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 your wholeness. 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 as them. 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, tall. And I saw them in my proud walk, the fear behind my gaze, the expectation in my face, and the sound of my laughter. I felt like I was not alone. In some ways, I felt a higher aspect of myself emerge.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
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 the show.
In honor of springtime, and as the buds are starting to emerge and blossom into flowers, what aspects of your higher self can you reclaim? 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 emerges?
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 activity? 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 session today. Or sign up here to tune into the weekly blog and to hear about upcoming events.