Hey, did I win for the longest post title ever? Did I? Did I? LOL
I have purposely NOT written about this stuff, because I know a lot of people don’t buy it (and I don’t blame them), and I didn’t want to lose ALL my credibility – ha! But after the last couple of posts, I found myself trying to explain things about the way I thought without ACTUALLY having to explain them. Harumph. So I’m posting this. Honestly, I don’t care if you believe it or not; that’s not really relevant to the posts. But I think it explains some of my mindset and the way that I deal with things, so for clarity’s sake, I’m posting it.
Having said that? This is SUPER-LONG. But I wanted to cram it all into one place so that I didn’t have to keep writing about it or address it (much) again.
So here goes.
First you should know that I pretty much think Carolyn Myss is spot-on about everything (well, for the purposes of this post, anyway). She writes about spirituality and energetic medicine, and is of the opinion that all illness comes from a spiritual and/or energetic imbalance. Most of the time (we’ll get to the exceptions later). So all this stuff comes from her books, lectures, classes, etc. You can check her out over there in the sidebar if you want more info. 🙂
Since *I* believe in this stuff, I’m going to write about it as though it were empirically true, mostly because I’m too lazy to qualify every statement with “in my opinion,” “according to my beliefs,” etc. So take it all with a grain of salt, ok? I KNOW it’s not empirically true; it’s just easier to write that way.
So let’s start with Archetypes. There are an infinite number of them, and we all embody all of them at various moments in our lives. They all have light/good sides and shadow/dark sides. Each of us has 12 that are dominant: they are the lenses through which we view our lives. Of those 12, 4 are universal: the Victim, the Child, the Prostitute and the Saboteur. Everyone has those 4 – they are referred to as the Survival Archetypes.
The Child is easy to see: pretty much everyone who’s ever been in therapy has heard of the Inner Child. Same thing. Anytime you say something’s not fair, or eat (or drink or buy) something because you’ve been “good” and you “deserve” it, you are living through the Child. The good side of the Child is the part of you that sees fresh starts and new beginnings. That part of you is the part that wonders at a beautiful sunset or laughs with delight at a rainbow.
The Victim comes out anytime you blame anyone else for anything in your life. No, really. Anything. I’ll come back to that. The light side of the Victim though, is the Victor. When you have succeeded at something hard, when you have stood up to someone you felt vicitmized by, when you’re simply aware of a situation that has the potential to turn harmful in some way, and you get out. Ok?
The Prostitute asks: what will you give up in order to attain your goal? Specifically, how much of your integrity will you trade? I engage in the Prostitute when I binge or drink. I am willing to pay with my health in order to hide from something that I should deal with. If you stay in a job you hate because the money is good, that’s the Prostitute. If you stay in a marriage you hate because you’re afraid of being alone, that’s the Prostitute. The light side of the Prostitute is the side that sends up the warning flares when you’re in danger of compromising something important to you. It’s that knot you get in your stomach that makes you think, “I don’t know if this is really worth it to me.” It helps you be aware of what situations/people will compromise you, or take more from you than you can give, and it sounds the warning bells.
The Saboteur is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the part of you that would rather stay in bed than go to the gym. It’s the part of me that decides to stop drinking/bingeing and then buys vodka/ice cream. The light side, like the Prostitute, is the side that sounds the alarm. It’s the part of me that stands in the grocery store and says, “Don’t buy that ice cream. You feel like hell, and you will EAT IT ALL TONIGHT.” This one is kind of hard for me to wrap my OWN brain around, frankly. The light and shadow sides are so closely intertwined for me that I sometimes have trouble differentiating them (even after all my studying).
Whew. Ok. Those are the Big 4 (so to speak). Everyone then has 8 more on top of those. I have the Addict (shocking, I know), the Warrior, the Hedonist, the Athlete, and a few more, but they’re not really all that relevant here.
The light side of the Warrior, for instance, is the ability to defend oneself and one’s loved ones against pretty much any onslaught. It’s also (ironically) the quality of mercy (think about how the hero in a movie never kills the opponent – that’s the quality I’m talking about). It’s also the ability to do what you have to do, even when it hurts or frightens you. The shadow side is the Warrior without an ethical code: that side will do what benefits it, whether or not it hurts OTHERS.
So. Let’s jump right into the Addict, and then we’ll get to energetic medicine and Sacred Contracts, ok?
The dark side of the Addict is pretty obvious. The light side of the Addict embodies balance and perseverance. Balance is also semi-self-explanatory (though I’ll elaborate in the next paragraph), but perseverance is in there, because kicking an addiction requires TONS of perseverance. And once kicked, we are able to reclaim that power: we know what we are truly capable of. In the words of one former alcoholic, “If I can quit drinking, I can do anything.”
Re: balance – an addicition happens when you spend too much time in either your head or your heart. (Usually, though not always, addicts spend too much time in their heads; the other is pretty rare.) And in energetic medicine, your heart is your 4th chakra, and your head is your 6th. Your 5th chakra sits in your throat, and it’s the energetic home of your will and your ability to make choices.
When the head and heart are not in alignment – when either you are spending too much time in one and not the other, or when you are deeply conflicted about something – it’s like two divorced parents fighting. The will is the child: it goes where it’s told, and if the “parents” can’t agree, the will goes looking for an authority figure, and you have yourself an addiction. Even at its worst, bingeing gave an odd but undeniable structure to my day. I knew what would happen when I went home. I had something to think about all day, even if I was dreading it, and that meant I didn’t have to think about whatever else was upsetting me. I didn’t have to listen to the battle between my head and my heart, because I had a different “parent” – one who was always there for me, even if the “parent” was abusive. See what I mean?
Finally, I want to touch briefly on Sacred Contracts. Back when I mentioned the Victim, and asserted that no one has ever victimized you, even though it might feel like it, I was talking about Sacred Contracts. That is the belief that every person we meet is meant to teach us a lesson about ourselves. And the people who hurt us the most are the people who have agreed (on a spiritual level) to teach us the biggest lessons. So to be angry at those people is as silly as being angry at a teacher when you don’t understand the lesson. There’s no point in it.
As an example, my dad was never around when I was growing up. He would come home from work and lock himself in his office. I would go in to kiss him goodnight, but other than that, I rarely saw him. By the time I was a teenager, he was a little better, but the damage was done. For a good portion of my life, I struggled with feelings of abandonment. I searched out men who were unavailable, the whole nine yards. And one day, after reading about Sacred Contracts, I decided to really look for the lesson. To really look for what good could come out of the situation I was in, because my dad will never really be any different, and I had to learn to be ok with that. And I learned that when I felt abandoned, I felt unloved. I felt like he didn’t love me ENOUGH. And THEN I realized that no one ever could. That even people who love us in just the right way eventually grow old and die. That in the end, we are all alone, and that’s the way it’s SUPPOSED to be. And I learned that if that’s the case, I have to love MYSELF enough. *I* have to be enough.
Yeah, it’s a super-cliche, but it was still true. And when I realized that, I was suddenly no longer angry. I was free to appreciate the person my dad IS, without wanting him to be someone ELSE.
Put another way: my dad’s spirit agreed to be my spirit’s teacher in this life. He agreed to love me INADEQUATELY, to the best of his ability, even though it would cause us both pain, and we wouldn’t really know why. He agreed to do that so that I could learn a profound spiritual lesson. That is really a tremendous gift, and I’m grateful to him.
NOW. There is of course, one more thing to address. I am NOT ADVOCATING that if someone does you harm, you should write it off. If someone rapes you, don’t go on your way and figure that it’s your thing to deal with, and that person shouldn’t face the consequences of their actions. Because we also live in the human world, and we have to abide by human laws. So if you were raped, and have the strength to go through prosecution, then absolutely you should. The rapist should go to jail. But also recognize that the EMOTIONAL fallout is where that Sacred Contract perspective comes in. You sort of have to operate on both planes simultaneously. (And who knows, maybe the rapist has something to learn in jail, and he SHOULD be there. Don’t discount that, either.)
When I talk about my Warrior rooting a rat out of a house, it’s not that I’m usually overly compliant. And if the rat is the shadow side of my Addict, then no, it won’t ever go away. But as I read the comments, then re-read the posts, then re-read the comments, I started to realize that it’s really the fear that I’m afraid of. I’m afraid of the False Evidence Appearing Real. I’m guessing I’m afraid to really “hear” the argument raging between my head and my heart. Or maybe I’ve lived so long in my head that I’m afraid of hearing my heart. I don’t know. I’m afraid of the journey, but only because sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see the difference between transformation and annihilation, you know? So maybe the rat won’t go away. But maybe it will transform. Maybe the rat is the shadow side of the Addict, and the light side will be a guard dog to make sure I maintain balance. Or a phoenix to help me persevere. Or something. Beats me. LOL.
Anyway. Now you have more of an insight into my weirdness than I ever intended.
OH, WELL. Ha!