Never Give a Sword to a Man Who Can’t Dance

Confucius said, “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.” Oh, that confusing Confucius! Whatever did he mean by that?

In some medicine wheels, the warrior energy is found in the north. The south is the direction of music, dance, beauty, creativity, and inspiration. It is the energy that allows us to feel joy and peace. Without this energy to temper and balance the warrior energy, the warrior can become a savage.

Our current society is a warlike society, not a warrior culture. Warlike cultures focus on domination, control, and gaining dominion over others. Warrior cultures cultivate both the lover and the fighter so that a person knows when to fight, doesn’t take small things as an affront, and knows the value of what he takes from another – whether that is his pride, his dignity, or his life. This reduces fighting and treats battle like a last resort. When the battle is over, the enemy becomes the brother that he always was and peace returns.

Most of the world lives in a warrior culture where it’s common to take what you want and lash out at whatever hurts you. We’ve cut school programs for music, dance, and make it all about intellectual learning. We don’t allow kids to even make the shape of a gun with their fingers. Consequently, we aren’t teaching our young ones how to be good warriors or good lovers.

Love doesn’t live in the head. It’s not intellectual. It has to be cultivated and expressed through play, relationship, and inspiration. If you want to be a healthy warrior (and we all have warrior energy), you also have to be a good lover. It’s the balance of north and south, male and female, and warrior and music (the fuel of life).

So what do you do about it? Dance! Find the thing that makes your heart sing, that you lose all time in, and get lost in it. Give yourself permission to play. Connect. Smile with the birds, babies, and people. Sing – loudly. Laugh – a lot. Then share that with someone. Fear cannot live where there is joy. Cultivate that joy so that life isn’t a fight. But when you have to fight, love will be a part of your arsenal too.

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