The Warrior Strategy: If I am right and I am good, then I am safe

This blog post follows part I from last week. After all, the personal is always political.

I have been the warrior in my family my entire life. I fought hard for what I believed to be right. I stood up to any and all injustices I would notice. I made sure everyone knew “the facts” and I expected people to act accordingly. I thought, mistakenly, that there are facts and those drive people’s action. So, what I had to do to save the world is simply educate everyone to all the facts all the time. It seems, I forgot we live in the era of the internet, where everyone has access to a little bit of everything all of the time.

More recently, I have been acutely aware of the degree to which our societal pockets ruthlessly fight one another over resources, but most importantly over mindsets and narratives of “rightness”. As if to be right is to have won something precious. The paradox being, of course, that in order to remain right about everything one must have tunnel vision to what else is out there. To be right means to collapse the 360 degree field of vision, the field of information, into single-pointedness of narrative and “facts” so that everything one is exposed to supports the current version of reality they hold as real. No possibility of an alternative. How could there be, if I am to right, all of the time?

The good girl / good boy mindset is the breeding ground for compliance.

In this type of mind, then, compliance is seen as the golden standard. Compliance to the narrative I have held as true since longer than I can remember. I believe the underlying logic of needing desperately to be right goes something like this: If I am right about my life, then I am good. If I am good, and I do everything right, then I am safe. This type of mindset is the breeding ground for compliance. It’s the “good girl / good boy” narrative.

A little sidenote. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard people tell my son he is a “good boy” because he listened to what he was being told to do. Not “good listening”, not “thanks for listening”, not “good job”…but …good boy. From moment one, society is unconsciously trying to form his identity as a “good boy” because he complied. To me, that’s a huge metaphor for how we teach children (who later become adults) to be in compliance to authority. Rewarded for not questioning. Rewarded for just doing as you’re told… seems much too familiar on the global context. Moving on…

This “good girl / good boy” narrative has been exhausted in the conventional story about why everyone should do the “right(?)” thing and get inoculated. In my world, the people spewing this narrative attempt to fixate and responsibilize us to one problem all the while ignoring the plethora of other ways in which, by virtue of living a modern lifestyle, we are responsible for hurting, torturing, maiming, and killing the totality of life on the planet. All that ignored, because we’re doing the “right thing” when it comes to this virus.

For anyone out there who notices the contradictions, life feels uneasy. We are not taught to hold multiple truths as real in our cultural conditioning / programming. We are taught that there is a right and wrong way, and we better do things that way or else. We are shunned, shamed, threatened, excluded, diminished, demoralized, demonized, and so on. All strategies to make us comply, without daring to question.

Because we cannot not notice the contradictions, and because we are taught to pretend inside of us that the contradictions aren’t real, we grow up believing there is something wrong with us. I know I did. I thought I was crazy, I thought I was delusional, I thought I was an addict, I thought I was the exception to the rule. Turns out, most people live that way. Highly fearful, on survival mode, trying to make it to the next day and live, their bodies full of contradictions that are impossible to dismiss. So we lock that shit down and pretend, to our own detriment and as long as we can, that what is, isn’t.

You see, we have been convinced to believe that in order to feel safe in our society the individual has to either dismiss the truth that lives in their body in favour of the collective “reality”, or live in fear of exclusion/abandonment/shunning/shaming. Either you’re with us, or against us. When it comes to the c-word, it’s this narrative on steroids.

And all the intellectuals with their need to be right have yet to step off their high horse of judgement and denial to notice. As if the future of their children’s life doesn’t depend on it. So be it.

There is no safety in betraying one’s Self and inner knowing, and, there is no safety in buying into a collectively accepted narrative out of fear of not-belonging.

Enter, the strategy of warrior

We don’t belong in a metaphorical box

When I consider how much pressure each of us is under to comply so that we belong, I totally get how belligerence has been such an intelligent response for me. In a world that unapologetically puts us all in a box that we can never fit into, it is no wonder most of us feel like we are losing our minds. In an individualistic world, every problem is reduced to the individual. You are the problem if you can’t figure out how to belong, you are the problem if you don’t comply, and you deserve to be outcast when you are not one of us.

You see, I never felt this line of thinking to be fair, just, moral, or ethical. I couldn’t understand how it is that by virtue of being “different” (as per the societal and cultural narratives of the day) one deserved to be considered less-than. In Albania I remember the adults around me trash-talking the gypsies and jevgjit. In Greece I remember Albanians and Russians being targeted as thieves, prostitutes, unclean. When I came to Canada, I began to notice ALL the never-ending ways in which people are differentiated (in demeaning ways). In a country that speaks of itself as inclusive and polite, my experience was not that.

My whole life, it has felt like I wanted to run, yet had nowhere to turn to. My (unconscious) strategy was to fight the (unwinable) good fight despite the consequences to myself, because that felt safer than the alternative, which was doing nothing and caving into hopelessness and despair and disappearing. So I become an activist, a human rights defender, a revolutionary, a fighter on behalf of those who couldn’t. Queen of justice. And yet, the more I fought the more the world did what it was doing anyway. All I managed to do by fighting was lose myself in the process. Turns out, it’s not good for you to be on high alert all the time….who knew!?

Fear was underneath it all, after all

In my adult life, I had never considered what triggered my responses of warrior. I thought it was righteous rage. Rage is the intensity of the fire that keeps me moving, that sustains me. It is the fuel that enlivens my fire. It is the energy of action! And it has both exhausted me and kept me going (this is a story for another blog, because there is a difference in how we experience emotions. When my rage was directed at changing the world because I was right and they were wrong, I managed to seriously hurt myself. When I discovered that my rage is my gift, fuel for my intensity and passion over my own life and nothing to be feared, my relationship with my fire changed). Turns out, rage is a secondary emotion. I wonder, having known that, how come I never questioned what lives underneath my experience of rage?

One of the many gifts of covid in my life has been to bring to my awareness how my righteous rage has been historically triggered by fear. Fear has always been at the root of my rage. Fear of noticing what I notice and feeling unable to do anything about. Fear of what would happen if I didn’t engage. Fear of the (presupposed foreseeable) outcome. Fear of dying. Fear of living.

Fear has never been a safe space for me to rest in. I have always felt shame around feeling fear. In an effort to protect myself all these years, I have never (until recently) allowed myself to feel into fear and shame. In fact, both of these felt so foreign to my intellect; there was an active shut down in my body. I was not to go there, unless and until I felt safe to do so.

It is obvious to me now, that warrior was a self-protective, intelligent response to feeling perpetually violated. After all, the cultural conditioning / programming taught me that it is smarter to fight than it is to be vulnerable. Because to be vulnerable is to be ridiculed, dismissed, punished. Vulnerability, I believed, was a sign of fragility, of weakness. It was a thing to be ashamed of.

The paradox is, without vulnerability there can be no intimacy.

Having internalised the messages of my upbringing, the brilliant me that I am (that we each are), I adopted intelligent coping strategies unconsciously using the metafilters of safe/unsafe in order to survive. The fucked up thing is, most of us keep perpetuating the same strategies we picked up on as children for life, likely because we have not stopped to question or notice that we are no longer in survival mode. We are not four anymore and we are not living with our parents. The context in our lives has changed. Yet the strategies remain the same, and we replicate that which we know, more or less.

You see, human beings are biochemically addicted to the familiar sensations in our bodies. Sensations like fear and anger and hopelessness, as experienced in our mother’s womb and then growing up, become familiar to our nervous system. It is easy for us to go there when we have not digested and metabolized our histories and future-paced stories.

I believe this is why it’s so easy for us to buy into the Big Lie perpetuated by a handful of minority elites who directly profit from our misery, fear, powerlessness, rage, outrage, hatred, divisiveness (oh, the history of capitalism…). All of this lives in our bodies, not our intellect. So it doesn’t matter what the data says, what the potential alternative narratives are, what an alternative truth might be…unless we have dug deep into the shadow of our inner being and reclaimed ourSelves, we simply go on believing the version of truth that validates what already lives in our nervous system.

Fear has always been fueled by external referencing and habituated ways of thinking, both of which are detrimental to our ability (and willingness) to exercise free will.

Fear has always been a powerful control mechanism. Fear is all story based. It is kept alive by stories of the past, or the future. “Lest we forget”, “the war to end all wars”, “never again”. Paradoxically, in not that, we wend replicating exactly that. Because fear is a state of being that robs us of our ability to live in the moment. It robs us of our ability to think. It literally paralyzes us or, when coupled with rage, propels us to resist and fight against. Fear is amplified by external referencing. By checking the news, other people’s opinions, and institutional narratives. Fear has always been amplified by habituated ways of moving through the world, because habit lives in the past. While habit is great in areas such as walking, or doing our morning routine, it is detrimental in our ability to exercise free will. Habit ensures a mindless existence. Repeat, replicate, do not question. A shallow existence, as far as I’m concerned.

Validate my truth, and gracefully let go

Today, I stand in a place of acceptance. I question not what moves inside of me. I know to notice the impulses that move in my body that let me know “I sense a violation”. I refuse to be ignorant for the sake of fitting in. I refuse to pretend for the sake of appeasing another. I refuse to live in the shallow because another is more comfortable there. And I refuse to comply with what I believe are unjust, immoral and unethical laws that violate the human spirit and are swiftly moving us toward a neo-fascist, authoritarian world. And, I refuse to stand idly by and without using my voice to make crystal clear which side of history I stand on. I use my voice not to convince another, but to be true to my Self.

I know my truth, and I know that what matters most to me about being alive is living curiously and courageously. I know that the collective has chosen a trajectory that I cannot stop even if I tried my darn hardest. If I’ve learned anything about my inner fighter is that bracing against destroys only me, because I have nothing and noone to brace against, resist or fight. I have noone to awaken to a different reality that isn’t willing to notice their world differently. I have nothing and noone to save or fix.

I choose to trust in the evolution of consciousness. This human story is but one narrative, one storyline, one point, one timeline, one instant in the infinity of time and space. That is what the consciousness that I AM is.

So what if I no longer appear in this human form? I trust that I chose to be here, in this reality and this timeline, for a reason. In the midst of all the dying, I choose the majesty of Life! And so, I gracefully let go of the externally imposed shoulds. I let go of the notion of fitting in anywhere where the essence of Self/Source/Soul/Spirit/Signal isn’t appreciated. I choose to live a life of curiosity and discovery and perpetual evolution for its own sake. I choose to notice everything that moves inside of me and own it as mine, so that I am never at the effect of life, but instead at cause for my life.

Truth is, I will never not be a warrior. Warrior lives inside of me, it is part of what fuels me. Yet the way that I channel that archetype has shifted. Instead of bracing and fighting against “the world”, I am bringing my fierce grace inward. I am using it only to draw a line in the sand on my own boundaries. I am using it to notice when a violation has happened. I am using it to be my guide to transformation. I am no longer the first fighter in the trenches. I no longer fight to change people’s mind. I am much more discerning now. Much more ferocious, yet much more graceful.

And I am playing with people who are willing and ready to reclaim themselves, slowly letting go of external referencing that binds them to a self-detrimental reality. I am playing with people who seek to discover the MORE that they are in life. I am playing with people who hear the vibration of what I write/say and are enlivened by it. In that game, I am using my ferocity and my curiosity to provoke and elevate mindsets of those who are seeking to find themSelves.

Truth is, I will never be everyone’s cup of tea. Noone ever is. The sooner I fully let go of the notion of fitting in and doing “the right thing” as externally imposed, the sooner I get the totality of my mind and life back. This is becoming increasingly more imperative in a world that seems to be increasingly more schizophrenic. I, for one, am done fighting a losing battle. I consciously choose to place my attention elsewhere…where it matters.

For your consideration…

  • What do you put your attention on?
  • Do you find that depleting? Draining? Exhausting? or Enlivening? Enriching? Exhilarating? Exciting?
  • What is the sensation in your body that comes up first when you notice something feeling wrong? (anger, sadness, rage, fear, shame)
  • What does your inner warrior look like? When that archetype comes out, who and what incites it? Where / to whom do you direct that energy associated with ‘warrior’?

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I always love to engage with those brave souls searching to give voice to the Truth that lives inside!

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