Feeding the Wolf of Compassion

January 2, 2013

By: Monica Worline, Jane Dutton

Originally posted on Compassion at Work Blog

Our late colleague Peter Frost used this proverb as a reminder that we all suffer and that we all have the capacity to meet suffering with compassion. We offer it in memory of Peter, and as an invitation to feed the wolf of compassion in your life.

A Cherokee proverb (from www.snowowl.com):

He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me … it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.” They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied… “The one you feed.”

By feeding the wolf of compassion, we can see the impact of small acts and begin to understand the extraordinary accomplishment of collective healing, as well as to think more deeply about how organizations build unique capabilities that bring out the best of the human condition.