Peaceful. Warrior. Two words that sit together with discomfort perhaps? An oxymoron even? But that's just it - what we are doing isn’t working, we only have to take a quick look at the news to realise that, so now it is time to create some oxymorons, some new dynamics, some slightly (or totally) crazy pairings that could just bring in the new.

We need new. The old ways are crumbling but as yet there is little clarity, for most, about what could come in its place. With our UK prime minister clinging on with her fingernails, dogged denial her principal ally, staunch conformity and resolute small-mindedness her closest friends, no great shifts are coming through her.

Then there’s Trump (sadly no introduction needed) diligently working his way through all that we hold sacred – our planet earth, our people, our sense of humanity… Like a warped cartoon, Mrs Denial and Mr Blind Rage are rampaging through our world. And that’s just two examples, it doesn’t take much to find many more.

And so to the ‘warrior’. The warrior who knows that, in the words of Tina Dico “it ain't no time to sleep”. Now, more than ever in my lifetime I feel a call to arms, a need to clarify whose side I am on, to rise up and fight… and yet… it’s within that rally call that I discover more discomfort again. The fight, resistance, uprising, meeting violence with violence… this fight has been fought for millennia and we know it well. It’s in our DNA. This is not a discussion of whether violence is ever justified, though an interesting question. The question here is 'what is fueling it in each of us?' The answer will depend entirely on the individual.

The reoccurring dynamic of good versus evil - it’s compelling, but is it that simple? Can we expect to make a real difference to the violence in the world if we still hold violence within ourselves? I don’t think so. Our efforts become distilled to the point of disappearing, sucked into the vortex of our own unresolved issues that drain the life force out of any actions we take, or worse, create more and more of the same. If we don’t look deeply at the places we are afraid of in ourselves we will meet those aspects again and again in the world around us, spiralling us back down the rabbit hole of self-righteous justice and spitting us out on the shore of angry detachment and disappointment with the world. “It’s them, not me”.

I know the other side too – the ‘peaceful’ – that part of me that hopes I can make a difference by talking about the change that needs to happen with people who see the world like me, creating a bubble of calm in my bit of the world. That's the part of me that doesn’t want my peace to become uncomfortable. That doesn’t work either. It leads us to become insipid, fearful, and unable to speak out when injustice is in front of us, retreating to our safe place to recharge and balance ourselves at the time when we are called to stand up and speak out, to reach out and support, to feel our vulnerability and stay anyway.

Both, in truth can create more damage than benefit. By creating sides, disappearing into sanctimonious blabbering or not taking responsibility for our own shadows, we become an undeniable part of the problem, many miles from the solution. Each of us will identify with one more than the other - recognise your pattern and you begin to shift it. But combine the best of the two and a secret dynamite is created.

The wild, courageous passion of the warrior combined with the self-reflective responsibility of the peaceful are an alchemy-in-action when paired. With self-responsibility, the peaceful warrior goes out into the world and calls out the injustice she sees. He speaks out when he hears racist remarks, and not just when it’s easy – in those times that mean he could be ostracised for it too. She seeks ways to create community rather than doing it alone and calls in methods that upset the apple cart, that uproot earth damaging practices, that create space to welcome those who are being scapegoated and pushed out.

The “No” with the “Yes”, the courage with the acceptance, the love with the power. This is what we need right now and it is a big ask, but even just a few peaceful warriors will start to create change. Their integrity is so compelling it will spread like oxytocin, the love hormone.

These times can feel desperate but we each have it within us to find our inner Peaceful Warrior. Now is the time to collaborate, to join together and share our gifts. Gone is the time of the lone wolf, we need to become a community, working together to create the world we want future generations to live in.

How will you heed the call?

The inspiration for this piece has come particularly from three places. I have just finished reading the book "Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race" by Reni Eddo-Lodge. I urge you to read it.
I have also been greatly influenced coming back from my most recent shamanic training, the Munay Ki. A powerful and beautiful training, it is from this tradition that I was introduced to the archetype of the peaceful warrior. Find out more here.
Thirdly, inspiration has come from the writings of Beth Maiden’s Little Red Tarot. Here you will find thoughtful resources and passionate writing to help fuel your journey.