2/4/08

Archetypical Moments

Oceanography 101

I don't know about you, but I'm one of those people who tends to bumble through life, rather oblivious to what's really going on. The best analogy for that is to say that I am to the waves, drops and mist as enlightened beings are to the oceanic depth ~which is to say, I'm a surface dweller, a.k.a. not very spiritually-intuitive or grounded. But I'm learning to swim deeper without my trusty life jacket, and to hold my breath for longer periods of time.

To my credit (and oft detriment), I will admit that I happen to be a great deal more socially-sensitive and attuned than most. I get non-verbal semantics and can read conversational signs, cues and icons - perhaps overly so - I will never overstay my welcome or impose or monopolize, except by deliberate design. And I do most of my conversational reading between the lines, which is dangerous and discursive footing, to be sure. Or is it?

I have a nameless, blameless family member who has absolutely no clue that my entire perception of her is based on verbal cues, or lack thereof, that I pick up during our rather awkward phone conversations. I suspect some people assume that hiding behind a telephone affords them an opportunity to shirk all that non-verbal body communication - which supposedly accounts for between 65-90% of the communication and which more to the point, the other person isn't able to see.

Unfortunately, the non-verbal sets the tone and ends up being the shadow projected on the wall. This is why the slouching, insecure telemarketer who fears rejection will more than likely receive it. What you give is what you get. Smile and the world smiles with you, even (or especially) if you're a telemarketer.

On this same note, I also have long-time friends who I have finally given up on after years of ignoring the blatant, blinking neon signs they were flashing my way: if I wanted to continue the friendship, the street sign marked effort was going to have to be one-way.

But lately, I've been switching these intuitive radar signals inwards, in order to pay closer attention to my metaphorical thinking, such as what my life outlook appears to be at any given time. And what I've learned is bound up in some of the archetypal theory that Caroline Myss expounds in her book, Sacred Contracts. Stay with me: the nouveau age mud gets clearer.


Life Poirpose
Myss identifies 4 universal archetypes that we all share - child, victim, prostitute, saboteur - and goes on to list 70 additional archetypes, 8 of which each of us owns to some varying degree (in addition to the first 4). My 8 other archetypes, in no particular order, are: mother, addict, dilettante/amateur, networker, poet, student, guide, and seeker/vagabond/wanderluster.

One or a chimera of a few of these is my life calling, I suspect, but I have yet to delve deep enough into the ocean to fully know that yet.
So what I've been noticing lately, in relation to these archetypal realms, is the degree to which I resonate with them at any given time.

Myss suggests this exercise for determining one's archetypes, but here's my metaphoric alternative. Simply ask yourself this question: if you were to visualize and then compare life to any one thing or concept, what would it be? Then fill in the blanks 8 times.

Life is a....

Here is my list, together with my corresponding 12 archetypes who took ownership for the statement.

Life is a(n):

1) blank canvas or book (artist/poet)
2) Silk Road (seeker/vagabond/wanderluster)
3) school (student)
4) accidental ordeal (victim)
5) wondrous gift (child - magical/innocent)*
6) epic adventure tour (guide)
7) womb (mother)
8) revolution (saboteur)
9) free market economy (prostitute)
10) social opportunity (networker)
11) dress rehearsal (dilettante/amateur)
12) buffet/bar/bottle/plant/hotel room/slot machine - simply substitute your addict's chosen noun here (addict)

* this answer changes depending on my child. My wounded child identifies with 'life is pain and suffering,' just as my orphan child thinks life is a hero's quest.

My Many Coloured Days

Anyways, I have no idea why I've blogged about this little philosophical pondering of mine, except as a way of positing to all of you friends, Romans and countrymen who have lent an ear and eye, as to where I'm at this early-Feb morning.

The truth is, a series of unfortunate events (how to tell I'm in victim mode) has me feeling very reflective, pensive and confused about the big picture lately.

  • I attended a funeral Saturday for a truly, exceptional woman that I barely knew save through a mutual friend/acquaintance. I felt compelled to attend for reasons entirely ineffable. She had an incredible lightness of being and energy, and I was drawn to that (and judging from the packed church, countless others were, too) even as her candle extinguished much too soon. I find it remarkable that we shared a Pythagorean pattern of birth date numerics and life's purpose ~ 34/7 ~ and yet we couldn't be any more polar opposite. She clearly achieved her life purpose as mystic, mentor, spirit guide - I'm still reading the guide book, packing, making trip lists, and and scratching my head in veritable confusion, trying to figure out the best navigation to destination unknown. The old adage - one day my ship will come in but with my luck, I'll be at the airport rings true here. The Universe is probably pounding me over the head with my life purpose sledgehammer, but I'm too much of a numskull to know it.
  • To add insult to injury, a recent and relatively minor communication with a virtual stranger has me licking my wounds and feeling entirely disconcerted, debilitated and desolate about my whole lot in life. Holy Hub is astounded that I've let such an insignificant exchange affect me so much - I put way too much stock in what I perceive others might think of me. And while I know it's self serving, or thus spoke my ego, I also know it's not soul-serving. Quite franky, it's getting out of hand lately and has me treading water, gasping for breath and sinking amongst the stormy wakes.
  • Job hunting is continually discouraging and an exercise in prostitution if ever there was one. Last week, I got tarted up and sprayed my Charm perfurme on to go do a local job fair/dog & pony show, but most of the employers in attendance were not companies I (nor you) would choose to work for. And I come back to the constant dilemma of how it can ever be possible to find meaningful, gainful and lucrative employment on a part-time basis, wile still maintaining some semblance of a dynamic after-school life for the kids. As you can tell, I do most of my job hunting with my inner Saboeteur: it's right out of an AmEx commercial ~ I don't leave home without her. But seriously, I don't want them to be latchkey kids, although the irony is, if I don't find work soon, they'll be motherless and latchkey anyways.
  • I feel bad about my neck and other exciting psychoses lately and this has me wondering if it's possible to inherit hypochondria memetically from my dear, deceased grandmother who wasn't, technically speaking, blood related. It's the age-old nature/nurture t hing. In the past week, I have had occasion to believe that I am fighting a terminal battle with breast cancer, liver disease and other untold endocrine disorders that might be manifesting within me even as I contemplate them. I have lived to blog another day, but alas, I may not have many more.

Such is the daily battle and parade of my archetypes.

I feel like the many-faced Eve sometimes ~ minus the books, movies, notoriety, interesting personalities and manic tea parties. So there you go. Life's a bitch and then you die. Hmmm...I wonder which hidden archetype dared voice that analogy aloud.

Must be my inner Queen. God save her imperious ass....and all other utterances both noble and nebulous.

4 comments:

Jorge said...

There is so much here that deserves comment that I, running short on time,as always, was tempted to leave no comment at all. But I know I will be mulling your post over in my mind at various times of the day and night, so I thought I would use that old Hollywood dodge, "let me get back to you on this." The difference is, you ARE special, and I WILL return. Be well,
J.

Jorge said...

O.K. - I made it back. A long way back, I had a friend who was a Jungian analyst, and educated me a bit about archetypes and their significance in our lives. I haven't read Myss's book, so I can't really comment on her analysis. Basically, I feel it's a worthwhile effort for all of us to attempt to get "below the waves" and gain a better understanding of ourselves, our motivations, those conscious an unconscious drives that sometimes cause us to do apparently inexplicable things in the eyes of others (and often in our own.) The examined life is richer than the unexamined one, though not less stressful. You look at many of the same issues that crop up in my own life, and your erudite prose educates as well as entertains. The more I read your writings, the more I'm sorry circumstances prevent the development of a more nuanced communication with one as interesting as you. As it is, I'm grateful for the insights you offer here, and wish you God's speed on this journey we are sharing through life.
J.

cas said...

Curiously twisted, thoughtful, emotional entry that asks all the right questions.

Makes a reader wonder the similarities/differences between archetypes and stereotypes??..

That's not to say that as human beings we don't have universal, genetic, inborn similarities. We do.

That is to say, some have a magical ability to be at two places at once: to express the universal in a unique, very personal way.

The Beast Mom said...

I like that you used the word "ineffable". That's one of my favorite words. And "imperious" always adds a particular weight. (These two sentences have nothing to do with your post, but I thought I'd start with them ;)

I hear you on the job hunting futility. I've given up over here. And that's that. After you apply to Safeway and not even that works out, it's just pretty demoralizing. I still hope YOU find something good though. I'm just a VICTIM. ;) heh-heh. Had to get that in b/c I have no idea at this moment which of the types I'd pick. That list of hers was rather extensive. I'll have to give it far more thought than I'm willing to at 12:33am.

Interesting post. Interesting thoughts as always.

-bm