Who’s in charge here? Of your life, your purpose, today and for the foreseeable future? Is it YOU or some old beliefs that you just don’t need or want around any more? The country is in a pitched battle over its beliefs and experiencing logjam as a result. It is a prime example of how Beliefs, called policies in politics, effect behavior, or a sever lack thereof. Beliefs make things happen, or not. Which ones are serving us, to get things done, in our “okio,””nomia,” our “house,” “management.” (Gk)?
Carrying on from my last blogpost, I’m extending my posse metaphor [ “Who are those guys?” ]. The names and “characters” of each member of the posse in our mind are “Archetypes,” or their relatives. Archetypes are the images and the messages of the perceived characters they portray. They hold the very words of our beliefs. The easiest example for men is the Warrior, all those combative mlae hulks playing football in monstrous stadiums to huge crowds this time of year. The most familiar women is the Madonna, the image of untouchable female beauty and goodness we see in Hollywood and TV celebrities, like “9” on the last version of Star Trek (and she was a android of some kind).
I invite you into the world of heroes and daemons, the people, pictures, forms or images that play on the screen of our minds/our lives every day and determine so much of our behavior. They “play” largely unconsciously while we go about our daily business, unless we plug in directly in movie experiences like last year’s AVATAR or TV’s latest romantic Lone Wolf, an invincible savior of the innocent, Jim Caviezel in “Person of Interest.” So embedded in our heads are these heroes or daemons a fair question is, which came first, the mind or the myth (the story the archetype tells)?
The basic forms of these images have settled in and rumbled around in our human psyches/minds since our three level brain formed about 50,000 years ago. You know all those Greek and Romans mythological gods and goddesses? They are prime examples of archetypes, the primordial or primary images that they projected onto the screen of their world then to address the perennial life questions, “where am I from?,” “where am I going?,” “how do I get there?, “why does what happens, happen?”
Other examples range from King and Goddess, to Priest and Healer, from Judge to Pharaoh and Slave to Wild Man, Wood Nymph and Harlequin. In animals they range from horse to dragon, butterfly to snake, hawk to sea serpent; in biology from lotus to oak tree. Our myths have universal roots, forms that cross over all lands, time and cultures, in folklore from elf and fairy, in religion from angels to devils, saint to infidel, in bedtime stories from wolves to spiders, in our USA Christian culture from Santa to the Easter Bunny, in Scifi from aliens to avatars. The list is almost endless. For men on mature masculine archetypes, see Gillette and Moore’s book, “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.”
We can discover our own personal variations of these archetypal images and messages and make them work for us. They are in almost all our beliefs in one form or another. They are about our identity, our accomplishments, and our fears and doubts. For spiritual reasons our minds usually divide these images in dualisms, opposites, virtues and deterents, heroes and daemons.
A good example of a Belief image with a positive identity is the one that coalesced in a client of mine just this week. With some guidance he discovered he is challenged and affirmed by identifying with Doc Brown, Oscar Wilde, and lastly, with the qualities of the fun and inimitable Mary Poppins, that cheerful, entertaining, get-the-job-done expert, magical, talented and oh-so-nurturing, make-it-all-look-easy-with-a-smile au pair to the luckiest kids on earth. Now she is a powerful modern archetype!! Identifying clearly with Ms. Poppins was an important step for him in envisioning the exact kind of work team and environment he is best suited to as he currently solidifies his career and sets new goals for himself in his present job search, or job creation. A new beginning! He is transforming himself in the process!
The members of the posse can up-build or downgrade us in their purpose. Of Beliefs I say, “Use what you like; discard what you don’t. You’re the boss.” If they are blocks in your path, move them! If they a benefit, celebrate them! Do with them as you choose! They are the cause of a lot of our behavior.
To conclude with a very simple reminder, if the Archetypes live in the subconscious, we deal with them there in the “basement” of our minds so that we can make changes happen on the “first floor”, the arena of our conscious choices, the “upstairs” in the house of our lives, where we live, work and play. By “deal with them,” I mean, identity them, talk with them, affirm or dismiss them, or even negotiate new roles for them. All the above are possible. They are just Beliefs. They are yours, to do with as you wish. I can tell you from experience that they are amenable to work with you, even eager or fun in their willingness to do as you wish, cooperate with your aims, assist you toward your goals – see you smile.
I get excited by such outcomes or steps taken by my clients. It is part of what I do as a coach. Come and see. Your personal Beliefs are yours, to do with as you wish. Affirm and acknowledge those that empower you, the unique archetypes in your house. Be your own auteur, the director of heroes in Your Movie!