COURAGE, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior!
It’s time to light your inner fire, get your mojo working, and embrace your inner warrior.
We often think of a warrior as someone who fights, but a true warrior has no need to fight. They have an inner strength and resilience, they have the courage to show up and be seen as they are, but they also have strong boundaries.
This week we’re going to learn about having both. An open heart but strong boundaries, and guess what, they go hand in hand – two sides of the same coin.
You will have heard of the saying “fire in your belly”, and this is exactly what it is, both physically and emotionally.
We need that fire to get us out of bed in the morning, to do what needs to be done, to keep going, even when times are tough.
When I was at my weakest, and I felt both scared, and still under attack, it was a friend to who said to me: “you need to find your inner warrior, it’s time now”.
I knew exactly what he meant. I had to move from being a victim to at least survival. I needed to find the inner strength and resolve to keep going, otherwise I was going to crumble.
It started small, and it was tough, just putting one foot into the other again, getting my body strong helped, as did changing the music I was listening to.
In yoga, we have a name for this fire in your belly, and it’s called “Agni”. We build agni when we create heat, we challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone, and we work to overcome the old patterns that keep us stuck.
Here’s a good description from the Himilayan Institude
Inside each of us is a brilliant source of light and vitality. According to ayurveda, this light is agni—the inner fire that fuels digestion, supports immunity, drives creativity, and gives us vitality.
When agni is low we feel dull, lethargic, detached, and unmotivated. When agni is strong we feel vibrant, engaged, energized, and purposeful.
This inner fire empowers us and supports everything we do in life, from parenting, to completing projects at work, to standing up for what we believe in, to expressing ourselves creatively.
Throughout life, it’s imperative we continue to stoke this inner fire of inspiration and light, so we can be fully present and enjoy our lives.
As always, the physical practices we do can help us make the necessary changes in our psyche.
As I learned from Tony Robbins, the easiest way to change your state is to change your physiology. When I need to get motivated, to find some confidence, before public speaking, I often disappear to the bathroom. I jump up and down and get the energy flowing. It help honestly!
It may surprise you to know I am often nervous before teaching, especially if it’s 150 people on the beach! So I have learned little tricks to help me along the way.
Another great exercise is Kapal Bhati, a breathing exercise I was introduced to the first time I went to India over 8 years ago.
For further instruction in this wonderful practise watch this video. Her voice makes me miss India, but she’s like a breath of fresh air herself!
When we think about “building fire”, we also need to consider not just our bodies and minds, but also our souls. What lights us up? What people, places, activities and practices make us come alive?
Have a read of my blog I wrote during this time in India and I explain it fully, and if you haven’t already read the book “Like Water For Chocolate”, it’s a gem!!!
Music can be a great motivator.
Remember Ally McBeal had a theme tune? Do you have a song that makes you feel empowered, strong, like a goddamn freaking warrior?
Perhaps there’s one that you can think of straightaway, perhaps you’ll need to start playing some music again to get some inspiration.
For me, when I remembered that music was one of the “candles” I had that lit me up, I was more than happy to invest £9.99 a week into Spotify (I believe Deezer is a cheaper option), as it creates playlists based on what I listen to, and it’s such a motivational force for not just my work, but for relaxation.
I also had a playlist which would get my lethargic body out of bed and walking the beach every day, and this was a game changer.
Perhaps spend an evening this week putting together a playlist just for you?
If you’re feeling like you need some motivation, or to find your inner warrior, then I’ve put together a playlist on Spotify especially for you…
Just follow this link to access it…
COURAGE AND VULNERABILITY – two sides of the same pancake
So I guess it should say, two sides of the same coin, but this week, eating pancakes outside myself and a friend got into a deep but funny discussion about this very thing, and pancakes just seemed to fit better!
The link between courage and vulnerability, thanks to the utter legend that is Brene Brown, was life-changing for me. If you’ve not read her books, or listened to her podcasts and Ted Talks and you want to understand what it means to live courageously, lead a full life, and be a wild warrior, then start today.
I’d highly recommend starting with her book “Daring Greatly”, and if you haven’t seen it, watch her TED talk below. Yes also has a short documentary on Netflix called “A Call To Courage”.
When we understand that courage is actually just standing up and being seen, as we are, in our full imperfect beauty, this re-frames everything.
I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s really uncomfortable to strip yourself of the masks you’ve been wearing all your life, and show who you really are, and I have the utmost respect for anyone who even tries.
I liken it to being prepared to get up on the dancefloor and dance like no-one’s watching. Your dance, not anyone else’s dance. Think Ross and Monika. Or the cute guy in “Hitch” who breaks all the rules around love and being cool. There’s no ego, no holding back, just you, a creature in rapture, perfectly unique and authentic.
You dance to the beat of your own drum! And that requires courage. That courage means making yourself vulnerable.
Brene Brown researched this subject for years, and she discovered that the people in the world with the strongest sense of love and belonging were those that were willing to make themselves vulnerable. To show up and be seen.
It’s living whole-heartedly. The word courage actually comes from the Latin word “couer”, meaning “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart”.
So this is where it gets interesting… we think of vulnerability as being weak, but it’s the opposite, it is strength!
I know right? Hard to get your head around.
And guess what? Courage and compassion go hand in hand.
Vulnerability is courage. Courage is compassion. And compassion comes with strong boundaries.
This bit blew my mind.
As a life-long people-pleaser, with weak boundaries, I thought I was all nice, I was kind, and saying no just didn’t fit with this vision of how I wanted to be.
I was so wrong!
The people with the strongest boundaries have the most compassion!
How could this be?
When we have a strong sense of compassion for ourselves, we have compassion for others. This is the basis of Brene Brown’s latest work.
When we have boundaries, we are showing compassion for ourselves, and that means we can extend it out to others. We can’t practice compassion for others if we don’t treat ourselves kindly.
Boundaries are simply “what’s ok” and “what’s not ok”.
We have boundaries for ourselves and we have them for others.
This is the strong back of the wild warrior.
Healthy boundaries are essential to self-care, and I recommend you learn what yours are if you want to lead a healthy and happy life. When I started doing this, everything changed…
If you know it’s a challenge for you, I’d recommend a good therapist. Sometimes that’s the most courageous thing we can do. Ask for the help we need. I’m not ashamed to say I did. I’m proud. It has helped me be better for me, and therefore better for others.
Here’s a good visual to use to help you with your boundaries:
YOU, PERFECT YOU!
Hopefully, you’re starting to get it by now.
We are all different, we are unique, and that is what makes us beautiful.
As you’ll know if you come to my classes, we are all plants! We are not machines. We are unique flowers. It is what makes us different that gives us our beauty.
When we accept who we are, we have the courage to show up and be seen, we know what’s ok and what’s not ok for us, we do more of what is right for us, and feel ok about saying no to what’s not.
We know our individual make-up means there is no point comparing ourselves to others.
A flower doesn’t compete with the flower next to it. It just blooms!
Think of yourself as flower or a plant.
What colour would you be?
Where do you best thrive?
What qualities do you have that are unique to you?
If your closest plant friends were to describe your unique beauty what would they say?
Perhaps draw the flower, give it a scent, a nice environment, colours, words around it, whatever you feel like drawing or creating…
Now ask yourself:
If I was to bottle that unique flower essence, what would I call it?
Perhaps there is a word, or a phrase, that would be written on the bottle.
What would it be?
Good luck and keep going wild warrior!!