We’re all looking for answers on how to be healthy and happy, especially at the beginning of a new year. Best-selling author Caroline Myss (“Sacred Contracts,” “Anatomy of the Spirit”) says that a good place to start is by ditching a “me-me-me” attitude and being honest with yourself.
“We have a lot of mythologies that are promoted about the American way and the American way of life,” said Myss, whose latest book, “Archetypes: Who Are You?” (Hay House), hits stores this month. “There’s a theme of perfection and entitlement that has always been promoted up until now, and it’s coming crashing down.”
Most people are conflicted because, Myss said, they are living someone else’s idea of what their life should be.
In her new book she describes the personality types and challenges of 10 archetypes, such as “The Caregiver” and “The Queen/Executive.” By being honest about our personal prototypes, Myss said we can better connect “our heads and our hearts to build our personal and spiritual power.”
Cultivating self-awareness is hard work, she added. “Truth is simple, (but) living it is not easy ... But the rewards come from connecting to your true self — to who you really are.”
Here are some of Myss’ tips for an enlightening 2013:
- Be aware of the labels you give yourself. The idea of archetypes can be intimidating. “Very few people would say, ‘I’m consciously thinking of my archetypal patterns,’” she said. “But people will say ‘I’m just a rescuer,’ and that’s an archetype. Or, ‘I’m just a nurturer, that’s what I do.’ When you discover your archetype, it’s like being introduced to yourself at a very deep soul level.”
- Strive for balance. “If your life goes to one extreme, it will swing the other way,” she said. “If you run and you get exhausted, the next day you are going to collapse — nature seeks balance. So if that’s the case, you need to look at the way in which you make decisions. If I overspend, I will go into debt. I need balance in sleep, in relationships.”
Myss uses dieting as an example. “It’s not important if someone looks and says, ‘I’ve got to lose weight.’ That’s the caboose in the train of your life. You have to understand the principles governing your life. If I find myself eating too much — I know I will replace that with an abundance of self-hatred, and that serves nothing. So I need to strive for balance. It’s not about food. It’s about balance.”
- Ditch affirmations. The emphasis on affirmations (reciting what you want) and vision boards (which display images of things you want or aspire to) is “complete nonsense,” she said. “This is one of the reasons why the holistic health movement has really not worked ... If you want energy medicine to work, you have to put energy into it: You have to get up and walk. You have to take action. There’s a passivity and narcissism that goes along with this psyche that so many people have (so) they will not have to do that work themselves. I can’t tell you how appalling I think it all is.”
- Spiritual seekers aren’t immune to chaos. “Nobody is above having tragedy strike, or getting cancer, or losing a job,” Myss said. “Just because you are on a spiritual path, that doesn’t mean you’re special. You’re not special. People might think if bad things happen to them, that they aren’t on the right path, (but) since when do you know what’s best for you? Everything in life is a learning experience — the good, the bad. Everything.”
- Be in the world. “The modern mystic doesn’t retire to a mountaintop,” Myss said. “It’s a lot easier to sit in solitude than it is to deal in. You have to get out there and be in the world and be open to whatever is happening to you.”