Change Your LIfe–White Dog or Black Dog?






This morning I went to water aerobics. I wanted to go for the following reasons: too much junk food and not enough exercise yesterday…and the day before, more energy, new experience, beautiful scenery, my PT has suggested it about 10 times over the last month, something to blog about. I didn’t want to go for the following reasons: feeling lazy, did not want to put on a bathing suit, cold, requires effort. I finally decided, I was overthinking the situation, and about 5 minutes before the class started I threw on my suit and went.
I’m glad I did. I was the only one in class and I had a lovely conversation with the instructor about running and skiing and injuries and alternative medicine and nutrition and caffeine and religion. I love having long, meaningful conversations with strangers…throw in beautiful scenery and the water, and I could converse all day. Really!
I’m also quite proud of myself because I did something today that I feel good about, and despite the fact that I really didn’t want to go, I did. I don’t always do that, and I almost always wish that I would have. But, that is changing, and I’m having less regrets and more success in making good choices. Why? you ask. Well, I will tell you.
A few weeks ago, I heard a story that I have heard several times before, but this time I really heard it. The story is attributed to a Native American elder who was describing his internal conflict between right and wrong:


Inside of me there are two dogs.

The black dog is mean and tries to talk me into making the wrong choices.

The white dog is good and encourages me to make the right choices.

The black dog fights the white dog all day.




When asked by the friend which dog wins, the elder reflected for a moment and replied;

The one I feed the most.

Do you have a black and a white dog, too? I definitely do, and they go at it constantly. Sometimes the white dog wins, but often the black dog does, and I’m sick of it. I hate that black dog…but I secretly like it as well, and I’m feeding it way too much! I don’t always like to do the best thing. In fact when the white dog is trying to keep me out of trouble the black dog is usually saying, “Oh yeah, make me,” and the white dog usually backs down. I guess it is just a little Chihuahua. But it is getting bigger, I think that it is now a Cocker Spaniel, and the black dog is getting smaller, maybe a German Shepherd.
I’m not sure what changed and I’m not sure why this story made such a difference to me right now. I do know that I was at a really low point when I heard it and I was talking to someone who was really trying to help me and something just clicked. I love when that happens because I feel hopeful, and when I feel hopeful I’m able to make changes.
Now when I have to make a choice, I think about those dogs. Today, I threw a big juicy steak to the white dog when I went to water aerobics, and it got a little bit stronger. And I just glared at the black dog and said, “Damn, stupid mutt!”
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