Your new plan is brilliant! Inspiring! Worlds-changing!
Maybe it’s your latest project at work. Or a romantic relationship that’s jiving you. Or the latest exercise regimen that will catapult you into superhuman fitness.
Whatever it is — you are PSYCHED!
It all seems to be going swimmingly — and then it doesn’t.
The new boyfriend is a bigger complainer than the last one. At first he was charming and optimistic. Now he’s bitching about everything from a hangnail to potential world-destroying epidemics.
Heading a new project at work and, once again, the assigned people are lazy and careless, and — once again — YOU are stuck fixing the mess.
That fitness project held such hope for your perfect health. But monsoon weather prevented you from biking, that new CrossFit gym closed, and … and ….why does the universe — once again — sabotage you??
Pass the popcorn, this rerun is soooooo boring.
If you wondering why the same ol’, repetitive results line up in your life, consider the one constant in all of it: YOU.
“But it’s not ME, it’s ….. [insert: new boyfriend / colleagues / global warming].”
Who is starring in the Drama of Your Life? (Hint: You.)
Who took on a role that all the other players react to? (Hint: You.)
Who can step into another reality, playing a different role, altering the course of your future life?
(Yup, it’s you — again.)
How to Go from Repetitive Re-run to Live-Action Hit
Does it seem that no matter what you do, the past failures sneak back into your life? With recognizable familiarity, are similar circumstances occurring again and again?
What’s up with that?
Sometimes our habitual actions are influenced by family, society, prior experiences, or unfulfilled childhood expectations. We react unconsciously to events we encounter. We undermine our freedom, joy and satisfaction with the same shitty, end results.
Maybe you never considered this, but you may have underlying, powerful energies determining your thought and behavior patterns. Unconsciously and often self-destructively, they create this other you that is running the show.
While this kinda-you is familiar, it’s not in alignment with your core essence.
Until you recognize what is occuring, the forces dictating your behavior and thought patterns have the power to entrap and dominate you.
“Horrors,” you may be wondering. “What new internet identity-theft scam is this?!”
Ancient Energies Controlling Your Present Life
Who — or what — are these scary, brain and soul-sucking monsters?
They’re called archetypes. They’re old and primal. They exist everywhere. And you don’t have to know what they are for them to enslave you.
Archetypes are universal, archaic symbols that exist in the collective unconscious and which each person draws from to create their personality and a mode of interacting with the world.
These “first patterns” (arche = beginning or source of action, type =model) are actually neutral. It’s the individual who attributes meaning and significance and who uses them to form identity. They can be used to move forward (beneficial) or to become stuck in a pattern (detrimental).
Archetypes can be your ‘source of action’.
There are many groupings of archetypes and the list is endless. Check out some examples below to see if any of them ring a bell of recognition for you:
The Hero (Heroine)
The Golden Boy (or Girl)
The Royal One
The Astrological Sign ( e.g. The Gemini)
These personalities often appeared in myths of yore. Today, they surface in movies, television and YouTube videos, in celebrities and reality-tv performers. The popularity of the series, Game of Thrones, is in large part due to the the broad, dramatic appeal of warring archetypes — the plot thickens and the personalities play their roles to the finish, no matter what.
“But I’m not a violent, dramatic, regal warrior. I’m not famous”, you may be thinking. “I’m just …. human.”
But humans have inhabited this planet for eons and the need to categorize and compartmentalize has probably been going on for just as long. Some scientists even say it’s ‘in our DNA’, our first blueprint of life.
Is This Your Nature?
Have you ever heard the animal fable about the Scorpion and the Frog? Scorpion wants to cross a river on Frog’s back, who can swim easily. But Frog doesn’t trust the Scorpion, and expresses concern that he will get bitten. Scorpion insists this will not happen — if she did bite the Frog, they both would drown. Frog then agrees to this logic, but midway across the river, Scorpion stings the Frog, dooming — and drowning — both of them.
When asked why, Scorpion replies: It is my nature.
As humans, in the realm of earthly interactions, we often think our nature is set, dictated by forces beyond our control and often outside our consciousness. “It’s my lineage”, “It’s my astrology chart”, “I was raised that way” …. “I can’t help it”.
Sometimes this adherence to an archetype may work for you. Being the Caretaker, for example, enables your work environment to run smoothly. But if being the Caretaker interferes with getting your own needs met, then you may want to revisit the role you agreed to take on.
Familiar Patterns Breed Complacency — and Then Contempt
At first, the familiarity of your reactions may seem like indications that you’re on the right track. But in the extreme, the lure of familiarity will most definitely lock you into misery.
Complacency, then contempt.
When these familiar patterns or roles dip into dysfunction, when you respond and act in ways that are “in your nature” or “according to your type” (whatever that is!), when you observe the endless repetition of the same ol’, boring reruns of behavior screwing you up …. Yuck.
It’s quite comfortable acting and reacting in similar patterns. However, if you’re not liking what the similar results are, you might want to consider the one and only thing you can change: YOU.
For example, let’s say you’re embarking on a new relationship with someone who seems a good fit. You’re excited. Chances are if you’re seeing a new person, than the ‘old persons’ in your life didn’t work out (or else you’d be with them). You may be emboldened by past “failures” (which of course they weren’t) to not repeat your mistakes, picking someone unlike your prior partners, or acting differently.
Or so you think.
If you tune into your unconscious, habitual modes of behavior, you may see a very different pattern showing up. Here are a few examples of everyday roles we mere mortals undertake on the Life stage.
Example #1: Are You the Emotional Cheerleader?
For example, perhaps you often take on the role of what we could call the Emotional Cheerleader. You are the one who optimistically bolsters up other people when they are down. You are the bright, beacon of light in the darkness. People naturally flock to you because you present a perspective of hope, of possibilities they may not see due to their own pessimism.
The Emotional Cheerleader is a worthwhile role to inhabit and a great attribute to have. But this pattern can go both ways. On the one hand, it can be uplifting to yourself and others. But on the other hand, it may be frustrating for you when people don’t live up to their potential, particularly the potential that’s been advised by you.
Additionally, it may serve to enable them to avoid doing their own work. When they get mired in their own pessimism, they turn to you for cheerleading. You naturally — and enthusiastically — give and give until it drains you. It’s exhausting. But where do you go in that relationship for your own personal, optimistic support?
Checking into your personal landscape, being the Emotional Cheerleader may start to feel like there is no give-and-take and it feels — let’s face it — very, very familiar.
Example #2: Maybe You’re The Perfectionist?
In a different situation, perhaps you have created a fabulous exercise regimen. You’re on it! This is your key to becoming the totally toned, paragon of athleticism!
You have it perfectly mapped out in your work and social schedule. Your fitness regime is varied, challenging (but not too), inspiring and exciting. In other words — it’s perfect! And it has to be perfect, because you are the Perfectionist.
As the Perfectionist, you have high ideals and high expectations — great attributes to own. However, in the extreme, perfectionism is a slippery slope. Your old bike isn’t good enough to ride the trails, so you have to find the right bike at the right price until you can actually start your biking regimen.
You signed up for a particular style of yoga class with a guru teacher with stellar accolades. It turns out that person is on vacation and the person who’s subbing is just mediocre. No go.
You get up earlier in the morning to go running, but you’re tired and cranky and not in a perfect mood and there’s a bit of rain outside. You decide to wait until the perfect conditions are established before you venture out.
But we all know perfectionism is an ideal that is never humanly met. What you’re left with is frustration, unfulfilled dreams and a sense of failure.
Example #3: Do You Play the Victim?
An example of a more shadow-imbued role we sometimes play is the Victim. You know you’re in this arena when you hear yourself saying phrases such as:
Nothing seems to work out for me — ever.
Why does this always happens to me?
Why does everyone else seem to succeed at this?
Once again — everything falls apart at the 11th hour.
While in some ways this role may have served you when we were younger, garnering attention and getting the support that perhaps was not there. After a while, that role becomes familiar and we project it on events that happen as we became adults.
Playing the Victim is not a comfortable place to inhabit, and it sounds somewhat icky when you objectively describe its functions. But look at the situation gently, with compassion.
As adults, this role may appear to insulate you from blame. The exterior circumstances misaligned with fate or fortune and in turn maligned you. In short, it’s out of your hands. You could be faced serially with getting bypassed by others for promotions, having your ideas ignored or usurped by others, a string of “failed” intimate relationships. If you constantly catch yourself feeling the Victim — question this familiar terrain.
Detach Your Attachments to Your Past Patterns
But what if you made up your own archetype — a new role to step into, with no encumbrances of past attributes? What if you release these strangling patterns which dictated your past, predict your future and totally f’up your present?
Simply detach your attachments.
But, but … that is who I am! Shouldn’t I work with what I’m given? I’m a triple Sagittarius with Cancer Moon. My lineage is Greek and Irish. I grew up in Baltimore ….and so on and on and on and ….. STOP!
Is it working for you? Most likely — no. So, let go.
Detachment from your attachments to old familiar patterns does not mean you will lose your self and become someone unrecognizable. You will always be the you which you were always meant to be and become.
With detachment, these patterns become colorful adjectives to your amazing self, rather than the defining nouns. You can try these adjectives on and take them off — as you wish — as you accessorize the core YOU. Adding to, rather than overpowering your many-flavored magnificence.
Recognizing the patterns and subsequently letting them go adds to your joy and freedom to desire and manifest whatever your heart (and not the pattern) directs.
Reform, Re-form, Reframe
You’re observing that certain attitudes and ways of interacting are no longer serving you. Congratulations — you’re 90% of the way there. True autonomy is freedom from your own automatic responses and conscious awareness how you start the process.
Let the reformation begin!
Next, make a decision to be vigilant to the patterns’ appearances and to alter the dominion they have over you.
Then see if you can re-frame the character details of the role you took on so very long ago.
Example #1: Emotionally Cheerlead YOU
If you tend to be the Emotional Cheerleader, it will most likely feel great in the beginning (you’re feeling your power of influence, it feels empowering to all of you, you’re getting great feedback).
At some moment, barely discernible on the timeline, you may notice you’re feeling dragged down, or muddled or maybe even miserable if you let it continue too long.
Pay attention! Pause. Breathe.
Allow your breath to come and go, ebb and flow in a free-moving manner. It was probably constricted and shallow. Let your exhale be longer. Pause for a second at the end of the exhalation. Then inhale. Pause just before you exhale.
You like being that beacon of light. Great! Now turn it around and be the beacon of light for you. Drop the role of being the Emotional Cheerleader for others and simply be present for YOU.
Be willing to stand by and watch the others choose their own actions, without you engaging. Most people learn from modeling rather than direction. Some people choose not to do their work and no amount of encouragement, support or coaxing will change them.
Bottom line — it is their choice.
Be the beacon of light for you that previously you thought you had to be for others.
Example #2: Imperfecting Your Perfectionism
If you encumbered yourself with being the Perfectionist — PAUSE — when you observe that happening. Breathe (always a good idea), elongating the exhale, as described above.
See if you can re-define “perfectionism”. How about “good enough is perfect-ism”? Or “perfect imperfection”. Have fun and be messy with your reframing — it’ll all be perfect!
Example #3: From Victim to Victorious
Playing the Victim may have garnered you the attention and possible sympathy you needed and didn’t receive as a child. It that’s the only kind of attention you feel you can attract, your payoff is significant. There’s little reason your subconscious mind will want this payoff to end. And this will definitely attract similar victimizing situations in your future.
Your expectation of events not working out is a guarantee that they won’t. But is this what you want? The Victim is a tricky-icky role to redefine and requires extra compassion and diligence. Bringing it into you consciousness is a great first step to take as you reframe your future. Gently check into your past to understand what the main theme you were demanding when you were younger. Was it undoing neglect, craving attention or love, a remedy for feeling abandoned, or security?
Don’t dwell there, simply check into that unmet feeling and see if you can give that, energetically, to yourself. Soothe that inner, young part of you, as you alter your attitude to enlarge your perspective, envisioning beneficial events and eventual success.
Then — as you carefully and consciously breathe — reframe and rebuild that former pattern into what will support your future creations, as you move from your past and hold the present moment.
Incredibly Simple Tips for Releasing Your Patterns
Use any and every tool you know to re-pattern your life. Breath is excellent — we do it all the time but tend towards shallow, constricted and incomplete breathing when stressed. Take a deep breath, pause, exhale, pause and then another deep breath, as described above.
Continue for five minutes — supposedly that’s the time it takes to re-set the nervous system. On a physiological level, deep breathing releases the diaphragm, soothes the adrenals and promotes physical and emotional well-being.
As a metaphor for change, deep breathing opens your body mind to unlimited potential.
Look to nature for inspiration. Presently, in the northern hemisphere, it is Autumn. The earth is turning in, letting go, releasing. The sap is heading down to the roots of trees, the leaves are loosing their moisure, as they fall with gravity downwards. Light is released as darkness increases.
The constant frenetic activity of spring and summer is slowing down, animals are hunkering down. Nature is closing shop.
The world is regenerating. It’s not losing its identity, but changing its seasons. And the cycle continues, new and different as it is familiar and the same.
Let go of these past encumbrances, as nature gently drops her leaves. Embrace the metaphor — the microcosm of you in the climatic macrocosm of earth.
Your Future Roles Meeting Thunderous Applause
Whether it’s a new relationship, or a career position, or a fitness regimen, moving boldly into your future takes focus and intention — and most importantly — releasing the past. You cannot start anew if you’re bogged down by the old baggage. It’s too much work — so take a break and let it go.
Check gently in your past patterns — the archetypes handed down to you, which you took on. Observe how adversely they affected you. Conscious awareness comprises the majority of the work required.
Your family of origin, cultural dictates were behaviors that you observed and copied, as you grew up. Children have an amazing ability to be like sponges, soaking it all in. They don’t have the powers of discernment, yet. As adults, we can make self- empowering decisions.
Your astrological blueprint, if you follow that, is a great insight into tendencies you may have. When made conscious, you chart can be adapted to fit your design for the future as compared to thinking it dictates your decision-making.
The roles you played as a child in your immediate family don’t need to be repeated. The people you choose to interact with are not your parents, siblings or cousins. Even with family members, you can change your behavior — they may freak out, but it’s not your concern, unless you take that on.
Today, scientists are discovering DNA is much more flexible and plastic than previously thought. It’s not the ironclad determinant of future health and illness.
As you see, you can have a clean slate, unburdened by the past. You have the freedom to create your future. In front of you lies a blank canvas …. ah! so many possibilities!
The world applauds YOU!