was crossed the street I looked back at the still very foreign landscape, at the palm trees, the sunlit sidewalk, and felt, more than I ever have before, utterly - alone. And very deep in my grief. "Why am I here," I said out loud. In a wave it all started to wash over me. I kept walking, trying to contain and talk myself down from the ledge, breathing. "Just breathe," I chanted in a whisper. But it was all beginning to be too much. And thats when I let go of the stronghold. Just let it come, I thought to myself, and so I did. Right there on Wilshire Boulevard, all the tears of Tallahassee and Thousand Oaks, all of the anguish harbored for this political nightmare loaded with all of the dumb shit our dumb (not my) President says and does, all of the heartache of my missing home and the rain and the cloudy days and the familiar everythings. It all came out of my eyes and down my cheeks and I sobbed, and I walked.

I kept moving with the despair in hopes of eventually finding my way through it.

Yes, I drew attention to myself, but I didn't care. I didn't need to hide. I wanted people to see me crying. And what I saw - was understanding. They knew the reason behind the torrential flood of tears. No, I will never be someone that can just go on without skipping a beat when something like this happens. I can't quite hold a normal conversation about things that I temporarily find meaningless. This isolates me, I know, thus aggravating the whole lonely thing, but it is what it is. In my ideal world I would have a friend nearby that shared this kind of detrimental empathy and I could just walk over to her house, open her door, and we could collapse into one anther's arms and cry, and we both would know why and we both would understand.

Maybe some day...

I'm not trying to fix this about myself. If my loved one were taken out of this world in this way, I would want strangers to know the depth of their of existence. I would take comfort in knowing that it all mattered very much. I would deeply appreciate a pause for my pain, my loss - the world's.

It is important for me to share this. We can all feel that we are alone in our darkness, or that we must hide it. Society wants us to appear together at all times. I know that I am here to change that through writing, and living. It is imperative that we stay honest, as terrifying as that may seem sometimes, it is through honesty that we as a collective can connect and therefore heal.

Perhaps you've found yourself overfeeding the dark wolf, just as I have. Congratulations, you are human - an emotionally available, empathetic, deep feeling human. The storm shall pass. We'll be able to talk once again about the weather or restaurants or skincare. We'll wake up with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the heart still beating in our chest, the country we live in, and the excitement of beginnings...

Keep going.

I see you.

Fuel that loving wolf.

Hold space for someone today.

Hold space for you everyday,

Love always,

Coco

You mustn't live so lightly,

Spin your stories, tell your tales,

Let them dance across the oceans

And set the wind upon your sails.

For every truth found on your travels

And in the pits of your despair,

Is a shout into forever

Of "I existed, and I cared."

~ Erin Hanson

Los Angeles, CA

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