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The Windigo is a legendary monster of the Anishinaabe native American people. It
is the villain of a tale told on freezing nights in the North Woods. As the legend is
told, during cold freezing nights you can feel the Windigo monster lurking behind
you as you walk through the woods. It is a being in the shape of an outsized man, ten
feet tall, with frost-white hair hanging from its shaking body. With arms like tree
trunks, and feet as big as snowshoes, it travels easily through the blizzards of the
hungry time, stalking its terrified traveler. The hideous stench of its carrion breath
poisons the clean scent of snow as it pants behind. Yellow fangs hang from its
mouth that is raw where it has chewed away its lips from hunger. Most telling of all,
its heart is made of ice.

Windigo stories were told around campfires to scare children into safe behavior.
Windigos are not born, they are made. There are human beings who have become
cannibal monsters. Their bite transforms victims into cannibals.

Addicts, too, evolve into cannibals of life experience like the Windigo. They never
get enough of what they really don’t want. Addictive craving pushes them to care
more about satisfying their own addictive urge than anything else.

The truth is that there is a Windigo nature in everybody. We all need to learn to
recoil from the greedy part of ourselves. There is a dark and light side in
everyone’s life. It is important to recognize the power in the dark side of life and
to learn not to feed it. Habits that become overindulgent and self-destructive
represent the Windigo nature. Seeking out to fulfill lustful desires for possessions
and acquisition, not for the need but for greed, triggers the Windigo nature to
flourish. Ultimately, your heart will become more like ice and you will begin to
distance yourself with indifference to other people’s experience of life. The trials
and tribulations of others become simple facts and you become less connected to
others around you.

Compulsive overconsumption fuels the Windigo monster that lives within each of
us. People live their lives with the fallacy that human consumption has no
consequences. Indulgent living that was once considered wasteful is now
considered a success by many. A consumption-driven mindset is presented as a high-quality lifestyle but, it eats away at the core being within. People never get enough.
There is a craving for more and more. It is like a black hole in the stomach that
never gets filled.

If you are not careful you will allow the “market” to define what you value. The
common good depends upon lavish lifestyles that enrich the seller while
bankrupting the soul and the resources of the earth.

It is helpful to assess the Windigo thinking that exists within your life experience.
Addicts who have learned to come to terms with their own limits are signposts to
the rest of the world to manage the Windigo monster that lives within.