“The peaceful warrior's way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability--to the world, to life, and to the Presence you felt. All along I've shown you by example that a warrior's life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is a warrior's sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death”. Dan Millman
In 2004 I left a full-time executive position to fill my plate with a portfolio of work that better reflected my heart’s passions, my head’s interest, and if truth be told, in the belief that more stuff meant more impact. Over 15+ years later, my current roles include artist, art gallery director, chamber of commerce president, and board director for three successful public and private for-profit companies. These very different roles, and the ones which preceded them, have enhanced my knowledge, and expanded my universe.
And too the roles have challenged my emotions. At my worst, they bring out an impatient, stubborn, and graceless human. The one who in a moment of conflict loses her ability to center, face and engage with fluidity. The one who leaves the moment in either victory or loss, but always in shame. I had one of those moments the past weekend. I came anticipating an argument and so shockingly (NOT), I got one. And my emotions lit, rather than snuff, the heat of others.
But at my best, and thankfully mostly, these roles bring out the Peaceful Warrior in me. Like the silent pillars facing the river in the image above. One whose creed, to be a fierce force for good, unlocks care in all moments, be they conflict, agreement or celebration. But I suppose ‘care’ is a crazily insufficient, timid euphemism for the word ‘love’. So I will substitute it. Because the role of the Peaceful Warrior is a loving one, sometimes tough love.
So, I yearn for two impossible do-overs.
To the woman I was in 2004, don’t try to save the world. Just show more freely your loving heart to every person you meet in all the places you work and live. You would be surprised how much impact you can make, loving one person at a time.
And to my companions of the weekend, we cannot un-ring the bell. But I am humbled by my moment of gracelessness. It reminded me how I want to show up in the world,