Archetypes, Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth

Step Six: Seeing the Story through the Mirrors

After several years of not having any movement on my work with the Hall of Mirrors, I was pleased to have a new step revealed. Interestingly, a few days later yet a new step revealed itself.

I was musing about projections in general and suddenly realized that every projection, every aspect which is rejected or embraced, has been chosen because of a story – the inner narrative that everyone has.

I’m not sure I’ve ever expounded upon my take on Myss’ 4 survival archetypes in this particular blog, but they are relevant to this concept which I’m getting ready to dive into.

In Caroline Myss‘ work, she outlines 4 survival archetypes that everyone has: The Child, The Prostitute, the Victim & the Saboteur. After working with these extensively, I wrote up what I thought was a pretty awesome re-examination of them.

The Saboteur is the Guardian of Personal Power. As this one told me, “Honey, if you can’t even hold your power with me (yourself), then you aren’t ready to manage the true depth of your potential.” Imagine this one as a sort of circuit breaker, and when my power system can maintain my promises to myself then additional power will start to come on-line. Until then, the sabotage ensures I am less likely to put myself in too much danger.

The Victim is the Guardian of Boundaries, and it informs me when I either fail to maintain a boundary or when someone crosses it.

The Prostitute is the Guardian of Values. When, where, how and why values need to be compromised, maintained, traded, etc. It’s all about recognizing that you trade this for that in all things, so what are things to be traded for and why.

And lastly, the Child is the Guardian of Faith. I spoke a little bit about this in this post but essentially it is the Child which decides for us How The World Works. This Child is the one who very quickly builds a story which enables them to survive their world as best they can manage, and it is the very rare person who voluntary confronts the stories that our own Child decided was true. Indeed, when those stories are proven false it’s often called a Crisis of Faith, in which things you believed to be True are proven to not be the case at all.

I think I’ve also talked before about how incredibly powerful the Story we tell ourselves is. It’s the Story which governs everything, telling us what is and is not allowed, what is and is not valued, etc. Our cultural story includes some BS that God gave us this world to do with as we please, and that God made women to serve men – to name just a few. Cultures which have a different story also have a very different foundation from which to build their world-view. And like cultures, every individual has a Story as well. Do you know every nuance of your Story?

Here’s a tiny example. My brother always said he would never go to college, until one day he said he changed his mind. My mom asked him why, and he said that he thought “going to college” meant he had to leave home and go somewhere far away, and as the 8 year old he was he didn’t want to do this. But by the time he was 12, he saw my mom going to college but living at home, and so he had to amend his Story about “going to college” … and now it would be acceptable for him to go as well.

So back to the Sixth step in the Hall of Mirrors. Find my own Child story by using the Mirrors! Review every projection, positive and negative, and use them to reverse engineer what my own Child decided was True. It’s nice to recognize THAT aspects were disowned, but it’s far more useful to know WHY. Interestingly, once the Story can be recognized and articulated, that is often enough to change it. And when it’s not enough? That’s were some inner work comes into play.

Explore the idea, riff around on it. Just talk. I use my commutes for this, talking to myself outloud without censoring what comes out of my mouth. I’m completely isolated from the world in my car, and it’s as safe an environment for this sort of thing that I can think of. You would be amazed at what this can reveal if you give yourself permission to do it.

Another way that I explore an idea is to tell stories. heh. I create a scenario in which I invite the core players. Because I am dealing with a Hall of Mirrors, the Child archetype pretty much has to be there. I also keep it informal, and once I start writing sometimes I’m surprised at who shows up to be heard. And that’s problably the biggest piece of this entire training, which is something this culture is entirely backwards about:

It’s OK to LISTEN to and ACKNOWLEDGE how I feel. Feelings are good things. They are what connect me to what is important in my life, to my values, to my beliefs, to the actions that I take. Feelings are what motivate us, and allow us to sustain long-term actions/plans – not reason or logic. Yet we are terrified of our feelings, culturally — especially poor men. I wonder how much abusive behavior can be laid upon the alter of “real men don’t have emotions”, where only anger and violence are acceptable masculine emotions. I think that concept is a crime against the human soul. That said, having and acknowledging a feeling also means I now have the choice of how to act on it. Being “helpless” to express a feeling is, I believe, largely a symptom of denial and ignorance or even a deliberate invocation of the Victim to abuse others.

Anyway, making emotions and the Story at my core into my allies is, I think, the entire point of the Hall of Mirrors. It is definitely beginning to manifest as a much more self-possessed individual. I’m liking it.

 

About the Featured Image: Apparently this is from a Pepsi commercial with Beyonce where she’s having a dance-off with characters in the mirrors behind her. I like this one because it does feature the reflections of other women who are not the main character, and in the end she owns herself so thoroughly that the mirrors shatter.

 

 

 

 

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Hall of Mirrors, Personal Growth

A New Step Into the Hall of Mirrors

We were sitting around the dinner table the other night, talking about personal growth as we often do. Now of my peer group, I’m the lag-er. The one who needed to beat my head against a wall for half a decade longer in order to really soften up my hard head. They mentioned something or other, I don’t even remember what specifically, and suddenly the next step in my Hall of Mirrors training unfolded.

Wow.

It left me staring into space for a few minutes, but I can’t articulate this little epiphany to those guys. At this point, I could come out with pure genius and would still be laughed at. So I’m here, trying to work this out despite them. That means this is a work in progress.

Hall of Mirrors to date:

The first step was to recognize that there is a Hall of Mirrors, that I live it in always and so does everybody else. The most active part of this step is become intimately familiar with the projection warnings, flags and triggers. To recognize them first in hindsight, then in real-time, and lastly in that moment when arise but before they have been expressed.

The second step is to assume that everything is a projection. Essentially, don’t trust myself because I’m lying to me, and to you. It’s a really, REALLY hard step. REALLY. Well, it was for me. Later on, I could begin to examine whether something might be a real observation as opposed to a projection. Essentially, the second step is to figure out how to stop projecting unconsciously and become conscious of the process. A huge part of this step is to catch every instance of “you” and “they” to replace them with “I”. For example, “God hates those people.” No no, the Hall of Mirrors challenges me to own myself so I have to replace this with “I hate those people.” And that’s a really painful thing to own sometimes. I get it. The Hall of Mirrors is not for the feint of heart!

The third step focuses on working to own and integrate those projections. Essentially, projections are disowned parts of myself. The more there are, the more of myself I’ve disowned. How can I be real or genuine if only part of me is actually able to be here now?? Back to the example. I’ve now had the courage to admit to myself that “I hate those people.” Now I can start to ask “why” and “where did this come from” and “do I actually feel/think this way or was it given to me?” and “by whom?” and “does this position serve me?” and “in what way?” etc. This is the step where I start to really become conscious of what I’m doing on an everyday basis and from there I can actively choose for myself, rather than be buffeted around by inherited or insincere actions.

The fourth step begins recognizing when others are projecting onto me, so that I don’t engage the projection. If someone aggressively comes at me with “you do this”, I know immediately that’s their projection. Maybe I do indeed do that, I have to concede this point, but I also have to bear in mind the vehemence is because of their projection. They are drawing their image onto my reflection, asking me to carry their shit. No thank you. I have enough of my own, not taking yours. I’m not angry about your shit, it’s just your shit. Keep it. Work it. Grow from it. Gardens need shit if they are to grow. heh. Notice here they aren’t being engaged – I’m just practicing recognizing “mine, not mine”.

And that is as far as I had gotten. I was rather thinking that’s it. Congratulations! You’re done. *belly laugh from the Higher Self* “Silly ego. There is soooooo much left. Here. Have a sneak peak.”

Hall of Mirrors new step:

Step Five – using the mechanism of projection but consciously in order to understand where someone else is coming from. I’m not entirely clear yet on what language works best for this, so bear with me as I explore it. With steps 1-4, it’s been about recognizing and owning pieces of my psyche, to the point where I recognize that a piece being given to me isn’t actually mine. Like knowing “hey, I’m painted all in shades of blue and that right there is a shade of green.” Now I know that I am shades of blue, and that other person is shades of green. If I want to understand them, and what motivates them, I need to be able to see those greens as they are. Throwing my blues onto their greens isn’t going to help them, so this step literally cannot be considered until the previous ones are well practiced and integrated. Once I’ve reached this point, I can begin to use the awareness of their projections, their actions, in order to understand them, from their point of view.

I actually think this step being activated in me is why I’m suddenly having all these symbolic insights and understandings about why such and such happened or is happening, and what is driving things. And the best part? I can see it calmly. I’ve owned enough of my own projections and done the work to the point that when I feel myself getting triggered, I take that waving red flag and use it to data mine myself. When I’m done, that issue is usually no longer a trigger (or is triggered differently, sparking a new data mine). Without that emotional trigger, I can now discuss it and work with it rationally. I no longer have an unconscious personal stake in the concept.

Bear in mind, this does NOT mean that just because I can see why and how choices are made that I therefore must agree or support them. No, most definitely NOT. But it does mean I can engage them in constructive ways. Have conversations instead of arguments. I stand some chance of being able to shift someone’s perspective!! Because I’m not attacking them, I’m talking to them, trying to understand, exploring. Of course, the effectiveness of this approach depends in large part on their willingness to be conscious or actively consider things, but it’s a much stronger potential of making changes than launching a counter-offensive.

*chuckles* Dueling projections. Nobody wins.

 

About the Featured Image: It’s a scene or promo shot from the movie Constantine with Keanu Reeves. When I first started on the Hall, this is how I felt. That all those disowned aspects are coming back to attack me and pull me down. Each little demon is a projection, and they must be faced and worked with before they can come home and stop the attack. So yea, not a training for the feint of heart.

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Rant

All Is One – Here We Come

I like to imagine that my capacity to see the world symbolically is growing. To see the symbolic actions means the individuals are less important while the overall trend becomes clearer.

That said, I really wish I’d had this insight sooner but things happen as they do. This is about the election process in the US this past year. Now to frame things a bit, remember that we’ve collectively seen MASSIVE changes in the last 20 years. Globally impactful massive changes, and being able to rub virtual elbows with people of other cultures is just the icing on the cake. In general, people tend to fear change even if they think they want it.

So this past election we had three candidates, and they represented the three main choices to any situation that a body is capable of making. One says “go forward, we haven’t gone far enough yet. Embrace the change and push for more”. Feel the Bern as we stretch into new ways of being and relating. Another says “Nah, we’re good as we are. Stay the course.” So yeah, let’s just keep on keeping on, like always. In other words, status quo for the win. The final one said “fuck no, let’s go back in time to the Idyllic Old Days when everything was perfect and while we’re at it we’re gonna shut everyone else out, so it’s just us. Rah. Rah. Rah.” And that’s the fear response to change which idealizes some historical time – usually childhood – when everything was ‘perfect’.

What happened was that through chicanery and fraud, the status quo shut down the forward momentum crowd. “None of that now, we need to preserve what we have without backsliding.” Now the competition for the hearts and minds of the populace is Status Quo and Fear. Hrm. It was a close race, and while 50% of the voting populace was so disinterested, disgusted or disheartened in either choice they decided to abstain, the other 50% were pretty much evenly divided. 25% said “Keep on keepin’ on” and the other 25% said “circle the wagons and shoot anyone who doesn’t look like us”.

Interesting. What’s truly fascinating is that the public face for the option which was declared the winner really doesn’t give a shit. He couldn’t care less about “the people” or even “America”, as long as his interests are served and he’s seen as the Winner … well. That’s about it. Perfect! He’s the “successful business man” archetype, the bully which pretends to be the hero. Fascinating! I personally highly doubt he will ever actually sit as President, and I honestly believe he doesn’t WANT to. What does that leave us with? Pence. *full body shudder* Now this guy is an ISIS mentality all the way, so he’s essentially fear on crack. He’s also a theocrat, which is a complete rejection of everything America ever tried to stand for.

Right now we have a great deal of finger pointing, blame throwing, underhanded tactics and plain ol’ human jackassery from all camps but I’m looking primarily at the leaders of each camp. Only one has continually said “that’s not the issue, this is” and proceeds to remain on point no matter what the other sides are attempting to toss around. Only one will not be distracted by the “oh shiny” and remains committed to a real vision. Oh hell, only one of them actually HAS a Vision. I do believe that if the Status Quo had not interfered to protect their power base, that “forward” option would have been the resounding choice. Instead, we were forced to pick between same-old-same-old and a false message of change – false in that the way to greatness is NEVER backwards and NEVER through ignorance. True greatness is about courage, not fear. Through bully and bullshit, obfuscation ruled.

As a student of history, I can tell you that when a new energy is coming in like we’ve seen for the past … oh, century, you CANNOT stop it. For example, when the first volleys which eventually became the Reformation in Europe began, it was roughly 100 years before Luther tacked his revisions to the door. By the time it came to the surface of the Establishment’s awareness enough TO react, the ball was well and truly rolling. There are examples like this all over history in all cultures. Our own American Revolution was founded on ideals which were espoused a century before. Again as a student of history and the human soul, I can tell you that on this front of becoming One World, the ball is rolling. And rolling fast. You can be Indiana Jones trying to outrun it, or figure out how to channel it so that it does the most good while there is still time to make course corrections. The fear reaction will bring nothing but pain and misery, as some of the rest of the world is clearly illustrating.

My parents voted in a direction that I was surprised by, but I also understand their reasons, their emotional position. They are NOT wrong, nor right. Ditto for ANY other position, but there is a path to be navigated. Currently, we as a globe are collectively facing a serious challenge. One that will shape our world for literally centuries to come. It’s not a fight that can be sat out, though a distressing number of people are indeed going right back to sleep. As I told someone once, this is the most important single fight we’ve had in many generations. So – what do you choose?

Embrace and move forward with the current?
Same shit, different day?
Or reject the direction entirely and swim upstream?

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Hall of Mirrors

Examination of “Help”

I’m playing a little co-op town building sim game. As per most co-operative multi-player games, I have those folks who are my “friends”. Of course I have no idea who they are IRL but in the context of this game we help each other out.

I also tend to play everyday, multiple times per day. That means I have a huge stockpile of manufactured goods that are surplus. I hit up my friends list and see who has flagged themselves as needing help. I go to their town and check out of the flags. If I can help, I do so. Now I’ve used up some surplus so I have room to make different things in prep for my plane and trains, and I’ve helped out someone else fill their orders. Yay! *warm fuzzy feeling* Bonus is that they can say thank you by sending me a gift which I can redeem for stuff.

Now that was the setup, to give you context for the next part.

I’m looking at my train order one day and seeing that I need x1 of something I can easily make but my manufacturing center is backlogged with orders. Up to now, I’ve only used the “flag for help” very sparingly and when I really needed it.

Suddenly it hit me – by not asking for help, not only am I making more work for myself but I’m also actively denying someone else the opportunity to help me out which in turn robs them not only of simply feeling good for helping but also of the redeemable gift.

Huh. I always thought that my asking for help was a burden on others. That to ask for anything, however simple or mundane, was this big chore that someone else would “have” to do and then resent me for.

Now with my Hall of Mirrors training, I have to turn that around – own the projection, the feelings that I gave someone else without ever considering their actual, real perspective. So if someone asks me for help, how do I feel about it? Typically, I’m more than happy to help if I am able. But there is a point where I do start to resent the request and feel put-upon — and that point has more to do with how often, what type and the response that I get than the actual request itself. If someone asks all the time for things without offering to help me out at some point in there, then I start to get a little cranky. If someone “asks” for help but really it’s a demand, then I definitely get cranky. And if I help someone out and don’t even get a thanks in return, then I’m also cranky. So, again using the Hall of Mirrors training, by projecting these demanded, unrequited and unthanked feelings onto others when I ask for help, I think I am being perceived as ungrateful, grasping and imperious.

Ouch. Now that’s a lot of baggage to attach to “can I get some help here?” Because of this baggage, I try very hard to express gratitude, not take advantage of others and also help out as often as I can. Why doesn’t this awareness ameliorate the concern? I’ll have to work on this, but in the meantime, I’m using the “flag for help” a lot more. I’m noticing that when someone helps me and I get to send them the little gift, I feel very happy for having given them the opportunity when before I was stingy.

Interesting.

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Archetypes

Vampires & Werewolves, oh my

Mythology and folklore rambling.

It’s very common across many different stories that werewolves and vampires are mortal enemies, often with the werewolf being the only thing that can kill even a master vampire. Some stories also feature the werewolves being the servants or slaves of the vampires, but only until the werewolves have enough of that shit.

I was musing as to why this might be and had a thought. Vampires are undead, locked into the mindset they were in when they died – which is the only possible explanation for a 150 year old angsty teen vampire when I have never, EVER come across an angsty 90 year old – bitter and crotchety perhaps, but not angsty. Things that are undead – dead yet ambulatory – would not exactly evolve and grow, since those are things reserved for the living. Thus, without growth, there is no aging.

Werewolves, on the other hand, are either born or cursed (with European foundation based stories anyway) with the ability to embrace their fundamental animal natures so thoroughly that they loose their humanity. That is, they transform from man into beast. Since European foundation cultures tend to fear our inner animal, the werewolf is often essentially an indiscriminate killing machine which needs to be hunted down and eliminated.

So what we have here, archetypally speaking, is the static and the wild, the predictable and unpredictable, the unchanging but walking dead who feed on the life force of the living (usually within blood) juxtaposed with the epitome of the animal heart of mankind. Of course these are enemies. How can they not be? And yet, the wild life that beats with the werewolf could easily be like a drug for the vampire, those whose own life has long since been expunged.

But anyway, just some entertaining musings for the day.

 

Featured Image: From Alan Vadell on DeviantArt. Check his work out.

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