Attributes of Being a Warrior

Last year my running friend and favorite landscaper planted three Japanese maples for me. They stand erect at the front of my house and the moment their roots became planted in the earth, I felt the power of their presence. They are not just trees, at least not to me. They are my warriors. They guard me in a very unusual but powerful way. Sure, I know they are not like the electronic security system wired into some remote site that alerts the police of an intruder. Instead these security guards remind me of three vital contemplations of being a warrior.

Fearlessness, Intelligence, and Gentleness. These are the characteristics that make a true warrior. A warrior that envelops and sustains capabilities. If we go through life living in fear, we live a life of anxiety and worry. What happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow has no relevance on this moment. If we conduct our life as though anything that comes our way will be handled just as it should, having faith in our own abilities and that of the universe, then fear cannot be a foe. Rather, it can strengthen us to fearlessness.

My intelligence tells me the above is true. I know I only rob today of its joy if I focus on the possible fears of another time. But intelligence also allows me to trust…trust my instinct. Have you heard about the Harvard student, a self proclaimed sport statistics wonk, whose data told him their basketball team would not win? His instinct told him they would. His Ivy league intelligence was no match for his belly brain wisdom. An affirmation that our intelligence is not just a cerebral function but rather one of the entire being.

My third warrior reminds me in the most beautiful way that approaching life—with its difficulties—can be done with the gentlest of manners. When we practice awareness and acceptance when there are struggles in life, we awaken our capacity to live a more gentle existence within ourselves and within our universe. Gentleness is both the hand you draw to yourself for strength and the arm you extend to help others.

You may opt for a more fool proof security system, but it is the fool who does not allow his true warrior to shine…without fear, with mindful intelligence, and gracious gentleness.

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