5 Tips to Become an Empowered Warrior: Perspectives from a Dancer-Martial Artist-Yogi

Life isn’t easy. Nor is it fair.

Growing up I heard these words often from my mother. Complaining about an injustice, I turned to my mom to make it better.

But my mom didn’t coddle anyone. “Better get used to it,” she would say. “If you don’t like it, why don’t you do something about it?”

I hated this advice as a young child. I wanted someone to fix things and to feel invincible. Little did I know then, but my mom was teaching me about personal power. She laid the foundation for me to later develop into an empowered warrior.

My life hasn’t exactly been easy since then. Battling undiagnosed mental health issues led to self-medicating with alcohol in my early adult years. Stuck in a downward cycle with no clear way out, I made numerous poor choices and was involved in a handful of abusive relationships. Compounding earlier trauma, I was left suffering from the effects of PTSD and number of stress-related health challenges, wondering how I got there.

But there were times in my life where I felt free and empowered. I knew it existed. And if it existed, I could find it again. I began my transformation to living the life of an Empowered Warrior.

All warriors have a few basic things in common: Discipline. Focus. Persistence. Training.

Developing into an Empowered Warrior means staying strong when you want to give up and quit. It means not listening to people who don’t want you to succeed. It means using self-discipline to keep your eyes on the goal and adapt accordingly as you progress. Most of all it is having faith, knowing your will to succeed is stronger than anything that is against you.

From challenge comes change.

With this knowledge and my life’s experiences, I created a list of tips to guide you into a place of personal power and freedom!

  1. It’s not all about you Oh you may think it is, but a true Warrior separates from her greatest foe, THE EGO. A great example is when someone cuts you off in traffic. Suddenly you slam on the brakes, screaming profanities at the idiot who came out of nowhere and ruined your sing-a-long with Pink. How could they inconvenience you like this? The nerve! In yoga, we learn to observe with mindful awareness as feelings and emotions arise. When practicing on the mat, we are encouraged to breathe into these sensations. We come to realize that these emotions do not last or define us. In the driving situation, we may feel anger or judgment. Who do they think they are? Just like in yoga, take a deep breath. An Empowered warrior pushes the pause button and observes the situation from a different perspective. It is possible to remain calm and act thoughtfully, instead of reacting. Try seeing the situation as if your friend was describing the event to you. Maybe this guy was in a hurry because he had to get to the hospital. Maybe he was from a city where this is normal driving behavior. Maybe not, but now you have other options that don’t involve him being a jerk purposefully ruining your day. You are taking empowered steps instead of feeling attacked and insulted.

  2. Rejoice in other’s successes We might do this to some extent if we like the person. But what about the project you poured your heart and soul into, and the boss promoted the colleague he golfs with instead? It is more difficult to be excited for someone who you think doesn’t deserve it. (But remember number 1!) As a dancer, I know there are numerous other good dancers out there. But the exceptional dancers are the ones who get the lead roles. While it is hard to be passed over time and time again for the positions and opportunities you desire, an Empowered Warrior rejoices in other’s success. Why? Because she knows success is available for everyone whether you think they are deserving. When we feel slighted, we create an energy of scarcity around us. Like attracts like, and therefore you attract more neediness and desperate frustration. When you feel genuine joy for another’s good fortune, you create the energetic field to draw good fortune to yourself.

  3. Consider your challenges as opportunities When times are tough, it is easy to feel despair. (Refer to tips 1 and 2!) Like my mom, the Buddha taught that all life involves suffering. But knowing our tendencies as humans, we have the ability to choose our attitudes in any given situation. We can choose the disempowered victim mentality when a challenge arises. Or we can take the Empowered Warrior approach. We can ask ourselves a few questions. What can I learn from this situation? How can this opportunity make me stronger and wiser? How can this challenge prepare me for my future? In martial arts, when you train with a person who is faster, stronger, or more talented than you are, it is intimidating. You want to run off the mat and quit. But if you persevere—maybe taking a few blows and getting knocked down--you grow as a fighter and are better prepared for the next match. Empowered warriors are always training and dedicating themselves to the hard work of self-improvement.

  4. Watch your words. You are your coach. Your self-talk is crucial. (Need we review tips 1-3?) How many times a day do you use self-defeating language? I’m just not good enough. I’ll never be able to do that. No one believes in me. I just can’t. Change this! Empowered Warriors use positive, encouraging, and uplifting words. They never cut anyone down, including themselves. They thoughtfully speak the truth while optimistically focusing on their goals. Yogis talk of the power of thoughts and words. Just like our bodies, thoughts and words carry a specific energy and vibration affecting the person who absorbs it. Negative vibrations lower a person’s energy, draining their power and progress. Positive vibrations raise a person’s energy and enhances personal power and progress. To practice this, can you be aware enough to notice the next time a negative thought arises? Take a deep breath, and notice how the thought makes you feel. Then take another deep breath, releasing the thought. Now replace it with a more positive and empowered thought. Instead of thinking ‘I’m not good enough’, change it to ‘Every day I get closer to achieving my goals’. How does it feel to breathe in this thought?

  5. Prioritize your peace and joy Protect this as your most prized possession! Ask yourself what takes away my peace and joy? Sometimes we do things that give temporary peace, but our peace is disturbed eventually. Use discrimination in what you consume from the foods you eat, messages you hear, environments you visit, and people who surround you. If your peace and joy is disturbed, trace it back to the cause, and radically eliminate the culprit. Empowered Warriors don’t have time to waste while training.There is no time for distractions. They protect their personal peace and joy at all costs-- even if it means sacrificing conveniences, ending unhealthy relationships, or changing behaviors. A Warrior who maintains her peace and joy is destined for greatness.

Embarking on the path of Empowered Warrior, it is crucial to connect with intention. What are we as warriors fighting for?

Start living a life of commitment. Dedicate yourself to transformation. Connect to your clarity and power. Remember battles will need to be fought. Boundaries will need to be set. It is not an easy path.

Keeping these five tips in mind and living with discipline, focus, persistence, and constant training --you will thrive as an Empowered Warrior! The Warriors of the world are cheering you on.

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