A life coaching client of mine got me thinking about our dark side. You know, all that so-called negative stuff, all that uncomfortable, don’t really wanna go near it stuff. The parts of us that don’t get held up under the sun as stuff we feel proud to share with the world. It’s something I’ve been consciously exploring a LOT lately. Nota bene to those who tell me they see me beneath a halo: You should SEE what’s in here.
I’ve got plenty of dark stuff. And here’s why people don’t know that. I keep it under wraps. At least, I have been…keep on reading and you’ll see it come right on out into the light. Cos’, you know, that’s obviously real comfortable for me.
There’s an idea out there that lots of psychology-oriented folks like to reference as a way to come to a greater understanding of ourselves: archetypes. Archetypes are people who we view as embodying certain character traits we either LOVE or really do not. Think of someone you know of, some known person in history, or popular culture, religion or mythology who you have a strong aversion or draw to. Then think of how you see that person. It doesn’t really matter if your perspective is based on fact. What matters is your perspective. What character traits does this person have–according to you?
Lemme give you an example. I did this after a spiritual teacher I know lent some insight into what was going on some of my intimate relationships, and my relationship to the world. First I thought of someone from history/mythology/pop culture who I really didn’t dig. Guinevere. I know–I mean, what’s the deal with that? The deal is that I see her as selfish, self-centred, kinda vindictive, and cruel. Seriously, and I have NO IDEA why that even is. Not like I ever met the gal. But the why isn’t important here; it’s all about the what.
Next I got all meditative and open, did my wordlessness practices, got into oneness, and asked the universe for insight into what archetypal role I was trying to play. Instantly: Mother Teresa. Don’t laugh. And the funny thing is that when my man posed the same question about me, he got the same instant response: Mother Teresa. She’s giving, she’s divinely guided, she’s totally ALL about living a life of service and loving everybody. That’s how I see her. Seriously, I have about as much info on her as I’ve got on Guinevere, and that poor woman gets totally maimed.
Archetypes represent aspects of ourselves that we either hold up to the light or stuff down into the dark. Example: Did you see how I couldn’t even bring myself to type the word HATE as the polarity of LOVE? I didn’t even want to write the word DESPISE. WWMTD? What would Mother Teresa do?
The next step is recognizing how me judging and stuffing down what I see as my Guinevere traits and holding up and buffing what I see as my MT traits effects my real life. Yup, it means I really like being loving and warm-fuzzy all the time. But all the warm-fuzzy loving leaves me on the surface of who I really am. And it keeps other people there, too. If I’m stuffing down parts of me beneath all the warm-fuzzy, I’m a walking-talking shell of myself.
And if I really, truly want to have an impact on the world, I’m gonna need all the power I’ve got. The shell just aint gonna cut it.
That’s why my intention for 2013–thanks to Cheryl Brewster for inviting me to set one–is Authenticity. It sounds all warm-fuzzy, doesn’t it? It sounds all “I’m in this to be myself and love myself and la la la.” But the great thing about real authenticity is that it’s got bite. It’s got power. It’s raw and unfiltered and juicy. And it’s the darkness that anchors us, reminds us of our humanity, helps us accept it in others, and strengthens our ability to walk out in the world feeling strong–not like we’re about to crack.