Posts

Accessing your Intuition through Visualisation and Embodiment

What is your relationship with Intuition?  Do you doubt that you have intuition?  Do you second guess intuition and find yourself plagued with doubt, indecision and confusion?  If you get that intuitive hit, how does it come to you- through words, pictures, thoughts or feelings?  And when that hit comes, do you act on it, or do you ignore it?  Perhaps it scares you, or you don’t like what it says, think it’s mundane or pointless?

Intuition and Transformation

When a coaching client connects to their intuition, listens and takes action, it can be one of the most empowering transformations they can make.  Suddenly, they move from needing advice and support from others, to independence, self-sufficiency and clarity.  Advice and support have their place, but when they stop a person from trusting themselves and undermine their sense of autonomy, they become disempowering.  The client becomes small in their body through lack of confidence, plays small in their life by acting without courage and feels small in themselves by staying inside their comfort zone and resisting risk and failure.

Building trust in Intuition has become an important part of the work I do with clients.  And I have begun to run training to empower people to connect to Intuition, learn how to use it, listen to it and act from that place of inspiration.  In collaboration with Thea Allison and Catelijne Coopmans, we devised a series of five sessions focusing on Embodying Archetypes for Personal Growth.  These were part of the Embodiment Circles Online in 2020.  This blog focuses on Magician.

Intuition and Magician Archetype

The Magician archetype is an excellent way to access these inherent skills and build trust in imagination, creativity and vision making.  Magician is not an illusionist.  It is a transformer and synthesiser that brings things together to create something new.  It creates from the ether, sensing that which is beyond the senses (sight, sound, taste, touch and smell) and bringing it to life.  Magician captures dreams (like the Big Friendly Giant by Roald Dahl), creates vision, senses what is on the verge of becoming and helping it manifest.

One Magician in our modern day was Steve Jobs.  He sensed that people wanted a computer that could be used easily, intuitively, immediately and would not be a struggle to learn.  And so he created the Macintosh and computing, animation, publishing and education have never been the same since (see this article Giving People What They Want Before They Know They Want It for more information). Jobs instinctively knew how to listen to Intuition as do many actors, visionaries, authors, musicians, thought leaders, artists, trail-blazers, entrepreneurs and anyone who uses imagination to create a solution.  Stephen Hawking, Paul McCartney, Lin Miguel Miranda and Banksie are all 21st century Magicians.

How Intuition Speaks

We are all born with the instinct to listen to Intuition.  Many of us unlearn that skill.  Fortunately, you can relearn it too.

Intuition communicates with you predominantly in one of four ways:

  1. Words- your inspiration comes in individual words or phrases. Less often it might come as a sentence or perhaps a stream of words.  If it does flow, it is usually because you are writing it down or saying it out loud in some way.  Once you act on the individual word or phrase, you may receive the next step on the journey.
  2. Pictures- flashes or glimpses of insight come to your mind’s eye. Or you may get a moving image like a film playing in your head.
  3. Thoughts- you’ll get an idea jump into your mind or the thought to call or reach out to a specific person.
  4. Feelings- intuition often speaks through the body. A gut reaction, your heart skips a beat, you feel an urge to take action in some way.  Perhaps you’ll meet someone and take an instant liking, or disliking, to them, without having spoken a word.  Or that urge to eat a particular food or be clear that you don’t want to eat something.  You might be inspired to speak your truth.

Bolts from the Blue

Intuition speaks to us through these means.  Most people have a dominant one or two ways, but we have all four.    The one thing they have in common, is that the insight is usually out of the blue.  It has no reference to what you may have been thinking about beforehand.  To the point where it seems weird or freaky.

As an example, I was at a particularly low ebb one New Year’s day.  I felt lost at that point in my life and was wondering what I could do to change it.  A person’s name, someone I had not thought about in months, sprang to mind.  I reached out to him and he helped guide me back on track.

One of the reasons I work with archetypes is because Intuition keeps bringing me back to them as an answer to my questions in life.  When opportunities for new and inspiring work come up, archetypes come, unbidden, front and centre in my mind and workshops and seminars come together with ease.

I will plan what I am going to say when I present workshops or give seminars, but often the script goes out the window when I get an intuitive push to approach the work differently.  In the moment, I’ll change tack and go with it, because I trust my intuition- at least much more than I used to.  Every time, without fail, I ask for feedback and participants say the material was just what was needed.  When I suggest I could have done it differently, hinting at what I had meticulously planned for the event, they always shake their heads and say what I did was better.  I can’t explain it, but it works every time.  I know it works and I have learned to trust it.

Learning to Listen

There are many ways to cultivate your relationship with Intuition.  Over the years I have practised many forms of spontaneous creative output including writing, movement (dance, martial arts), music, play (such as comedy improvisation or playing with children) and public speaking.

Here are a couple of ways in which you can connect to Intuition from the Embodying Archetypes for Personal Growth series about Magician:

1. Meditation to Access Intuition

One of the reasons you may not hear Intuition is because your conscious, logical and rational mind is so busy, it is a distraction. It’s so loud and consistently active that you rarely if ever hear Intuition.  And the world is a busy and loud place too.  Lots of distractions there as well- TV, internet, social media and so on.  You may not know it, but Intuition is reaching out to you all the time.  For most of us in the modern world, our focus is towards the busyness and loudness of life.  Intuition often does not get a look in.  Sometimes, its messages get through the cracks when there is a pause- like when you’re taking a shower, running, driving, day-dreaming and so on.

If you want to access Intuition more purposefully, take time to remove some of those distractions from time to time and learn to recognise when Intuition is communicating to you.  Ask for the answer to something about a relationship, a business challenge, health concerns, problem solving and Intuition will give you the next step.  This video is a guided visualisation that will give you a chance to connect to your intuitive voice:

Guided Visualisation

The key is to go with the thing that first comes to mind.  Don’t second guess it.  If you don’t like what you hear, don’t waste your time listening out for something different.  It might be scary, mundane, obvious, not glamorous or glitzy enough for you.  But if that is what Intuition says, then that is the message.  So often, Intuition has me stepping out of my comfort zone that feels great once I’ve done it and isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  Or doing the mundane things like keeping the house tidy or organising my accounts.  It means that I can relax, which feels good and allows me to focus on more important things for my development.  Important things that without that organisation, I wouldn’t have the time or space to do.

Intuition isn’t some woo woo hocus pocus.  It is eminently practical and useful and very often flies in the face of logic, reason and common sense.

2. Embodying Intuition

The Magician in you nurtures your natural ability to go into the unknown, using imagination and intuition to seek new understanding and wisdom to be of service in the world.

Magician can hold itself in the practical, real world, and also transcend the physical to allow valuable information and guidance to come through.

As individuals we access intuition differently. This movement practice, devised by Thea Allison*, uses three different, embodied techniques to access intuition to test them for effectiveness and appropriateness to you personally.

Using the over-arching question What am I here to learn and share? we explored these three embodied enquiries:

1. Transcendence Pose.

We used the Embodied Yoga Principles pose of Transcendence to experience that lift into the higher, into the airy realm of intuition and vision. Standing on tip toe, with your arms straight up, your palms facing each other a shoulder width apart and your gaze going upwards. Holding the question, we used movement to reach out, plucking ideas and possibilities from the ether and intuitively putting those ideas into the body, wherever it felt true to ‘land’ them. Like plucking apples from a tree, or the stars from the sky.

2. Circles

Using circles is an ancient intuitive technique. Create or imagine a circle and define that space to suit your needs, for example, my true vision, or clarity on this project. When you connect with, or step into the circle you will have an experience of how you have defined it. We walked around the edge of the circle, holding the question ‘What am I here to learn and share?’ purposefully imagining the circle to be empty and free of other influences. Stepping into the circle we waited to receive whatever information came.

3. Centring

We went through a simple centring process.  Starting on the external environment by feeling our feet on the floor, standing tall, becoming aware of the feeling of the air on our skin. Moving internally, we noticed our breathing and relaxed our core – eyes, mouth and jaw, down to the belly. With relaxed breath, in this centred state, we asked the question and listened for what came. (Based on ABC Centring technique as taught at The Embodied Facilitators Course.

Intuition is a natural gift that can be practised and nurtured in all of us. We all have aspects of the Magician to call on. The important thing is to find the best way for you to be in the unknown, free of the normal layers of conditioning and bias that direct your thinking, and then hold onto the first thing you get.

To complete the session, we continued walking while considering three questions:

  • 1) Where/how do you experience intuition in your body?
  • 2) What was your reaction to the first thing you got (e.g. reject it, want something more, want something less, doubt it)?
  • 3) What can you do now to make this information useful?

Over to you

How is your relationship with Intuition?  What practices do you have to connect to it?  Were the two offered here useful for you?  What is Intuition telling you?  How will you use Intuition in the future?  If you did use Intuition, how would your life look different in a year from now?  Or five years from now?

We will be creating and delivering further sessions and courses on Embodying Archetypes for Personal Growth.  If you’d like to know more about future content and dates with the interest of possibly attending, please e-mail David at david@potentialitycoaching.co.uk and I will contact you with additional details as we publish them.  Alternatively, you can subscribe to my newsletter on the right hand side of this page.

Pass It on

Did you find this blog valuable and gain something from it? Do you know a friend, colleague or family member who would find it valuable too?  I’d really appreciate it, and I’m sure they would too.  Thank you.

*Thea Allison specialises in teaching people to use intuition and embodiment to create what is most important to them. She put together this simple exploration of intuition and embodiment.

Responsibility- how do you bear it?

How do you view responsibility?  A necessary evil?  Part of the blame game?  Something to avoid at all costs?  When you think of responsibility, do you get a sinking feeling in your stomach?  Or does it lighten you and bring a thrill of what is possible, excitement and potential?

Very often, responsibility gets a bad press.  It can be linked to blame, in that other people can point the finger if things go wrong or it doesn’t work.  Many think of it as a burden that comes with mortgages, job roles, parenthood, relationships.

Others avoid responsibility because they feel the weight of it crushes their creativity, freedom and sense of fun with life.  And there are those that see it as unavoidable, like shackles that hold them back and stop life being fun and exciting.

Embodying Archetypes to explore Responsibility

On a recent Embodiment Circle Online co-hosted by myself, Thea Allison and Catelijne Coopmans, we explored responsibility through the archetype of Sovereign.  We built on the theme that alignment of the body allows you to relax and bear weight more lightly.  And that alignment relates directly to the weight of responsibility and how that burden can be lightened when it is aligned to your values.  Here is the body-based meditation we ran in the Circle:

Responsibility and Personal Sovereignty

Sovereign is a powerful metaphor for your personal sovereignty.  To take responsibility for your own fulfilment, meaning and purpose.  To create the order, structure and stability for yourself and therefore for others so that they may thrive.

You must align with you values if you are to take on that responsibility willingly, openly and with commitment.  As a business leader, to see your colleagues thrive and develop in their jobs and contribute in a way that sees your industry and the economy at large prosper.  As a parent, to witness your children grow and find fulfilment in their own lives.  Or as a manager, to create teams that are motivated and inspired and instrumental in the success of the company.  And central to all that is honouring what is most important to you so that you flourish too.  You are Sovereign of your own life and no one can benefit from your skills, talents and qualities if you are not fulfilled and living life on purpose.

That takes responsibility, a commitment within yourself to stay true to what is most important to you, for your well-being and the well-being of those your life touches.  There is something about bearing the weight of responsibility as a gift that lightens you, inspires you, when you are aligned to your values, meaning and purpose.

Embodying Responsibility

An equivalent alignment in the body would be with the Head (mind), Heart (chest) and Hara (pelvis).  When these three centres align, the weight of the body is supported by the skeleton and the muscles can relax.  Without that alignment, the muscles remain tense and become tired.  Life becomes effortful, and increasingly so as the body tires, weakens and struggles more.

Responsibility aligned to Values

This relationship between alignment of the body and aligning your responsibility with values, meaning and purpose is essential if you are to bear the weight of responsibility without effort and with dignity and wisdom.  Wisdom comes from understanding that there is a great price to be paid if you take action that is out of alignment with your values, meaning and purpose.  Just like when you move your body when it is out of alignment and you damage a muscle or break a bone.  The price is too high for you and those around you.

Bearing Responsibility Lightly

The mantle or cloak, crown and insignia are the ceremonial garments Sovereign wears to represent this responsibility.  Together these garments are a weight that is best carried with good alignment of posture.  Aligning Head, Heart and Hara allows the muscles to relax.  Muscles free of tension allow the weight to drop into the floor.  And because every action has an equal and opposite reaction (Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion), the Earth pushes back against that weight, lightening the body.  No matter how great the weight, the force pushing back will always reciprocate, offering support and bearing the load.  It is universal law.

A person who lives aligned to their values walks with confidence, a lightness and ease in their step.  They walk tall, take up space and have a presence and power that are commanding.  They own their sovereignty and bear responsibility lightly.  Alignment of values shows itself through alignment of body.  An aligned body shows the strength of character to honour values through action.

Values-based Responsibility

In your own life, responsibility will include your relationships, career, finances, bringing up the kids, job responsibilities, upkeep of the home and bills, offering emotional support and helping others thrive.  You also maintain self-care, so that you can live life to the full as well as continue with this responsibility.  If you are to bear these responsibilities lightly, joyfully, with ease and dignity they must align with your values.  What responsibilities do you have that align with your values?  What is the feeling of that alignment?  Energising, invigorating, inspiring?

It is not enough to feel responsible for the finances of the family for example.  That responsibility will crush you if what you do to live up to that responsibility gives you no joy, fulfilment and a sense of purpose.  It is such a common situation for a person to work all hours so that they can provide for their family.  Yet, they are missing their children and spouse because they are working all the time.  They are out of alignment with their values.  The long hours would be more bearable if they had great relationships with their family.

But so often they do not.  They feel lonely and isolated and find themselves longing for the intimacy of family.  Meanwhile, the family misses their presence and they fall short of thriving as a result.  For your own sovereignty, it is important to get that alignment right and find the balance so that the weight of financial responsibility is lightened.

Aligning Responsibility to Values

If your responsibility does not align, can you find a way to do so?

I have a love/ hate relationship with the responsibility of keeping a clean and tidy home.  It gets in the way of my creativity and freedom if I do it too much.  And yet, if I let it slide too long, the mess and lack of calm inhibits the creative flow.  So, I balance the responsibility of cleaning and tidying with the values of creativity and being productive in my work.  What responsibilities do you have that you can align to your values that are currently not aligned?  How might you find a way to align them?  What is the feeling of finding that alignment having been out of whack?  Relief, coming home, relaxing, light, free?

If you cannot find that alignment, can you drop that responsibility?

When new opportunities come my way, I think carefully about whether they align to my values.  There is a factor of time of course.  And there is a question of alignment that gives me energy, vitality and enthusiasm for the work.  Is the opportunity aligned or not?  If not, it will drain me and allow less time and energy for what really matters to me.  So, I let it go.  If it is aligned, it will add to the momentum and energy of my life and so I willingly accept it.  And allow the responsibility of taking it on to lighten my soul through joy and fulfilment.

The bigger your life gets, the more important it is to stay aligned to your values.  That structure, support and order both internally (through Head, Heart and Hara) and externally (with values, purpose and responsibility) are vital for you to maintain your power and vitality.  Without them, your reach, impact and capacity become diminished.  Sovereign is about thriving and creating and maintaining order to do so.  Responsibility can help you thrive, or not.  It all depends on how your responsibilities align with what is most important to your head, heart and soul.

Over to You

What responsibilities do you have that help you thrive?  And what responsibilities drain and weaken you?  Are they aligned to your values? What can you do about those responsibilities that are not aligned?  How can you get more alignment?  I’d love to hear how you are doing with these enquiries.  Please post your discoveries in the comments box.  Alternatively, you can e-mail me if you’d rather keep things private or you’d prefer to discuss what is coming up for you.

Pass it on

If you have enjoyed this blog and found it useful, what in particular was beneficial to you?  Is there someone you know who would benefit from that too?  If so, please forward this blog to them.  They’d really appreciate the thoughtful gesture and it shows them how much you care.  Thank you.

Archetypes in Lockdown- a north star and guiding light

There is an old samurai saying, “Adversity makes the man”.  Challenging times build resilience. It is all too easy to get lost in fear and despair.  So, it is good to know what signs to look for if you stray that way.  And to have a North Star by which to orient yourself so that you can move towards greater confidence, resilience and leadership.  Archetypes provide such a template.

The point of this blog is to highlight some of the aspects of four archetypes so you might navigate your way through lockdown.  And be able to look back and say I did well in lockdown and contributed in a positive way towards my own well-being and that of my family, friends, community and beyond.

**I’ll put in bold the aspects of each archetype**

Warrior:

All life events are an opportunity to live within your values and remain focused on your chosen purpose and direction in life.  Covid-19 is no exception.  A plethora of opportunities are opening to follow and expand your purpose as a values-focused warrior.  Warrior will keep you on focus and make sure you stay on purpose.  But Warrior will hold you entrenched in particular thinking and action because “it is the right thing to do” when actually it would benefit you, family and business to pivot and do something different.

As long as it does not compromise your values and purpose, your creativity (Magician) will take you to new and fascinating places.  And because you remain aligned to your purpose and values, it still feels heart-felt, passionate and inspiring to take this new path.  For example, the fruit and veg wholesaler who overnight had no restaurants to buy his stock.  So, he delivered free food parcels to local homeowners so that the food would not go to waste.  Now he is inundated with orders for fruit and veg boxes during lockdown.  He is making more profit as a result than he ever made dealing with restaurants.

Adapt or Flounder

As Nietzsche said, “if you know the why, you can live any how”.  In other words, stay true to your driving force and principles and you can live with integrity in any life situation.  Look at all leaders.  They have had to pivot and have done so successfully by staying true to who they are.  Steve Jobs for example, co-founded Apple on one of his visions of using computers for creativity.  When the Apple Board kicked him out, he founded Pixar soon after, which creates computer-animated films.

Personally, during the 2008 financial crash, I lost two thirds of my clients overnight.  I did not adapt fast enough to make ends meet, had a painful time of it financially and floundered in the subsequent years.  This time, I am more adaptable, and have used the opportunity to go online more and promote myself and my brand by offering free support and training.  The connections I make now may lead to new opportunities post-Covid.  We will see.  But I am staying aligned to my values and purpose at every pivot I take.  Therefore, it matters less whether it leads to business in the future.  And more about whether I maintain integrity and true to myself.  It’s much more fun that way!

I think people appreciate the loyalty and steadfastness of Warrior.  People trust the person who is reliable, true, honest, consistent, principled and unshaking in a cause or purpose.  Are you feeling the strength and confidence of Warrior during lockdown?

Lover:

How are your relationships doing with social distancing and self-isolation?  Are you finding it hard to say “yes” to things that are supportive and “no” to things that undermine your well-being, safety and confidence, so that you maintain your boundaries?  Are you using this as a time for self-care or are you caring for others?

Relationships

As your life takes on new rhythms during lockdown, how are you managing your relationships?  Are you able to get the time and space alone you want?  And how are you using that time?  Some time alone is important for your well-being.  To take time to connect inward, be that meditation, writing, walking or exercising alone, contemplation or reflection, reaffirms your relationship with yourself.  And that always you to keep centre when you are in relationships with others.  Lover can be prone to giving to others without thought for oneself…… which ultimately can lead to resentment, burnout and fatigue.  Or to be self-centric and give no thought to others.  How are you managing that balance?

Boundaries

Which really comes down to boundaries.  How is lockdown impacting your capacity to say “yes” to the things that support your well-being and relationships?  Are you able to ask for the time alone you feel you want?  Can you ask for help when things are overwhelming?  Or even better, before they become overwhelming, so that you can avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety.  And how are you doing with saying “no” to things that do not serve you?  Can you push back on the demands made by others for your own well-being?

Travelling to work on public transport may pose a threat to your health.  If this worries you, can you ask to work from home or take furlough?  If there are social events, can you attend and maintain social distancing?  We recently celebrated Victory in Europe (VE) day in the UK marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.  There were street parties and celebrations.  In our street, we made a point of keep two metres distance from each other and still enjoy the festivities.

Community

And I have noticed that people are using this time to connect to new communities online.  I met someone on an online embodiment event who was saying that he has always felt an outsider in the communities he usually connects with.  Lockdown has given him the opportunity to find new communities in which he feels a part and included.  He will come out of lockdown with a new collection of friends that more deeply appreciate him, his gifts and contribution.

Magician:

There is always the option of living from fear through the Covid-19 situation.  More often than not, the News promotes the negative view.  And many people seem to focus on bad news.  But there are many positives coming from lockdown at a personal level, for community and the planet.

Interconnection

Our inter-dependence, the fact that we all impact each other, is coming to the fore perhaps more than ever before.  Our fates rely on everyone doing their part to be responsible for self-isolating for the benefit of the common good.  There is a larger cause here that we are daily being asked to consider when we take any action.  And that larger cause means we are being kinder to each other.  It means we are driving and flying less which is allowing the environment to recover and heal.  We are seeing tremendous acts of bravery, be it frontline healthcare professionals or war veterans walking to raise money for charitable causes.

Healing and Peace

For the first time in human history, humanity is united against a common enemy.  What healing can be done from this place of peace, unification and kindness?  The world could become a very different place once lockdown has passed.  Things could go back to where they were before.  But when Magician responds to this pandemic, there is a look towards doing things differently and finding solutions that will heal many of the challenges we faced before Coronavirus hit.

There is an opportunity to rewrite how we work, care for the sick and elderly, look after those closest to us and our neighbours, support our communities, manage stress and mental health, govern with compassion, take our responsibility as custodians of the planet, invest financially, cultivate relationships and much more.

New Solutions

It’s easy to go back to the old ways.  But, many of those old ways are not working right now.  Perhaps we are paving the way for a new way of being?  There is no precedent for this.  We are going to have to work it out as we go.  Turn inward towards our intuition and gut instinct and feel which is the best way to go.

In the old traditions, Magicians were wise men of counsel, like Merlin.  They saw the bigger picture and advised the sovereign so that he may rule with wisdom and compassion.  And perhaps Magician’s greatest counsel was not to be swayed by the fearful minds of lesser men.  But rather to be guided by your personal inner strength so that you may live with gratitude, wisdom, respect, compassion and above all, love.

Sovereign:

What order are you creating through lockdown?  Or perhaps you feel like things are in disorder?  Quick and radical changes have thrown many of us into disarray and it is taking time to reestablish order.  So that we feel safe and able to flourish.  And as things continue to change, so we are being asked to shift our structure, organisation and order to accommodate shifting sands.

Order and Freedom

Order offers freedom.  Structure and organisation give a framework around which freedom, adaptability and versatility can thrive.  This could be an opportunity to take action on your own initiative and authority.  There is the opportunity to do something new.

By your own direction, you can determine your routines, the order in your house, the care you take of yourself.  And your capacity and willingness to support others and empower them to tap into their own sovereignty.  Self-sovereignty is about having dominion over your own body, mind, emotions and spirituality.  I have spoken before how self-awareness empowers choice which leads to freedom.  And freedom is a hallmark of self-sovereignty.  Freedom allows self-authorship.  In other words, the power to write your life the way you would like it to be.

Sovereign as Leader

It takes Sovereign to mark out the routines, order, structure, plan, strategy and tactics to make that happen.  And Sovereign recruits the other archetypes to make that possible.  Sovereign calls on Lover for boundaries and relationship building with self and others.  Warrior to move forward and stay on purpose in a values-driven way.  And Magician to balance the heart and the head and live in service of something bigger than personal success.

Knowledge and Learning

I’m also hearing a lot of people are taking the time to learn new things.  Knowledge increases your capacity to adapt, lead and be more compassionate.  Covid-19 has opened the internet to so many free learning opportunities and expand your sphere of influence.

How are you using your sovereignty and self-authority during lockdown?  Are you using it to create order so that you and others can flourish?  Or are you abusing your position and using your freedom to limit the freedom of others?  Are you using it to lead with a sense of vision of how lockdown can be better for us as individuals, a society and the planet?  What can you do so for your family and community at large?

Over to You

How are you doing?  What areas of your archetypes do you feel you are doing well in?  Which archetypes do you think you’d like to work on?  What archetypes do you want more of?  And which ones are dominant or over-bearing?  Which archetypes do you want less of?  And which archetypes would it be beneficial to step up to?  What areas of your life would you apply the archetypes?  What of the archetypes could you do more of and take into your life beyond lockdown and Covid-19?

Pass it on

Phew!!!!  That was a long one!!!! If you found this blog useful, please pass it on.

 

Archetypes- Jester

We all love to laugh. It is a universal human trait to have the corners of our mouths lift, the edges of our eyes crinkle into crows feet and the appreciation of humour bubble up from deep within, to create that unmistakable and delightful characteristic of fun, frivolity and foolishness. The laugh, the prize of the comedian, Jester, fool and joker, is a powerful leveler that brings humanity together as we marvel at our weaknesses, foolishness and strange rituals. It is also used to such good affect by school children picked on in playgrounds to diffuse potentially serious situations. Fast forward a few years and this person can develop into the heart and soul of a party in adult life. Humour is a tool that can turn darkness into light, ease the sting of pain through loss, hardship and anxiety and simply bring joy into every area of our lives.

William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Charlie Chaplin and Robin Williams to name a few were excellent Jesters, comedians who studied human nature and continue to allow us to laugh at ourselves. The pain of life can be overwhelming sometimes. Therefore, it is our ability to be able to laugh at ourselves and life’s drama, that enable us to take the heaviness away and lighten the load that we have chosen to bare.

The Jester is no Fool

In resorting to humour and jokes, people mistaken the Jester’s behaviour as shallow or stupid. Yet the Jester is no fool. The insightful observations Jesters share make fun of our egos and mock society’s rules.  Consequently, they raise a mirror to our lives and show us our own foolishness. We can get so caught up in the seriousness of a situation that we lose sight of the larger picture. I remember having an argument with a partner many years ago about the correct way to place toilet roll on the holder in the bathroom. After twenty minutes a friend came over and burst out laughing at how ludicrous it was to be fighting over such a thing. Very soon, we were all laughing and that particular habit became a funny story to tell and it never caused us angst after that.

The Jester’s joy at making us laugh brings fun and lightness into the world. As Roger Rabbit tells Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit “Laughter is a very powerful thing.  Sometimes it’s the only thing we have.” A wise Jester indeed.  We need some of that in our lives once in a while.

Where did the laughter go?

Laughter is a very powerful thing. Sometimes it’s the only thing we have

I heard a statistic that children smile and laugh about 200 times a day. As adults we rarely reach ten. What has happened to us in that time? Why has laughter fled from our throats and smiles from our lips? I believe it is that we have forgotten that life is a game to play, to be enjoyed, explored, tested and challenged. The fear of making mistakes, getting things wrong and not being good enough leave a judge and jury to trial us at every step in our lives. No wonder we find it hard to let go and relax and enjoy the journey as it unfolds regardless of outcomes.

Recently I have begun to notice how little people reward themselves for simply taking action. The thought of enjoying the journey and taking the time to savour the moment is lost to many of us. It is more important to move on to the next thing rather than celebrate the last thing we have done. Yet we are motivated by reward- the feeling of pleasure and the chance to make life a joyous and enjoyable experience. We rarely make time for play. Perhaps we could find some time to be children again?

This type of humour is a powerful healer. The skillful Jester creates laughter to heal wounds that otherwise fester and pleasure to reward us for trying hard and doing our best. It makes us more resilient. We work harder, play harder, love longer, bounce back faster and deal with stressful situations better when we have been laughing and feel the lightness of life.

The Jester in Shadow

Yet, there is an under- belly to the Jester’s world that can be cruel and serves to diminish some, while placing others on pedestals. The Jester can act to harm, to belittle and self- agrandise. This is the shadow side of the Jester. We see this a lot in game shows on TV and in politics at work as well as governance. We must be careful not to turn this dark side in on ourselves, as well as others, for the sake of a cheap laugh.

The Jester can also get caught up in games and pleasure to the exclusion of important things.  If we are not vigilant, we can waste time entertaining ourselves and neglect taking meaningful action in our lives.  After all, we are looking for life balance (see blog on life balance here)- purpose and pleasure.

How does the Jester serve us?

As with all these archetypes, we are looking at them as tools to make the journey of life more manageable so that we may face life’s challenges with more courage and strength. The Jester is essential in this I believe. If we cannot laugh at ourselves then we are lost to compassion when we are being most tough on ourselves. To see our own folly is a potent healer. To smile at our mistakes takes the sting out of our failure and helps us to fight another day. We are more likely to learn from our mistakes in this mind set. When we are overwhelmed and under siege, the person that can laugh is usually the first to bounce back and find the way forward.

The Jester’s world is one of creativity, trust and a zest for life. This light, bubbly energy keeps our mood light. We are far more creative and solution focused when we think this way. That serious heavy mood brings us down and we cannot find a way out of it. Therefore, no solution presents itself. The Jester is not necessarily frivolous or time- wasting. The Jester chooses to see the funny side of all life’s situations and finds solutions that way. And if solutions do not present themselves, at least there is the consolation that we laughed through it. The heartache subsides much faster that way.

How do you court the Jester?

Smile. Place a smile on your face and your mood changes instantly. Someone just knocked on the door with a delivery for a neighbour. They disturbed my creative flow. Rather than be angry or frustrated, I chose to smile and we laughed together. The interaction could have been easily forgotten. Instead, it was memorable for me. I cannot say for the delivery- man. That is his choice and I leave it with him.

Watching other Jesters works well for me. By using TV, DVD or the Internet, a laugh is only a click or two away. Also, have those friends and colleagues that can help you see the funny side. Play frequently. Have those things that truly give you pleasure and remind you that life can be a joy. As an adult, things tend to be goal oriented. As a child play is often not driven by outcomes. Rather it is driven by pleasure, discovery and experience- the sheer creative flow of being in the moment.

It’s easy to give ourselves a hard time. Perhaps we could be less harsh on ourselves. As a result of its qualities, the Jester allows us to tap into that less serious side and find the pleasure and fun in every moment. After all, is not one of life’s great achievements to be able to say that you truly enjoyed your day?

Over to you

How big a role does humour play in your life? Do you use humour to lighten your mood? Can you relate to the Jester? Would you like more of the Jester in your life? Is there too much Jester in your life, leading to not getting enough done? What do you do to reward yourself for your achievements in life? How do you relieve the pressure of some of life’s situations? I’d love to hear from you and learn about your experiences of the Jester in your life. Why not share your experiences.  You may provide other people with insight and inspiration?

Pass it on

If you found this article useful and informative and would like to receive notifications of future blogs, please go to www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk and sign up for the newsletter. If you know someone who might benefit from the article why not send it on? It might make all the difference. I’d really appreciate it and so will they.

Christmas- celebrating the Light of the Human Spirit

The Festival of Light

What do Christmas, Hanukah and Diwali mean to you? Are they purely a time off work or do they have a deeper message? What messages, lessons and ideas can you take from Christmas, Hanukah and Diwali into the rest of the year?

This is the time of The Festivals of Light. Christmas, Hanukah and Diwali are all religious celebrations commemorating the Light of the Human spirit. Candles and fireworks are lit to remind us that hope, forgiveness and kindness are human traits to celebrate and practice for the benefit of others as well as ourselves.

Candles and fireworks are lit to remind us that hope, forgiveness and kindness are human traits to celebrate

The symbol of Light in this way is prevalent across the world and throughout time. It is a universal image to which all people relate. Fire has been used for millennia to accompany sacred ceremonies and mark sacred time and space. This fire can represent the divine, that universal force that creates all and, it can illustrate the indomitable spirit within each of us, which marks our uniqueness and our collective humanity. The human spirit is a flame that can be neglected, ignored and covered over. It can also be nurtured, nourished and fanned to create a blaze. The various Festivals of Light are a reminder that we need to cultivate this Light within. I believe people are naturally born with this flame inside them. It holds their Light, uniqueness, innate talents and skills that can be shared with the world.

The Light of the Human Spirit

When we are born, we possess a presence and power that radiates out. Babies light up rooms and bring smiles to people’s faces. Young children are open and free with their emotions, laughing one moment, crying the next, then all smiles seconds later. They show confidence in expressing spontaneous behaviour, sharing unsolicited thoughts and being their authentic selves. This unhampered Light shines as children play, learn and express their love.

Things can happen to cover this Light. By being made to feel wrong for expressing emotions and certain behaviours, by not being supported and encouraged, by denying feelings and longings that are deemed inappropriate, through abuse, neglect and so much more, this Light becomes dimmed and fails to shine in the world with the clarity and brightness that it did in a person’s youth.

This process can start young or later in life. For the person concerned it feels like a void, a gap, even a deadness inside that is filled with pain and a yearning to be given a voice and take action. To the outside world, it might appear as a lack of confidence or commitment, apathy, even indifference. To them it feels frustrating, exasperating and ignites a desire for change. Regardless of how it appears internally or externally, this Light still burns furiously within. It needs uncovering, oxygen and nurturing. Done consistently, we can shine brighter, burn stronger, share our Light more fully and embrace the joy of doing and being that more completely.

Uncovering the Light

How do we start the process of uncovering the flame that burns within so that we can feel fulfilled and live with meaning and purpose? There is the journey of uncovering the things of the past that stifle the flame. And there are the things that happen in the present that if left unchallenged can further diminish our Light. We can learn strategies to uncover the things of the past and the present. This in turn improves our resilience so that we are better able to face life’s challenges. There are lots of ways you can explore these strategies. Coaching is one such method in which you focus on your goals for the future and explore your habits and beliefs and ways of being that prevent you from achieving those goals. Here are some areas that might be powerful for you to explore:

  1. Mind sets supportive to your success. Very often you learn scripts from the past that actually undermine you. These scripts can stop you stepping into your best self. Scripts such as “not good enough”, “not deserving” and “I’m a perfectionist” can be self- limiting beliefs that stop your growth in important areas of your life. By challenging these old beliefs and finding new scripts that are supportive to becoming the person you want to become, you can update your inner landscape so that you can step into new roles and new ways of being. This acts as fuel for your inner Light.
  2. Living in line with what is most important to you. You probably have areas in your life that you are very keen to protect. Perhaps it is time with the kids, your workout schedule or commitment to your career.  You set these boundaries up to make sure things do not encroach on them. You might even think of them as sacred. Yet there will also be areas where you are less robust in maintaining your boundaries and your life suffers accordingly. You might not be consistent with your eating or exercise habits. You might say you’ll do something when you have the time rather than making time to do it. By living your values you make a statement to yourself and others that what is important to you matters. This really nurtures the inner flame.
  3. Self care. So many people put others first. They do it so much sometimes that they wear themselves out, making themselves ill. Alternatively, people are all for themselves. They are number one and no one else gets a look in unless it serves them to think of others as well. This idea of self- care is a delicate balance. To get it right you can think of it as caring for yourself SO THAT you can care for others. If you are someone’s long- term carer, it is important that you get a chance to recuperate and rejuvenate yourself from time to time. You can’t keep giving endlessly. If you do you might become tired, frustrated and even resentful. You have to take from somewhere so that you can continue to give where you choose to give. So many people feel guilty about this, as if to say “I don’t deserve it” or “I don’t have the time”. If you continue this way you will dim your inner Light even though it is your pleasure to give and share. The Light needs fueling. Self- care recharges the battery.
  4. Mindfulness and awareness. Sticking your head in the sand and not dealing with things that are instrumental to your growth are sure ways to stifle your inner flame. However challenging these things might be to confront, it is harder to deal with them the longer you leave them and the more painful they are when you finally feel them. Unresolved emotions have a way of surfacing in a destructive and unsupportive manner. Deal with them on your terms and they can be voiced in a healthy and healing way. This takes awareness in the moment. It will take practice if you are not used to being this way. Like all new habits, it takes some time before it becomes easier. It is worth the investment. As you lighten the burden of undisclosed feelings, your Light burns brighter and makes you stronger.
  5. Reflection and Contemplation. Life can be a relentless journey. You can move from one event to another and never take the time to reflect or consider what you have learned, what could be different and how things might change. Perhaps you are so focused on what is coming up you don’t take the time to enjoy the event you’re in? You also might not think about events in the future either or how you might want your future to look. By considering these things with reference to your sense of what is right for you and where and who you want to be, you can fan the flames of your inner Light, orienting your life towards values- driven goals.
  6. Inner Council. You have so many qualities and aspects of your character that can be developed and discovered. You can learn to embrace and cultivate these innate talents, broadening and deepening your range to make you a more fulfilled and purpose- focused individual. Noticing how people you admire and respect achieve their great success can inspire you to tap into those aspects of yourself, allowing you to make those qualities your own and enjoy success in the way that is most fulfilling to you. Another way to access your inner council is to work with your archetypes. Clients on the Mindful Movement courses and VIP coaching days with me work closely with these ideas.
  7. Whatever you achieve in life, you do so with the help of others. To surround yourself with people who will support and nurture you in your endeavours is an essential part of life success. Where you might notice you lack certain qualities, there may be no need to cultivate those skills yourself. Instead, find the people that fill that space. Whilst you might need to learn new things these may not be your passions. Work to your joys and strengths. Life can be a rich tapestry and a variety of friends, colleagues and associates can serve your growth, fulfillment and purpose a tremendous amount. True friends and other people you can trust bring more flames together to create a raging fire and allow you to enjoy confidence, support and faith in the human spirit.

As we approach this season of Light, please remember to nourish this inner flame. Be aware of it for yourself. Also be aware of it for others. Be an advocate of nurturing this inner Light for all. This applies throughout the year, not just for the weeks around these festivals. The human spirit shines eternal. The more you care for yourself and others the more empowered you are and give people permission to be empowered. I believe this is the message of the Festivals of Light. An eternal and universal message that you can carry in your heart all year and apply to every moment of your life.

Over to you

How do you view Christmas, Hanukah and Diwali? How do they influence your thinking and behaviour through the year? Have you ever thought of the metaphor of the flame representing the human spirit? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

Pass it on

If you know someone who might find this article useful or interesting, please send it to them by e- mail or through social media. I’d really appreciate your spreading the word. Have a great Christmas and New Year. I look forward to connecting in 2018.

Archetypes- Sovereign

When I speak to clients about fulfilment in their lives, I often hear them say that they fell into their careers, relationships and the places they live. The skill of making the best of what we have is an important one. We can create wonderful lives for ourselves this way.

Taking control

How about creating your life? How about taking control & being proactive?

Rather than always reacting to life, how about creating your life? How about taking control and being proactive in creating the career, life style, relationships and home etc. that you desire?

We all require self rule. To control our lives as we see fit and within the larger context of a global arena. In order to be Sovereign over your life, you want to take responsibility for your place in the world and the part you play in it.  To live confidently, with purpose, well- being and a sense of balance and harmony.  You also create and follow rules that allow your life and the lives of others to flourish.

If you do not do it, others will. Then, you become a pawn in the game of life. You may feel like a victim, disempowered when you see life’s events unfold against you. And when they are for you, you may feel no sense of power that you helped to create such fortune.

The Light Touch

To feel the weight of responsibility crushes some people and inspires others. Some thrive under the pressure of making sure people are cared for, that abundance flows in other people’s lives as well as their own. Standing in the Light of this role, they embrace the need to plan, strategise and take action decisively for the greater good. To own this responsibility is to take control of your life and plan for the future you dream for yourself and bring your friends, family, colleagues and partners along for the journey.

The Unsavoury side of Control

For those that do not embrace this role in Light, there is always the dark. Weak and manipulative, the Sovereign in Shadow is a tyrant. The school bully is a classic example, picking on the weak to demonstrate his strength.  This need comes from an inner weakness that leads to over bearing control, paranoia and cruelty.

As adults this can manifest as the dictator or the destructive leader who exploits others for his own gain. He takes the glory but never the blame. Modern rulers such as Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein are well known as tyrants. Anwar Sadat and Nelson Mandela might be considered leaders of benevolence.

Sphere of Influence

The archetype of Sovereign, the King or Queen, is a daily commitment to controlling the aspects of your life that are within your sphere of influence.  Consequently, understanding what is and is not in your control is the first step in leading with calm, confidence and effectiveness. To lead and give people autonomy comes from self assurance and humility. A great leader must have these qualities. He or she controls through freedom without fear of losing control.

The Sovereign applied

In coaching, it can be the Sovereign within the coach that guides the session towards empowering the client towards finding his or her own Sovereign.  As a result, the client has autonomy. This is how it should be. A client must feel totally independent to be fully empowered. Through this process inner transformation can be evoked. This is the true power of coaching.

Every week I see clients work at taking control of their careers, relationships, health and well- being, businesses, finances, education, personal development and more. And when life throws curve balls I see them working to create outcomes that serve them and the people in their lives.

One client for example was in a long career that he felt served him less and less. Through coaching he found a much more fulfilling career path in which he makes a huge positive difference to young people’s lives. That strength and resolve to take control and create a life of meaning, purpose and beauty is the Sovereign in action.

Over to You

Where does your Sovereign show up in your life? How can this be of benefit to your life? Can you see where your Sovereign might be over controlling or not controlling enough? If you’d like to take more control and create more of the life you want for yourself, why not get in touch and we can discuss your needs?

Pass it on

If you know someone who would benefit from this article, why not pass it on? People are just waiting for the right inspiration to take that next step forward in their lives. Perhaps this blog could be that inspiration for someone you care about?

Post Script

You are a complex combination of qualities, some of which are obvious to you and many others that are not.  The archetypes are a useful tool to explain and demonstrate how to bring these qualities forth and how they manifest in your life.  There are the qualities that are supportive of your best self (the Light side).  There are those that are detrimental to your best self (the Dark Side made infamous in the Star Wars series).  In my Mindful Movement Courses I work with the archetypes to bring forth the qualities that can be supportive to realising your best self.  There are many archetypes, too many to cover in a single course.  I have chosen six: Warrior, Lover, Rebel, Magician, Jester and of course Sovereign.  I hope by writing this series of blogs, I will be able to explain their power and usefulness to you in your life.

Archetypes- Magician

Many of my clients are successful in their careers and enjoy the benefits of material wealth. In spite of attaining these perceived goals, they still feel like they are missing something. They may feel that the magic of their youth has been replaced by the practical considerations of adult life: paying the mortgage, career progression, the responsibility of child care and aging parents for example. Of course, these things are important. Yet, when they are done to the detriment of our dreams this can often lead to discontentment, disappointment and discord. When the magic of life is lost to us, we can call upon our internal Magician to find it again, bring it alive in us and create a magical life of joy and adventure.

Magician Introduced

This Magician is one of Karl Jung’s original archetypes and can manifest in us at any age. As an archetype, the Magician is a universal figure, a reluctant teacher who understands the way of the world and knows how to harness this wisdom for the good of all. You might be familiar with the Magician in popular culture as Obi Wan Kenobi (Luke Skywalker’s guide and teacher in Star Wars), Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter’s mentor) and Aslan (C.S. Lewis’ wonderful Lion Magician in the Narnia Series of books). These figures are more than teachers. Learning their ways equips us with skills to create the life we really want for ourselves at a deep level. As ever with these archetypes, they live within us all. They are not only characters in our lives.

When you were young, you may have been full of ideas about what you were going to be when you grew up. Astronauts, Fairy Godmothers, Firemen, Princesses, Journalists, adventurers and so on. This was the Magician talking to you, filling your head with dreams of what could be. How many of us actually do those things? Not many of us it must be said. There is something about that childhood innocence that makes it so straightforward, when as an adult, we understand that life is more complex than that. Social pressure to live a certain way, take a “sensible” job or career path, have a certain standard of material wealth, keeping up with the Joneses often crush the childhood dream. We cannot see how we can make a living doing our dream and still live up to the responsibilities that society and life place upon us.

Magician Ignored

It is important to realise that we take on these responsibilities, consciously or unconsciously. We also play our part in allowing the voices of society to win out over our hopes and dreams. That voice from the media, teachers, parents, politics, family, peers and society at large is so loud, it drowns out our childhood wishes. That innocent voice becomes quieter and quieter as the years progress and we lose touch with the Magician’s voice. It lies dormant, yet it’s yearning to be fulfilled is still powerful.

The voice manifests in a longing to do something different to what you are doing. It shows up in discontent, a nagging feeling (blog) that there is something more to life, if only you could work out what it is. When it gets really bad, it feels like a hole inside you, a void that cannot be filled. Some people try to fill that void with food, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, shopping and friends, yet it does not fill the gap.

Crisis starts the Search

You can spend a lifetime filling the gap rather than looking for the answer. Most return to the search for that answer due to some crisis or other: divorce, death of a friend or relative, health issues, redundancy, financial ruin, personal touches with death and so on. Neither do you need to wait that long, nor for things to get that bad. If you feel that void, that is the sign to start searching again and begin listening to that inner voice.

As a child you probably spent lots of time at play. You created whole worlds in your imagination that felt so real, you might have mistaken fantasy for reality.

How do you begin to turn it around? If you cast your mind back to your youthful fantasies, you might recall you spent lots of time at play. You created whole worlds in your imagination that felt so real, you might have mistaken fantasy for reality. Yet, in that play the Magician worked it’s wonder. You were in awe, passionate, inspired, motivated and lost in a world of imagination and creativity. That force of your mind need not disappear as you grow older. If it is alive in you, it acts as a force that continues to inspire you and continually create an exciting life journey. To remain connected to it you must give it time and energy.

Finding time and space for the Magician

Too often we are told to stop wasting our time on childish things and grow up. Magic is not only something for the young. It is for all ages. I do not mean the conjurers tricks, the “little, peddling magician who works by rules and books” (C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew, Narnia Series). Rather I am talking about the Intuition, Instinct and Insight. The real magic of life in which we have a vision and strive for it, we see life as a mystery and marvel at it and we know life to be an adventure to be lived as fully as possible.

In our hectic lives of responsibility, pressure, stress, tension and endless demands, we need to find some space to connect to that part of ourselves. I know it is hard, yet the benefits are astounding.   Time to unplug and give you the time to relax and remove the almost relentless tension you feel in your body, mind and emotions. Writing, drawing, painting, poetry, music, movement, meditation, singing, crafts, reflection and contemplation are all examples of connecting to the Magician. You get a chance to create and be free to explore your thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Over time this connection deepens and you begin to get insights into what other things you might want to explore. The journey is endless. Your potential is unlimited. If you begin this journey, it may start as a hobby. It may grow into something larger and more important to you. It may even grow into a new career path.

Support on the Journey

You may like to join a group. Art classes, music lessons, choirs, yoga groups, discussion meetings, evening classes, bands, meditation or contemplation groups. There is so much out there to join in with. Find the thing or things that really light you up inside and remove the feeling of that void that feels so painful now. Notice the contentment that begins to grow within you.   Surround yourself with like- spirits, for the journey is easier with other people who are traveling a similar road.

So, begin to find that silent sacred space to access the Magician in your life. Only by stepping away from the frantic pace of modern living, if only for 5 minutes, can we hope to hear the voice of the Magician. When we are silent we can listen to our intuition, the voice of the Magician. I am struck that “silent” and “listen” are anagrams. It is interesting that to truly listen we must be silent inside, still and calm, and then the message comes through loud and clear.

As human beings, we are so much more than our conscious mind, the part of the brain that deals with logic, lists and reason. We are also an intuitive and creative being, skills of the subconscious that get drowned out by the loud conscious mind. In its insecurity, the conscious mind or ego, creates a need to be listened to. This is only part of your full potential. To be fulfilled and at peace, we must listen to both parts of the mind. The Magician’s realm is the subconscious, the world of imagination and creativity. When fantasy becomes reality and we live our dreams, the power of peace and harmony, as well as no longer being in internal conflict, is profound.

Over to You

Do you feel that void inside? If so, do you fill it with food, alcohol, cigarettes and the like, or do you seek out the Magician? How did you start your journey to discovering the Magician? Would you like to start your journey to hearing the Magician’s voice? Did you have dreams as a child and wonder what’s happened to them? Would you be willing to go on a journey to explore what your Magician wants for you?

If so, please get in touch.  We can discuss how we can make this happen for you by working together. These first steps can be made more easily with support.  A life coach can be an ideal person to keep you accountable to the changes you commit to and the direction of growth you have decided upon.  If you think you might want to work with me through this process, you can reach me by e- mail on david@potentialitycoaching.co.uk. Please post your comments at the foot of the page. It would be good to get a conversation going about this fascinating subject.

Pass it on

If you know someone who might be struggling with this challenge, please pass this link on to them. It might make a huge difference to their life and may stop the ache and discontent they are feeling in this period of their life.

Archetypes- the Lover and Connection

Connection

Connection is a powerful force. It marks out the great speakers, leaders and teachers, for they act from a place connection. In connection they show confidence, presence and a centred strength that manifests as calm, power and passion.

The true power of connection comes from within, connecting to yourself first & so allow that connection with others. It comes from a strong sense of self, freeing you to have a deeper connection with all

Connection to what you might ask? Firstly, they connect with themselves, by means of honour, integrity and living on- purpose. From that place of self- knowledge and understanding, they are able to connect to others through empathy and compassion. By extension, they love life and the world around them and remain open to its connection in its many forms.

Once this connection is in place, the love that flows along it will manifest itself in a myriad of ways. Men and women will show it differently. What will be the same is the connection that marks the quality of the interaction. You know when you are having a conversation with someone whether they are truly paying attention. You can sense it.

Confidence

It is easy to be confident when you are guarded and never give anything away. I would call this inauthentic confidence. You hide behind a mask and never show your true feelings and vulnerability.

It is a much more challenging prospect to be vulnerable, show your imperfections, share your truth and be open to the consequences of the actions that result from that way of being. To be able to do this confidently shows an inner strength and resilience that demonstrates authentic confidence.

You may find it easier to walk through life disconnected from yourself, others and the world. It is a very different proposition to maintain the connection with yourself and the people and the world around you when you run the risk of your heart being broken and your dreams dashed.

If you are to have authentic confidence and be able to relax into yourself with peace and calm, this vulnerability is essential. The bluff and bluster of a person too fearful to make mistakes and show their true feelings cannot grow in their authentic confidence. They are not in touch with their body, mind and emotions enough to know who and what they are at a deep level. They cannot truly share themselves because they have no idea how gloriously wonderful and flawed they are. It is this connection with yourself that starts the process of connection outwards into the world and the people you share your life with.

 Connection and the archetypes: Lover

In the world of archetypes, the Lover is this aspect of connection. Regardless of gender, when we live in connection with ourselves and others, we are open to intimacy. Of course this includes sexual intimacy. It also includes deeper and more enriching relationships with almost everyone in our lives.

We can do this by opening up physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Physically, we may speak about Presence. Mentally, curiosity might involve exploration and delving into the source of something such as gratitude, compassion and appreciation. Emotionally, we keep an open heart and wish to connect with others. Spiritually, we may practice meditation, contemplation and a love of life, which might also involve a combination of all of the other three. Living your life this way in turn gives others permission to do the same.

 One- sided connection

There is a risk that this connection is outwardly directed only. This is the Lover in Shadow. You may seek this connection from others and so try to please them for their love and admiration. In this you may lose your identity. This may drive you to feel eternally restless, fragmented, depressed, flat or dead inside.   The restlessness comes from endlessly seeking connection with others without that connection with yourself, to fill that gap you feel within. Without that source of connection, you may experience low mood and vitality.

 Two- way connection

In fact, the true power comes from within, connecting to yourself first, so that you allow that connection with others. It comes from a strong sense of self, freeing you to have a deeper connection with all.

The Lover seeks this grand union with all things. I have a client who started coaching seeking to explore her potential. Over the months she has revealed an incredible desire for connection that informs her relationships with herself, her clients, children, partner, family, friends and life itself. All are blossoming in the Light of her passion for connection. She opens herself and feels incredible love flowing in and out. Through vulnerable connection she is open to this dynamic dance.

Once upon a time she was dominated by fear, closed down and unwilling to interact with people without conflict. When we met she wanted to be free of this negativity. Now at last she is breaking loose and enjoying tremendous success and joy.

Connection in action

In the Moving Meditation courses I run, we explore the Lover in the four aspects of embodiment: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. We start by connection internally which inevitably leads to external connection and an automatic, natural and organic connection happens spontaneously.

And for those of you who think the Lover is reserved purely for romantic gestures. In my experience, the Lover informs all the other archetypes I explore. Firstly, Warrior is more empathic rather than emotionally detached. Sovereign is more compassionate instead of exhibiting over baring control. Magician is more interested in universal service rather than self -serving. Jester is more insightful than simply a comic raising a laugh. Finally, Rebel is empowered by a cause for the greater good rather than to destroy for the sake of change.

Over to You

Where do you find yourself disconnecting in relationships? How does that show up in your behaviour? In what way do other people respond? How do you react when other people disconnect from you? In what way are things different when you remain connected? Where do you see the Lover showing up in your life? What areas of your life would you like to see your Lover show up more? I’d love to hear your comments and observations about the power connection has in your life.

 Pass it on

Thank you for reading. I hope you found this article useful? If you know anyone who would benefit from reading it too, please pass it on and help others delve deeper into their true potential. It will also help expand the Potentiality Coaching community.

Archetypes- the Warrior within

How can Warrior help you in areas of your life?

There is so much more to us than we realise. How can we begin to access the strengths, wisdom and talents we do not know we possess? Archetypes are a way of connecting to qualities that are within us, even though we might not know they are there.

We tend to think of ourselves as having particular strengths and skills of which we are aware. You might notice that you have particular qualities that make you good at certain tasks or jobs that lead you towards a specific career or field. For example, I followed a career in science because of my logical and rational way of thinking, I am good at following complex instructions and I have great patience to repeat things many times.

In my experience though there are depths to us that are covered, which are yet to be explored. It can have great value to examine these areas of our being. We can surprise ourselves with qualities we never dreamed we had and get results in life’s situations that are beyond our expectations. We may even live a wonderful unexpected adventure because we have uncovered once- hidden potential. In my life I have grown to become a prolific writer and have the capacity to give people space and freedom to explore themselves, which I use with coaching clients and in my charity work.

 Archetypes introduced

There are many routes to accessing these subconscious qualities and develop them consciously so that they can be cultivated. One such idea is the archetypes, originally introduced by Carl Jung and developed in a number of ways by Joseph Campbell and Caroline Myss amongst others. Jung believed that archetypes appear across all cultures and throughout time as common features of the human psyche. They embody particular qualities in both the Light and the Shadow of the mind. Do not think of them as gender specific. Archetypes are beyond stereotypes.

I find them useful because they are instantly relatable. If you think of a warrior for example, you might visualise a man in armour, holding weapons, ready for battle. Perhaps Boudica, the Iceni warrior queen, comes to mind?  You might think him courageous, principled and ready to face death. When we find ways to relate to these archetypes, we can embody them ourselves. We can take on some of these qualities, feel them and use them to make us stronger if we need courage for example. I use the archetypes in some of my Mindful Movement courses as a means to access qualities in people that they might find useful in exploring themselves, over- coming barriers to growth and creating the life they want for themselves.

 How Archetypes are used in Mindful Movement

Being introduced to archetypes is like meeting old friends, some long lost, others very familiar. Accessing them helps us get in tune to parts of our character and personality that can be very powerful when used in the right way. There are literally hundreds of archetypes if you trawl the internet. I use six that allow people to rise to the challenge of:

  • living life on purpose
  • deeper relationships
  • personal responsibility
  • managing stress and relaxation
  • greater confidence
  • resilience
  • values- based living and more.

Let’s look at these six archetypes in turn and explore how they can make you more mindful about how you behave, the choices you make and the actions you take. We will start with Warrior.

Warrior

Think of warriors in popular culture and you might conjure up King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, a Norwegian Viking, a Japanese Samurai or a Jedi Knight. Warriors are all about facing death and living life with principle and purpose. They are values- based people, here to protect what is most important to them. Warriors are about focus, courage and standing up to the plate. They possess great confidence through their long training and expertise. They prove their worth through battle in many ways. Hardship and going without (minimalism) are a way of life.

 Light and Shadow

The wise warrior understands that fighting is the last resort and that other strategies are best employed beforehand to avoid direct conflict. These great leaders stand in the Light. Conversely, the weak, masochistic or sadistic warrior acts through fear in Shadow. He will inflict pain on others or himself because he lacks the confidence and courage to stand shoulder to shoulder with others. He fears he is weak compared to them and so will act to cover his own weakness.

Warrior Embodied

The embodied feeling of the warrior is one of physical power and strength, icy focus and deep compassion or profound emotional detachment (depending on whether in the Light or the Shadow). Standing tall, in anticipation and eager to get going, Warrior’s responsibility is to protect at all costs. He takes his role very seriously. It is about win or lose and to deal with your adversary with respect and humility. To embody this, watch how the great Warriors of our modern day behave: athletes such as Mo Farrah and Jessica Ennis, leaders like Tony Robbins and Gabrielle Bernstein, politicians such as Barak Obama and Aug Sang Suu Shi.

 How does Warrior show up?

How does this manifest in your every day life? Clarifying your values, giving you focus on what is important to you so that you can priorotise is a powerful warrior trait. Dedication to life- purpose and living life on purpose is the warrior’s way. Warrior will support you in achieving skills for goal completion and ensure you adopt habits for success. The minimalist qualities of Warrior will help you declutter, simplify your life such as getting out of debt. Warrior will help you during that important interview, presentation and talk. Warrior will also support you when you need courage in challenging situations.

Be careful of less positive traits such as emotional detachment that can lead to hurtful behaviour towards others. Also, the antithesis of warrior’s can- do attitude could be taking a passive role in areas of your life so that you allow yourself to be manipulated.

Learning to embody this archetype has been invaluable to me over the years. It has given me confidence when I’ve needed it. Confrontation has not often resulted. Usually, I can see the trouble ahead and take action well before it gets to that. When I get that wrong, I know I have Warrior’s power to carry me through with confidence.  For my clients, Warrior embodies a particular energy that carries them through to completing their goals.  Playing full out to ensure total commitment can overcome obstacles that would otherwise get in the way.

 Over to You

How could Warrior help you in areas of your life? Do you recognise any of the traits listed in the blog that you relate to? Are there any areas that you could work on to strengthen your warrior that would enhance your life? Do you use Warrior in the wrong context? Where could you use Warrior more in your life? Do you think it might be better to use Warrior less? I’d love to hear your thoughts and notices in light of this blog. Please post your comments in the box below.

 Pass it on

If you think there is material in this blog that would be useful to someone you know, why not forward them the link and get them engaged in the conversation?