Your warrior self brings fierce action to a cause you care about. Simple as that. We might not be wearing armour, wielding a sword or summoning up a berserker rage like the good old days (and, to be honest, I’m not sure they were all that good) but the warrior self still has lots to do.
I’ve been talking a lot in the Hearthspace about the need to access the warrior self as planetary, global and personal events call on us to dig deep. Our warrior ancestors were fighting for survival in the context of scarce resources and lives that weren’t nearly as comfortable as those enjoyed in the developed world today. Their actions led to direct results: we fight, we win, we thrive. Our fight is different. We are in a long game of comfortable consumption where individual action holds little sway against the dominant ideologies. You don’t need to be a skilled Seer to know that our own version of Ragnarok is weaving its way into our collective fate. Rising sea levels, pandemic, a growing gap between rich and poor, mass extinctions, increasing violence from the left and from the right, food mountains, rubbish mountains. I’m going to stop there because it’s making me depressed. You are a warrior if any of these causes (or ones I haven’t written about here) stir your soul into action.
So here are some tips for working with your inner warrior:
Know what type of warrior you are (or what type of warrior you need)
So here’s the stereotypical warrior: big, brave, tenacious (maybe a bit stubborn and slow on the uptake). Now, he (and he’s normally a he) has his place, but he’s just one of many warrior types. We need to think bigger: the tactician, the strategist, the intelligence-gatherer, the trench digger, the negotiator, the supplies quarter master, the morale booster. All of these call on the warrior self.
Through your life you’re going to develop a set of warrior skills and aptitudes unique to you so wherever you can use the skills you’ve been gifted. Not every fight requires the same skill set. Think tactically. If you’re a fiesty go-getter with a short fuse and you want to persuade the council to hand over a piece of land for a community garden get some training in the art of persuasion – or deploy an ally for that part of the battle. Remember that no-one ever won a battle on their own.
Fear and anger are not your friends
The things that drive the warrior are often rooted in fear and anger. Why are there still people dying of thirst and hunger? Why are our children breathing polluted air? Why are vulnerable children and adults being abused? The role of fear and anger is to tell us that something is happening which goes against our values – they are the boundary keepers of your truth. But the warrior who carries them onto the battle field is unpredictable, tense and lacks the presence and power to adapt to the requirements of the fight. In ancient times where was always ritual preparation for battle: donning armour, painting the body, chanting together. You still see this type of preparation in sports – they are designed to create self-belief, confidence, camaraderie and even joy. Go into the fight believing you can win.
Rest and replenish
So here’s a crucial distinction which I learned through Oneofmany the leadership organisation I then went on to gain my coaching certification through. The warrior must rest and replenish. If you’ve ever read a novel or history involving two ancient armies coming together to fight you’ll know that the two armies march for days and days to reach the chosen battle ground. Then they set up camp. They all have a good meal; someone normally shouts ‘See that the horses are fed and watered!’ Then they all go to sleep. The next day they assemble and two people march out onto the field and check everyone still wants to fight. Assuming that’s all gone satisfactorily – they fight. So before you do anything else, make your warrior the fiercest guardian of your health and vitality. Before you go into battle ask your warrior-self this question: Am I in the optimum place to win?
Remember that bit about going into battle joyfully? One of the tools I use with my 1-2-1 clients is dance. There is nothing like a bit of stirring music to get your inner warrior charged up. So crack out your warrior dancing to help you get into action. And just in case you thought I might listen exclusively to ancient music of the olden times I’ll let you into a secret: my favourite warrioress track of the moment is Katy Perry Roar.
Believe in others
This is how I know we’re going to be okay despite Ragnarok beckoning: I know because of you. I can’t fight on every front or for every cause I care about, even though I feel them deep in my heart. My anger and fear are being triggered every day and one of the ways I work with them is by reminding myself of the truly awesome people I know who are fighting on the fronts that aren’t mine to defend. So here’s the deal. I’ll deploy my most cunning warrior strategies on my bit of turf, you do the same on yours. At some point we’ll meet in the middle and feast on hearty food in a world that is thriving and joyful.
How is your warrior self doing at the moment?
- Fiesty and fearless or faded and frustrated?
- Driven by what you hate or by what you love?
- Focused or spreading yourself to thin over the battle-field?
- Clear on your warrior strengths and when to call in allies or get some training?
Knowing the answers to these questions are essential to achieving your dreams for yourself, your community and your world. In any battle plan remember the steps: pause, plan , prepare, execute, repeat.
6 Replies to “The Warrior Self”
I believe it is time for us to reimagine what it means to have a warrior spirit. “Fighting against, fighting for” are old ideas of “us and them” that have evolved to understand that we are truly battling ourselves when we take the warrior stance. Instead of fighting, we are being called to be “building” and “creating” to have a world that works for everyone. Your post was a trigger for me.. I’m playing with joyful energies of love, beauty and lightness..and I send to you!
Thank you for this thoughtful response. I started to reply and realised I had a whole cascade of thoughts about the power of words – so I’m shifting my focus for next week’s blog post to look at this. I agree wholeheartedly with the point you raise about needing a new type of warrior spirit. I think this is essential if we are to tackle the problems on the global stage. I do believe there are times when the word ‘fight’ is necessary (e.g. I choose to fight for someone experiencing violence or abuse) but how we choose to fight is a different piece. Sometimes we have to say no (and possibly more than once), but instead of then turning our energies towards what we hate – imagine what we could achieve if we turned them towards building something new that we love.
I agree that we should seek to “stop the damage”. I’m also reminded of people like Daryl Davis, a black musician who was able to get hundreds of kkk members to covert themselves! His process includes leaning in.. finding commonalities, building seeds of possibility and igniting the spark inside. In what way is this the warrior spirit? Maybe it’s an essence of commitment to leading with love rather than hate or violence. Einstein said something about not being able to create change with the same tools. So if there is something we are against, we cannot use the same methods of divisive us/them tactics to dismantle it. Ex. During meditation. if an unwanted thought comes in, you don’t create more energy around the thought, you just observe it and let it go. No warrior needed, unless you think of a warrior as having discipline. So maybe new warrior is discipline and commitment.
What do you think?
Hi Kristen. I’m loving how you’re responding to the invitation to re-imagine the warrior. You’ve drawn some important distinctions around intention, tactics and energy which are so important for every individual to consider in shaping their actions and having the impact they desire. Ultimately some of us will see the warrior spirit shining through another individual and others may not. Interesting point around meditation; I’m thinking of the more eastern warrior archetype now – the warrior who engages in mindfulness as part of their training practice? How might a northern warrior deity like Tyr who is also a priest-god fit into the picture?
So I know I don’t have /know all the info about Tyr, but I do know he was the god of justice and law. He sacrificed his right arm to bind the terrible wolf this saving the rest of the Gods and (humanity). His Rune is the arrow, pointing up. Is that because he is pointing to The Divine? His energy is of balancing forces, of righting the wrongs, correcting the mistakes. It reminds me of the concept of karma. He embodies the male, yang, outer forces of energy. Creating in the sense of action and also having to do with big ideas of justice in society. Tyr is brave, just, and balancing as a warrior spirit. Also, willing to sacrifice part of the self.
Sounds like you know a lot about him 🙂