The 3 Things You Need for a Complete Life (my mother agrees)
awareness intention warrior spirit
- The fact that I spend too much time pointing out the obvious that others would rather not admit: Awareness.
- I like having direction in life, so I always have a Plan, even if that Plan is tentative and changes every week: Intention.
I ran this triplet by my mom, of course, and she was impressed. Her exact words were:
I think this covers it all, really. If you live life with awareness, intention and integrity, you will also have all other values and attitudes needed to have a productive life that leaves an impact on your surroundings and make a difference in the world. --Her Prescience, Sabah
Jackpot! If you knew my mom, you would also know that this kind of support from her must mean something is borderline genius. If Sabah said it, you'd better think about adopting it because she knows people better than anyone, ever (in case you didn't pick up on it, I'm pretty impressed with my mother).
So after three years, here is what Warrior Spirit is about: a life lived with Awareness, Intention, and Integrity.
You've seen enough action movies lately, so you should be able to recognize the signs that we're setting up for not one but two sequels. Except that this is actually the second in the series, since I already did a piece on Integrity way back in the day that has stood the test of time (unlike some of my other posts, which I have conveniently neglected to ever link...). Today, I'll explain what I mean by Awareness, and some time in the future when I get around to it, there will be a post explaining what, exactly, a life lived with Intention looks like.
You know that annoying trait kids have where they ask really difficult questions? Like, after you explain to them that sweets are bad for you, suddenly you can't pour sugar in your coffee without confused looks. "But Mommy, you said sugar was bad. Why?" You try to brush it off with an explanation of how grown-ups can do things because we are Responsible, but not even you buy it. Really, us adults are just tired of living with the constant guilt of knowing how bad things are but not having the time/energy/willpower/care to do anything about it.
Well, I'd like to reawaken that kid in all of us.
I don't think it's a bad thing to live life knowing how we affect the world, even if we can't or won't do anything about it. I don't think we need to be guilty all the time, but Awareness doesn't necessitate Guilt. Just because you know what the repurcussions of your actions are doesn't mean you can or should always feel bad about them.
Of course, Awareness applies to positive things, too. Giving Awareness to the Ritual of Nourishment lets us get a lot more out of eating.
Guilt is something added. It is not inherent in the world or our actions. We can choose to feel guilty or not. If we have Compassion for ourselves, we can understand that we are human, we are not perfect, and that we live in a world that makes us complicit in ecological catastrophe...but it's not our fault.
Ok, I know that was a bit harsh, but it is true. Every time I turn on the shower above the ambient temperature, I recognize that I'm supporting the burning of oil at a powerplant, which in turn supports the fossil fuel economy that has brought about so many wonderful side effects. It's normal to take hot showers, but it still has an impact on the world.
I recognize that I've spent my whole life used to hot water showers. It's not going to change right away, and I do my best to keep the water as cold as I can. Sometimes, I even just jump into the cold water, and I enjoy it. It's a process. I don't feel guilty. I'm simply Aware, and that awareness drives my change. Guilt doesn't spur change. Concern does. Compassion, and caring, and love drive change, but self-hatred...not so much.
I care about the environment, and I am deeply passionate about raising my kids in a world with wild places. That motivates me to change more than feeling guilty about damaging things.
You Cannot Hide, So You Might As Well Know
An excellent article by the blogger Exuberant Animal brings up the ecological truth that you cannot 'do nothing.'
Once we begin to appreciate the ecological nature of our personal lives and the systemic effects of our actions, a host of implications become clear. In the first place, we realize that there can be no isolation in this world. When everything is massively interconnected, there can be no place to hide, no alternative but to be involved. Escapism is impossible; even passivity has consequences. Nothing is truly neutral.
This is true whether we want it to be or not. Ignorance does not free us of responsibility for our actions, ecologically, socially, politically, or physically.
- If you don't know about the upcoming election, it will still happen, and your silence will still impact the political outcome.
- If you don't know jelly donuts make you put on weight, you'll still find yourself buying new pants if you eat them everyday.
What this means is that you might as well know what you're doing, because it's happening anyway. At least, with some knowledge, you can hopefully impact your life and your world in a way that you support.
The organism that knows more about its environment is more likely to thrive and, even better, is more likely to master that environment and be able to pursue it's own agenda.
But, actually following up on what your Awareness reveals is the realm of Intention. What sets the direction for your Intentions? You guessed it: Integrity!
It's so nice living in a cohesive value-system, isn't it? I feel like I'm a kid again (I did this sort of thing a lot when I was a kid....Yes, I know I'm weird).
My upcoming book is about approaching health with Awareness, Intention and Integrity. It presents the realities of health, minus any profit motives, regardless of whether things are easy, practical, or socially-acceptable, so that you can make your own decisions. Luckily, you can be vibrantly healthy without breaking any laws. If you'd like to be kept in the loop on the book so you know when it is available, sign up here.
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