The King and I

Nov 8 15:45 2008 Ken Mossman Print This Article

 I’ve recognized the importance of the king. There’s also been significant resistance on my part to “own” him. What if he’s a “bad” king – nothing more than a deadly tyrant? What if, on the other hand, he’s a divinely appointed, powerful and wise leader? I came face to face with the King. He pointed me toward the mirror and said, “Slow down and see your own royalty. Receive it and don’t apologize for it…”

I met the King the other day.

No,Guest Posting I didn't have a conversation with Elvis...

Over the past few months I've been exploring masculine archetypes and archetypal energies. I've been looking at them under a microscope, poking at them with a variety of sticks, bones and other pointy objects, even trying on enough to make Carl Jung raise an eyebrow or two.

Warrior? Nice fit. We're buddies...

Magician? Merlin ain't got nothin' on me...

Lover? Yup...

King? What... is royalty afoot? Whence cometh the king..? You lookin' at... me..?

Let me offer some background, (and some transparency, too) as I think all this turning of archetypal pages requires some context: I've recognized the importance of the king for some time. That said, there's also been significant resistance on my part to "own" him. After all, what if he's a "bad" king - nothing more than a deadly tyrant? What if, on the other hand, he's a divinely appointed, powerful and wise leader?
I have to admit, the latter was a tougher proposition for me to wrestle with. The tyrant I could handle. That's familiar, practiced territory that, I believe, any man who ever tossed a spoon off the table as a kid can access at the drop of a hat. (Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette do a wonderful job of describing the "High Chair Tyrant" in "King, Warrior, Magician, Lover..." And no, the High Chair Tyrant ain't always a three year-old...)

The integrated, healthy and self-aware king (I think we'll capitalize "King" from here on out...) struck me as a thornier issue for a number of reasons: First, the King has a clear, big-picture vision. He can see the whole landscape of his kingdom and understands that the parts integrate into the whole, even in moments when he's not exactly sure about the "how" of that integration. He has a level of trust that over time, polarities find a balancing point, so long as one particular outcome isn't pushed or forced.

Next, I don't think the King knits responsibility and heaviness automatically into the same cloth. He sees that responsibility is a birthright rather than a burden. Responsibility, shame and obligation, for instance, can't occupy the same space. The actions that result from shame and obligation may be the same as actions taken from responsibility, but they don't have any space for joy or self-expression. As I see the King, when he acts responsibly, he sees his entire kingdom in himself. He's a reflection of the whole system and knows it, which serves to guide his decision making process.

Simply put, if I do something that is injurious to any part of the system, I end up injured. On the other hand, when I care for the system, I care for myself. Likewise, when I care for myself, I care for the system.

I think that's been a tough one for me to wrap myself around, if only because it can look or feel "selfish." After all, isn't is really, really, really better to give than to receive..? Hmmmm... Don't all natural systems have ebbs and flows? Don't some kinds of trees need fire in order for their seeds to germinate? Doesn't that imply that the forest must burn in order for new growth to happen? Doesn't a giver require a receiver for giving to happen..? If there's no receiver, do we call the giver a dumper?
The King knows that he must set the pace as both receiver and giver.
Third, the King has as much patience with his "subjects" - including his family, and even more importantly, himself - as he does for the trees and the seasons. Yes, there's a whole mess of wisdom to be found out in the natural world. Lilies sprout and bloom and die on their own time frame, not mine. My son grows when he grows, regardless of whether I tell him to grow faster, slow down or hold his pace...
There's one more thing... The King knows that there's no shame in asking for help. He knows he can't fly solo and that thinking otherwise is nothing short of a delusional invitation to struggle and suffering.

What fun is that?

The King, after all, does know how to have a good time...

Interestingly enough, the King doesn't have much time or patience for grandiosity. He seems far too grounded for that sort of thing. He's awake enough to recognize that he has to take care of himself first and foremost, and he has to have his own reasons for doing what he does.

Yes, other people are important; it's having others as one's primary, blind motivation that just isn't sustainable in the long term. There has to be a raison d'etre that's closer to home than "for someone else." Paradoxical, of course, because the King does much for others and is, after all, responsible for his entire kingdom...

One of the great things about my training work is that I get lots of coaching from students. Much of the coaching I had last week was about uncovering new perspectives regarding many of my current circumstances. In examining new points of view of my work, I saw very clearly that much of what I do, well - I do it to please others. I also came to see that even when I have time in my planner for creativity and "slowing down," I still manage to fill the empty spaces with business-as-usual to-do items or busy work. In essence, I don't slow down at all.

While at one level none of this was new to me, at another level it cut deeply. I have a couple of clients who've recently taken retreats - thanks in part to challenges from yours truly to do so - and they've come back so alive, energized and crystal clear that it was actually painful to listen to them - only because hearing them struck a chord of deep longing in me that screamed "that's what you know is being offered, what you want so badly... and you won't slow down to receive it..."


In one of the perspectives I explored last week, I came face to face with the King. Unwilling to settle for anything less than the truth, he pointed me toward the mirror and said, "Slow down and see your own royalty. Receive it and don't apologize for it..."

I'm going on retreat in a couple of weeks. A day or two with just me and my journal and the natural world. No books, no video, no phone, no music, TV or any other media...

... Oh, and I'm going to bring the King along, too. We're going to slow down and listen - together...

Catch you on the flip side...

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

About Article Author

Ken Mossman
Ken Mossman

Ken Mossman PCC, CPCC, is a business and personal coach who specializes working with fathers and “creative cliff-jumpers,” men and women with creative dreams that just won’t quit. Ken's coaching style is lively, fun, challenging, full of humor and shamelessly irreverent. To contact Ken or learn more, visit:

View More Articles

Also From This Author