Michael on the Overleaves, Part Six
Michael channeled by Shepherd Hoodwin
November 10, 2010, BlogTalkRadio chat
Transcribed by Maggie Heinze
The seven goals may be the most influential of the overleaves, and are less
understood than they might be. More than the other overleaves (personality
traits chosen by essence prior to incarnating), goals determine how a lifetime
tends to be shaped; it is your primary motivation--what attracts you to
experiences--and therefore has a lot to do with the kinds of experiences you
have. As with the other overleaves, there are three pairs and one that is
There is a pair on the inspiration (inner) axis: the ordinal (contracted) side
is called "reevaluation"; the cardinal (expanded) side is called "growth." When
your goal is on the inspiration axis, the overall gestalt of your life is
inspirational; it is a lifetime focused on your inner world. When it is
contracted, it is a lifetime focused on the details, the miniature aspects of
We originally named this goal "retardation." A ritard in music slows it down,
which is the opposite of the cardinal goal, growth, which is about speeding up
the movement of the inner life. The slow movement in a symphony contrasts with
the other movements; it is reflective. Many people, when they hear the word
retardation, think of disability, but that was not what we intended. Someone who
suffers from a physical or mental disability may or may not have reevaluation as
his goal. This goal is the least common of the seven; its percentage among those
with disabilities is higher, but it is still not all that high.
Typically, a soul chooses reevaluation in order to digest experiences from
previous lifetimes that were much more active; it is a breather. It may involve
outward rest, but it is active internally. Someone with a goal of reevaluation
will often state her desire to lead a simple life, perhaps to get a small
cottage by the shore or in the mountains. The person may be busy, but she looks
forward to retirement, to not having so much to do outwardly. It's like having a
big meal in your stomach waiting to be digested.
With this goal, there may be reevaluation occurring in the sense of pulling up
old experiences and looking at them in a different way. However it might simply
be evaluation; in other words, she may be parsing experiences for the first time
because, before that, she was so busy that she was just having experiences,
without an opportunity to assign meaning to them. The inspiration axis is a lot
about the meaning of life. Priest and server souls particularly seek meaning in
their experiences. That's not surprising, when you consider that the inspiration
axis is about the inner world--what is felt and known, making sense of
As with the other overleaves, each of the goals has a positive and negative pole
(aspect). None of the traits we discuss are, of themselves, negative or
positive, other than the chief obstacle, which is negative because it gets in
your way if you let it. However, all the other traits are positive when used
constructively and negative when they become a distorting influence because the
ego has been blinded by fear in some way. Your overleaves are the building
blocks of your life; what you build is up to you.
The positive pole of the goal of reevaluation is "atavism" or "simplicity."
Generally, the word atavistic describes a primitive culture, but what we mean
here is that the nonessentials have been pared away, back to basics. One is
living life simply, keeping the externals as uncomplicated as possible so that
the inner process can occur. However, if all the soul wanted to do was reflect
on life experiences, it could have done that without incarnating. So, in the
positive pole, there is enough interface with the human world to keep it real.
If you reevaluate your experiences after passing over to the astral plane,
without a body, you can understand a lot of things, but you don't have a chance
to apply them. You can reflect on the big spiritual issues, but reevaluating in
your body allows you to more readily test your conclusions. Interacting with
other humans, especially, helps keep you real. With this goal, you don't need a
lot of external involvement, but you do need some; otherwise, you can drift too
much into your own world.
The negative pole is called "withdrawal"--the person refuses those reality
checks and avoids life. This could manifest as being a hermit, or mentally ill
in the sense of being in one's own world that does not bear much resemblance to
consensus reality. We are not implying that everyone with mental illness has
this goal; we are simply saying that an extreme manifestation of the negative
pole could be mental illness, particularly the kind that is highly cut off from
You may be wondering if this goal is a factor in autism; generally it is not,
although it is in some cases. Autism, like any other classification, can have a
variety of causes. With autism, often people are dealing with a physical body
that has compromises in its neurology. In such cases, the goal may not be so
much to reevaluate as to overcome a difficult challenge so that they may be able
to interact more with others. To validate the goal, look for the underlying
motivation: what is the soul trying to get out of this experience?
Many people with autism are using the conditions of modern life as an
opportunity to bring some issues forward from past lives that can now be worked
on with more help. More physical bodies survive today, because of medical
advancements, but also more are compromised. One factor is various forms of
pollution. Vaccines can be an issue, although they are safe for the majority of
children. However, if you overload any living organism with influences that it
is not well equipped to handle, it can reach a tipping point. One of the reasons
this is an interesting time to be alive on earth as a human is that you are
experimenting with a lot of new things, including new toxins in food and the
environment; for some, it is too much.
However, when the body is compromised, it is an opportunity for the soul to
bring forward unresolved issues. Today, they can be handled in a more
conscientious and caring way. Therefore, while a soul is dealing with an
autistic body (which can actually be a number of things; there is not just one
correct definition of it), it is also able to perhaps deal with a trauma from a
past life. For example, if a person was badly beaten in a past life and had a
compromised neurology as a result, now there's a chance to work it out further,
in a more nurturing environment. In such a case, though, the goal would more
likely be acceptance or even discrimination, because the issue is more about how
one fits into society. The way to validate someone with a goal of reevaluation
is to perceive whether she seeks simplicity. Not everyone who withdraws is
The opposite goal, growth, is the most common, just as reevaluation is the least
common. It is about seeking new experiences that may expand your inner world.
The positive pole is "comprehension." In growth, a person is attracted to
challenges that cause him to react in new ways, thereby activating inner
resources that may have been dormant. Learning something is more a by-product,
but comprehension implies that the person expanded his repertoire and broadened
his horizons, whereas in reevaluation, a person avoids new experiences so as to
finish up processing old ones.
In a larger sense of the word, your whole cycle of growth includes both
stimulation and reflection. At the beginning, you are stimulated, and then
everything else is about dealing with the results of that stimulation. The last
stage is reevaluation, when you put it all together before you move on to new
stimulation. However, the goal of growth refers to that specific spurt of
It is interesting that growth is so much more common than reevaluation. That
reveals that you can process a lot of growth with a relatively short period of
reevaluation. The natural balance is to spend a lot more time being stimulated,
and a relatively short but potent time making sense of it all. Some people think
that it's the other way around. An example is those who spend a lifetime in
psychotherapy reevaluating their childhood for far longer than the childhood
lasted. Most find diminishing returns with this because they may not be really
living their life--they are just analyzing it, so there is not enough new data
to keep things fresh. For some, the ritual of regular psychotherapy is useful,
especially if they don't have friends to talk to. Everyone needs to be heard and
be able to bounce things off friends. Sometimes the psychotherapist is a
friend-substitute, and that's fine, but you get more bang for your reevaluation
buck when you undertake it directly and honestly--glean the lessons, and than
get moving again.
Of course, if you have reevaluation as your main goal, that doesn't apply to
you. However, if you have chosen it as your goal, it probably indicates that you
were not very willing in the past to reflect on your life; therefore, you needed
to devote an entire lifetime to doing so. For that reason, many with this goal
still manage to stay fairly busy, even if it is less busy than what would be
normal for them as a soul.
The goal of growth does not refer only to what some might narrowly define as
spiritual growth; it is growth as a physical person. It could involve learning
about anything: foreign cultures, languages, cuisines; it could be delving into
the psyche. People in growth almost all like to be busy. They are attracted to
new experiences, and can handle being busy fairly well. A packed schedule does
not faze them as much as it might others, all things being equal.
However, it is possible to overdo anything, and the negative pole, "confusion,"
results from overdoing it. More than any other pairing of goals, it is common to
slide between growth and reevaluation, because they provide a necessary balance
to one another. If you have a goal of growth and are in the negative pole of
confusion, meaning that you have been overstimulated, you need time to reflect.
Then, it is natural to slide to the positive pole of reevaluation and simplify
for a while. Whether you are in growth or reevaluation, it is a good idea to
avoid the extremes, because the extremes will put you in your negative poles.
However, it is an extreme only if it feels like an extreme to you. Your schedule
might look extreme to someone else, but the proof of the pudding, as they say,
is in whether you feel you're handling it with a reasonable amount of comfort.
If you are in the negative pole, you will start to feel overwhelmed; it is more
stimulation than you can take in. Some of those who suffer nervous breakdowns
are people in growth who didn't know when to quit. What we call "true rest" and
"true play" are necessary to some degree for everyone in order to live a
balanced life, and especially useful when the pace of the life is accelerated.
The expression axis goals are "discrimination" and "acceptance." The original
name for discrimination was "rejection," clearly the opposite of acceptance. It
is another word that tends to bring negative things to mind; nobody likes to be
rejected, particularly romantically, and that is often the feeling reaction to
that word. However, in fact, all of life is a series of choices: many times a
day, you are either accepting or rejecting. If you scan the cereal boxes for
breakfast, you are probably not going to accept all of them; you are not going
to eat them all. Therefore, you will reject most of them in favor of the one you
The expression goals, like the expression axis itself, are about how you
navigate the world and react to others. Discrimination emphasizes the "no"
aspect of things and acceptance emphasizes the "yes," but no is meaningless
without yes, and yes is meaningless without no. If you say yes to everything,
eventually you nullify your choices because you cannot accept everything--it
becomes a big no. If you say yes to every possible thing you could do with your
time, you will end up missing most things, even if you try to do them all. If
you say no to everything, you are not making a thoughtful choice, either. It is
only what you end up accepting that shines light on your standards and what you
are trying to do, why you are rejecting other things.
So, as with reevaluation and growth, one cannot have one without the other, but
one’s lifetime is more skewed one way or the other. There is another parallel
with reevaluation and growth: discrimination is also unusual, the second least
common of the goals, and acceptance is the second most common, which illustrates
that you need a whole lot more yes than no for an effective life, but sometimes
you have to focus on no to clean up your yes.
The inspiration axis is about feeling, and the expression axis is about
thinking. Thinking conveys your feelings into the world. Discrimination
especially, reminds one of the intellectual center, because when the
intellectual center is working well, it is discriminating. Your intellect can
tell the difference between things. If you see two kinds of dogs, it is your
knowledge that lets you know what kinds you are seeing.
People with a goal of discrimination are typically trying to repair the damage
of too many lifetimes of not being able to say no. They may overdo it and say no
too much. Depending on the soul, the goal may be done subtly or with a lot of
rough edges. How a soul manifests a particular overleaf also has a lot to do
with his imprinting and the rest of the overleaves.
In the positive pole, "sophistication," a person makes well-reasoned choices. A
stereotype that is often used to illustrate the goal of discrimination is the
wine connoisseur, someone who has a high ability to evaluate the merits of a
particular wine, the pluses and minuses, and how it might go with a particular
food. The end result is a more delicious meal. However, if you have a goal of
discrimination, it is most brought to bear with things you care about, so if you
don't care about wine, you may not be all that discerning in that department. If
you don't care about clothes, you may dress carelessly, without bringing your
discernment to bear on your wardrobe. If you do care about words, you will be
discerning in your choice of them.
The opposite goal, acceptance, can, in the negative pole, "ingratiation," cause
one to be a people pleaser--trying too hard to gain the acceptance of others. A
person in discrimination cares less about the other people's opinions because
there is such focus on her own opinions. It is easier in discrimination than in
acceptance to handle being rejected from a club you want to join, for example.
However, there is no escaping the fact that human beings are social animals. You
know deep in your bones (or your genes) that if you are shunned by your
community, you could die. Therefore, if someone makes a big show of not caring
what others think, she probably does care a great deal.
Discrimination can be prickly because the need to make your own discernments and
choices can pit you against the will of others; you can be caught between a rock
and a hard place. Needless to say, there are many growth lessons in dealing with
The negative pole is "prejudice," which is not true discernment; it is going by
some predetermined rules about what to reject. Using the example of the wine
connoisseur, the sophisticated one would smell the wine and taste the food
before making a final determination. In prejudice, a lazy shortcut would be
used: "Oh, that wine could never go with that food."--no real work is done to
discriminate; it is a knee-jerk reaction, and is judgmental. It is in the
negative pole that the connoisseur is more likely to look like a snob--closed
minded and rigid. In the positive pole, he would be thought of as a good person
to ask for advice about his area of expertise. Positive poles are based in love,
so someone in the positive pole would use that energy in a way that feels good
to self and others.
About thirty percent of people have a goal of acceptance; growth accounts for
forty percent. Therefore, seventy percent have lives shaped by either growth or
acceptance. They are quite different from one another. The positive pole of
acceptance is "agape," meaning unconditional love, or simply tolerance; it is
about being open in a loving way. Someone in acceptance will likely say yes more
often than someone in discrimination. However, in the positive pole, one says
yes to those things where one can contribute. Again, it is physically impossible
for one to say yes to everything and make it stick. If you say yes and don't
mean it or can't follow through, you get into trouble.
The highest form of acceptance is accepting life on its own terms, particularly
your own life. There is also a valid desire to fit in, to be accepted in your
community. When you have this goal, you learn about how your society works and
what it takes to contribute to it in a smooth way. You want to have a harmonious
society, and you try to exemplify how to accomplish that in your own life.
The ordinal overleaves are contracted, so discrimination and reevaluation focus
more on the self, whereas growth and acceptance focus more on society. Growth
avails itself of all the world has to offer and participates in it. Acceptance
is the grease of the wheels of society, helping everyone get along, trying not
to be contentious. Therefore, people with this goal are often nice, pleasant
people, relatively easy to get along with.
In ingratiation, this is taken to an extreme, being too worried about what
others think of one. The yes is selfish, designed to avoid conflict, improve
one's status, or make up for insecurity; it is not coming from the universal
forces of love, truth, and beauty. It is not true acceptance, making peace with
what is; it is a fear of rejection, which is not the same thing. It is
brown-nosing, being too nice in a way that is not authentic.
In that situation, someone in acceptance can slide to discrimination and be more
discerning. He can start thinking about what is worth accepting, what isn't, and
why--sophistication. That can help get him back to agape, or simply being more
at peace with himself in the world.
The opposite dynamic for someone in discrimination also works: if she is being
narrow, prejudiced, and too much by the book, she can slide to acceptance and be
more open-minded and tolerant--for example, being willing to try a new wine with
a certain kind of food.
With all the overleaves, souls gravitate more to some than to others. The goal
of acceptance is on the cardinal side of the expression axis, as is the role of
sage. Since sages are about self-expression, they often like to perform or
write, and need an audience for that, so they have a natural social interface
with the community. This has an obvious correlation with the goal of acceptance.
Sages not only crave acceptance, but need it, or they can't do their job. A sage
with a goal of discrimination may handle it well, but it can also be a train
wreck. The forces of wanting to be loved conflicting with wanting to reject can
make for a difficult personality. You could also, to a lesser degree, imagine a
sage, being so naturally socially oriented, feeling a push-pull with the goal
reevaluation, although some could experience it as a much-needed respite. So it
does depend on the individual.
The two action axis goals are "submission" and "dominance." Submission is the
warrior-position goal, and dominance is the king-position goal. They are both
lives concerned with doing; they are focused in the outer world. Submission is
about doing what supports something larger: a leader, a cause, or an ideal. It
shapes a life that often involves doing things for others. People sometimes
confuse this with the role of server, which is inspirational. With servers, the
emphasis is on caring for others. That may involve doing something like cooking
a meal, but the feeling of it is caring for someone's mundane needs, the most
basic things. Submission is about doing outer things in a way that a warrior
might fight for a larger cause. The way it manifests depends a lot on the person
and the circumstances. Submission and dominance, in a minority of circumstances,
look the way that you might assume--the person in submission being submissive,
the person in dominance being dominant. However, often the overleaves are more
subtle than that, and do not adhere to obvious stereotypes.
Let's say a king soul has a goal of submission. The person will not stop being a
formidable presence, but her life will be shaped around devotion to something
outside her personality. In submission, it's not about your own agenda; it's
about learning to let go of your agenda and work with, perhaps, a leader's
agenda, a political party's agenda, or your boss's agenda. The positive pole,
"devotion," gives you the sense that you are helpful and loyal; "loyalty" is a
key warrior word. It also correlates with perseverance mode, so you persevere in
The negative pole, "subservience," is a loss of boundaries that causes you to
violate your own personal needs; your devotion did not end up being a win-win,
it was not both helpful to the cause and satisfying to you, but instead cost you
something essential to your own sanctity.
The goal of dominance has a positive pole of "leadership." Because it is a goal,
it is the outline of your life. It does not come on as strong as the role of
king, which it resonates with, because it's more about what you are doing with
your life rather than who you are. If you are also a king or warrior and have a
goal of dominance, you will have a very strong action axis quality. However, if
you are, by nature, more mild-mannered (a server or scholar, for example), and
your goal is dominance, you may not look like an obvious leader, yet you tend to
end up as a leader in spite of yourself, because that's what your life is about.
The positive pole is "leadership," but it could be leadership in quiet ways.
Let's say you're on a committee at your church; you may not say much, but if you
have a goal of dominance, other people in the committee will tend to look to you
Leadership as a positive pole is not telling others what to do; it is working
with all factions to try to get clear on what the right thing is. It is
facilitating a solution that works well in the situation. The negative pole,
"dictatorship," is more of top-down; it is being bossy and imposing a solution:
"I win-you lose." The negative pole of submission, subservience, is "I lose-you
win." In the positive poles, both win. In submission, a person has the
satisfaction of knowing that he supported something that he feels good about; he
supported it and helped it come to fruition. Leadership is not so different,
really; in dominance, one is the more obvious force in working things out, but
both are needed. You've heard the expression "too many chiefs and not enough
One way that these goals are complementary is that no one can be a good leader
who has not first learned how to follow. If you cannot accurately take good
directions, you cannot accurately give good directions. If you cannot put your
ego aside and support others as leaders, you will tend to be an egomaniac when
you lead. If you are too identified with your position, whether you are leader
or follower, and are using it to reinforce your self-image, you cannot get the
job done. Therefore, there is value in going back and forth between these two
goals. The devoted person who has turned into a doormat needs to find a quality
of leadership, the ability to take a stand. The person who has deteriorated into
dictatorship needs to think about the larger cause that is being served and find
the spirit of devotion to something outside the ego.
The neutral goal, on the assimilation axis, is called "flow." Its original name
was "stagnation." Again, that sounds like a bad thing, but a still pond that has
various things floating on it can be a beautiful example of stagnation: it's not
going anywhere, it is just being. However, to be stagnant as a personality is
generally understood as being stuck, which is the negative pole of this goal,
"inertia," as opposed to simply resting or being held up by the water. Others
have called this goal "relaxation" or "equilibrium." It is the neutral goal, but
that may seem like an oxymoron: if you have a goal, you are not neutral.
However, you could think of it as the goal of not having a goal, setting up your
life without a directed one.
There are different ways this can affect a life. We have spoken of how growth
can slide to reevaluation, and vice-versa, and so forth with the other goals.
Flow, being on the assimilation axis, can slide to any of the other goals. Some
people who have this neutral goal temporarily do various other goals throughout
life, giving them flexibility in how their life is shaped. A soul who does not
slide a great deal is having a rest life or is simply working on learning to
In the positive pole, "suspension," people in flow let themselves be carried on
the surface of the water, however it wants to move them, not passively, but not
insisting on a particular outcome too rigidly. When they flow, things tend to
work out. The highest form of this goal is surrendering to the universe, letting
the highest good dictate how you move in your life. There is ease and relaxation
The negative pole, "inertia," is the opposite, being stuck. In inertia, one has
too much weight; it is a rock that sinks to the bottom and stays in the mud
rather than a leaf that is gently moved by the current; it is overly passive. In
the positive pole, one is responsive to the subtle currents; one perceives how
they are moving and can sense what the right thing is. Sometimes the flow is
more active, and sometimes, quieter.
In flow, one seeks to find the natural order of things and feel part of the
whole, trusting that it will find your right place for you. People with this
goal tend to have a life with a little of this and a little of that. They may,
for example, have several different careers that they meander in and out of.
In the positive pole, the person is a dance partner like Ginger Rogers following
the lead of Fred Astaire, but in this case, Fred Astaire is life itself, she is
responding to its movements. In the negative pole, instead of being Ginger
Rogers, one is an inert blob, not responding.
Q. How does the goal reflect the life task?
A. The goal reveals not so much what the task itself is, but how it is executed.
If you have a goal of dominance, your life task will manifest in a more active,
kingly way. If you have a goal of acceptance, you are likely to conduct your
task in a more accommodating way. With a goal of flow, it is intended that you
do your task in a more fluid way.
Q. I've found that the negative pole of flow can manifest as a resistance to
going with the flow, which leads to a lot of turbulence, as well as excessive
passivity, which leads to stuck-in-a-rut stagnation.
A. They are the same thing.
All the assimilation axis traits can either be airborne or earthbound. This
includes the scholar role, the chief obstacle of stubbornness (obviously), the
attitude of pragmatist, and so forth. Its very neutrality dictates that
possibility. If you have more than one trait on the assimilation axis, that
tendency is increased. You want to avoid the stuck or plodding quality that the
negative pole can impart, and seek the lightness and elevation of the positive.
A ballroom dancer who is swept off her feet in the flow of a dance is not
passive, and it is not as easy as a good dancer makes it look. Effectively doing
the goal of flow is not necessarily all that easy. There are many things in life
that can trap you and make you stuck. To be life's dance partner, to be nimble
and airborne, requires work, but it is not the same kind of work as with the
other goals. Being neutral, it is active and passive at the same time; it is not
just passive. Being just passive is being stuck, and being just active here
leads to spinning your wheels, like a car stuck in the mud, exerting a lot of
effort but not going anywhere. In inertia, your life feels sticky; you're in the
mud. In the positive pole, it feels like you can breathe fresh air.
The right blend of active and passive is the perfect equilibrium of the
assimilation axis, and it is not easy to achieve, but when you have achieved it,
there is a sense of fluidity in your life. You are not making things happen, but
are a part of something larger. You are turning, and as you turn, other things
are turning as well. You fit into the whole.
Q: What would the ballroom dancing type of analogy be for growth?
A. Growth is like dominance in that it looks more like Fred Astaire than Ginger
Rogers. The lead dancer needs to make sure that he or she is doing the steps
accurately and giving the right signals to the partner. If one is moving toward
the negative pole of confusion, the best advice is to sit out the next dance--go
have a glass of water and relax. In other words, slide to the opposite,
Understanding the goals can shed a great deal of light on the human drama. It is
easy to judge people with other goals. A person in acceptance may be dismayed
that other people are not as nice as she is. A person in growth may view others
as lazy. A person in reevaluation may think that everyone else is on crack. A
discriminator may be appalled by other people's lack of refinement. In
submission, a person may wonder why others are not as willing as he is to put
forth effort to help. In dominance, a person may scoff at others' inability to
take the bull by the horns. In flow, others may seem too pushy or ambitious.
There is a good reason for the mix of goals. The negative poles create problems,
but these differences are, together, what makes the world work. If everyone had
the same goals, it would be lopsided.
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