And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -Anais Nin
About two years ago, I was on my way to perform in a play, walking
through Central Park on route to the theatre.
At the time, I was reading Debbie Ford
’s The Dark Side of the Light Chasers
, which is about embracing all of
who you are, including the “negative” or “undesirable” aspects and reclaiming
I started to look at the
people I was passing and decided to play a game.
I would look at them and utter in my head, “I
am you and you are me.”
It started off
funny, imagining these people of different shapes and sizes as myself, and me
But then, something amazing happened.
I could see it, I saw myself in the eyes, in
the gait, in the expression of men, women, young, old, black, white, short,
And I saw them in my proud walk, the
fear behind my gaze, the expectation in my face, and the sound of my
I felt like I was not
In some ways, I felt a higher
aspect of myself emerge.
The Enneagram is a tool to help us understand others and
ourselves in our life. It brings up how we
stand in our own way and the challenges each of our personalities may
present. And it’s also about the higher
qualities of self that are available to each of us when our ego is not running
In honor of springtime, and as the buds are starting to
emerge and blossom into flowers, what aspects of your higher self can you
I’ve put together a list of the
Nine Enneagram Types
with their higher quality and virtue, followed by some
questions and suggestions where your essential self is invited to arise.
1 Perfection / Serenity
In what way is life already perfect? What is a “should” you can drop from your
expectations? Can you grant yourself a
pleasure for pleasure’s sake today? Is
there a feeling or a thought, that you don’t feel safe expressing because it is
“unacceptable?” Can you express it in a
way that wouldn’t be harmful to yourself or others? For example, can you go to a boxing gym or
can you express your “ugly” thoughts in the form of a sonnet?
2 Freedom / Humility
Can you spend some time alone today nourishing yourself and
replenishing your well? What is one need
you can ask to be met by a loved one? The next time you reach out to help
someone, can you check in with yourself beforehand and have a little conference
about what you can realistically give without depleting your own resources?
3 Hope / Honesty
Today, can you slow down and be present with one of your
tasks on your to-do list? Are you able
to do just enough and no more? Can you
identify one real feeling that arises when you slow down or cut back on your
workload? Can you feel your self-worth
through a way of being and not doing?
4 Authenticity / Equanimity (Balance)
In what area of your life, do you feel like you completely
belong? Can you catch yourself when your
attention goes towards what is missing and can you gently invite yourself back
to the present moment and notice what is real and alive in the here-and-now? Can you get into your body by going for a run
or express your creativity by making a greeting card for a loved one?
5 Omniscience / Non-attachment
Can you participate in a way today that allows for real
feelings and desires to emerge without attempting to detach from your
experience? Is there a person or an aspect
of your life that you are avoiding for fear of being intruded upon? How can reveal yourself to them while
maintaining your fullness? For fun, can
you go out in the world today and occupy a little more physical space, wear a
brighter color that might attract attention, and act as a witness to what
6 Faith / Courage
Is there a physical practice you can engage in today, like
yoga or tai chi, someplace where you can quiet your mind and sense your natural
courage in your body? Can you change
your “Yes, but…” to “Yes, and…” while moving into the unknown with the faith
that you can face it? What’s a
spontaneous activity you can engage in without assessing the consequences?
7 Work / Sobriety
Where is one commitment that you can follow through on
today? Instead of multi-tasking, can you
choose to do one thing where you can stay the course from the beginning through
the middle to the end? And when it seems
to bore you and bring up feelings that aren’t pleasurable, can you still come
back to your one task at hand? Do you
feel the satisfaction that arises from completion and follow-through?
8 Truth / Innocence
If you find yourself gearing up for a fight today, can you
let in the possibility that your “opponent’s” truth is just as valid as yours,
and instead of bulldozing them with your argument, can you open your ear to
hear them out? Can you take your inner
child out on a date today, to a park or a museum where you allow your curiosity
and innocence to emerge?
9 Love / Right Action
How can you lovingly prioritize your own agenda?
If there is a task you need to complete, can
you see it through to the end, without getting distracted by inessential
Can you put yourself on a
pedestal today, reigning as the Queen or King you are, making the rules and decisions
and asking others to fulfill your own desires, wants or needs?
Elizabeth Elkins, MFA, Certified Enneagram Consultant with
Art of the Enneagram
offers individual and group sessions
, as well as workshops
If you’re curious about how the Enneagram functions
in your life, schedule a Discover Your Type
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