Challenge & Choice Part 2
The Challenge And Choice Method For Changing Your Relationship To Life
While personality is definable, and emotional response to life situations carries individual significance, different concepts are needed to explain the underlying story line in a person’s life and the elements of personality that make up character.
Modern day psychology suggests that archetypes, which are typically recognized as the fabric of myths and fables, are responsible for creating man’s unique identity (10,11,12). Archetypes differ from personality traits, which are universal energies such as honesty, courage, fear or competitiveness. Although personality traits can be part of an individual archetype, they are not responsible for creating behavior.
Archetypes are literal patterns that can be indentified by physical examples. They are not people in and of themselves. They are patterns of events that empower or motivate us. A particular archetype may or may not express itself in a given situation, but its energy is always present.
While everyone shares the child, saboteur, prostitute and victim, a unique combination of eight additional archetypes is required in order to constitute one person. Keep in mind that there are many facets to each archetype. For example, the child may assume greater meaning when adjectives such as orphan, wounded, unassuming or playful are added. In addition, to fully understand archetypes, they should be considered from both their light and opposite sides.
People cannot change their archetypes, but they can change their relationship to them. The Puck can learn to recognize when playfulness has crossed the line, becoming the tease. The saboteur can learn to protect, or when to extinguish threats to avoid victimization. Ultimately, archetypes are the tools we are given to survive life’s journey.
For many, discovery of their archetypal recipe is as empowering as exploration of personality types. It can fill an empty void defined as the inner self, or it may simply provide insight into what motivates behavior. Explore example archetypes, and then pick twelve to fill your own vessel.
It can be difficult to decide upon a particular archetype; ask if it resonates or seduces you, to the exclusion of all else. While you may relate to all of them, look only for those that are dominant on your path. They are not present for the benefit of those around you, only for the empowerment of self.
When attempting to identify your archetypal make up, their definitions must be stretchable. They must apply to any life situation, in any part of the world. They may conflict with each other, such as the hero and coward. Gulliver’s Travels represents the clash of archetypes trying to integrate themselves. When you are at odds with someone else, it is likely that you are in the midst of such a battle.
Since archetypes are not the consequence of a physical task or job, look to what motivates you, not to how you actually behave. Finally, archetypes may go silent, and then emerge again in a different form. The peacemaker may become the mediator or poet. It can take a lot of work and a long time to define archetypal make up. It is a challenge that should be embraced with enthusiasm, however, as once finished it is richly rewarding.
In addition to archetypes, each of us follows an individual journey that resonates with one of seven predominant themes: compassion, love and harmony, service, artist/creator, peacemaker, healer, and the rational mind. The theme we live stays with us throughout life. Recognizing our theme is another tool that helps define the meaning of our own existence.
Like archetypes, theme paths have light and shadow (or opposite) sides. Perspectives beyond simple polarities must be utilized when viewing theme paths. For example, in addition to good and bad, plentiful or absent and constructive or destructive should be considered.
When evaluating which theme path is yours, it is essential to let go of judgment. Failing to do so not only clouds insight, it implies a level of piety that most cannot claim. Depending upon a person’s challenge in life, the purpose of a theme path can be dramatically affected and its character may be entirely different than what is otherwise apparent. Your theme is a full-time struggle. It is followed selflessly and without condition.
It is helpful to create a time line of all of the events that are carried with you when determining your theme path. Begin from the earliest memory you have, and then list your memories chronologically. Next, identify which theme embodies the reoccurring pattern, lesson or greater purpose that is shared by those you listed.
Looking at the obvious, such as your job or physical task in life is not helpful in defining which theme is yours; rather focus on the inner meaning of the memories you listed above for guidance. In order to define your theme path, ask which one constantly questions, haunts or mystifies you. Only one will bring clarity to the challenge you face in life.
Become familiar with the path in its duality, polarity or opposite and use that understanding to enhance your ability to exercise choice when challenge confronts you next. By polishing this skill it will become a source of power that no longer feels confining. For more on Theme Paths use this link.
Insight into personality typing, archetypes and theme paths creates the foundation needed for someone to gain perspective on their Mission in life. William Channing wrote, “Each of us is meant to have a character all our own, to be what no other can exactly be, and do what no other can exactly do”. Carl Jung taught, “That which we do not confront in ourselves we will meet as fate.”
George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what we might have been.” It is also never too late to fulfill your mission. Life is simply a drama that is directed toward that purpose. What ever your mission may be, it is surely quite personal and often not obvious. It should not be confused with your contract to develop personal potential.
Dan Millman’s The Life You Were Born To Live (13) uses Pythagorean Numerology to describe nine different avenues that facilitate reaching a mission statement. They are paraphrased as follows:
- To manifest creativity and confidence in the world, we first need to experience it flowing within us.
- To achieve cooperation and balance, they must be integrated within the psyche;
- To share positive expression and sensitivity, we need to connect with our deepest emotions;
- To establish stability and follow process, a method to build internal strength must be applied;
- To obtain inner freedom, discipline must be embraced;
- To embody vision and acceptance, we must first admit the perfection of our own life;
- To experience trust, an open heart must come forth;
- To achieve abundance and power, in the world, we first need a sense of internal expanse;
- To manifest integrity and wisdom, we first need to find higher principles within.
As the first step in defining your mission, pick the numerology pair above that strikes closest to your own experiences. In order to define your mission, a unique expression of building internal will is required. Use Millman’s avenues to help understand how internal will is strengthened for you. For example, situations that test self-confidence may occur repeatedly in order to help you connect more effectively with your own creativity.
If you cannot readily see which numerology statement relates to you, examine which of your archetypes seems to both empower and haunt you the most. Next, ask which Millman avenue helps you make responsible choice to produce less tension between that archetype and your personality type.
Armed with this new insight, try to exercise awareness of current events and their relationship to numerology. As your consciousness in this regard increases, you may begin to perceive your own individuation differently from that of the status quo. During this time period it is not uncommon for your prostitute archetype to be tested by issues of separation, abandonment, alienation or exclusion.
When this happens, ask yourself what greater purpose in life allows both responsible choice and surrendering to divine will to occur. Your mission should come into focus. If you have successfully identified your mission, past events that were once perceived as painful or without merit now can be seen as necessary steps in your life’s journey. A sense of illumination and divine union may occur.
At some point, unconditional acceptance to the terms of your mission, without having to know why, or what it will lead to, follows. Surrendering to those terms also brings with it greater appreciation for compassion, and a realization that even in times of greatest need, hope and purpose are always present.
Perhaps Thoreau summarized it best when he wrote, “What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.”