I will.

I will pick on that fight, face up, take pride in my pain

my body is tortured, lips bloody, sweat drops like a rain

I will push forward, keep pressing, despite feeling weak

rise early, when skies are grey when days are so bleak

I will do this next step, even when crippled by fear

keep praying and cursing, in silence, for no one to hear

No foe will stop me, no demon, no beast, and no man

And so I keep going until “I will”, becomes: I am

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From Sword in the Woods archives/ Radek from the Blue Moon Station

 

5 Must Have Artifacts of a Weekend Warrior

Every warrior needs a weapon.
Finding good quality things and building rituals around them helps to shape good habits, that inevitably lead to better, higher level of life.
As it happens with every quest, it proves that discovering and acquiring artifacts that served my purpose was already a small victory itself. Below you may find a set from my armoury. You may use these in your battles, or seek then ones that suit you better.
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Teresa Kluge
 These artifacts, will not replace the valors nor do the job for you, yet using them on daily basis will help you to become better warrior.

Rosary – powerful tool of spiritual combat.

Meditative, contemplative prayer, that comes with it not only protects from Evil. It also brings focus, silence and inner peace. Something that a warrior needs like an air in an overwhelming noise of a daily hassle.

Kettlebell – there is a reason, why Roman gladiators used kettlebells as a base of their training.

Our body is a chain of interconnected segments.
Unlike most of gym tools, kettlebell allows us  exercise and build whole chain, rather than just sections of our body. That improves communication between muscles gives us more power in all the fight-related movements, helps us grow in strength without losing the speed.

Yerba Mate – every man needs his drug

If you can find one which is actually good for you, then you are already a winner. My drug is mate.
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It was originally used by native american hunters who chewed on leaves of mate, to stay awake long hours while tracking their prey. Mate tea, works same for me in my hunts, – helps me to stay focused while navigating through corporate jungle and chasing the deadlines.
It replaces coffee, without having most of it’s downsides. And then there is the whole enjoyable ritualism around mate brewing. Good shit!

E-Book Reader – because as Mark Twain said “A person that does not read has no advantage of that who does not know how to read”.

Reading should be an essential part of your daily routine. It expands our horizons and often gets you on the adventures you always longed for.  These adventures may start in your head, but that start is good as any other as long as other steps follow.
E-Book reader is simple the handiest way to carry on with your reading habit, because it allows you to have your full library with you wherever you go. The in-built dictionary is also a great way to catch up on vocabulary if you are reading in a foreign language.

Notebook – writing crystalizes the ever-flowing life into something more tangible.

Writing things down helps, even if you are not a writer. Organise yourself by enlisting your to dos or simply invade paper with stream of consciousness to declutter your mind.  Collect your thoughts and observations, as you collect photographies for family album.
After all, life is just too precious to rely on keeping its most important moments in such unreliable place as our memory.
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Dariusz Sankowski

So these are my artifacts.
What are yours?
/Post from my archived blog “Sword in the woods”/

Warrior’s Religion

People in every religion are the same, but not every religion is the same

Religion is a filter through which people perceive the Truth, or as one might call it the Ultimate Reality. The filter comes from the boundaries of our human mind, the Truth comes from the Divine.

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Joshua Earle

Warriors life is ought to be based on Truth. Because the Truth shapes our Codex, the principles we follow and the masters that we serve.
And don’t be fooled, by thinking you can serve no one. You are just human, you will always have master. Even it will be just the needs of your own body.

Choice of religion in warriors life is paramount. One might say – I don’t need religion, I just need spirituality. You will be a fooled again.
Spirituality is a vague term for transcendent experience, and that is anchored in the Ultimate Reality. If you will try to embrace it, your mind will make an attempt to grasp the meaning of it. Hence it will apply the filter of your own convictions and your own limitations. You will follow religion. Even if that will be just the one of your own.

So I chose to follow the footsteps of people greater than me.

To benefit from their learnings, to avoid their mistakes, to take their advice and to consciously apply on how will I perceive That what is Transcendent.
I choose my religion conciously.
I embrace it, with all the faults and corruption of the organization that stands behind it. I decide to apply the filter, the belief structure developed through centuries by an imperfect organisation, because I know for a fact that even a poor author can create a masterpiece in a moments of great inspiration.

I chose to be Roman Catholic. Against the world, against the enemies internal and external and sometimes even against myself.

I chose this, because I attempt to see beyond the people that represent the organization, and see what it meant to represent. I chose to see the whole battlefield not just the corruption and disruption in the ranks of my own army.

And that choice, step by step leads me closer to the Ultimate Reality, and reveals the the universe for what it truly is. It reveals the true scale of the celestial war we are part of.

It shows me the true, malignant face of my Enemy.
But it also shows me that I we have Powerful Allies next to me. And a sword and a shield in my hands. We are the Ecclesia militans.

But that is another story.

As my second son was born, he reminded me of what it truly means to be a father.

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Danielle MacInnes

My son took me by surprise. I thought I knew everything by now, he was second after all, but first look into his eyes changed everything in an instant.

It was like gazing into infinity.

Here I was again, looking at the world through the eyes of a newborn, in an absolute awe and with an absolute love.

I remember now, that to be a father means to have a heart beating in someone else’s chest.

To be a father means to love so much that it hurts.

To be a father means to live your life, as if you are in a constant spotlight – and the audience are those who you love the most.

To be a father means to willingly step down from a main role in life’s journey, handle it to your children.

To be father means to carry a sweet yoke for the rest of your life – as you will never cease to care for your children.

To be father means to have black coffee and white nights.

To be a father means, letting your children fall and guide them to learn from their mistakes, because as much as it hurts watching their knees get bruised, you know you it is the only way to get them ready for what’s up ahead.

Because to be a father, means also realisation that you raise your children not for yourself but for the world.

After all, nothing sums better the essence of parenthood as the poem of Kahlil Gibran.

These words ring in my soul, over an over as I stroke my son’s forehead and I dive deep into the depth of his eyes;

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

There is no such thing as talent.

Here is the paradox.

Having both a lot of talent for something or not having it at all can be both equal obstacles in achieving anything, if you let it get to you.

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Joshua Earle

All my life I was told I am talented in many things. And guess what?

I wasted many opportunities because I thought I don’t need to do shit to be good.

I was so wrong.

All my life I was told I have no talent for many other things.  And guess what?

I wasted equally many opportunities because I gave up right from the start.  If I suck at something anyways, why even bother?

I was so wrong.

And I would have gone like that, all the way.  Wasting chance by chance, missing out on an lifelong opportunity to improve myself.

My teenage years have passed, with myself not being particularly good at anything.

I had big dreams and ambition, you see, like any other idealistic young guy,  but I was lacking all the means to make the change. And it was consuming me.

Why? Because of that talent myth.  And the fact that I was believing in that myth, instead of believing in myself.

Until a time would come when I told myself to wake **the fuck** up.

It is only then, when I discovered that good things in life such as skills and achievements do not rain from the sky but are forged in fire.  And what fuels that fire is focus, discipline and determination.

So is ability to chose and decide, as if there were no boundaries. Because in reality there are none.

And then it happened.

In the past my novellas got butchered by the editors, people questioning my writing talent & my big dreams of becoming a writer.

Today I am a published author,  having won several national literature contests and with a portfolio of short stories printed by major publishing houses.

In the past I was told I had no talent at mathematics & computer science, merely a curious case of wanna be writer, “humanist” born into family of engineers.

Today I am managing team of IT engineers across 3 continents, in a successful, tech company.

In the past I would be a hopeless loser, when it came to the courting game, hopelessly drifting from one failed attempt of getting attention to the other. I sucked at romance so much, that compared to me Howard Wolfowitz from early episodes of Big Bang Theory would seem like reasonable dating choice.

Today I am married to my Sweetheart, a girl who in my earlier years would not even give me a second look (and trust me, I was not the only one trying to win her heart).

I there a secret to it all? There is none, and never was.

Do not wait for the ray of light piercing the sky,  magical sparkle of inspiration, self enlightenment mumbo jumbo.
Just go out there. Chose what is important for you. Decide and focus.

Be annoying and consistent. Do the shit.

Be brutally honest to yourself, so you see clearly mistakes you make on the way. And adjust. Try over and over again. Take the different angle if needed. But keep going.

And remember: There is no such thing as talent.

There is only blood, sweat and tears.

/Post from my archived blog “Sword in the woods”/

Becoming mature

I was always wondering…
When is it that we guys become truly mature?
When is it that a boy becomes a man?
The border moves, for sure. We are pushing it forward towards new milestones that we set up subconsciously in our minds. This elusive steps that define maturity keep moving.
Taking responsibility for something – check.
Getting first job – check.
Settling down on your own – check.
Getting married – check.
Becoming parent – stop.
That would be it. Final frontier.
The greatest adventure ever.
Fatherhood, as a journey in which we willingly step down to give a place of a main hero to someone else.
Biggest step to full maturity.
Why?
Because that’s the one, which teaches us most about the humility.
In the end: what makes us truly mature are the events that make us truly humble.

One time in Dubai a taxi driver tried to convert me to Islam…

And he had no idea what he was getting into…
After long drive to a church and what had to be one of most difficult conversations in his life, he agreed he would start reading Gospel.
I was walking on the thin ice you see. Criticism of Islam is forbidden in United Arab Emirates. I had to tread carefully, so my words would not be treated a an open attack on something that I fundamentally disagreed with.
And I managed to make a deal with that driver.
I promised to read Quran in return, for him opening the Gospels. What my discussion partner didn’t know is that I read parts of Quran before. I also watched lectures of people as far from Christianity as Alan Watts, Ekhart Tolle or Richard Dawkins, even read Crowleys essays and browsed through La Vey’s satanic “bible”.
Why would I do that? Why would I expose my mind to things that could shake, corrupt or simply shatter foundations of my worldview?
Same reason on why a warrior risk losing his teeth on the arena.
Because a true warrior faces challenge wide open.
True warrior, finds strength in exercising his mind, he does not back down from intellectual and spiritual confrontation as he sees an opportunity there to sharpen the sword of his faith.
And there is no greater challenge than facing argumentation that questions the very base of our beliefs. And we the war we wage has a spiritual dimension.
And so, as the taxi driver, explains to me the glory of Allah I smile take a deep breath and engage, so I can tell him about a greater Glory thats out there.  I yield my sword, check my armour and I go forth into the storm.
I have been challenged again. And as many times before, I would make sure it will be for the good.
And in the aftermath, as with every battle, as I grow weary,  I remember to reinvigorate myself with the Truth.  So I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and let my mind regenerate by focusing it fully on Logos. The One Word. Who not only spoke just the Truth, but is the Truth Himself. And as the minutes pass by, a quote of G.K Chesterton, resonate through my heart. It is a quote that should become a mantra of spiritual warrior:

“Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

And in the ever changing universe, with all it’s different people and their countless beliefs, there is nothing more solid than the Truth.