I gained a new skill last Saturday. It’s sort of embarrassing to admit, but after 61 years of living on this earth, I finally learned how to change a tire.
Luckily, the flat happened while I was at a friend’s house and two amazing women calmly and generously taught me how to change it. Key word: taught. They didn’t do it for me, they stepped me through a process that the three of us completed together. They patiently explained each step so that I could do it myself, and they confirmed that I am physically strong enough to tighten the lug nuts. In short, they empowered me, which was actually a bigger gift than the new skill.
Interestingly, we had just finished a dance gathering with the theme, You Are Your Own Hero. The tire changing episode proved that point and reminded me that others can be my heroes simultaneously.
The definition of hero from Merriam-Webster is, “an illustrious warrior; a person admired for achievements and noble qualities; one who shows great courage.”
I’ve never really considered myself a hero or a warrior, but I’ve been thinking about both since we entered Aries season at the end of March. The Aries archetype is that of a brave and fiery warrior who takes heroic action. That’s the energy we are in for most of April, and it has inspired me to ponder what this means in my life, even as I’m heartsick over the war raging in Ukraine.
If you look up the word warrior, you’ll see “a person engaged in struggle or conflict.” I have always felt sensitive to conflict and especially to violence. It makes me anxious to watch depictions of fighting or even to read about them, so I’m often out of the loop of mainstream culture and don’t have many warrior references to call upon. My heroes are the peacemakers.
Yet not all conflict is violent and if I’m honest with myself, I must admit that I often lack courage around verbal conflict. I tend to avoid it.
At my friend’s house, before the flat tire, we danced around an altar of flowers, scarves, stones and oracle cards (which seems decidedly un-warrior like, but trust me, we were doing a hero dance). When we were guided to choose a card, I flipped mine over and saw the words, “Warrior of the Heart.” The photo on the card was a polar bear on an iceberg walking toward the camera. It seemed like a mama bear to me. My heart sank because I feel so helpless and hopeless about polar bears starving to extinction.
But this polar bear had a message for me. When I am challenged by life, I have the choice to feel hopeless and helpless or I can choose to be a courageous Warrior of the Heart. A Warrior of the Heart moves forward like the polar bear letting her instincts lead the way because to become paralyzed with fear means certain death. A Warrior of the Heart uses every ounce of strength she has to make a peaceful and beautiful world for her children and all the children after them. A Warrior of the Heart is unafraid to speak her truth. She faces conflict head-on armed only with love.
To be a Warrior of the Heart is to be my own hero. One whose achievements and noble qualities I can admire. Empowered. And, fortunately, surrounded by hero friends who will postpone their afternoon plans to teach her how to change a flat tire.