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Modern Day Warriors of the Heart

Modern Day Warriors of the Heart
By David Tomaselli

Samurai warriors came into existence in Japan around the 12th century when two powerful Japanese clans fought bitter wars against each other. In the physical sense the samurai were well armed with weapons and armour. Spiritually they were also armed with something know as Bushido, which means "Way of the Warrior." Bushido was an unwritten code of conduct which held bravery, honour, and personal loyalty above life itself allowing the Samurai to transcend his fear of death. The samurai were indeed masters, physically and spiritually empowered to serve faithfully and loyally, and die if necessary.

In today’s world, we too need to be masters. While the conflicts and challenges may not be life threatening, they can be quite taxing and extremely stressful. As modern day warriors, we also have a number of weapons at our disposal. One of the most essential weapons we have in our bag or arsenal is the weapon of the heart. It can resolve some of the most unworkable conflicts, and more importantly heal the hurtful wounds sustained in the battle of conflict. I would like to share with you a couple of occurrences in my own life where the heart has really helped me deal with and resolve conflict.

The first instance occurred over 6 years ago. Around this time, I found myself well and truly entrenched in the middle of a legal sandwich, a war between two companies disputing over the ownership of a software package that I had developed. The legal battle had lasted over 18 months and took an extremely stressful toll on all parties. Aside from the fact that the legal expenses ran into the ten’s of thousands, there was an incredible amount of anger and mutual hate that developed adding to the stress. What made it extremely stressful for me was that all I wanted to do was solve this amicably without lawyers, however the other parties were not interested. Rather they were gearing up towards a fight to the death fuelled purely by emotion, not reason.

For over 18 months I put my head in the sand relying on my lawyer to provide the answers. Nevertheless it appeared as though there was nothing we could do to resolve the situation. The state of affairs totally consumed me and as a result I started to spiral into depression. During that time I experienced on many occasions what many refer to as the dark night of the soul. On such nights I would be pleading and screaming at God asking questions like, “Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this?” Fortunately, on one of those nights, it dawned on me that I had to try something totally different and perhaps even radical. It was at this point I realized that there was just too much anger expressed and felt by the various parties involved. I decided to change my attitude towards them no longer viewing them as “my enemies” but rather as fellow humans. With this change of attitude, I was able to better comprehend their points of view and perspective on the situation which made me realize there was at least some merit to their arguments. I made the resolution to act from a position of love and compassion in every way possible. In subsequent meetings, I conducted myself in an amicable manner going out of my way to co-operate with both groups. After a short while, I knew I was making ground when the owner of one company mentioned at a meeting that I had been great about the whole thing. Within 6 months of persisting with this new attitude, I had managed to remove myself from the legal battle totally.

Unfortunately as this chapter of conflict ended, another one began. This time the battle ground was a lot closer to home in the form of marriage problems with my wife. Without going into great detail as to why or how it started, we had reached a point where we would regularly argue over the most ridiculous things, having screaming matches and verbally abusing each other. During this time it was not uncommon for us to not talk for days on end. For me personally I had reached a point where I felt things were so unworkable that I just wanted to walk away. The only thing stopping me was that we had two beautiful children and I didn’t want to put them through the pain of living in a broken home. It would be fair to say that my wife felt exactly the same.

Fortunately we did persist with our marriage. During this time we experienced many months of highs and lows. The problem was it just never ever seemed to get better. At best, things would resolve itself for a couple of weeks, emotions would then build up and boil over again. As in the first instance I felt at a total loss of what to do to improve our situation. I was finding it very hard to forgive her for the hurtful words said to me, while at the same time retaliating with equally hurtful words. After several more months of arguing, it was hard to distinguish between the end of one fight and the start of the next. The only thing keeping us together was our children however it was now starting to affect them.

At this stage, we decided to see a marriage counsellor. Because there was a lot of anger and hurt that had to be dealt with, we both found the counselling very difficult. After our first session, I again made a personal resolution to express as much compassion and love as I possibly could. This helped me to understand what my wife was feeling and explore ways that I could improve as a person. The new approach combined with my wife’s similar change in attitude, has helped us rebuild our relationship. While the road has been bumpy, I have seen a distinct improvement in our mutual tolerances for each other and our short comings, as the love we once passionately felt has slowly but steadily rekindled.

In closing, I am not suggesting that these incidents are anything extraordinary. However for me, the close timing of these two intense conflicts in my life and their combined impacts nearly drove me to breaking point. Fortunately the experience has taught me a number of valuable lessons about life. Most importantly I have discovered that love and compassion, not only towards my friends but also towards those that apparently wish to harm me, can resolve even the most unresolvable conflicts. Love is indeed the greatest weapon that we modern day warriors need in today’s world.

David Tomaselli
Cultivate Health and Success - The Wholistic Development Exchange

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