When my colleagues from Atria found out that we plan to organize “Awaken Your Warrior Spirit” workshop, with a psychologist and a former professional fighter Daria Albers, most of them were confused. Common reaction was “WTF is that?”, of course nicely phrased 😊like “Really?! Do we really need that?!”
Yes, we really need it!
In this text I would like to explain why awakening warrior spirit is essential for a modern man and maybe even more important for a modern woman. A warrior is often being portraited as a man, but the archetype can bring even more value in teaching women to reclaim their power, and use it in a way that is aligned with their nature.
There are two books that I recommend for better understanding of this topic. The first one is “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover” by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, and the second is “The Hero Within” by Carol Pearson.
From the professional coach perspective, identity is a dynamic and multidimensional structure that organizes our behavior, influences our choices and strategies in different life areas. Dynamic means that it changes over time (even on a daily basis), and multidimensional means that different dimensions of identity that can be activated individually or simultaneously.
So, identity is not a single entity with one homogenous voice as much as it is a variety of different voices that battle for the dominance. During our growth into maturity, there are two important things we should focus on:
- identify those voices and
- tune them in, as some of them usually need to be toned down, while others may need to be toned up.
Whatever voices are within us, our primary mission in life is to take them from being a cacophony, to being a beautiful and powerful choir.
Diving into the deep waters of Carl Gustav Jung’s archetypes is a good way for tuning these voices in. Four basic ones, known as King, Warrior, Magician and Lover, need our special attention. Depending on cultural conditions, some of them may be more relevant than others, but in an ideal setting all should have equal importance, claiming no superiority of one over another.
The Warrior Archetype
In their book “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover”, Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette make the argument that mature masculinity is not abusive or dominant, but generative, creative, and empowering of the self and others.
They write that the Warrior energy have fallen out of favor in modern Western societies due to its association with destruction and domination, and that, nowadays, the same societies have a clear need for healthy and mature Warrior energy.
The Core of Warrior Spirt
- The warrior is fiercely loyal to his warrior code – which is his honor – and to the king, who mythologically represents his purpose.
- The warrior is not concerned about his own comfort and security in pursuit of his goal, as his training teaches him to live with death as his constant companion.
- The domain of the Warrior is the battlefield – be it a battlefield of business, of war, of spirituality, or of moral ethics.
- The Warrior’s purpose is often to destroy, but the mature warrior destroys only things that are negative and harmful to the world.
- The Warrior is a master tactician, knowing at all times his limitations, and finds creative ways to move forward.
- The Warrior is not a thinker, he/she is a doer. Thinking is his/her enemy, because it inhibits his/her ability to act swiftly and with force.
- The Warrior trains himself/herself not to think, and becomes a master of his/her mind, attitudes, and body.
- The Warrior is detached from life, with an almost infinite ability to withstand psychological and physical pain in pursuit of his goal.
- The Warrior is always chasing his next big goal, always putting emphasis on his mission as opposed to his relationships.
As the Warrior energy is a necessary part of mature masculinity (no man can realize his full potential without it) it is important to integrate its healthy part and detach it from the unhealthy one.
Person with energized Healthy Warrior knows:
- how to take personal responsibility,
- to act in a way that is beneficial both for himself / herself and for others,
- how to set boundaries,
- how to be assertive without appearing selfish or brutal,
- how to tell when someone or something brings only toxicity into his/her life,
- when the job that he/she does is unhealthy,
- how to move forward in a healthy and balanced manner,
- how to enjoy the spirit of competition without becoming needlessly aggressive.
The Shadow Warrior (The Sadist and the Masochist)
Person with energized unhealthy warrior energy or The Shadow Warrior demonstrates it in two different ways:
The Sadist (the active pole of the Shadow Warrior)
The Warrior’s detachment from life leaves the door open to cruelty. He/she is most vulnerable in the area of relationships, where he/she must constantly stay cautious of emotions (they must be under control).
- The Sadist hates weakness and vulnerability, which is a projection of his hidden Masochist.
- The Sadist directed inwards has people running themselves into the deep anxiety. They have low sense of self-worth, and through time they might experience burnout.
The Masochist (the passive pole of the Shadow Warrior)
- The Masochist projects Warrior energy into others, and experiences himself/herself as impotent and vulnerable in their presence.
- He/she is unable to defend himself psychologically and allows others to manipulate and mess with him/her.
What Kind of Archetypal Warriors The World Needs Today?
Most of us need to get in contact with our Healthy Warrior…
- … to learn how and when to set boundaries,
- … to understand our own needs and rights and communicate them constructively,
- … to learn how to take a stand on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves.
This healthy archetypal warrior can be found in individuals who know what level of aggressivity is appropriate in given circumstances (as for almost any achievement we need a good portion of aggressivity).
There are many great examples of nonviolent warriors, and most of them are in contact with their purpose and detached from their own pride and grandiosity.
Healthy warrior is energized in people who fight for something more than for themselves, who demonstrate their commitment to a cause, task, their team, family or nation. For these individuals there is no time for hesitation. Every act counts. Each deed is done as if it is the last.
By awaking our healthy warrior we will step a way from the unhealthy one, from the one….
- … who brings his/her work home,
- … who never stop thinking about the work,
- … who is never out of the fight,
- … who is fighting battle after battle and who is proud of it.
At the end of the day, our unhealthy warrior is trying to slay just one dragon. But this dragon is the figment of his mind.
It is an abstract enemy who never really manifest itself, but can break even the greatest warrior when not properly dealt with.