It seems that we never run out of ways to explore who we really are at the core of our inner being. Each new question we ask has the potential to open yet another passageway into the depths of our souls, revealing more about who we really are, what we need to make us happy, what ingredients we require to thrive in this life, and what values sustain us the most for the long haul on this journey of life.
What type of person am I, really? Yet another question that holds the key to a passageway of profound significance. After all, to what am I referring when I say "type"? Well, before I answer that, I want you to recall the habit we all have of meeting someone -- or just observing someone -- and immediately categorizing them as a way of identification. For example, as you maneuver your way through a crowded grocery store aisle, glancing at the faces of all the other people guiding their carts through the aisle, you are simultaneously doing a rapid mental labeling: "I bet that woman is a mother. That guy looks like a typical geek. That kid is such a slob."
Bam... one label flies out of your unconscious right after another as you walk through the familiar grocery store among unfamiliar faces. But these labels are not unfamiliar, are they? Not in the least. In fact, every single person you know would understand not only each of those labels but also the world of information they instantly communicate, because they are more than just labels: These words are archetypes, patterns of human behavior that all of us recognize.
Casually, at a glance, we refer to archetypes as labeling people, because that's what we do all the time. We do that because we are a species that needs to know what and who we are dealing with: friend or foe, neighbor or foreigner, fish or fowl, incoming or outgoing? Many people enjoy people watching, and as they sit at outdoor cafés sipping on their coffees, they are reading people's archetypes as they walk by: "That person is probably an entrepreneur. That guy is definitely a bulldog type. That woman is pure queen." We can't stop ourselves from reading each other's archetypes because these are our social and psychic magnets. The adage "birds of a feather flock together" is not just an old, familiar saying that has proven true more times than we can remember. It's true because archetypes of a feather flock together. You find the people you do in your life because your archetypes are your magnets, drawing you into your relationships -- or, conversely, keeping you out of others.
If I told you that you were "speaking archetypes," you would probably give me a blank look and say, "I'm speaking what?" But that would be the truth. You are speaking archetypes -- and furthermore, you are speaking this language of the unconscious fluently. You were born with an inherent knowledge of archetypal patterns because this is the language that unites us all to each other. We all recognize these patterns in each other instantaneously. It's unfortunate that the word "archetype" sounds so intimidating, whereas "labeling" is a word that doesn't scare you at all, right? But they essentially mean the same thing, and from childhood on, you have been labeling every person you see, beginning with the kids you went to school with. Remember? That kid was a greaser, class clown, teacher's pet, bookworm or nerd. These labels are types of hybrid archetypes, categories we tossed each other into that reflected the type of power we saw in each other at a glance. Archetypes are exactly that: patterns that carry our power and project that power through our personalities and into the day-to-day details of our life, including who we are attracted to in our relationships.
So, what archetype(s) are you? As I wrote about in my book Sacred Contracts, there are countless archetypes in the cosmic field. Think of all the stars in the heavens and imagine all of those as archetypes. Now look just above you and imagine that there are 12 stars that are closest to you. Those stars, or archetypes, have the most influence upon your personality or nature in this life. After all, you could not possibly contain the power of all the stars in the galaxy -- you would implode. We are all different people because we are all comprised of variations of archetypal patterns.
For example, the serial killer is indeed an archetype. We watch television shows about people with that archetype all the time, don't we? But, thankfully, few people actually have that archetype, whereas millions of people have the mother and father archetypes, as you know. Every person has some variation of the child archetype. Some have the wounded child or the abandoned child. Others relate more to the nature child. We are all different, and our differences are indeed rooted in our archetypes.
Knowing your archetypal patterns is the beginning of understanding why you are the way you are. This knowledge is, in other words, the entry into who you really are at the depth and core of your soul.
I invite you to come to my website, Myss.com, to explore my books on archetypes, particularly "Sacred Contracts." Nothing is a more worthy adventure in life than discovering who you truly are.
"Sacred Contracts" excerpt:
She's a five-time New York Times best-selling author. Now, Caroline Myss is sharing her insights on how to tap into your instinct and find your life's purpose. Tune into Super Soul Sunday at 11/10c on OWN, Oprah.com or Facebook.com/OWNtv for Oprah's conversation with Caroline. Before then, read a book excerpt where Caroline writes about coming into her own spiritual purpose.
Chapter 1: What Is a Sacred Contract?
A contract isn't about saying what you meant. It is about meaning what you say. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94, physician, poet, and humorist)
When I was a young girl, my father always told me, "I don't care what you do when you grow up, so long as you're a nurse or a teacher." I can still remember my fury when he would say that, because I was interested only in writing. The very idea of teaching school was out of the question. Yet today, in spite of all my efforts to avoid life in the classroom, I am a teacher -- of workshops, of theology, of motivation -- and what's more, I love it. I feel distantly connected to the nursing part of my dad's directive too, through the healing effects my work has had on many people.
My father passed away in 1989, and in the early 1990s, as my mom and I were discussing my work, I said to her, "Well, he won after all." Then I realized that Dad hadn't "won" some sort of game or struggle to control what I did with my life. My Contract had won. My father had been able to glimpse aspects of it, as many parents can, although their vision is often clouded by their own expectations and wishes for their children. Even without knowing about archetypes, Dad had seen something in me that evoked his understanding of the greater function and meaning of a nurse and teacher, and he related it to the career choices that were common for young women at the time.
Still, my Contract does contain the archetypes of the Teacher and Healer, which have manifested through the events of my life, even though I have never formally studied healing or teaching. My higher education has been in journalism and theology, but my work in medical intuition simply "happened." I did my first intuitive reading almost by accident, and then another, and another. Word spread through the neighborhood, and soon I was doing ten to fifteen a week. My growing reputation led to invitations to lecture on my work, which in turn led to invitations to teach workshops.
The most extraordinary feature about how I learned energy anatomy was the precision with which my education was organized. Again, it simply "happened." Within a period of seven to ten days, three people with the same illness would approach me for help. Each one would prove to be coping with similar but slightly different life problems that had contributed to the development of their illness. By the time I read all three individuals, I felt I had grasped the major energy stress factors behind their conditions. Shortly after I completed one trio, another three people in quick succession would contact me for help. Again, each would prove to have the same illness. Gradually my understanding of energy anatomy led me to realize that our biography becomes our biology.
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will simulcast this "Super Soul Sunday" episode "Oprah and Caroline Myss: Intuition, Power and Grace" on air and online Sunday, June 24 at 11 a.m. ET/PT on OWN, Oprah.com and Facebook.com/OWNtv.
To preview "Oprah and Caroline Myss: Intuition, Power and Grace" click here.
OWN's Emmy Award-winning "Super Soul Sunday" to simulcast on air and online for the first time Sunday, June 24 at 11 am ET/PT.