How to Develop Unwavering Focus (and reclaim your inner warrior)

How to Develop Unwavering Focus (and reclaim your inner warrior)

Are you as focused and disciplined as you want to be?

When you think about doing something that truly matters to you, do you automatically see it as done, no question or second-guessing?

If you don’t, you have an underdeveloped or repressed inner warrior.

The level of focus you’re able to maintain is proportionate to how much you’ve developed the warrior side of you.

What do I mean by Inner Warrior?

I mean the part of you that says “No” and the part that says “I Will.” (Thank you Elliot for this great juxtaposition)

This is the part of you that is cold, ruthless, undeterred by sentiment and fleeting emotional currents.

It’s the part of you that is able to maintain directed and stable, even in spite of whatever chaos and distraction may surround you.

This doesn’t mean that you are uncaring or heartless. When developed properly, your inner warrior is the servant to your heart. You cut things off, you say no, you remain disciplined, for the sake of your deepest purpose and offering to the world.

Where does your inner warrior come from? How do you find it and access it?

It resides in the body in your lower belly, or your balls (or ovaries for the ladies). Where the Taoists call your dan tien. It’s your root chakra, the part of you that is primal and connected to fight or flight.

Most of us become cut off from this energy and power because we are so disconnected from our hearts and our bodies. Or, we’re all in our heart, but disconnected from our root, unable to actualize our heart’s calling.

A seed without root cannot gain nourishment to grow, after all.

If you struggle with making your desires a reality and taking action, you have an underdeveloped connection to your warrior.

Some of us, on the other hand, are all in our heads and completely castrated from our bodies.

This is how I used to be. I was constantly in my head, always thinking, worrying, striving and completely cut off from my body. I couldn’t feel what was going on in my body unless I was sick or injured.

It wasn’t until I started taking martial arts that I was able to gain a basic level of body awareness. When I started feeling into my heart, that’s when I was able to feel emotions in my body and where they were located. I found that sometimes they were in the throat, the gut, the shoulders or the chest.

Before that, when I heard people talk about feeling things in different places in their body, I thought that they were lying or delusional.

I was so numb and cut off from feeling from the neck down that I didn’t even comprehend what it was like to feel things in my body.

How does this happen? How do we become disconnected from our bodies?

For me, it happened through feeling out of control and hurt. I disassociated from my body in order to become numb. I hadn’t developed my ego or personal will enough to create strong boundaries and protect myself.

I was dysfunctional in my relationships and hurt by my parents and women in my life. It was easier to disconnect from that part of me than it was to face the pain.

But the cost was tremendous, I became disconnected from my heart and my root. Another way of saying it is that I was disconnected from the Lover and the Warrior parts of me.

I only embodied the Magician (the conjurer of thoughts, plans, strategies in the mind).

Sidenote: When you embrace and integrate the Warrior, Lover, and the Magician (the heart, the body and the mind, respectively), what do you have? You have a King or a Queen (embodied spirit).

Reconnecting with the Warrior for the service of the Heart

So, how do you reconnect with your inner warrior to become more disciplined and more focused, for the sake of your purpose?

First, connect with your heart to call the warrior’s aid. Ask “Why am I here, what is my purpose?” Ask, “Is this where I need to be?”

Feel the answer with your heart, NOT your mind. If it helps, you can tap the center of your chest while you ask yourself your purpose to help feeling into your heart more.

But feeling your purpose is not enough. To embody and actualize your purpose, you must call on the warrior to say “I Will” and “No, not that.”

When you call on the warrior for the sake of the heart, then you can bring in the assist of the mind. You can ask the mind for assistance in developing your strategy, your plan, your course of action.

But after you do that, bring the warrior back to take action.

Feel into your lower belly, feel into that part of you that would protect your family in danger. Imagine that you must protect the ones you love. Feel the part of you that is cold and ruthless.

When you feel yourself becoming distracted or pulled from your task, feeling into your lower belly, and say out loud a strong “No.”

If you don’t feel that you mean it, say it again, feeling into your heart. Feel into your seriousness, your willingness to cut through bullshit for the sake of your dreams.

Armoring and numbness around the heart

If you have a hard time understanding or grasping “feeling into” then you are disconnected from your body and your heart. You need to practice feeling your heart, feeling what matters to you, what you would die for.

Simply saying “I want to feel more” can help. You may need to spend time relaxing open and massaging the front of your body and getting help from a body worker.

The reason for this is that we reflexively create muscular armoring to guard us from the world, from potential danger and hurt. If your heart is guarded, chances are you are literally guarding yourself with chronic muscular tension around the muscles of your chest, throat and belly.

We guard and close off these parts of our body, because we’re afraid of being hurt. Our most sensitive parts are vulnerable from the front, which is why we tense up, whether in physical danger or emotional wounding.

Undoing the tension around the heart

When I began the process of opening my heart and being more vulnerable, I had an incredible amount of tension in the front of my body. My chest was collapsed inward, my belly was tight and the muscles of my neck were drawing my head forward.

A year later after considerable work with body workers and self work, I’m still in the process of undoing that tension.

It is a process. It takes time, but you can begin now.

Further practices for developing your Warrior

Practice saying “No.”

Say no to requests from others you don’t truly want to fulfill. Say no to commitments and engagements that you aren’t thrilled about. Say no to distractions and interruptions that take you away from your work.

Feel your coldness.

I’m not suggesting that you become callous and hard-hearted. I’m suggesting that you feel the coldness of your warrior (like a cold steel blade) that you enact for the sake or your heart.

Practice saying “Yes.”

What do you want to do? Decide that you will do it, and say to yourself “I will do this, no matter what gets in my way.”

Create a healthy outlet for aggression.

Consider taking up martial arts, chopping wood or some other healthy expression of aggression.

We don’t have enough outlets for healthy aggression in our society (which I believe is one of the reasons we have so much unnecessary violence). When you channel your fierceness, staying connected to your heart, you are able to create art.

Channel your dark side.

Our society represses the dark side of us: our wildness, our ferocity, our ability and need to fight for something worth believing in. But what comes up most go down, and we externalize this violence in our entertainment: video games, music, television, movies, etc.

Find conscious, worthy, heart-centered outlets for cultivating your dark, wild side, through art, through movement, through dance, through lovemaking and you will transform your darkness into beauty.

Fighting for a beautiful masterpiece

Your life has the potential of being your greatest masterpiece. Every day you can etch out with your actions your magnum opus. The example of the way you choose to live can be an inspiration to the world.

But without a conscious, activated, heart-ruled inner warrior, you have no choice, no wielding of your power.

You have a heart and mind, but no hands.

You may have great intentions and wonderful ideas, but no root to make give nourishment to your dreams.

The warrior can be callous, tyrannical and reckless. Or it can be a faithful servant to your heart’s purpose.

Only you can make that choice.

Note: Huge props to my mentor Elliot Hulse who greatly inspired my exploration of these archetypes and how they related to living an integrated life. I highly recommend that you explore his incredibly in-depth Youtube channel on becoming a stronger person.

Comment & Add Your Voice

Jorma June 20, 2014 at 3:04 am

Excellent post: it rang each and every cell in my body. I recognize the whole thing in me and it sorely hurts me every day.

Thanks for writing this personal review and showing that I’m not crazy but in fact still redeemable as a human being.

Reply

Chandler June 20, 2014 at 3:30 am

“Life has the potential to be your greatest masterpiece.” That line is fantastic. I know I take for granted what opportunities I have and it generally happens when I become so bogged down with everything going on around me and I forget to set my priorities.

Your articles make me sit back and think for a moment, “Am I headed in the right direction?” But the cool thing is not only that question they make me as, but more importantly, “Am I ready for the direction my heart wants me to go?” You have to be ready to tackle what your dreaming up, and sometimes we aren’t. But with a little patients and observation we can figure it out.

Thanks for the material!

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Vince June 20, 2014 at 4:52 am

Yes! Steven Pressfield style…we have to figure out who we already are and become it. I am going to commit to saying no to others upfront and confidently. It’s amazing how when you are genuine (either a yes or a no) how much people can read into that and respect your decision. Often times I’ve noticed they’ll even change their minds and go along with your answer.

Lisa Stiefel June 20, 2014 at 4:09 am

Hi Jonathan,

You gave us a heads-up in the e-mail that this post would be a bit out there… It’s bang on, I say! I am delighted to be involved in a community where this type of rhetorik and wavelength are the norm :)

Thank you!

L.

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danscreativeoutlet June 20, 2014 at 4:34 am

Awesome post. Today i am going to work with reusable cutlery to minimize waste. Will people look at me funny or criticize? Probably. But I will be a fierce warrior, ruthless servant of my heart

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M. Catlett June 20, 2014 at 5:29 am

This is a gorgeous call to Will in the greater sense; there’s so many empty platitudes and overly sentimental evocations of empowerment out there. You’ve cleansed my palate, sir, and started my day off most excellently – not only worth sharing, but worth bookmarking.

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Niamh June 20, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Not out there at all–just true. Excellent stuff. More like this!

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Cindy Renate June 20, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Imagine a world where we can embrace our full humanness. Thank you for an insightful post. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women who Run with Wolves, has done much exploration of archetypes but this post helps brings it back to what I am trying to achieve in this life.

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Fernando June 20, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Amazing Post. As a Montessori Guide Candidate,I would exchange the “No” with a “redirection”, as we usually do when kids behave ie. in a way they may hurt themselves or others.

Not at your level but lately I ve been having some thoughts exactly as you mention… we know nothing about our bodies, about what our body tells us…

thanks a lot.

Fernando

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Fernando June 20, 2014 at 7:19 pm

PLEASE: do not accept my previous message as I want to change it a little bit.
Thanks
Fernando

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Chuck Freeman June 23, 2014 at 11:09 am

Hi Jonathan!
Great post!
You post have been an introduction to this paradigm for me. Thanks! I like it! I relate a lot to this “quest” for the release of the inner warrior. I’ve been walking another path but it’s always great to learn other way.

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Matt Kelly June 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

Great post! Here are a couple of resources for those who are interested in experiencing and learning more. Read: King, Warrior, Magician , Lover by Moore and Gillette. Experience: The New Warrior Training Adventure put on by the ManKind Project.

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lynne June 24, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Hi, a very interesting article. It is true that “If you struggle with making your desires a reality and taking action, you have an underdeveloped connection to your warrior”. Any process takes time, if we really want to make a change in one’s life, we have to start now. Thanks for sharing. Great post.

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josh June 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

Wow, this was just what I needed today. Thank you very much for such inspiring content – posting this out and putting it on the wall to remind me to keep doing what I’m doing and creating a better world through my talents.

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