You ever feel like the wolf is at the door?
Worried about the big bad wolf?
A wolf in sheep's clothing?
What is it about the wolf, that one poor creature can embody so much of our mythos of fear?
Well, let's see... when you make your living by herding, the wolf may be a very real enemy.
I'm not talking about wolves, though. Not real ones. Not like the gorgeous youngsters in the photo (Alaskan wolves, rescued last spring-- either abandoned or orphaned -- now living at the Minnesota Zoo).
I'm talking about the way we make the Wild into a bogeyman, the way we make ourselves small and safe. Small and safe is not what a storied life is about. Fairy tales rarely reward the small and safe. It is especially the one who ought to be small, the one who ought to be safely tucked into a role or a marriage or servitude, who steps into the forest and starts a magical, life-changing journey.
I've recently started some work with a few kind, willing guinea pigs, working with folktales as a window into our lives. I did some work like this at a conference a few years ago with two wonderful women, and I've reworked the process to do one-on-one. One question we ask, one that I have asked children and adults time and again, is, "Where are you in the story?"
When the wolf is at the door, can you ask yourself, who am I in this story? Do I want to be the one cowering on this side, or the one who faces the wolf? Am I the wolf?
And if you are already in the belly of the beast, how will you get out?
Remember, you have a chance to decide. Once you recognize where you are, you can decide whom you will be.
And maybe the wolf is just a pup; maybe she wants some food. Or perhaps he's just walking through his forest, just as you walk through yours.
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Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.