"You are a lazy worthless SOB! You need to smarten up and get a real job! All this stupid follow your dreams stuff is for fairies, sissies and lunatics. You are lazy, plain old lazy do you hear me?"
There he goes again, the Drill Sergeant Major. He shouts his rhetoric as he marches up and down in front of me with his baton under his arm. Buttons highly polished, shoes shined to within an inch of their lives, not a crease out of place and his hair cut to within a centimeter of non-existence. His face is red, with jaw set in his determined self-righteous way. Eyes squinting and widening as he spews forth. We will call him DSM for short. He won't like that!
There is not much that he does like. If fact his world is very small. He is a lot like Donald J Trump in his beliefs, being a first class bigot and know-all, know-nothing. He has an infallibility that is beyond measure and when faced with anything that opposes his own view of life, will dodge and weave with all the expertise of a trained soldier evading enemy bullets.
There is no point even trying to be a creative soul around this fellow. He scoffs and snorts at anything that is outside of his realm, which is most things.
It was a relief to finally meet him face to face after years of feeling sick to my stomach about following my dreams. My journey into the performing arts really spun his wheels.
When I found my spiritual mojo in 1988 he upped the ante, strutting his stuff in my psyche to the point that I ran off and hid in the closet many times for fear of reprisals.
I have had physical representations of him in my real life who have played out the DSM role to perfection. At soul level I totally get why they showed up. They were playing the part of my nemesis. I got great joy out of defying them and doing it anyway. At soul level I am grateful; my human self is not in the least bit forgiving just yet. I am working on it.
So why do I have a DSM as one of my troupe?
He is a survival archetype. When we are children we have to abide by the rules of those who have our power of attorney which are figures of authority. Family, carers, teachers, leaders.
We have to bow down to their regime in order to have the basics of life: food, shelter, clothing and safety.
For a creative soul, a daydreamer, visionary soul such as myself, I was never destined to be stuck in a nine-to-five job doing the same old stuff day in day out. I dreamed of being an actress and performer. That did not fit in at all with the DSM's in my inner circle who emphatically dissuaded me from following that path, of course to no avail.
My desire to follow my heart was greater than my fear of the DSM's and that is the key to keeping one's DSM in line.
Is my desire to do whatever is in my heart greater than my fear of it? Or is it just a possibility that I may play with for a while then leave it on the conveyor belt for someone else whose desire is greater than mine?
Every archetype has a shadow side and a light side. The shadow side tells me to get a haircut and get a job; to give up my fanciful notion of working for myself in my spiritual calling.
The light side of my DSM is like a inner life coach, albeit a very loud and OTT (over the top) one.
Instead of being a naysayer he confronts me to decide how much I really, really, really want to do what I am doing. Do I have what it takes?
How much do you want this? How much huh? Do you really have what it takes to be teaching spirituality? What the hell is that anyway? Do you know yourself? How can you teach others to truly be themselves if you are a coward and run back into the closet every time it gets a bit scary?"
I can hear some of you saying that surely there is a more gentle way of doing this and you may be right. For now though, he and I are working on finding a middle ground.
He was the one who when I wrote down what I needed to get done today told me to write beside all of the items - 'Just do it!' Those three little words written with such powerful intent spurred me to get them done. I have achieved three of the four today, this blog being one of them.
He is the one who tells me to 'show up'. To exercise my 'self-discipline' muscle. When you work for yourself with only yourself every day, it's challenging to find the impetus and motivation to do what needs to be done when there is no one overseeing your work and progress.
He is also the one who knows what to do in a crisis. I am mostly pretty good in a crisis although he, like me, is not great in earthquakes or coming across a spider.
Like all the voices in my head, DSM serves a higher purpose and is more than happy to be my ally rather than my enemy. Once in a while he gives me a smile and a pat on the back which I take as being that I have done well.
He's gone off now to rally the troops, the cast of characters that he is the self-appointed leader of.
They all huff and puff at him. Petal snorts and takes to the skies. She has no intention of being one of the gang. He is telling them that I am writing about HIM today and that he is mostly pleased with what I have told you.
He is tapping his watch and telling me that I have to get this out to the world or risk being put on report. You can thank my DSM for you receiving this blog today. I might have spent the day procrastinating.
If you are procrastinating about taking action on something, get in touch with your light sided DSM and hopefully they will tell you to - 'Just Do It!'
Signing off now until I get something 'Write From My Heart.'
Over and out.
What is a Gatekeeper you maybe asking?
My personal experience of the Gatekeeper is an archetypal guardian who stands at the threshold of your personal boundaries and vets everything and everyone that wants to enter your personal space.
They are your energetic intuitive personal PA, Manager or Chief of Staff. Their role is vital for your well-being and your safety on all levels.
Like the medieval Gatekeepers of old they call to whatever and whoever wants to enter your space to identify themselves and their intentions, "Who goes there and what do you want?" If the prospective enteree does not meet the criteria, they are sent packing, the drawbridge remains in place and the portcullis stays lowered.
For many years of my adult life I struggled with agoraphobia. To describe it briefly, it can manifest as a fear of the outdoors, public places, being in crowds. Sometimes it's so severe that it brings on panic attacks. Agoraphobia can shut you down at many levels. Mine ranged from mild to full blown panic attacks. It was so bad at one stage that I couldn't go out to my clothes line or the mailbox.
To others it seemed irrational, that I was being stupid or a drama queen. For me it was absolutely terrifying and very confusing. I didn't want to be this way, I wanted to be able to function normally. My children were young and I needed to be able to take them to school, go to sports days and on school outings. The supermarket was an ordeal.
Along with the agoraphobia I experienced medium to strong claustrophobia and when they arrived together, internal hell would break loose.
On the outside I appeared to be a confident, eloquent, full of life young woman. I was directing/producing theatrical shows and going about my life in what seemed to be a normal way. I hid it from my family and friends for fear they would think I was mad.
I knew that it had deep roots embedded in my past somewhere. When it first began, I was not on my spiritual path and had no idea about past lives or archetypes.
After my out of body experience in 1988, I started going to mediums and psychics and I met a wonderful lady who, like me, was agoraphobic.
She had employed the skills of a hypnotherapist who was helping her take small steps towards a normal life, so I signed up for sessions and they made a huge difference. They didn't cure me but they helped take the severity out of the situation and enabled me to have some power whenever I found myself in an agoraphobic situation.
It wasn't until I read Caroline Myss's book Sacred Contracts around 2009 and was charting my archetypal wheel, that I met up with the Gatekeeper part of my psyche. I had no idea that I even had one. There was no mention of the Gatekeeper in her book, but none the less I had one.
My Gatekeeper was almost running my life. To describe this to you I have to draw a mental picture of how this archetype showed itself to me.
Visualize if you will a large castle complete with moat, drawbridge, battlements, towers, courtyards, sentries, dining halls, ballrooms and lots and lots of guest rooms. Everything that any self respecting castle could have.
You would think I would be living the high life with the best bedroom in the house and access to the full grandeur of this place that was mine.
Far from it. Instead, I lived in the tiny room at the top of the small tower with just enough space for a bed, a tiny dresser, no wardrobe, no clothes, no gold or jewels and was cold and damp.
Everyone else, God knows who they all were, occupied my castle. They ate all my food, drank my wine, wore my clothes, took my horses etc. In short they ran riot in my castle and used up everything I had. When it was all gone, they moved on to the next sucker who had an unhealthy Gatekeeper issue.
I would do what I could to replenish everything with the little I had, until the next intake of uninvited guests would arrive and do the same again.
Why and how did this happen? It happened because my Gatekeeper was a 'hail fellow well met' which according to Wikipaedia is a somewhat archaic English idiom used when referring to a person whose behaviour is hearty, friendly, and congenial. I will add to the description from Cambridge Dictionaries Online - sometimes in a way that is not sincere. He would let anyone in to my castle. The sentries were less than useless. Instead of being on duty looking out for anyone approaching, they were all down in the guard house playing cards and drinking ale with women on their knees having a rollicking good time. The drawbridge was permanently down and the portcullis was up which gave access to anyone and everyone. The Gatekeeper was sitting in his room with his feet up waving to everyone who went past, inviting them to have a great time and to make use of anything they needed.
The other part of this story is that while others could wander freely into my castle and leave when they wanted, I on the other hand could not.
Whenever I tried to leave, the Gatekeeper and the Sentries, would appear from their revelry on high alert and bar my way, telling me vehemently that if I went out there, they could not keep me safe. I would surely perish and something bad would most certainly take place.
So there I was, for many years, a prisoner to my beliefs, locked up inside myself, fearful of the outside and being sucked dry by my need to save everyone else from their darkness.
I couldn't say no to anyone and was a sucker for a lame dog and the homeless, helpless people whose needs were more important than mine. Somewhere along my souls path I had developed the belief that if my needs were met then someone else had to go without.
I was outraged at my gatekeeper when I discovered what had been going on. The first thing I did was fire him and his sentries, sending them on their way. It was such a relief. I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I could begin to take control of my life.
From that moment on I decided I would be in control of whomever came through my gate. I had no need of sentries. I kicked everyone out and began the journey of being my own best friend.
The agoraphobia that had plagued me no longer ruled my life at all. I realised that I had manifested it to draw my attention to investigate the larger issue of my powerlessness and its source.
Where did this stem from? Firstly from my tribe/family.
We learn from our tribe very early on about personal boundaries.
When we arrive our tribe takes care of everything for us. They decide where we will live, what we will eat, who we will like and dislike, how our hair will be cut, what we will wear... the list goes on and on. Our survival depends upon conforming to their ways and beliefs. This happens from inside the tribe although it is very different today from when I grew up, with so many children going to daycare centres when they are weeks old, looked after by nannies or having preschool education from an early age, but our tribe are predominantly the ones who teach us about personal boundaries.
Hopefully our family/tribe have good personal boundaries and we inherit their healthy ways of looking after ourselves. However, if they are not and at an early age in order to survive, we have had to allow our personal boundaries to be breached, we will then go on to allow this to continue into our adulthood and live our lives accordingly.
My Gatekeeper had been set up to ensure my survival. That was the only way I could make sure that I was looked out for and that some of my basic needs were met. I was unaware that I needed to reset the parameters of my survival boundaries to accommodate my grown-up self. Thankfully I have now. It is never too late to redraw your boundaries or to learn what is healthy and right for you.
How proactive is your Gatekeeper?
A healthy Gatekeeper archetype will protect your boundaries, alert you to possible unhealthy situations or people and give you the option for a situation to continue or be aborted before it has a chance to take place.
In a nutshell... you are in control, aware and conscious of your personal space, your life choices and why you are making them. You will say yes and no when you mean it.
An unhealthy Gatekeeper archetype can be determined by answering the following questions.
Do you give more than you have? Do you feel used up by everyone and everything? Having trouble saying yes or no when you really need to? Is other people's time more important than yours? Do people bend your ear for hours on end while you smile sweetly, nodding in what you hope are the right places because you zoned out ages ago, but don't want to be rude? Do you put everyone else's needs first and throw yourself under the bus to maintain peace and equilibrium? Do you give your resources away, even though you really need them yourself, so that people will like you? Are you afraid to go out or take part in activities outside your home or narrow comfort zone?
If you answer yes to any of these questions then you need a Gatekeeper makeover.
Whatever job description your Gatekeeper is working under needs a lot of revision. If they are resistant to change, then it's time to get your HR division to find you a new Gatekeeper and put the old one out to pasture.
Or maybe hire one for the first time. You may not have one in place.
Whatever is playing out at your castle I suggest you check in on your Gatekeepers job description and decide whether that part of your archetypal psyche has your best interests at heart.
I am my own Gatekeeper now and I most definitely ask "Who goes there and what do you want?" before I allow anyone to come across my drawbridge and into my inner sanctum and I can go out freely with joy and without fear. It makes for a healthier, happier life and better relationships with others and most importantly with myself.
It's time to love yourself and put yourself first - you deserve it.
The drawbridge is going up now and I am having an at home this evening, I hope you are too.
Catch you next time something comes 'write from my heart.'
I know fear intimately. We have had a long association which means that my fight and flight system is a well oiled machine. During the Canterbury earthquakes it got a real work out; I still prick up my senses and react like a Meerkat when I hear a rumbling noise. I consider that is a positive thing as I may need to flee, seek protection or take action. But my unhealthy relationship with fear started at a very early age to deal with the rigours of my home life and the carnage that followed.
Fear has been a constant companion, holding me in its grip, masquerading as an invisible dark presence that would take over without warning, sabotaging so much of my life.
As I mentioned in Part 1, I have two women to thank in part for my sanity, rescuing me from the abyss of fear - Martha Beck and Caroline Myss.
They inspired me to create a set of characters which enabled me to see fear for what and who it really was. Through this process I have been able to shine a light on the darkness that so often pervaded my being.
Martha Beck, who is a Life Coach of world wide repute, writes in her book, Steering By Starlight, about our 'lizard-self' and suggests to her readers that we give our lizard-self - our fight and flight personality, a name. Thanks to Martha, I was able to put my over active imagination to good use and visualise my lizard-self.
In a previous blog, I introduced you to the Critical Critic. Here is another of the troupe, I would like you to meet Petal. She is a resplendent, iridescent, winged, fire breathing dragon. Her mantra is, "We are all going to die. The sky is falling, the sky is falling."
She looks very much like a combination of Dame Edna Everage and Patsy & Eddy (Absolutely Fabulous). She is a drama queen.
Petal was in her element during the Canterbury earthquakes and when I am a passenger in a car. Her nostrils flare and she pulls herself up to her almost fullest height, puffing and snorting; ask anyone of my family about how much they 'love' me being their passenger. But Petal is at her most resplendent when I get on board a plane.
Flying or the thought of flying before I discovered Petal, was an event that brought on severe anxiety. When on board the plane the only thing preventing me from running screaming and yelling during the flight was that there was nowhere to run to.
Poor Jon... my hubby. His hands would be squeezed within an inch of their lives especially during take off and definitely when landing.
Me... Olwynne... I love the 'thought' of travelling to other parts. I even like the 'idea' of flying. Petal however does not. That all changed a few years back, when we travelled to Australia to visit family. We boarded the plane at Christchurch Airport and the aircraft had just pulled away from the terminal when Petal turned up in full force. She had been lurking around in the background huffing and puffing about how I was putting her in danger by taking her on the plane.
The irony of this is that she flies all by herself. She has enormous wings and like Petal, I have had many amazing flying dreams throughout my life and I love them. The feeling of soaring the skies and the freedom that comes with it. She loves that too. Neither of us like someone else being in the cockpit and us not being in control.
Back to the plane. She comes into my view anxiously looking around and cocking her ear to one side then the other, "What was that? Did you hear that? OOo there was a bump."
By this time my heart is racing and my palms are sweating, but I am wise to her by now.
I stop her in her tracks and talk to her with a firm voice. I really surprise myself.
"Petal, you have to stop this. There is nothing happening here that requires your attention. We are taxing to the runway. Everyone is going about their normal business. If that changes and the cabin crew or captain tell us that we need to act, I will need you, but otherwise until that happens, go back to sleep. You are spoiling what is a great experience for me."
She looked hurt for a bit and then she nodded in acknowledgement that I was right and everything was ok. A few times throughout the flight she poked her head in to see what was happening and I would reassure her that all was well. We landed in Melbourne and I can say in all honesty that it was the first time I had ever flown and hadn't wanted to abandon ship mid-air.
Since that day I have flown to Australia by myself and it was great. She was there with me, only this time she flew alongside the plane and loved every minute of it.
Having her with me reminds me of the wonderful movie Pete's Dragon. Petal is my Eliot. Like Pete, I needed her when I was a child because there was a lot of reason to fight or flee.
But I am a big girl now, I wear big girl panties and I just needed to let Petal know that I am all grown up and can take care of myself.
We go flying together and watch each other backs. She still does the 'what was that' stuff but not as often and we laugh when she overreacts and it is nothing.
She has helped me to see that if something is going to happen there is not a lot I can do about it and what I imagined, might never happen. If I continue to live in fear, then I will miss what is happening and that would be the greatest travesty of them all.
We're off now. We have our Biggles goggles and flying helmets on. The wind is up and the sky is blue. Off into the wild blue yonder!
See you next time, when I introduce you to another of the voices in my head.
Please feel free to post your comments below. I love knowing your thoughts, insights and ideas.
The Critical Critic
Being more of myself has been the MOST challenging thing I have ever done and I chose a life full of challenges this time around.
I have received brickbats and bouquets in equal amounts and the brick bats really hurt. I am told you have to grow a thicker skin. Mine is still thin and I bruise easily, but I am not going to grow a thicker one, because that will mean that I have to be someone I am not.
The world is full of critics. I learned about the critic archetype early on in my life. Then I joined the theatre fraternity as an actor, then as a Producer, Director, Choreographer & Writer. Being critiqued is an integral part of the journey. I have also been the critic and dished out my fair share of brickbats and bouquets. Those on the receiving end were either dashed to the ground or buoyed by my comments.
The external critics are pretty easy to spot. The Inner Critic - I call her the Critical Critic - is the one who has the most to say and does the most damage. I have a pretty active one of those myself.
She is part of a troupe of archetypal characters who play out in my psyche daily, dishing out their brand of 'words of wisdom' to me through their authoritarian personalities, resulting in my feeling crushed and ready to give up, give in and run for the hills.
One of my earliest critics was my Mum. She believed she didn't receive much praise in her early life from her mother either and so she transmuted her experience on to us.
When I would tell her about how I felt or what I saw, about my dreams and fantasies, she would tell me with her tone of derision, that I had an overactive imagination, which meant that she didn't believe me and that I was being stupid.
Bless her for challenging me in that way. Her actions just made my imagination grow even bigger and brighter. It has guided me through some seriously daunting passages so far and still serves me today.
Through my overactive imagination, I began to see Critical Critic and her ensemble cast of naysayers, as characters who operated either as individuals or banded together as a team.
They took shape in my mind as larger than life characters strutting around in my psyche having their say whenever they felt like it, at their most satisfied when I gave them attention and completely justified when I gave them my power by believing what they said about me.
When I allowed this to happen on the inside, then I would manifest someone externally who would reiterate what they had been saying to me. Spooky aye. At first I would be floored, shocked and hurt and then I realised that these willing souls were just playing their part too, by delivering me the message from the outside so that I could feel it at a conscious level. What was really spooky was that it was always what one or more of my inner troupe was saying to me about myself.
What does my Critical Critic say to me? Firstly she doesn't talk to me in the first person, only in the third. She is talking about me not to me. That really pushes my buttons because it is as if she is gossiping to someone about me and running me down behind my back. I really dislike that.
This is the kind of thing she says, "She will never amount to anything. She has had so many opportunities in her life to do something with her life but she always blows it."
"She is a has been." "She has not credibility."
I can see her in my minds eye. She is average height. Average build. All around she is pretty average. Looks like your typical 50's housewife. Goes to all the right groups, clubs. Is in the clique of all the other average people in the world. She fits right in. She is not liked or disliked by anyone. Conforms to everything and everyone. Has little ambition and most certainly wouldn't step outside the norm.
If by now you Googling psychology 101 to see what kind of kook I really am, you can save your energy. I am not your average person on any level and am most certainly certifiable. But through my madness I know who and what she represents for me. Critical Critic is who I have felt I 'should' have been so that my life would be easier and supposedly happier.
But you know what; I would have really lost my mind being her and it wasn't in part of my souls journey to be her. Doesn't mean she didn't try her hardest to live through me.
That brings me to the word 'should'. Ban it from your vocabulary. It is filled with obligation, regret, conformity and blame.
Where did she come from? She is a manifestation of the era I was raised in. My parents and grandparents mantra was 'what will people think.' They all judged each other on so many levels. Women knew their place and weren't encouraged to be anything more.
I believe women born in 50's 60's & early 70's are the bridge builders for the new generation of women who are now offered mostly unlimited opportunities to live their lives however they wish. When I was at high school, my option subjects were Home Economics - that is cooking and how to run a household - for those who don't know. Clothing which was sewing. Shorthand Typing. Typing on its own. Bookkeeping and French for those who were really bright.
We were being funnelled into office work, homemaking, teaching, nursing and shop assistants.
That was until we were either married and or pregnant, preferably married first. That didn't happen for me. Then we left the workforce and became the homemaker. Women didn't have ideas above their station as my mother would remind me with regular monotony, and yet she was far from the norm herself.
So how did I deal with Critical Critic? I talk with her now and tell her that its ok to truly be her.
If she is happy being her average self that is ok, but not to try and change me to make herself feel better. She told me that she wants to be more like me! Can you believe it!
The rest of the troupe are all sitting in the corner tut tutting calling her a traitor, but we will work on them too.
I will introduce you to another one of them next time. Until then, be kind to yourself and make friends with your 'inner critic.' Doesn't mean you have to agree with them or like what they say or do, just try to see them as someone you have created to teach you something very important about your inner self.
Until next time, this is Critical Critic and me signing off. We are going to do something out of her comfort zone. That'll get the tongues wagging.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT BELOW. I LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK.
Olwynne is a Spiritual Development Teacher, certified Holistic Life Coach, , Speaker and Writer. Olwynne loves sharing her discoveries into the soul's journey through life, love, loss and the human experience. She also specialises the fields of reincarnation, past lives, life between lives, life after death, human consciousness, intuition, spirituality, health and well-being. She has studied and practised for 32 years in these fields.
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