Follow Up Friday: The Conversation I'm Starting

by Elizabeth Newcomer in , , , , ,

Follow Up Friday is a series where I check in on the questions and issues that I introduced on Tuesday's blog.

Turns out I didn't get any comments on my last blog to follow up on today.  Michael asked me how a Four would usually respond to that.  Great question, I thought!  My default reply was that I, as a Four, would feel rejected.  However, even as I said the word rejected, I knew I wasn't.  It didn't sit right with me.  In truth, I felt fine about it.  I understood.  I certainly am not the type to leave comments on other people's blogs, hey, I don't even read other people's blogs.  Yes, I was hoping I would get some of your thoughts and ideas in the comments, but I wasn't expecting it, and I didn't have an attachment to the outcome.  That non-attachment and release of expectation helped me to not take it personally, nor feel rejected.  Fantastic! 

On Wednesday night, I was serving tables at my job, and one of our beloved customers came in towards the end of the night.  If Woody Allen and Larry David had a love child it would be Harold.  Now, Harold is very particular.  He knows what he likes and what he doesn't like.  He wants butter with his bread, not our organic olive oil, and he wants it brought to his table immediately.  He wants a healthy pour on a wine glass, not a measured-out pour.  He wants the perfect amount of digestive time in between his two courses.  If his entree comes too early, he'll send it back; if too late, he'll demand it's arrival at once.  To some of my co-workers, this is off-putting, and I can understand why.  But to me, it's refreshing.  You always know where you stand with Harold.

We began talking and he told me that he had checked out my website (this blog) that we had spoken about the last time he was in.  I perked up and said, "Great!  What did you think?"  His response was "Meh--it didn't really catch my interest."  Again, typically, I would be personally offended by his very blunt critique of writing.  But, surprisingly, I didn't feel offended.  I checked in with myself, and I felt curious.  I asked him to tell me why, to give me more details.  We got into a great discussion about what it is I'm trying to do and put out there, and how to go about doing that.  At the end of the conversation, I had some genuine pearls of wisdom from Ol' Harold, and I had some questions that I wanted to continue to ask myself.

This blog is a work-in-progress.  The Enneagram is a complex system and it's difficult to convey its depth in soundbites.  It is best discovered through conversation between types.  As, I hope to turn on people who've never heard of the Enneagram, as well as pique the interests of those who are Enneagram devotees, it will be intriguing to discover where the sweet spot lies between authentically expressing myself and resonating with the readers.   

Finally, in the middle of the night, I woke up to go to the bathroom, and I remembered the dream I was having.  There was a young man in it and he was telling me (in regards to my blog), "It didn't resonate with me, but keep going, keep going."  I captured that experience as I groggily went back to bed.  This blog may not resonate with you yet, it may sometime in the future, or it may never.  And that's okay.  But, I'm gonna keep going, keep going.

Hope you have a great weekend!  I'll be back on Tuesday, and if you feel compelled to leave a comment on this blog, I will relish in reading it!

Awake My Soul

by Elizabeth Newcomer in , , , , , , , , ,

In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
And where you invest your love, you invest your life

Awake my soul
Awake my soul
Awake my soul
For you were made to meet your maker

-Mumford and Sons

Last night, while at home visiting my parents in New Orleans, I had the immense pleasure of attending the Mumford and Sons stopover concert at Mardi Gras World with my boyfriend, my brother and sister-in-law.  It was in a wide open space with about 9,600 attendees right next to the Mississippi River.  And though it was a warm 80 degrees, the breeze coming off of the Mississippi kept us cool for dancing.  

I don't like to fight to get to the front because even though I like seeing the band mates up close and personal, I would rather have an unobstructed view and freedom to loosen my limbs.  So, Michael and I parked ourselves right on the river railings.  The sound was crystal clear.  I could hear Marcus Mumford as if he were whispering into my ear.

They played all of our favorite songs from their first two albums.  Michael and I tend to have these on repeat wherever we are, at home, in the car.  But when they got to "Awake my Soul" I jumped off my river perch, kicked off my flip flops and danced my little heart out on the cement.  (Not a pleasant dance floor texture, but I didn't care).  I was so immersed, so incredibly content, expressing myself in my crazy dance moves and singing at the top of my lungs.  

I was aware that this moment and this experience is what awakens my very soul.  Music has such a beautiful and great capacity to get right into your bones and blood stream and make you feel connected to all and glad to be alive.  Mumford and Sons music certainly does that for me.  As does being in my hometown of Proud New Orleans.  As does connecting eyes with Michael as we listen to our favorite band.

What awakens your soul?  What makes you feel the beauty of being alive?  Where are you fully aware of all the magic that life has to offer?  When are you hyper attuned with all of your senses?

As always, please leave a comment and let me know what awakens your soul.  I look forward to reading!  And tune in to Follow Up Friday where I will revisit this question of soul-awakening as it blossoms throughout the week!

Have a blessed day!

What is your Favorite Worst Feeling?

by Elizabeth Newcomer in , , , , , ,

This question was passed down to me by mom through her good friend, the late Teresa Adams. 
The other night, I lay in my bed after a long workday.  My thoughts were begging to climb to heights of new ideals for the future, were scrounging to crawl back to the past to see it with rose-colored glasses.  I caught myself.  My inner observer seemed to be especially attuned that night.  The conversation in my head went like this:
INNER OBSERVER:  Wait, wait, wait, hold on just one minute!  Instead of longing for the sacred past or the idealized future, why don’t you spend a few minutes right HERE, right NOW, giving gratitude for the day?
MY HABITUAL MIND:  Yuck!  How boring?!?  I don’t want to do that!  I want to daydream of a beautiful future, how I’m going to lose weight and have long lustrous locks, how I will wear beautiful clothes, how I am going to make a living doing something that I love.
IO:  Just try it.  See if you can say what you are grateful about today, the present moment. 
MHM:  That does not sound fun AT ALL.  I mean, I’ll try it, but I’m not happy about it.
So, I tried it. 
MHM:  I am grateful for this comfy bed that I am lying in, with these soft sheets.  I am grateful for this cool air-conditioned room.  I am grateful that I babysat two beautiful babies this morning and got to see their smiling faces and spend two hours walking through Central Park.  I am grateful that I had a busy and fun night at work at the restaurant. 
As I started naming all of what I was grateful for, I was amazed at how awesome my life is right HERE and right NOW.
IO:  Good job!  I know it doesn’t feel as fun or as juicy.  But that is because you’ve trained your mind to see what is lacking or what is missing.  It’s habitual.  So, it requires effort to shift it, but the more you practice it, the easier it will be and the more fun you will have in the present moment!
An element that distinguishes the nine different types of personality in the Enneagram system is where your focus of attention (a.k.a. your favorite worst feeling) goes.  Here they are for the nine different types:
Type One:  Right and Wrong/What needs to be improved
Type Two:  Fulfilling other’s needs
Type Three: Approval for tasks
Type Four:  Longing for what is missing
Type Five:  Detaching in order to observe
Type Six:  Worst-case scenarios
Type Seven:  Pleasant options
Type Eight:  Power and control
Type Nine:  Merging with other’s agendas

What is your favorite worst feeling?  Investigate it.  See why it’s juicy for you.  What do you do to counteract it? 
Leave your discoveries in the comments!  I look forward to reading them and engaging in the conversation with you!

Coming Home

by Elizabeth Newcomer in , , , , , ,

I spent last week, while Hurricane Sandy was tearing up my beloved New York City, at the base of the Black Mountain range in North Carolina, attending an Enneagram Intensive taught in the Narrative Tradition.  While people were coming together on the Eastern seaboard in an effort to support each other during the Natural Disaster, nearly 30 others and I were uniting in a spirit of healing and rebirth.

The Enneagram is a powerful system, a system that illuminates the dark edges of one's soul, a system that unites all differences of personality and perspective.  It is a difficult system to describe, due to its depth and complexity.  I am a new student of the Enneagram, having studied it only for the last year and a half.  However, after all of my seeking into self-help, personal growth, therapies, and spirituality practices, I have never found a teaching that is more resonant than the Enneagram. 

Simply put, it is about compassion, for oneself and for others, it is about uniting the three forces of being: heart, mind and body, it is about transformation.  In childhood, we each formed an adaptive strategy to reconcile our inner world with the outer world.  The Enneagram teaches the nine different types of personality, or adaptive strategies.

Before learning about the Enneagram, I was certain that everyone saw the world in more or less the same way.  If my friend hurt me by an action she made, I took it personally, thinking: Why would she do that to me?  If I had done that to her it would be in the spirit of malice.  What I came to discover was that everyone sees the world differently, yet everyone's perspective can be understood through the view of nine different types.

Once I learned about my type (Four- The Tragic Romantic) and the other eight types, I felt seen and understood.  I felt like I could see and understand others.  If my friend hurt me, she was not coming from the same place as I would have, had I executed the same action to her.  I could take things less personally.  I could treat myself kinder.  Before learning the Enneagram, I was constantly trying to change who I was, make myself different, make myself better.  Now I know, the path to peace comes from accepting myself, opening my heart, living inside my body, being awake to myself, others and the world.

I am so grateful to everyone I met this last week, who shared their stories, who listened, who created a safe space for us all to be vulnerable and present.  I look forward to creating this same spirit of unity and sharing my compassion now that I'm home with my friends, family, and fellow New Yorkers.