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"Embracing a Warrior Mindset: The Path to Success and Resilience"

There are many things in life that we don't want to accept. We frequently don't accept that other people see the world differently to the way we do. We don't accept the way our bodies look. We don't accept our histories or that not everyone will like us. We often fail to accept that we are not perfect and never will be. Most of all, we struggle to accept that one day we will be gone forever and that will be it. Nothingness.


Miyamoto Musashi said these words: "Generally speaking, the way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death".


Musashi (1584 – 1645), also known by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher and writer who was famed for his mastery of the sword. He was arguably the greatest swordsman who ever lived, a man whose ideas and strategies have been widely studied and utilised in the military, industry and by martial artists. The iconic sword saint of Japan was clearly a genius, yet he was also a functional psychopath—ruthless, fearless, hyper-focused, and utterly without conscience.


Psychopathic tendencies aside, Musashi's words crystallise the very secret to letting go of all our fears and embracing full acceptance. Only when we can accept our own inevitable death can we become a warrior. Only when we truly relinquish the attempted control over our mortality will we be free, happy and courageous.


I honestly thought that I would live forever when I was younger. I obviously knew about death, had come across it in close proximity to myself - a close friend was murdered when we were both just 17. My beloved grandparents passed away during my teens and early twenties. But still, death remained something that happened to other people. (This was despite the fact that I was smoking like a chimney, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and taking illegal drugs.)


Death would not happen to me. Live Forever by Oasis was my anthem.


And alongside this absolute refusal to accept my own death came the biggest fear. Fear that wormed its way around my soul, fuelled all my self-destructive behaviours and pinned me down to that one, lonely place I inhabited - a place of self-loathing, anger, trauma and crippling anxiety.


Then, one day in September 2022, I found myself sitting in front of a consultant in a room in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield. He spoke the following words to me: "Well, it's definitely breast cancer".


In that moment, my whole world began to spin wildly out of control. I was on a malfunctioning fairground ride; every single feature of my life up to that point in time began to fall away. The ground buckled beneath me. I gripped the chair, eyes wide, heart racing, ears struggling to take in the words that I knew the consultant was speaking, but which, by then, had morphed into an indistinguishable noise.


I was completely alone. I was facing death.


In the months that followed, I came to accept my mortality. On one particular day, sun shining brightly from an azure blue sky, I looked upwards to the unseen universe and experienced a moment of complete happiness. I felt so grateful to be alive, like every atom of my being was awake and vital and present. It is a moment that marks my understanding of life and death. I saw it: the reality of my own mortality. It is quite possibly the happiest moment of my entire life.


This life won't last forever.


To believe that we are immortal is the root cause of all the things we want to change about ourselves. To experience a sense of immortality is to fail to embrace true gratitude, love, vivacity, courage and determination. Not facing our own inevitable death makes us selfish, deluded, fearful and stuck.


I am immensely grateful that I had breast cancer. I am so lucky that I saw death close up and was then given the opportunity to live life in the full possession of that knowledge and awareness.


"Generally speaking, the way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death".


When we know our time is finite, when we are imbued with that awareness, we can do anything. We become warriors. We will not let anything stop us from striving and fighting to be the best we can be. We do not live our lives locked in a state of denial, abusing our bodies and believing that we will get away with it. We don't waste time. We feel true love. We appreciate everything, from the first cup of tea we drink in the morning, to the beautiful moments of affection we recieve from loved ones, to the way our dog runs in the park, so full of energy and enthusiasm, to the crisp, cotton sheets we lie down on at the end of the day.


Every last thing matters, because we have accepted our own death, which means we have no idea how long it will all last. And with that acceptance comes deep gratitude, being fully awake all of the time, seeing everything, true love, and the strength to live life as a warrior.





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