This article is about living more fully and engaging or defending those sacred things we all cherish as warriors.

To do these things, I’m going to utilize the metaphor of a tripwire to illustrate a potent concept.

A tripwire is a military device – a small wire often attached to an explosive device – that is traditionally used to defend a specific area of substantial importance. Tripwires have been utilized around the perimeter of an encampment, often protecting the soldiers and equipment therein. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “the enemy is inside the wire” – you know that this means the enemy has penetrated the perimeter of the encampment and is dangerously close. When the enemy is inside the wire, there is an immediate, clear, and present danger that must be addressed.

The tripwire is an early warning device meant to signal danger before the enemy seizes an advantage by gaining access inside the perimeter (and to significantly degrade the enemy forces with the corresponding explosion that the activated tripwire causes).

I’m using this metaphor for a specific reason. Unlike the concept of a trigger that has come to mean the sudden beginning of a negative and emotionally turbulent “quality of being” between the present reality and a shadow emotion (often caused by a profoundly negative past experience), the tripwire concept is proactive and leveraged to support our ETHOS (if you haven’t developed a personal ETHOS, I encourage you to do so).

The tripwire concept is proactive in the sense that each of us can search our ETHOS for common, often daily occurrences that test our ETHOS (or our support of our ETHOS). For instance, parents supporting their children during homework time, driving to school, or taking a long road trip can either allow the interaction to simply play out, or parents can consider what result each seeks in these interactions. The tripwire – or awareness cue – can be an alarm on your cell or a practice as simple as box breathing to consider how the parent might start, support, and end these interactions.

Tripwires (i.e. awareness devices) should immediately foster a powerful intention, a plan put into action, and a connection to the ETHOS. Often, I encourage my clients to develop mantras or formulas for success and focus on these blueprint style guides to stay the course. For instance, a formula for success when picking children up from school for the drive home might look like the following:

Patience + Inquiry + Encouragement + Presence + Engagement = Connected Success

Lastly, tripwires can also be connected to your “edge.” The place in which, due to circumstances, a switch is thrown and your warrior’s edge shows up in defense of the sacred things. More than action, this is a quality of being transformation. Once the wire is tripped, circumstances have changed, and the person you were changes in quality dramatically (your edge) to powerfully address the situation at hand.

As you consider the concept of tripwire, explore how you might eventually and organically recognize situations where you utilize this tool to manage encounters to a powerful and positive resolution. Often, this skill set is engaged with stance (something akin to The Fence), posture, tone, and well-chosen words (a near complete shift in quality of being).

The more we recognize the patterns in our lives, the more we can discover opportunity to (1) enhance our relationships, and (2) protect and defend our personal ETHOS. This starts with the tripwire concept.

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