Axe Mentality has been a part of our permanent collection since 2020. One of the themes in our original print is an unwavering reminder to keep sharpening your axe, and in doing so: leave everything behind that doesn't align with the direction you want to go.
There are other layers to Axe Mentality, and what better way to hone in on these than through a new print. Launching this November 2023, another layer of Axe Mentality is the result of conversations had over the years with friend of the bear and, to our regular readers, you'll know him as guest writer: Ruan van Rensburg.
Before the reveal of the print, I'm honoured to share with you an essay from Ruan to go hand in hand with Axe Mentality, another layer.
Axe Mentality by Ruan van Rensburg
"The Greek hero Herakles (Hercules), pausing at Troy on his way homeward, found that the city was being harassed by a monster sent against it by the sea-god Poseidon. Herakles took a dive into the throat, cut his way through the belly, and left the monster dead. This popular motif gives emphasis to the lesson that the passage of the threshold is a form of self-annihilation. Instead of passing outward, beyond the confines of the visible world, the hero goes inward to be born again." ― Joseph Campbell, A Hero with a thousand faces.
If we are to endure we must often be radically transformed. The mind must cut away the old attitudes and attachments. Hack away what is inessential. Cut away what is unnecessary. Excess is the enemy; comfort is a poison.
"Go without a coat when it's cold; find out what cold is. Go hungry; keep your existence lean. Wear away the fat, get down to the lean tissue and see what it's all about. The only time you define your character is when you go without. In times of hardship, you find out what you're made of and what you're capable of. If you're never tested, you'll never define your character." ― Henry Rollins
Demand more, first from yourself. Cut the ties, burn the bridges. Contribute something of significance. Breathe. Lift. Sweat. Bleed on your own terms. We are the consequence of our decisions. Own it, deal with it, learn from it, and most importantly dare not take pity on thyself.
You are not a mindless sweat angel. Look beyond those shallow conversations, and pay attention to something other than 'how good the pump feels' or 'how hard this is'. What you do doesn't matter. What you pay attention to does. Every repetition counts. Every breath is to be held accountable. Within you there exists a divine capability unencumbered by ego and hollow ambition. To find it, we must annihilate the unnecessary again, and again. To become more; you must become less.
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Growth, It comes for us all. Who we were is never who we are, even one day later. And progress is the requirement, whether we want it or not. Hear the words, and put them to use. There will be more failures than victories, and you’ll learn to live with it. You’ll have no other choice. Nothing is free nor is an inch given. Sharpen your axe and cut off what needs cutting off. We’re going fast and hard. There is no room for dead weight. Drown out the empty noise. The useless words of encouragement. The self-soothing admiration. These distractions will offer no help in difficult moments. And from now on every moment will be difficult. Do this, and you may still fail miserably. It owes you nothing, even if you give it everything.
"In Dune, Frank Herbert called it "the attitude of the knife," cut off what's incomplete and say - now it has finished, for it has ended there.- " ― Extract from Twitching with Twight
Where to find Ruan
+ On Medium for his writing: Rebellious Repetition
+ IG: @rebellious_repetition
Shop for Axe Mentality, another layer
+ 🇺🇸 USA shop here with worldwide shipping