Airy Fairy

When I was living in L.A., struggling to make money as an actor (money, the world's standard by which we can be tempted to judge our own value) I found a life altering book.  It was written by Carolyn Myss, who had made her name as a "medical intuitive".  She'd appeared on Oprah a few times and written a book called Spritual Anatomy: Why People Don't Heal and How They Can.  It discussed the connection between our emotional state and our physical state, and how some chronic emotions could link up with chronic physical pain.   This was something I found intriguing, but a little too airy fairy for me to get fully behind.  It wasn't until I read Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential, that I really resonated with what she had to say. 

She builds upon the work of Jung, Plato, and Joseph Campbell, exploring the concept of archetypes and the role they can play in our personal lives.  For those who aren't sure what an archetype is, it's a commonly understood and experienced pattern of behavior, as expressed through a character symbol.  They are easily found in religious texts and in myth, but are also teeming in our popular culture and our personal lives.  The queen, the divine child, the prostitute, the wounded healer...  These are archetypes.  And a prostitute isn't limited to our literal understanding of "prostitute".  It's not just the prostitute from the Bible, or from Pretty Woman.  It's anyone who compromises themselves or their word for worldly security.  The 55 year old pencil pusher who always dreamed of being a novelist and yet gave up his ambitions to live in a plush home in the right neighborhood with the accepted four door sedan?  That's the prostitute archetype in action. 

Archetypes are ways of understanding the behavior of our lives.  They are role models, examples we can learn from.  According to Myss, we all have four archetypes that we share.  They are common to all people, no matter their circumstances.  We also have a primary companion archetype which relates to our basic energy, our drive and our purpose.  All these archetypes can be used in a variety of ways. 

It was kind of a divine coincidence when I happened upon an acting teacher that really inspired me and seemed to understand everything I was going through in my life, and who's work was largely based upon finding our unique strengths as actors and personalities through the use of archetypes.  He really helped me find myself, my gifts, and to look at the things about me that I had always considered "flaws" that needed hiding, in a different light.  Those "flaws", according to Johnny, were part of my full self and needed to be shared.  Shining a light on them created intimacy with the audience and freed my true self.  Rather than try and hide something that the camera will inevitably see?  When your struggles will be apparent and the efforts will ring as false and forced.  Some of us will never be the "lumber jack".  It's not where our truth lies.  And if we struggle to be the burly lumberjack that we think others want to see in us, not only will we fail, but we will never let them see the "angel" that is our power and our reason for being.  I shouldn't have been surprised to learn that Johnny had worked with Carolyn Myss and that he used a lot of her principles as the basis for his work.

As a result of that class and Carolyn's book, I really learned how important it is to stop comparing myself to others, to stop trying to be something I wasn't and to "let my own light shine".  Cliché, but true.  It's a journey I'm still on, and am far from completing, and with lots of stumbling blocks on the way, but I do feel that every day I'm getting more and more in touch with and getting closer to expressing that divine spark as I uniquely embody it. 

Talk about "airy fairy".  But the thing is, if it's something that rings true for me, no matter how ethereal and whimsical it may seem to others, it ain't "airy fairy" to me.