As a therapist, it’s my job to trace my patients’ symptoms back to their true cause so that I can coach them to health.
Over the more than 32 years of my practice, I’ve seen time and time again that those deep causes often come down to a client living contrary to their values… setting aside their life’s dreams… and avoiding the pull of their archetypes.
In fact, I’ve seen countless clients with back pain, digestive and eliminative issues, skin problems, headaches, anxiety, depression and a myriad of other symptoms resulting from them avoiding the pull of their archetype.
- What is an archetype?
- What is your archetype?
- How can avoiding your archetype’s pull cause harm?
Knowing the answers to those three questions can be hugely valuable to your health and help your clients reach their health goals as well.
In this article, I’m going to answer each of these three questions, but let’s take #1 and #3 first.
What is an archetype?
In a nutshell, your archetype encapsulates the way you desire to express yourself. It is the greatest source of motivation to express yourself creatively, and it is the pathway to the true realization of your authentic self.
But there’s another dimension to an archetype beyond this one. An archetype is a kind of pattern or original idea from which an unlimited number of variations can emerge.
Think of it like this: Within one family, you may have one person whose dream is to be a carpenter, another whose dream is to be a plumber, another whose dream is to be an electrician, and a father who is a stonemason. Although each of these dreams seems to be unique, they are all expressions of “The Builder” archetype.
So there is a common drive beneath the dreams of the carpenter, plumber, and electrician that manifests in different ways.
That drive, or calling, is an archetype.
Archetypes trigger a distinct emotional charge that engages us on many levels; you are likely to find yourself constantly thinking about what you’d love to do. When an archetypal attraction is in play, if you even hear people talking about what you are drawn to, you can’t help but listen. If you stand in front of a magazine rack, you are very likely to be drawn to read magazines and look at photos of others doing what you are being called to do.
How can avoiding your archetype’s pull cause you harm?
When you are acting from and in harmony with your dominant archetype, you are engaging in a labor of love. We all know from life experience that a labor of love is sustainable, even in the face of challenges.
But labor without love produces inner challenges and symptoms.
The pull of an archetype can be so strong that the longer you put off engaging the archetype, the more physical, emotional and mental discomfort you begin to feel. You can even begin to feel like you’re dying inside.
It’s the pull of an archetype that explains why two people – perhaps with the same skills and abilities – could have the polar opposite reactions to a job or a task. One might find being an electrician a joy while the other sees it as incredibly stressful.
The person who finds it stressful and unfulfilling is being called to a different labor of love.
Now steep that person in stress for years at a time and you know what happens – back pain, poor digestion, depression and all of the symptoms we described above.
And none of that is going to go away in the long term unless that person understands what their archetype is and begins to align their life with it.
What is your archetype?
There are several simple ways to identify what archetype is calling you at any given time in your life. And, yes, our archetypes do change from time to time.
When we are ready to transition from one working archetype to another, typically, we start feeling a sense of the mundane with the old archetypal activity. The love and inspiration that was once there seems to have gone flat. This usually indicates that we have satiated that archetype.
By answering the following questions, you are much more likely to realize what archetype is calling you now:
1) What do you spend your money on?
Aside from the essentials of survival, such as the expenses of food, shelter and transportation, what do you spend money on because you feel good when you do? I encourage people to look at all of their receipts. There, you may find that you are spending a lot of money on magazine subscriptions, books, videos, courses or other things related to the archetype that is activated in you.
2) What are your primary activities and interests?
When an archetype is activated within your psyche, there will be activities and interests that you do habitually, but don’t necessarily leave you feeling fulfilled. When searching for your archetype, look for the activities that give you that sense of “Ah, that was fun!” or “I can’t wait to do that again.”
3) What do you spend your time doing or wishing you were doing?
This question is best answered by asking yourself, “If I were to be sentenced to prison for 30 years and forced to work every day, what activity would allow me to forget I was in jail because I’d feel so fulfilled?”
4) What images, interests and experiences trigger an emotional charge?
Whenever an archetype is activated, any engagement with the subject or activity triggers strong emotional movement in us. We feel drawn to it. What is it that you do, or dream of doing that gives you a deep sense of fulfillment?
5) What is calling