Category Archives: Paths to Progress

Lessons of the Ego


“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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Filed under Angeles Arríen, Point Seven - The Epicure, Reflections, The Enneagram, The Second Half of Life, The White Picket Gate

Something New – Part 4

“The challenge of the Silver Gate is to reconnect to our regenerative forces and stay connected to them. Many cultures of the world have traditional practices to accomplish this.” Angeles Arrien
I am intrigued by an Ancient European custom cited in this section that is still practiced in some areas of the world. The challenge is to do something never before tried each month. The custom is to do it on one’s birthdate, but I will play fast and loose with that.
* * *
It seems to me that if something has been on my calendar (moving forward month by month) for several years…it may be time. If not now, when?
And so…off to New York City for an Enneagram workshop. With fear (because I’m not sure if I know enough to even begin). With trepidation (because I am sure that of all the people attending the workshop I will be the least prepared).
With excitement (because I am attending a workshop on a study that fascinates me and has become a part of my life.).
The point is to  be doing new things that stretch me. Right?
Okay, then. I went going to New York alone for five days. That was a first.
The shuttle from the airport was a long wait so I decided to take the bus and the metro. There’s another new experience in NYC. It was a testimony to the kindness of people who helped me get off bus at the right stop in Harlem. And I was beyond grateful to the young man who carried my suitcase up the last flight of stairs from the metro.
I rented an Air B&B in an area that is familiar to me, but as I learned last month, the situation is always a bit of a crapshoot.  I could have stayed in my normal hotel but my digs were cheaper and included (I hoped) a real kitchen and room to lounge about in a homey setting. And as it turned out, it was lovely.
I went to two plays and one opera. In my blessed life I have been to many broadway plays and many live operas – but never alone. And I found that I enjoyed the productions just as much being solo, but I really missed the shared experience of discussing the high points.
And the workshop? Spectacular!
If you have the chance to study with either Russ Hudson or Tom Condon, just do it. I threw myself into it wholeheartedly and reaped wonderful rewards. I met great people who helped me on the journey of learning about myself.
Life Student

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Filed under Angeles Arríen, The Challenge, The Enneagram, The Second Half of Life, The Silver Gate

Life Pursuits

A friend expressed her confusion about how to be happy. I told her that I don’t pursue happiness. Contentment? Peace? Acceptance? Yes. Throw in joy when available and I am happy.

So then I am wondering…do I pursue any of these? I don’t think so. And still, perhaps, I call it by different names.

Well, I don’t think I can chase joy. It comes to  me unbidden. I can only open myself to the moments as they open themselves to me. I am grateful for it and  revel in joy when it comes.

And meaning in life is very important to me. Is my sorting anc culling of what is important in a day a pursuit of meaning? Or does my great pleasure in learning indicate that I am pursuing knowledge in search of some answer? When I corral my errant mind to the present moment and practic mindfulness, am I chasing after peace?

Is all of this the pursuit of happiness?

Life Student



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Filed under Self-examination