you & me

Warrior Rising.

“Whenever a warrior decides to do something, he must take responsibility for what he does. No matter what he does, he must know first why he is doing it, and then he must proceed with his actions without having doubts or remorse about them.” ~ Carlos Castaneda

The forging of a sword is violent.

First, metal is burned alive and melted down to something festering and unrecognizable from whence it came. Then, as it begins to take on a molten light, it is poured, beat and pummeled into something shaped and sharp in the cool-down.

Fierce? Perhaps. But that depends.

There must be a warrior who wields it. After all, what is a sword but a pounded piece of metal if it is not given direction by a cunning wit and the graceful dance of the one who works it?

The truly sexy nature of this weapon is apparent not only in the violent craft and skill of the forging, but in just as much—the wielding. Between you and me, it is my opinion that the sword is the most noble of all weapons for it takes a fearless heart and a strong spirit to use it. And not just use it, but breathe life into it!

This weapon beckons we stare eye to eye with our opponent and in close proximity too –making the fight (and dance) as personal and vulnerable as possible before we do all that is necessary to eradicate it…

— or be eradicated.

Making the fight truly intimate.

“I’m not afraid, I was born to do this,” proclaimed Jeanne d’Arc.

Who, in the end was also burned like the metal that became her sword. However, according to some, after the burning, her heart still beat from the ashes, even though Jeanne herself was no longer there. Or was she? Living on through time in the hearts and minds of all warriors to follow.

Living is most definitely not for the faint of heart.

Life can be violent like the forging of swords. Smashing and pounding us out from the fires responsible for our complete and utter obliteration so that we might be born again as something fierce — as warriors rising like phoenix from ashes. Jeanne knew this.

What is it that makes a WARRIOR?

Well, there is much I don’t know, but I do know I’ve the heart of one and I’m sure you do too, but, permit me; In my experience (and observation) this is what I’ve discerned:

Warriors understand a deep seeded sense of LOSS. They know that loss forms the foundation for which a warrior stands. And in this loss, this sacrifice—she learns what it is to love and is given the opportunity to recognize the complete wisdom that comes from sacrifice. HUMILITY. This begins the forming of her principle.

COMPASSION is the keystone to a warrior’s principle for all else is built around it. Compassion is truly important to the warrior because through compassion she can be merciful. Having a keen understanding of what others suffer allows her to see that everything is the same; what he suffers, she also suffers. For we are all merely human and life is merely life and we all must live it and do what we must for the larger whole.

The warrior is not special but a piece of the whole, making her in the world but not of it. Love and honor are the building blocks that make up her principle.

A warrior has a METHOD. There is intelligence behind her fight. She sees her opponent not less than but equal to (in some cases more than). In this way she does not get ahead of herself or too arrogant in the fight. In some cases she feels it WISE to honor the idea that the component is, more often than not, stronger than she is, that way she can constantly be working at becoming stronger than it—if only to survive and continue thriving.

STRENGTH OF CHARACTER, an indomitable WILL and an ELEGANCE with which she executes all her actions are also in a warrior’s design. A warrior owns herself and all her actions accepting all consequences in the follow through. She respects everything and everyone around her seeing all of it as something she can learn from — her adversaries in particular are the most important teachers to her.

She learns from everything, even her own ignorance. Maintaining a willingness to break down what she is ignorant to, expanding further — her wisdom. Not to mention her compassion.

Her justice must never be tainted with revenge, for revenge is ignorant and comes from darkness. Honor is where she fights from because honor is of the light. She does what must be done. Even if what must be done seems harsh, it is for the greatest good that she does it. She will never force her will on you, she will only force will upon herself, knowing she cannot make you do anything. She’s accepted that the only thing she has complete control over are her own actions. Will they make or break her?

Always a warrior has intense FOCUS. Her sword is not separate from her but merely an extension of herself and her power. It does not move apart from her—but with her, in a beautiful dance of truth and justice.

A warrior is never a victim even if it seems as such to those without eyes to see. Being a victim is simply not in her genetic coding. For victims do not have indomitable will, but a warrior does. Perhaps her journey took her through victimization, but the difference between a warrior’s heart and a victim’s, is that the warrior sees her victimization as something to make her stronger and to transform her. She never becomes a slave to it. And in this way she is an alchemist — transforming her darkness into something that doesn’t annihilate her or her principles. She knows she only has total control of her own actions so being a slave is not in the warrior’s genetic design.

It is thought perhaps that a warrior is fearless. But every warrior has been afraid. She is simply not attached to her fears but instead uses fear to push herself past comfort levels in order to improve herself and her skill. The more she can face fears the more fiercely she climbs the path to mastery. And because she maintains her focus so well, she does indeed seem fearless –and is a force to be reckoned with. She’s not afraid to be afraid.

If a warrior finds herself up against an ominous opponent she questions to herself:

How can I work through this?  

Seeing every possible outcome all at once and finding the clearest path that makes sense to her in a split second’s time for she is always quick to act and is usually successful because of it.

On the swing side of her swift actions, a warrior is also PATIENT, always waiting for the right time. Acting at the right time is absolutely vital to her being.

And like the sword she wields, she knows, that the forging of a warrior is also violent.

Warriors are forged from fire. The fires of the personal hardships and ugly realities they all have to face off with from time to time and often, must co-exist with. Like the maker of their swords, they too are shaped…by life. I suppose in that case she is both the sword and the warrior. But that’s just it:

A warrior sees no distinction between herself and her weapon. And in this she becomes the weapon.

“You’ll never take me.” She says, staring Hardship in its vicious eyes, “I have a sword, and I know how to use it.”

When was the last time you wielded your sword?


I remain.



Kristi Stout

Kristi Stout

Kristi L. Stout is an artist, mother, and lover. She considers herself a Renaissance woman, in service of Love in its many forms. It is her belief that inside each of us is our own sacred, Wild nature -- a hidden instinct that is not forgotten as much as it is dormant, like leafless trees in winter. It is the part of us that is connected to all things. A knowing without knowing. The part deep inside that understands darkness is necessary for the moon to simmer silver, and recognizes that even if you’re lost in the middle of nowhere you can always find a sacred somewhere -- like an internal compass pointing true north to your heart center. Her passion project, work in progress, is She Is Wild. You can find more of Kristi’s work here or connect with her on Facebook.
Kristi Stout