I would like to write about being courageous in the face of adversity. I would like to say that, when faced with difficulty and the threat of conflict, I charged boldly ahead, heedless of the danger or the consequences. I would like to be a devout believer who can jump off the cliff in perfect faith that I will be provided with protection or the ability to fly. I would like to be a great warrior and desire nothing so much as a glorious death.
I have great admiration and respect for those courageous souls whose nature it is to charge forward, never weighing the costs nor measuring the power of their adversary. Something in my heart is moved by the heroic ballads. I fell in love with Beowulf in college and my feelings for him have not changed. Heroic nature is a gift, but I have gifts as well.
I am not a great warrior. I am not that full of faith nor that full of courage. What I am, is cunning, calculating and capable of seeing most of the angles and planning for contingencies. I am a survivor. I am good at stealth and secrets. I am good at self preservation. I am good at protecting myself and others with silence. I am good at quietly seeking freedom and attaining it without injury.
Sometimes I feel as though I should apologize to my gods or my ancestors or to those who are great warriors, as if what I am is an insult to them in some way, as if my way of surviving was somehow dishonorable. But I do not believe that survival is dishonorable. I do not believe that secrets are deception, or that silence is always surrender.
I come from a family of secret keepers. I come from a family of hunters and pacifists and soldiers and bards. The lessons of the owl, the fox, the cat, the deer, these are the lessons of silence, stealth, patience and survival. These are my gifts. Honor, valour, loyalty, discretion, subtlety and tenacity, these are also my gifts.
Secrecy is a gift. I keep secrets. Not just my own, but the secrets of others as well. I consider it to be a sacred charge, a great honor, to be entrusted with the secrets of another. Those who have secrets sometimes need to be able to share them without fear of betrayal. For me, this is a point of honor, to not betray another’s confidence.
Silence is a sacred gift. To keep silence when to speak is not necessary or beneficial. To sit in silence and listen, to keep my own council and to allow another to speak without intruding upon their thoughts, without giving my opinion or advise unless it is expressly requested. To allow another the space and support to speak, to cry, to rage, without judgment or comment, this too is honor.
Patience is a gift. Being able to see the angles and to plan quietly for contingencies helps me to survive, helps me to protect others. Sometimes freedom can only be gained through careful and quiet planning. Patient endurance, watching and waiting for the opportune moment to act is sometimes a more effective path to success.
Survival is a gift. I continue on, regardless of the great power of my adversary, I survive. I do so by stealth, by being unseen in the dangerous place, by being mistaken for that which is no threat to power.
Tenacity is a gift; I can be moved by inspiration or persuasion, but not by force. I become contrary when pushed. I may choose to follow one whom I respect, I may choose to risk much for the sake of that which I love, but I cannot be compelled.
Subtlety is a gift, because I respond contrary to force, persuasion is my preferred means of moving others, of accomplishing my goals. By seeming to be small and inconsequential I can accomplish more with subtlety and with thoughtfully and carefully chosen words, spoken softly, as a whisper in the ear.
Discretion is a gift, so is valour. I can be moved to valour, not simply courage, but valour. I will rise and risk all for the sake of those whom I hold dear, but only when the need is real, only for a cause worthy of the risk. Loyalty is a gift. I am fiercely loyal to those who have earned my devotion, and they are the ones who can call me to valour.
These gifts might sound strange to you. They are not what many would consider to be gifts at all but, in the long fight, they get the job done, often with much less conflict, less damage.
Force, sound, light and action, these are the principles that I have been challenged to learn and to express. And I have discovered that I cannot do so in the way that another would. I need to express my force, my voice, my light, my truth, my active will; with my gifts and in my way.
Change without conflict, success without damage, resistance without bloodshed, revolution without war, building without destruction, transformation without cataclysm, this to me is the desired means of evolution.
Using my own gifts, learning to express my own will from the light that exists inside me, from my own place of strength and not from some external source or some idea of what I should be. It is the union of polarities within me, not replacing my own light with that of another.