By Patricia R. Adson, PPC, Ph.D.
As a long-time student and colleague of Carol S. Pearson, it has been my mission (and my great joy) to further the application of her hero’s journey twelve archetype model to the fields of psychotherapy and coaching. To that end, I have written two books based on my experience with this model: Finding Your Own True North and Depth Coaching: Discovering Archetypes of Empowerment, Growth and Balance (both available at http://www.capt.org).
In my blogs, I will write about the ways we can apply this material to situations that arise in everyday life. I will speak to you as if I am asking you to coach yourself, and I will give you practical ways to awaken archetypal resources you already have.
When I mention the concept of the Creator and creativity, clients often claim that they are not at all creative. Many believe that creativity is reserved for artists, writers, musicians, dancers, or craftspeople—all of whom produce results of their creativity that others can see or hear. But what about the intangible results of creativity: the creation of our own lives? As Joan Erickson said, “We owe it to ourselves to always create something out of nothing. It’s a weakness to just sit around and wait for a life to come to you.” What about you? Are you waiting for life to come to you? What are you making of your life?
When I was a child I often resented being told “make yourself useful,” “do something with yourself,” or “don’t make a mess of your life.” Those messages made me feel that it was all up to me, I was doing something wrong, and no one was going to do it for me. Looking back, however, I can now appreciate the positive aspect of those admonishments. I see that I do have the power within me to create my life in ways large and small, positive and negative.
Carol Pearson defined the Creator as the “part that has the ability to open the imagination and bring forth something that never before existed.” Notice, there are two parts to that definition: imagination and action. Imagination—the ability to picture what would happen if we behaved in a different way, to invent scenarios, to dream dreams, and to generate all sorts of inventions and works of art—is one of our most precious and unique human assets. The imagination has been called the “muscle of the brain,” and as such must be used often or else it withers and loses tone. We have a responsibility to use our imagination as often as we can.
We also have a responsibility to put the imagination into action. Creating involves doing. Creating means pulling ideas, insights, and inventions out of the imagination and giving them form and action. Your Creator may or may not be capable of producing a painting, a composition, or a gourmet meal, but each of us has the creativity to shape our lives and “make something of ourselves.”
To call on your Creator:
- Think of something you would like to be different in your life. This can be something small and concrete, such as creating a private space in your home where you can work, study, or read without interruption, or something large, such as deciding what you will be doing in your personal and professional life in five, ten, or twenty years.
- Imagine what your life would look like, feel like, and sound like if this difference came about.
- Be specific. Draw or write or somehow make a representation (a collage, perhaps) that depicts the life or the change you want to create. If you prefer to write, make a list of the things you will be doing differently when you reach your goal.
- Create an action plan for the steps that you would have to take to make that change come about. What are the logical first steps?
- Decide on a realistic time frame for the completion of your creation.
- Take the actions you have decided on.
Check to make sure that you are not using your creator in ways that hamper rather than help. Do you bring up pitfalls and reasons why you can’t do something before you have even fully recognized what it is that you want? Although you need to have an awareness of pitfalls to avoid, don’t put all of your attention on the negative. Focusing on what you can’t do or don’t have is a dead end street. Focus on the result you want and allow possibilities to appear.
While I propose that you can create your own life, your Creator doesn’t always have to work alone. You can employ other people and other archetypes to help you. Do you need to call on your Destroyer to help you cut out the nonessentials? Do you need to call on friends, family, and your Warrior archetype to help you put plans into action? Let your imagination soar in every step of the creative experience.
Patricia R. Adson, PCC, Ph.D., is a psychologist, teacher, author, and coach. In addition to a private practice as psychotherapist, she was a consultant to community corrections and community mental health facilities and taught in graduate programs for St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota. She is a certified Hudson Institute Master Coach and serves on the Leadership Team and as a mentor coach and coach supervisor for the Hudson Institute of Coaching.