Oprah, Brené and The Enneagram

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

I watched Dr. Brené Brown on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday this past weekend.  For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Brené Brown gave an awesome Ted talk that put her on the map about the power of vulnerability.  She has also written two books:  The Gift of Imperfection and Daring Greatly.
Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday is kind of like my church.  Spiritually, it is right on target for what I feel in my heart to be true.  But what also surprised and astounded me was how much I could connect what Brené and Oprah were talking about with the Enneagram.
In the segment, Brené was expounding upon why vulnerability is so important and how it’s the only way to achieve greater intimacy with our loved ones.  Oprah was asking her what that looked like in Brené’s own relationship with her husband.  As she described a scenario, in which case they were both teetering on the edge of a fight, she said that being vulnerable is pausing and being honest about where her mind was going.  She was making up certain “truths” in her head against her husband, putting her into an oppositional stance, that weren’t actually True.  She said her go-to postures are anger and blame.  I immediately thought of the Type 8.  Their go-to stance is very much anger and blame.  And the place they seldom venture is vulnerability. 
Brené and Oprah continued their conversation and they got on the topic of Perfectionism.  They were saying that perfectionism is like a mask, a shield of armor to protect the world from actually seeing you.  There is an inherent fear that underneath you are not good enough, so the strive towards perfectionism is really a race away from that fear of unworthiness.  This is a perfect (no pun intended) way to describe the plight of Type 1.    
The Enneagram is a psychological personality system, but equally, and almost more interesting to me is the spiritual component in the system.  Every type has a vice and a virtue.  Type 8’s Vice is lust and their Virtue is innocence.  Type 1’s Vice is anger (which usually looks more like resentment) and their Virtue is serenity.  What this means is that your strength is your greatest weakness and your weakness is your greatest strength.  They are two sides of the same coin.  In order to access the spiritual gifts of your virtue, you must go through the challenges of your vice.
Other Types Virtue and Vice:
Type 2: Humility and Pride
Type 3: Honesty and Deceit
Type 4: Equanimity and Envy
Type 5: Non-attachment and Avarice
Type 6: Courage and Fear
Type 7: Sobriety and Gluttony
Type 9: Right Action and Sloth
If you’re interested in learning more about the Enneagram’s Vice to Virtue conversion, contact me to set up an Individual Typing Session.
Thanks Brené and Oprah for giving me some awesome material this week!

Follow Up Friday: Awake My Soul

by Elizabeth Newcomer in , , , , , ,

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

Question:  What awakens your soul?

I go in and out of being present and connected to what awakens my soul.  When I have experiences like I had last Monday night, where I truly felt free to be me, connected to everything and all around me, I wanted to hold onto that feeling as long as possible.  I desired to bottle that feeling up.  Inevitably, I wasn't able to carry over that bliss in the days that succeeded the event, leaving me disappointed and damn near depressed.  I assume this is because I have been trying to hold onto the past.  This refusal to let go of the past and live in the present blinds me to what new soul-awakening experiences I could witness in the here and now.

So in thinking about what awakens my soul, it begs the antithetical question: what puts my soul to sleep?  

As a Four, my soul is asleep when my attention is on:
-Expectations as created through my fantasies and idealism 
-Seeking for what is missing
-Resistance to what is here and now
-Comparing Mind   
These are all elements of my vice: Envy.

If you are one of the other nine types, here is a brief list of where their attention goes, in addition to their vice.
One: Improving, Correcting, The Critical Mind, Anger.
Two: People-Pleasing, Suppressing your Needs, Pride.
Three: Impressing, Doing, Over-achieving, Deceit.
Five: Withholding, Detaching, Intellectualizing, Avarice.
Six: Worrying, Doubting, Over-preparing, Fear.
Seven: Plans, Fear of Limitation, Rationalization, Gluttony.
Eight: Power and Control, Asserting One's Opinions, Lust.
Nine: Numbing Out, Comfort Seeking, Inertia, Sloth.

So, logic would tell me that if these vices are putting our souls to sleep, perhaps the key to awakening our souls lies in our types' virtues?

One: Serenity- Accepting the presence of all emotions without judgment
Two: Humility- Giving and receiving freely without need for approval
Three: Hope- Grounding in possibility without the compulsion of doing
Four: Equanimity- Balancing emotions out by surrendering to the present
Five: Non-attachment- Letting go of the fear of not enough
Six: Courage- Ability to face fears while having faith in self
Seven: Sobriety- Commitment to a single course of action without diversion
Eight: Innocence- Witnessing without need to control
Nine: Right Action- Valuing worth by embracing one's separate self

Check in the next time you notice your soul is asleep.  Where is your attention?  And get curious about what wakes your soul up, was the key in your virtue?

Share in the comments below or email me.  I look forward to reading!

Have a lovely weekend!

The Comparing Mind

by Elizabeth Newcomer in , , , , , ,

As a Four on the Enneagram, my Passion or Vice is Envy.  Each type has a vice, seven of which correspond to the Seven Deadly Sins: Anger (1), Pride (2), Envy (4), Avarice (5), Gluttony (7), Lust (8) and Sloth (9) with the additions of Deceit (3) and Fear (6).  Your Passion or Vice is basically the underbelly of type, where your negative mind may go when you are not present in your life.
Envy does indeed creep up in my life.  It can take on many different forms.  For as long as I can remember, I have had a bit of a fixation on US Weekly.  Without even knowing it, I scan the pages of that magazine comparing myself with the celebrities I see in the photographs.  I see what they wear, how they look, dissect their bodies; covet their relationships or their careers.  It provides some sort of sick pleasure.  It maintains my status quo.  Providing some image, ideal, idol or goal that I strive to achieve, emulate or be helps me know where I am. 
However, this comparing mind is a dangerous place to go.  It makes me hard on myself, never being able to measure up.  It makes me focus on what I am not, what I lack, what I am missing in my life as opposed to what I am, what I have and how I am complete and whole.
I was triggered into my comparing mind yesterday.  By trade, I am an actress.  I have put in my time training for the past 13 years, completing a BFA and MFA in Acting from great Universities. And yet, I am not making my living as an actress.  I was dropped by my manager and agent in 2011 and have yet to re-sign with representation, that makes it more difficult to get auditions, and furthermore difficult to get roles and thereby make a living.
I saw an acquaintance of mine on television.  My head immediately spun into comparing myself with her, on our looks, on our level of training, on our talent.  Before I knew it, I had contracted a tight knot in my stomach.  Walking with my boyfriend, Michael, through Central Park, I was unable to see the trees before me, unable to breathe in the fresh air, unable to admire the first blue sky post-Sandy.
As Michael and I sat down in a warm cozy restaurant, I couldn’t relax my mind enough to take a deep breath and enjoy our meal.  All that was parading in my head were thoughts of how I don’t measure up, how I will never reach my dreams, how I’m a failure.  He so gently reminded me to stay present, to focus on what I do have, to honor my own path.  For the first time that morning I was able to release the briar patch that occupied my diaphragm.  I could see the blueness of his eyes, admire the smooth wood of the table, let the warm chicken chili sooth my overstressed belly.
That is my journey as a Four…to keep coming back to the Present, to breath, to see what is in front of me, to practice Gratitude for all I do have.  Because it is in that place that everything I lack lacks power.  It is in that place that I can be more loving to myself.  It is in that place that I can stay present with my loved ones.  And it is in that place where I have faith that I am exactly where I need to be, on my own path, on my own journey.