Monthly Archives: June 2011

It May Seem Silly, But …

How to “Reward” Yourself for Task Completion

In my blogposts yesterday, I wrote about using the Unveiling archetypes to help refine our Franklin-Covey Day Planner roles. Using our roles, in the context of a Weekly Compass, is a great way to organize tasks and priorities.

By the end of a multi-hour planning session yesterday, I had July’s tasks and priorities laid out, a full column for each of six different roles. (one of them, High Priestess, doesn’t require much “doing.”) But the total set of tasks was overwhelming!

So I’m reclaiming one of my old little psychological self-motivation tricks. It may sound silly, but: I use stickers.

That’s right, stickers.

The kind of stickers that little kids use.

I use little sparkly “stars” (multicolored, or gold) for completing each “task” on my to-do list. I use them on my task lists, so that as I complete the tasks, the total number of little, sparkly stickers mounts up, and I get motivated to get as many as possible. These are a lot more “rewarding” than simply checking off the tasks!

I use different kinds of “heart” stickers on my calendar page for each time I work out. That way, simply by glancing at my calendar page, I know whether I’ve been keeping up with my workout goals for a month, or if I’ve been distracted (or simply slacking off).

And I use “rainbows” for major achievements, such as performances or big presentations.

All this may sound juvenile. But we each have a “little kid” inside ourselves, and this “kid” can get overwhelmed by the prospect of a month of hard work. Sometimes, acknowledging that our “kid” needs a “reward” is just what it takes to get our “inner adult” motivated to carry through!

Unveiling "Archetypes" and Franklin-Covey "Roles" – A Practical Step

Personal Integration: The First Adult Life-Journey

I’ve just posted to the Unveiling blog about how I’m using the Unveiling archetypes to help myself clarify and prioritize tasks for my different roles, using the Weekly Compass in the Franklin Covey Day Planner system.

The more complex our life gets, the more it helps us to organize ourselves in terms of roles.

Just in these past two weeks, I’ve been teaching myself to connect my different roles with the various archetypes from Unveiling.

We each have six core archetypes; three male, and three female. Our masculine ones are Magician (visionary, creating “something” from “nothing”), Emperor (building structures, systems, and social order), and Hierophant (teaching and mentoring, within a well-defined and structured system). Our three female roles are Isis (also known as Empress; nurturing and caring), Hathor (perfumes, pleasure, and play – the “sweet things” of life), and High Priestess (contemplative, intuitive, insightful). We also each have two “reserve” modes; our Hestia (our hearth-and-home goddess; very comforting) and our “Green Man of the Woods” (our inner wild-man or wild-woman, who connects with nature and instinct). (For women, we may think of our “Green Man” as our “Green Woman,” or Artemis – the original goddess who “ran with the wolves.”)

These eight modes, taken together, are the eight “cylinders” of our “power car engine.” We need all eight. If we lose touch with any single one, it’s like trying to run a Corvette when not all the cylinders are firing. Dysfuction.

But operating in society, we tend to over-emphasize our Amazon (which for women is a combination of all of our masculine modes), and our Isis – leaving little or no time for Hathor or High Priestess. (No wonder we not only feel stressed, but – from time-to-time – disassociated. We’re missing at least two of our “power modes.”)

So as we use time-management and life-organization systems such as the Franklin Covey Day Planner, we can consciously factor in and identify roles that incorporate each of our core archetypal modes. Sometimes, we’ll blend two or more archetypes into a single role, but we can do this consciously and purposefully, so it will work.

Then, as we start allocating time, we can make sure that we identify Hathor-time, and factor pleasure and play into our daily lives. We can identify High Priestess time, and be certain that we step away from society, and from “digital distractions,” and commune with our inner being. We can associate simple housekeeping chores with our Hestia, and know that we’re nourishing an important part of our inner reserve by caring for our physical surround. (“Wax on, wax off.” This can be very refreshing.) And we can group our various nurturing and caring activities into our Isis mode, where we consciously choose and know how much time we spend on caring for others – and the trade-off in terms of caring for ourselves.

This gives us the basis for wisdom and discernment, two superior life-skills.

Unveiling "Archetypes" and Franklin-Covey "Roles" – A Useful Synergy and Connection

Using Your Unveiling Archetypes to Clarify and Build Your Franklin-Covey Day Planner (TM) Roles

For years, I’ve been a fan of the Franklin Covey Day Planner (FCDP) system. I’ve found it especially useful when I’ve juggled (as many of us have) multiple roles, competing priorities, and “to-do lists” that simply run off the page.

In particular, I’ve enjoyed the synergy – within the FCDP system – of using the Day Planner itself, the Monthly Priorities right after each monthly calendar page (it takes me an extra page, front and back, to list all my “priorities” and “tasks” – but at least they’re on paper, and not jamming up my mind), and the “Weekly Compass Cards.”

It’s this last tool that is particularly significant. This is because the “Weekly Compass Cards” ask us to look at each of our “roles” in life (wife, mother, team leader at work, etc.), and identify a few “most significant” tasks supporting that role for the week ahead.

Connecting our “roles” with our “priorities” and “tasks” gives us a lot of clarity and self-definition. It’s a way of creating some boundaries – and a bit of focus – for each of the roles which we inhabit.

What I’ve found particularly useful is to take this one step further.

In Unveiling, I identify six core archetypes. These are the six different “power modes” that we can – and should – access and integrate to achieve maximum personal effectiveness. In fact, identifying, knowing, and cultivating each of these distinct “modes” is the first challenge on our mature adult life-journey. Integrating these roles or modes is something that we do as a personal “capstone project” – the culmination of this stage of adult personal growth. (We generally do this sometime in our mid- to late-forties.)

Here’s where it gets interesting. Each of our archetypal roles puts us into a different state. We are in very different states when we are in our Hathor (playful, sensual, fun-loving) role, versus when we are being an Emperor (building and maintaining structures and order). In practical terms, we are in very different states when we are preparing to go out on a fun date, or for an outing with our girlfriends, than when we are doing a monthly progress report at work.

Now, these archetypal roles are not something that I’ve made up. Rather, they were identified hundreds – and possibly thousands – of years ago, by the seers and sages who developed the ancient Kabbalah, or “Tree of Life.” There is a huge mystical underpinning to the Kabbalah, which I won’t address here. Suffice to say – these different archetypes are very formally derived; they’re not picked at random. And there’s a connection between them and the Major Arcana of the Tarot (which I develop substantially in Unveiling) and also with the Jungian Psychological Types, which most of us understand via the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, or MBTI. (So if you think of yourself as an “Introvert” or an “Extrovert,” you owe that thought to the MBTI. If you understand yourself to be someone who would rather “Feel” than “Think” your way through a life situtaion, ditto.)

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Male or female, every one of us needs each of the six core archetypes. But we individually and uniquely combine these archetypes in different ways in order to fulfill our life roles.

For example, one of my evolving roles is to be a salonniere. This is a combination of three archetypes; Hathor (pleasure, for myself and others, particularly intellectual stimulation), Isis (nurturing – by bringing people together and providing a warm and convivial environment), and Magician (a “masculine” archetype – creating “magic,” or making something from nothing). Organizing Salon involves connecting with people via phone, email, and regular surface mail, as well as a host of organizational tasks. But because the focus is on a particular kind of experience, all the relevant tasks get grouped into supporting a certain role, and I can characterize that role as invoking three different archetypes.

In another role, I am strictly in one of my Amazon modes. And not just any, ordinary Amazon mode, but specifically in my Emperor mode. When we’re in our Emperor mode, we are rational, logical, and task-oriented, with a goal of building or maintaining structures and systems. These can be managing a project at work, planning all the children’s activities for the summer, organizing a church event, or as simple as balancing our checkbook or making up a grocery shopping list. The key to our Emperor role is: rational, task-focused, and project-completion focused, with an emphasis on building or maintaining structures.

This helps me put all of my “life maintenance” tasks under a single role, whether they are financial, logistic, communications, or even computer-cleanup. They all support building the “structure” of daily life.

The challenge – for each of us – is to identify our seven dominant roles. (More than that and our minds start to wobble.) Then, to figure out which of our core archetypes we are invoking in each role. Then we can do a more complete – and satisfying – job of identifying which priorities and tasks we have within each role.

A year ago, I didn’t need to use the FCDP system quite so much. To the exclusion of almost everything else, except the barest level of survival and life-maintenance, I had only one role: I was a writer. My entire life was focused on writing (and re-writing), editing (and re-editing), proofing (and you get the idea …) Unveiling.

Well, now Unveiling is done. It should be available to you within two weeks. (And you can pre-order now, through Cleo’s Closet – the ONLY way that you’ll confidently get signed, dated, and numbered copies – I think the numbering is around 130 right now, and growing fast.)

Instead of focusing on just one role (writing), I now have many roles – marketing, teaching, preparing talks, fundraising for various non-profits, organizing and hosting salon – and oh yes, research and writing. And performing. (More on that shortly.)

Transitioning from a “one-role” mindset to a “many roles” mindset is a big job. I’ve started using the FCDP in earnest once again. But to clarify my different roles, for the first time, I’ve had access to the Unveiling archetypes, and they’re helping me make more sense of which role requires what kind of energy or “modality.”

I spent last Sunday morning working through my roles-and-archetypes association. It felt a bit strange at first, but made sense after a while.

This morning, I started filling out my Weekly Compass Card for the this week, as well as the monthly Priorities and Tasks for July. Using the archetypes to help clarify what tasks go with which roles is helping a lot! (And yes, I’m using a bit of white-out as I move things around, but the mental organization is helping me to create more structure, more order, and more sense – being very Emperor about how I’ll fit some Hathor (pleasure), Isis (nurturing), and High Priestess (prayer and meditation) time into my life!

It’s Almost Here!

First Printing of Unveiling: The Inner Journey

Darlings, this is the most amazing, wonderful, and incredible thing!

I’m holding a glass of wine in one hand, and Unveiling: The Inner Journey, in my other. (And typing with a third hand, of course. Don’t we all?)

We broke out a bottle of bubbly yesterday, when it arrived. And we all had a good look; the important things are working. Such as, the text and the cover art point in the same direction. The interior text layout is gorgeous; the print is relatively large-size, there’s lots of spacing between the paragraphs and the lines; overall it is very easy on the eyes and easy to read. (That was intentional. And it’s worth making the book fatter, if it’s easier to read as a result.)

So we can all read this when we come home, tired from work, and want a good, soothing, nurturing “comfort read.”

The cover still needs a bit of a go-round. Perhaps another week to get all of this sorted out.

But fabulously, the very first “review copy” has now been printed, and it is a wonderful, lovely feeling to just open it up at random, and feel enveloped and soothed by what is inside.

As soon as I can get this to settle a bit, will post some more content to blogsite, and there’s a way that I can put a preview on CreateSpace. Will let you know when that happens!

New Dance Underway – Incorporating "Energy Work"

Level 3 Dances – Integrating Energy Patterns into Choreography

In Chapter 29 of Unveiling, “Pragmatic Esoterics,” I write about how we can learn to access, cultivate, and circulate our internal energy, or ch’i. This is something that martial artists do all the time. (Particularly true for “internal martial artists”; those who do T’ai Chi Ch’uan, or similar arts.) So far, elatively few of us do this in dance. (In Unveiling, I mention a few dancers whose work would readily inspire this kind of practice, though. I’ll post some links from the Unveiling website a bit later.)

Now, after having pulled back from both teaching and performing over these past few years, I am rebuilding my practice from the ground up. And now, all of my dances are essentially “energy work” dances.

This doesn’t mean that anyone can see a visible difference; this is largely a felt-thing. But just as those who have trained their sensitivity to energy work can detect ch’i flow in a martial artist, yogi, or ch’i kung practitioner, we should be able to detect it in a dancer. And not only detect, but observe and emulate, over time.

The piece that I’m working with right now incorporates energy-drawing movements and a basic Microcosmic Orbit (see link to Mantak Chia’s book below). I use figure-eights and other moves to access, build and compress the ch’i in my tan tien. (Geographic center point of my body.) I use shimmies to “vibrate” the energy. Other physical movements correspond to distinct “energy” movements and intentions.

This is a little complex, but not much more so than learning to play zills while dancing, or learning to dance with a veil. And it feels juicier! I’m really enjoying the sensation!