Lessons of the Ego

Reflection

“What has the face of the ego taught you? Which of its aspects are you still struggling with: fear, attachment, control, entitlement, or the need to be special?” The Second Half of Life, Angeles Arrien

Hello ego, you are obviously still my best friend.

Well, this reflection isn’t about having eradicated these aspects of myself. It is about what I have learned, isn’t it? I could probably write an entire post about each of these. But, instead I am capsulizing my thoughts.

Fear: Here I am again, a seven on the enneagram, a part of the thinking triad which experiences a great deal of fear and anxiety. Knowledge is the first step, however, and I am aware. I question my motivations when I am scurrying about – distracting myself. What am I dreading? What is it that I am avoiding and why?

Attachment: One of my highest levels of work at this time in my life is to detach in a healthy way…without distancing. Attachment to things? Well, I am losing that gradually. “Stuff” becomes so much less important to my life. It is my attachment to outcome that is my greater struggle. How to be open to the mystery (per Richard Rohr) is a lesson I am trying to learn.

Control: Well, there’s that attachment to outcome again, isn’t it? I have lived a long life as a control freak and can only say that I am stepping back from that role in baby steps.

Entitlement: This is not an easy reflection. I believe that as a white woman my entitlement is so deep as to be invisible to me. I don’t see myself with the outward manifestations of entitlement. I certainly am not demanding to the detriment of others, I don’t consider myself better than; but I am constantly scouring my thoughts regarding ingrained racism, biases against groups, belief systems, etc. Entitlement at any level can’t help but be gained at the expense of another.

Need to be special: Another trap of my enneagram type. It’s hard to see myself as ordinary. This trap grips me the tightest and holds me back in my progress. I don’t need to stand out, necessarily. It isn’t always attention that I seek. I clearly want to stand apart, however. I want to be smart, capable, stylish, well-versed…the list goes on. Okay, I know my assignment here!

The Student

*The Thinking Triad: “Types 5, 6 and 7 ….Underneath their ego defenses these types carry a great deal of fear.” The Wisdom of the Enneagram, Riso and Hudson

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The White Picket Gate

(…)The White Picket Gate requires us to look at where we have become over-identified with the roles we have played or the expertise we have developed earlier in life.
This gate reveals our changing identities and social masks. It leads us to reconsider who we think we are or are not, and rediscover the essence of who we are beyond our ambitions and our egos’ needs. Each picket of this gate symbolizes a role that we have developed. The Second Half of Life – Angeles Arrien
The Task: “The task at the White Picket Gate is to uncover or awaken to the essence of who we truly are beyond masks, roles, work, history, and associations.”
The Challenge: “…we must shift our allegiances from fear to curiosity, from attachment to letting go, from control to trust, and from entitlement to humility. “
The Gift: “It leads us to reconsider who we think we are or are not, and rediscover the essence of who we are beyond our ambitions and our egos’ needs.”
This gate is already a challenge. The particular assignments to examine and re-examine different facets of myself as I have moved through life will be a new journey for me. It’s evident in that I began this post in August of 2016 and am just returning to it.
Not that I haven’t thought about it. There have been times in my life that I saw myself as my role as a mother and wife, or as my success in work. And I believe our friends are sometimes a good reflection of who we are.  Still, contemplation has not been the perfect key to understanding. It’s time to really begin journaling about the reflections. Time to continue the adventure!
The Student

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Morning Thoughts

I always try to remember my fortunate birth and live in gratitude.

This morning I am thinking of my parents. They were spiritual in the best sense, both leaving the forms of religion behind as they opened their hearts and minds beyond the confines of organized dogma to growth and inclusion. My father was always Bible based. My mother, too, I suppose, but she was a searcher. She embraced new thought on old  concepts.

What I am especially grateful for this morning, however, is their lifelong belief in nutrition as the basis of good health. Our gardens were organic. Our table was blessed with rainbows of fresh fruits and vegetables before it was in vogue. And, they both had a hate on sugar. I didn’t see white sugar in my home. There was rich raw sugar used sparingly and honey when we needed sweetness.

What a boon!

I had my breakout years when I followed the golden arches and slurped up the frosts. But, “raise up a child…” and all that. It was easy for me to fall back into my good habits when I began to see the toll on my body.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the wonderful life lessons.

The Student

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