84. The Way of the Warrior

BLOG 84—(present reflections tied to January 2001 journal entries about my healing journey)—The fire burned full and dark that night on the beach when my friend and I watched a car go up in flames under winter’s full moon. Unknowingly, we watched a man take his life, and weeks later, under the full moon, I gathered with shamans to help his lost soul cross to the other side.

Sometimes, in all the challenges we face, we find life unbearable, and like this man, think of ending it all. Yet, once gone, our soul somehow knows there was and is another way…another way beyond the pain and limitations of our earthly experience. We realize that  we can choose the way of the warrior—the way that I had the privilege of seeing with my boyfriend’s mother, before she, herself, made that journey in peace beyond this physical world several weeks ago.

Back in the winter of 2001, when I had witnessed the sad departure of this man on the beach, I wrote about being a warrior. And now, in retrospect, I see the gift in what I wrote then (and maybe found somewhere written, and copied)—the same gift my boyfriend’s mother carried before leaving this physical realm.

“The Way of the Warrior is to know the darkness within ourselves, in others, and in the world, yet to choose to have full heart, to be irrational in the face of it all, and in being irrational, to wear lightness and joy like an outfit, like a mask, that not only covers our face, but is worn by us so every molecular level of ourselves is infused with this outfit. With this choice, we wear our destiny before it wears us.

“It is not why we are confused when a great man falls or acts otherwise, because we have come to believe that this mask is them, when truly the mask they have shape shifted into by choice, can also, by choice, be shape shifted out of. It is their occupation on earth to be of light, of full heart, while they carry within them, more than anyone 75140d825752a853f25863ba0a2d857felse, the truth of their deepest darkness. Their act is a conscious one and requires constant vigilance and discipline. Every time these people carry themselves in this full-hearted manner, it is an exception to the rule and that is why people are drawn to them…we must ask ourselves to be exceptional in this manner and not depend on the hard work of others to give us hope in our own exceptionalism.”

As I read now what I wrote then, I feel honored to have known my boyfriend’s mother for a brief time before she left. She had plenty of hardships in her life–ones that would easily embitter anyone–but she chose to live with kind, giving heart, and to bless those around her with wisdom and love despite it all. She left behind the exceptional legacy of a warrior for her children and others to learn from and follow.

During these times when it’s easy to surrender to cynicism, and choose anger over love, depression and self-pity over the unreasonable hope of the warrior, it is more important than ever to reach into our souls and be warriors of love…to learn from people like my boyfriend’s mother to never give up…to fight for life, for what matters!

This weekend, in Taos, New Mexico, on Saturday, June 23, at 5:30p.m. at SOMOS, I’ll be sharing that spirit of aliveness and celebration of life to Storytelling with my novel, Child of Duende, with Flamenco guitarist and singer Ronaldo Baca and Flamenco dancer Catalina Rio-Fernandez. Come join us and share the news!

Child of Duende TAOS FINAL poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

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34. The Courage to Keep Going

WHEN HAVE YOU HAD IMMENSE COURAGE TO KEEP GOING?

Blog 34: Dec. 1997-April 1998—I watched a woman grab onto the railing at the YMCA in Berkeley, using it to stabilize her walk, which consisted of one step every minute. Her feet and legs were like those of a Raggedy Anne doll, hard to control and weakening below her.

Like her, I too had been swimming at the YMCA, and was doing what I could to regain my capacity to walk without pain. But the extreme limits and pain I had experienced since injuring myself in New Mexico more than a year ago, and since moving to Berkeley and the Bay Area of California, were becoming too much to bear—or at least until I saw this woman at the YMCA show me what true courage looked like. She helped me be grateful for what I had, even if it was little.

I had been living in a house full of depressed people in Berkeley (which probably included me) and was now seeking another place to live. But, with the high cost of living and limited options, I began to wonder if I’d end up moving back in with my parents in New Jersey. While searching out my options, I wrote, both in my journal and what later would become my novel. Writing became my refuge, and an attempt to clear the cobwebs of this jobless, debilitated place I was in.

I wrote: “Oh, Berkeley, your magical hills and your fog that rolls into the Bay enticed me for a while, until all the forces gathered these soul parts of mine into one unexpected stew. I came for life, and instead I got death. Though, love, at times, visited my bedside, reminding me of hope.

“Oh, Berkeley, you were such a temptation, and now you are this place where my body struggles to speak. It struggles to break free, although it does not know how. Oh, Berkeley, your winds have thrown me to the ground, when what I had asked for was to be able to leap.

“My hunger has followed me out here and has nagged me into this sleep, an uncontrollable sleep. I so want to sleep now, to sleep and dream this story, with an ending that brings vitality and renewed hope for a life of love.”

WHEN HAVE YOU HAD IMMENSE COURAGE TO KEEP GOING?