“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
In my late thirties, I attended a workshop that was led by a group of coaches. One of the exercises we did was called the “future self-exercise,” a visualization that took me twenty years into my future.
During the meditation, I was greeted by my future self: a gorgeous, happy, free older me dressed in purple, one of my favorite colors. Her hair was long, flowing, and brown. (So I guess the future me dyed her hair!)
She was walking on the beach in Maui near her home. She told me that her name was “Warrior Woman.” I was uncomfortable at first with that word, warrior, as my mind associated it with violence.
When I told her that, she explained that being a warrior meant feeling one’s power with a relaxed, gentle heart. She was supremely calm and peaceful, and I instantly trusted her in every cell of my body.
Her energy, like that of a child’s merry-go-round, represents the circle of life: moving around and around slowly and happily, experiencing everything joyfully.
I still have a ways to go—my current energy is closer to that of Disneyland’s Space Mountain: in the dark, not exactly sure where I’m going yet clearly on the right path, loving action, loving speed.
But what my encounter with Warrior Woman gave me was a vision of myself to work toward.
Being human, I fixate on what is outside me. I feel the pain of wanting to control things I cannot control. My ego acts like it’s in charge, which can lead to my complaining or acting like a wounded puppy. It is in these times that I remind myself of the warrior’s path.
The path of heart, the path that leads to love, is a warrior’s path.
A warrior protects and empowers him or herself and their world. A warrior is centered in their love and therefore experiences deep peace. A warrior is worthy of love and knows this through and through. A warrior knows how to balance being proactive with simply being.
But warriors are not born. We are made.
You have a warrior sleeping within you. He is a master of life, of his domain and body. You sense him when you feel the will to do what’s right in the face of adversity. You hear her whisper when you know deep down that the harder path is the one you must take. You feel her rejoice when you experience moments of worthiness, joy, and love.
There are five steps on the warrior’s path:
1. Know and accept who you are now—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
This step is about revisiting who we are and seeking what is true, even if it’s challenging. This truth is both where you’ve come from and where you are.
For example, for years I had denied the truth of my abusive childhood in an effort to protect myself. I refused to reflect on the experience or acknowledge that it had influenced my life. But actually acknowledging it was the way out of my pain.
I also woke up to the truth of my adult life—the fact that I was still making choices from that place of abuse. Acknowledging the truth empowered me instead of enraging me.
2. Have something worth striving for.
As we first move into self-love, we often need something beyond ourselves to strive for. It’s easy to fight for someone you love, but you might not love yourself just yet. So until we can fully experience and know that we ourselves are worth it, we must find what or who is worth it in the meantime.
It can be a relative, a friend, or a personal goal. Having that motivation helps us to actualize our true potential, and in doing so, we realize our own true worth.
3. Take action toward your vision.
When we identify what in our life is worth striving for, we feel the power of our will. We feel as though we are being carried on the tide of purpose. This energy must be channeled into action.
Consider what you’re saying to yourself and your life when you identify something worth striving for and then do nothing. That’s like researching a fantastic hike, packing your bags, driving to the mountain—and then sitting in the parking lot.
If you’re struggling to know what to do, I suggest you get quiet and ask for an answer. “Dear Universe: I am unsure of my next action step. Please help me see it and make it clear to me.” Then watch and notice what begins to show up in your life (observation is action).
4. Let go of the outcome.
This seems counterintuitive and maybe even ridiculous.
You’ve just connected with a powerful desire about what you want your life to be like. Then you found something near and dear to your heart worth striving for. And now I’m telling you that you have to move forward completely unattached to the outcome of whether you’ll get the life you want.
Growth begins with looking at those things we desire most and finding the bliss in working toward them—not in achieving them. Achievement is still the goal, but you only get there by letting go of the need for it.
In other words, I invite you to fall in love with the process, with the transformation, growth, and healing you are experiencing for its own worth.
5. Choose to contribute.
It’s only human to think of ourselves first. But now, grow beyond yourself. We do this to fully become ourselves—yet another irony.
What can I give? How will my life have mattered? These are the questions that lead our feet onto the path of the warrior.
Their answers provide the heart. Service is at the core of love. This may be calling an elderly relative once a week, working at a soup kitchen, or volunteering at your child’s school, not out of guilt or obligation, rather out of love.
Transformation won’t come overnight; periods of obsessing and anger over old wounds are all part of the ride.
Of course I laugh when I find myself using my frenetic, Space Mountain energy—the energy that says I have to do something, and do it quickly (I have always loved amusement parks, and now I understand why).
I still talk to my warrior and ask her for her wisdom. She feels like the mother in me. I consider my teaching how I do my mothering in the world. The knowledge that warrior is both someone I aspire to be and someone I already am carries me through this adventure called life.
There’s a warrior in you too. Can you feel it?
Photo by h.koppdelaney