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Day 42: 'I' is for INTENTION

Friday, February 11, 2011

Intention: An aim or purpose that guides your planned actions; an objective.

I felt like Diogenes, with his 'lantern in the daylight,' except I wasn't searching for an honest man, I was searching for a plan, a guideline, some answers, to improve my Self.

There's an entire industry devoted to self-improvement: it's growing all the time. Go to any bookstore and you'll find shelves of 'self-help' manuals. Magazines, newspapers, and scores of websites all have their fair share of plans and advice. Even television programs are pitched to help you help yourself.

I thought I should have some kind of outline, a definite step-by-step 'Do this, then do that' detailed plan. After all, if I can see 'my highest aspirations,' as Alcott put it, I should be able to build a ladder to reach them, right? And I had become more or less convinced that out there, somewhere, was THE idea, the explanation, that I needed. One perfect plan, the ladder I was searching for.

Then I came across this:

One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that was going on inside himself.

He said, "My boy, the fight is between two wolves."

That certainly got the boy's attention.

"One is evil," the old man continued. "Anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, laziness, superiority and ego."

"What of the other, Grandfather?" the boy asked.

"The other is good," he said. "Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, effort, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Do we all have such wolves fighting inside us, Grandfather?"

"Yes," the wise old man said.

"Then, which wolf wins the fight?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

* * *

I will continue reading and learning - it's the surest way to growth and progress that I know. But I'll stop waiting for someone to give me the wood to build a ladder. I'll tap into what can be my greatest resource for building material: me.

I don't want to rely on someone else to 'improve' me. I'd rather feed the right wolf, and as long as my intentions are sound, they will.

"It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop." --Confucius
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