I buy books the way I buy groceries. Every two weeks or so, I drop $60 and call it a night. Either way, it’s food. And it’s meant to sustain me for periods of time. Time that I spend learning how I live, work and play in a given environment. It’s a fascinating and never-ending pursuit.
Yesterday I bought a book called Archetypes by Caroline Myss, the same author who wrote Anatomy of the Spirit. And I liked that book. Might as well open the cover of this one too. I spent a few minutes reading the preface and introductions, though was hesitant about the content inside. Could this just be a book about labels? I wasn’t interested. I wasn’t interested in defining myself by a list of categories that I may or may not fit in to. It was like shrinking my soul into a size 2. And everybody knows we are so much more than skin and bones.
I was, however, interested in the organization of the human character, however this woman had perceived them to be. I was sure that I’d disagree defiantly, based on my lingering objection to the act of pinning everything down; as if it’s all figured out, settled then, case closed.
I still had a life to live. I sure wasn’t going to put myself in a box. A good book, however, that I’ll do. It always set you free.
Though I have yet to begin reading the first chapter, I did visit archetypeme.com; a website companion to the hardcover I had in my hands. Wouldn’t you know? You can take a 10-question test to determine your authentic self. So began the war of the worlds. While this tool has potential and may even prove helpful by the time I’m done reading this book, it has also set off a number of alarms and red flags. I don’t want a website to tell me who I am. I’d rather just pay attention to my daily habits, thoughts and routines to determine my psychological and behavioral thought patterns. That’s why I write and pray and exercise. What frightens me is that there are plenty of people who aren’t willing to put in the heart and soul into their own lives. They’d rather let a simple test decide their persona and perhaps even the path forward. It’s the Google effect: are we smarter because we have access to more knowledge? Or are we lazier because we don’t know how to sift through it?
Our personal decision-marking process is at risk. Do we want fact or fiction or convenience? Truth, however, is not like the cream that rises. It’s dirty work that requires lots of digging. Infinite searching. It’s how the best stories are made.
But I thought, what the heck? Let me find out what this little test says about me. I was curious to see if there were any surprises. Turns out, I’m 26% Athlete, 26% Spiritual, 28% Caregiver and 20% Other (mix of several other archetypes). What got me to raise an eyebrow was the Caregiver part. It’s not necessarily how I see myself. I’m not responsible for anybody at this particular moment: no husband, no children. Just me. Plus, I’m the baby of my immediate family so I’ve always been the one taken care of
This begs the question: to whom am I giving my care too?
If there’s anything this test proves, it’s the blindness we can have to ourselves. Sure, I’ve been a spiritual athlete for as long as I can remember. But a caregiver? Not an adjective I’ve used to describe myself. I’m not saying that the test is wrong, though I’ve already stated my distrust for it. But I am curious to explore this part of myself and give it a definition worthy in its own right. I’ll have to do some digging, but it just might help in some of the decisions I make.