Confessions of a Fixer: Does a Warrior Lurk Within?

KMHuberImage; Wood Stork Fishing

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Warrior is not a concept that has ever described me for I have lived my life as a fixer. Now in my sixties, I can only hope that fixer is a permanent past tense characteristic.

It is not as if I was not aware of the warrior concept—I was introduced to Buddhism over 25 years ago–but as a committed fixer, I cared little for clashing or “going a-warring, not that a bodhisattva or Buddhist warrior does either.

“Those who train wholeheartedly in awakening unconditional and relative bodhichitta (“enlightened mind”) are called bodhisattvas or warriors…of nonaggression who hear the cries of the world. These are men and women who are willing to train in the middle of the fire…[who] cut through personal reactivity and self-deception [through] their dedication to uncovering the basic undistorted energy of bodhichitta” (Pema Chödrön, The Places that Scare You).

Admittedly, I did not care for the word warrior and was not  comfortable with bodhisattva but I admired the warrior’s way and still do. For me, it has been amazingly easy to confuse fixing myself with the warrior’s way. It has taken decades to discard the cloak of the fixer.

As a fixer, it never occurred to me to consider maitri, the complete acceptance of one’s self as one is. “Only when we relate to ourselves without moralizing, without harshness, without deception, can we let go of harmful patterns” (Chödrön). Yet, for the warrior maitri is essential. The warrior understands her inner self is her guide, her greatest strength.

“Lasting transformation occurs only when we honor ourselves as a source of wisdom and compassion” (Chödrön). As a fixer, I did not consider acceptance or surrender. That was giving up. No, I was determined to change my fundamental nature–as if I could–that was my fixer’s guide to true transformation. Yet, everywhere I went there I was, no matter how many different paths I took.

KMHuberImage; Florida turtle sunning

KMHuberImage

In the way of the warrior, there is no clean slate, just the self that is. The warrior knows her strength is in accepting all of the patterns and behaviors that have been her life. They are the open road to her heart, free of any sign pointing to one feeling or another. The warrior is open to the energy that is.

“There is nothing wrong, nothing harmful about that underlying energy. Our practice is to stay with it, to experience it, to leave it as it is” (Chödrön). As a fixer, I “dealt” with my feelings and thoughts by putting them where I did not have to see them. It was enough to know they were there. Maybe they would just go away for I had no intention of staying with that kind of energy. I was too busy trying to fix my life.

The warrior has the courage not only to look within herself but to stay with the energy, regardless of its outcome. Essentially, she “touches the bubble [of emotion] with a feather” (Chödrön). The warrior goes beyond the reactive demands of the mind chatter to the energy that is fueling all that emotion.

She stays with the energy for that is the warrior response, to experience. Sometimes, the response is silence but regardless, the warrior does not cling to whatever outcome occurs.

Always, the warrior is as compassionate with herself as she is with the world, not trying to fix either one. The quest of the warrior is staying in present moment awareness, and for a fixer from the past, that is quite a quest.

21 thoughts on “Confessions of a Fixer: Does a Warrior Lurk Within?

  1. I have seen the book you have referenced many times, but have not picked it up. Maybe I was not ready yet, to venture into the places that scare me…now, I feel inspired to do so. Thank you.

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  2. I am certainly not a warrior like you, but I never thought of myself as a fixer. Reading this I can identify with some of what you say – I guess pacifier is more the role though?

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    • Oh, I am far from a warrior but I like to think I am in training, at least. A fixer and pacifier have some traits in common but a pacifier is much more tranquil, I suspect. Thanks, Diana!
      Karen

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  3. I try to imagine that I am not me, but just some stranger when I look at myself. How hard would I be on this person if she were not me? Usually far more understanding than I am when I add the weight of all I have invested in this self.

    The self is so important, yet so dime-a-dozen. I strive to give my self the same importance as pocket change. I’m doing a little better at it.

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  4. I liked this post on my reader and just came back to read it today. As a fixer I can relate totally that it is not easy to step back and let things be. We want to jump in and influence the outcome but as you say that is not the way of the warrior.

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    • It is just as you say, Athena, especially when it comes to the self, in my case. Until recently, I was always so sure I could fix anything. Actually, it’s a relief to know I cannot nor was it ever necessary. Thanks, Athena!

      Karen

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  5. As a life long fixer I can totally relate to this post my friend. I have really connected with your last few entries, maybe because I find familiarity in the teachings you reference or I suspect it’s because you keep hitting the nail on the head. Regardless, I always enjoy reading your experiences with your practices and walk away feeling like I have picked up something new; even when you refer to quotes I have read over and over. Maybe if I can manage to hold the warrior pose in my yoga, my inner warrior will follow. : ) Thank you once again for offering a great spot to land,

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    • All the while I was writing this post, I thought of the warrior pose to which I can only aspire but like you, I remain determined. As for the nail head, that is yet another aspiration but your words encourage me. Thanks so much, Stephanie.
      Karen

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  6. Oh, Karen. I was going to say that you need to see Jeff Foster, but maybe you don’t, because this is exactly what he emphasized at the day-long workshop on Saturday. You are using different words and analogies, but the underlying message is the same–Sit with it/unconditional acceptance. Here are a few quotes I jotted down on Saturday.
    “Your life is suppose to be imperfect/a mess.”
    Acceptance is not something you do; it’s what you are. The ocean already accepts all its waves; it is its waves.
    Home is here. Home is now, but we look for home in time.
    Our suffering is caused by comparing this present moment with our conception/dreams of this moment.
    Jeff emphasizes embracing the thoughts/feelings that come to our doorstep even if they are painful. This embrace has to be unconditional. We might have to embrace these difficult feelings forever. We can’t say, I will let you in if you promise to leave immediately.
    This sounds similar to “The warrior has the courage not only to look within herself but to stay with the energy, regardless of its outcome.”
    You are the second person today who has mentioned Pema Chodron. I am going to Amazon right now for a download.
    Something powerful is happening here, Karen. I am so grateful for you. Thank you for telling me about Jeff Foster. Thank you for your inspiring posts. Thank you for being a very special friend. {{{Hugs}}} kozo

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    • Oh, Kozo, I am so glad you went to the Jeff Foster workshop and that you share it here. Thank you so much. I find his words so refreshing. As for Pema Chodron, I enjoy her quotes of the week; in her books, like Foster, she is crystal clear and has a lovely sense of humor.

      There is something happening, Kozo, and it has a great deal to do with Bloggers for Peace. We are coming together in the oneness that we are. You inspire us all to be our best. It is an honor to call you friend. Big hug to you.

      Karen

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  7. I’m a fixer too. I’m slowly getting better at learning not to fix others, but I am constantly still trying to fix myself. Thanks for the reminder that I need to let that go too!

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    • Fixing is my default–I meet it coming and going–I take heart in that I am finally recognizing it. Of course, that is requiring me to look within, way within.

      Karen

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