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Heart of a Warrior – A Song for This Moment

Barbara McAfee Posted by Barbara McAfee.

Barbara McAfee is a musician, coach and consultant with over twelve years of experience in organizational change.


These past weeks have been deeply challenging for many of us.

These past weeks have been deeply challenging for many of us.

Friends of color are striving to say and do the right things to keep their children safe.

A friend who is a school director called weeping about a third grade Muslim girl in her school being bullied by classmates.

Friends involved in reproductive rights are redoubling their efforts to protect them.

Lesbian, gay, and transgender friends are wondering how their daily lives will be affected by freewheeling hate in the streets.

Old traumas are coming back to haunt many of us.

During this time, I’ve heard many gentle, peace-loving people proudly naming themselves “warriors.” They proclaim themselves ready to step forward with fierceness, bringing wisdom, beauty, and even joy to the challenges at hand. Many have traveled to Standing Rock to support the water protectors there. Others are extending themselves to listen to neighbors who have different backgrounds or opinions than their own. Some are donating to causes that support the human spirit and others are treating people they encounter in their day-to-day lives with increased kindness.

Years ago I wrote a song called “Heart of a Warrior” in honor of a dear and feisty friend.

Like many of my songs, its meaning has shifted over time. I heard the message of the song in a new way this past week. It called out and named the spirit I feel arising in me –and many others — in this perilous moment.

It is a song full of drums to call the heart to courage.
It is a guide for sustaining ourselves through the long road ahead.
It invites us to “dance empty-handed into the fray.”

Turn it up.
Sing along.
Be brave.

We are in this together.

Heart of a Warrior

Fear holds no sway in the heart of a warrior
She dances empty-handed into the fray
Rivers of laughter to temper the shadows
From life’s invitation, she’ll not turn away.

Love is the fire in the heart of a warrior
There in her eyes its flames leap and sway
Those who are warmed there do count themselves blessed
To bask in the warmth of her sunfire array.

Deep wisdom runs through the heart of a warrior
A curious mind and the words to say …
Mysteries fresh from the lips of the angels
The voice of the earth as under our feet she commences to pray.

Grant many gifts to the heart of this warrior:
A balance of rest in her rigorous days
Courage to step forth into her true power
Conviction to know the love all around her is going to stay

Fear holds no sway in the heart of a warrior
She dances empty-handed into the fray
Rivers of laughter to temper the shadows
From life’s invitation, she’ll not turn, not turn, not turn away.

© Barbara McAfee