I remember being in therapy for the first time in my mid-twenties. For a year and a half, I shared the suffering of my tendency to over-give and feel unappreciated. I shared the deep sense of shame I felt. The day is etched in my memory when I realized I was giving to get. The moment that awareness dawned, I realized my giving was often manipulative. I was the consummate dealmaker but it had been totally unconscious. I felt horrified and exhilarated. Then I felt the budding of possibility and freedom. Yet I didn’t have a framework to connect this awareness and for the most part, the status quo continued ”“ giving to get. It wasn’t until I discovered the Enneagram that all the pieces fell into place.
Call this life a roller coaster or a journey, it is filled with ups and downs, light and dark. I have been an Enneagram student for nearly 20 years now and, quite honestly, it has acted as both seat belt and ejection seat. Buddha said that fundamentally the source of suffering and harm is ignorance. When we find our Enneagram type, we often feel the pain of awareness: the pain of discovering our misperceptions and deeper motivations, and the dismantling of the conscious image we’ve held of ourselves. Yet it gives us the opportunity to suffer less as we discover both the challenges and the blessings of our character structure. We feel the possibility of change and freedom.
It would still be some years until someone gifted me Helen Palmer’s tape series on the Enneagram. When I heard her description of the Two and the interviews with people called the Giver, awareness broke like the sun on summer day. There was a reason I did what I did! There were others like me! There wasn’t something wrong with me at all! What a gift!
This is the gift of the Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition. We find ourselves listening to others, sharing our own stories, and we find ourselves in good company. We are not alone on this roller coaster. We may be surprised, at first, to also find compassion both as we listen and share. This is really, really good company.
The Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition has served me continuously since that first tape from Helen. I find myself deepening in a system that continuously evolves as I do. I’m still a Giver, and I can still get caught in the habit of amplifying others needs over my own. But now I have options. I can see it, breathe into my own body for grounding, and extend kindness from my heart to my inner experience. The lights are on more than they are off. I suffer less. I live more authentically and laugh at myself more often. I can discern the difference between true generosity and giving to get. I love more fully. It’s a great journey and I’m grateful to be a teacher in this amazing Narrative Enneagram along with fabulous cohorts dressed as students and teachers alike. We are different and we are the same. We are good company.
Why the Enneagram Intensive?
The Enneagram Intensive is being brought to your backyard for the first time in a structure that fits with your life. The Intensive is a deep dive into the system that offers a key to open doors to your inner life, your professional life, and your relationships. It allows the time to fully experience the Enneagram from all your intelligences ”“ body, heart and mind. In a nutshell, it allows you to inquire into yourself and others from a heartfelt space of Actively Aware Presence. The Intensive is also the springboard to traveling deeper within the system, giving you a rich tradition and community to continue your psychological and spiritual journey personally and/or professionally. And you’ll be in good company.