Embodying Joy: Martyr vs. Empress


As we transition into the holiday season and upcoming new year, I wanted to offer some seeds of thought to help inspire your time.

The topic I’m about to share is something I’ve been working on deeply with private clients of mine, and I’ll be diving into it even deeper next year with a new offering. Consider this your VIP preview as one of my valued community members!

Imagine what it would feel like to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, to let yourself receive all of the movement in your everyday, to get your needs fulfilled, even when it feels like there’s no room or time.

If you find yourself saying in your mind right now that you don't even have time to finish reading this and you'll come back to it later... trust me on this and keep reading until the end.

If you catch yourself in the pattern of sacrificing your needs or rushing through time, chances are you’re in the zone of the martyr archetype.

Note: if you’re not familiar with archetypes, they are patterns of ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that we are for the most part unaware of. Exploring archetypes can teach you about your inner experience, and show you insights into feeling more whole. 

The martyr gives up of her life energy for things.

She may eat delicious food, but will be filled with guilt with each bite.

She may have a good drink, but not let herself really take in the aroma or how it feels to drink it.

She may keep herself so busy that she misses meals, neglects to drink water, or not have the time to go to the bathroom.

She just puts on whatever clothing she can find and does not let herself derive joy from how her outfit looks and feels.

She may give gifts, but rather than feel the joy of giving, may feel anxious that she is not giving enough.

Do any of those sound familiar?

If so, you may wonder what another way could look like.

The opposite archetype to the martyr is the empress.

The empress is an archetype that loves to take pleasure in life: from eating delicious food and good drink, to wearing clothing made of fabric she loves to feel on her skin, honoring herself in the subtle ways she nourishes herself, to appreciating all the ways she gives, having fun in the company of others, and feeling joy in her body and moving her body.

If you want to embody joy in your life and break the martyr patterns, it’s time to invoke the empress.

Here are some of my favorite ways to invoke the empress:

1. Do things you really enjoy, and eliminate sacrifice from your life as much as you can.

2. Increase your vitality with any form of movement where you are aware of yourself and what you are doing.

  • Go walking in nature and focus on each step of your feet, your breath, your surroundings so that you can experience being in the present moment. Or try dancing, cycling, skating, running, skiing, tennis, squash, swimming.

  • The aim is to bring your awareness to the present moment and open yourself up to the goodness and joy that is within you.

  • The more you can move freely and easily, the more energy will move through you.

3. Choose one thing you would like to feel more joy around, and begin to be aware of each part of your experience, the pleasure you feel in that experience, and giving thanks for the experience in the moment.

  • You may want to feel more joy around your body and joy in movement/exercise. Begin by first bringing awareness to when you move your body.

  • It may be as you’re reading this and scroll down the page with your finger feeling the lightness & fluidity of your touch & dexterity, or take a deep breath and feel the movement of your rib cage as your breath fills your lungs, and the gentle rise and fall of your chest and your belly, the release of tension as you exhale.

  • And express gratitude for the ability to do these simple yet also very complex tasks.

4. Try using these affirmations daily:

  • I take good care of myself and feel comfortable wherever I am.

  • I am enough and what I do is enough.

  • I am entitled to happiness, health and joy in my life.

What’s one action step you feel called to experiment with?

Fran Darnell