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.