Category Archives: The Enneagram

The Beginning of Growth

P1050093In late November/early December I attended a retreat at Teotihuacan in Mexico. Although I was unfamiliar with the leaders of the retreat, I have studied Toltec Wisdom. And I was committed. My daughter-in-law had invited me to join her and I would never refuse the opportunity to be with her.

I knew that my attitude during the week could influence her enjoyment of the experience.. I must behave in a manner which would be helpful to her in this pursuit and not be an impediment. So when asked to state my intention for the retreat, I said with no hesitation, “To be open and without expectation”.

This shouldn’t have been so horribly difficult…except for my personality.
I am a seven on the enneagram. It is a part of my personality to be courageous and adventurous. At the same time, my self-preservation sub-type compels me to be very careful that my needs are met.  This means that I can take off to a new destination with a reservation for only one night – but must pack my soft pillow. I can live for a month in a house whose bathroom in the back yard and with no running water inside – but I must carry in a full supply of my favorite decaf c9ffee.
I was confident that I could take a deep breath, control any gritchiness, and enjoy the participants and leaders gathered in the B & B. And the people proved to be a delight. I found when I listened without judgment or agenda, I was treated to the very best of everyone.
The hard part was NEVER asking what was coming. I knew that if I could keep from plotting out each move in this retreat, I would have accomplished something momentous.  This may not sound difficult for those of you who don’t plan ahead, but trust me, it was huge for me.
I did not allow myself to ask the minimum of five burning questions each evening. “How long will we be gone tomorrow?” “Is there food available at the pyramids?” “Are we allowed…???” “Can we…?” “What if I…???”
Instead, each day I made the wisest possible decisions for weather and comfort and headed out in silent meditation, approaching the pyramids with my walking partner. Unguarded and open, I found myself savoring the beauty of the surroundings without worrying about my role in the retreat. I could do what was asked of me without concern of “doing it right” since I had not created criteria for what the result should be.
It was a glorious week and a glorious beginning for me. In the months since that retreat I have carried this intention with me in many situations. It is my mantra for being present and aware without being closed off in fear.
We never know from which direction our lessons are coming.
The Student

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Filed under Living our best life, Paths to Progress, Point Seven - The Epicure, World Religions

Being where I am.

Broom and flower“The further I wake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere and the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary. Light is in both the broken bottle and the diamond, and music is in both the flowing violin and the water dripping from the drainage pipe. Yes, God is under the porch as well as on top of the mountain, and joy is in both the front row and the bleachers, if we are willing to be where we are.” 
― Mark NepoThe Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have

Sometimes I wake up convinced that I need a plan. Although following my nose through my day is my great bliss, I look at my growing “to get done” list and wonder if it will ever grow shorter instead of longer. That’s when I click into linear mode. I should recognize by now that my Seven* nature under stress goes to One*. I feel the need to organize and accomplish. I worry about purpose. Am I worthwhile if I don’t prioritize? Ah, the spiral downward…Spiral

In a mindset defined by results I forget that every moment of my life is what it should be: hanging clothes or stopping to eat raspberries with the basket tucked under one arm; going to the shop to get meat from the freezer for dinner or pulling a weed from beneath the rose bush on my way there; diminishing the pile of papers on my desk or lingering over the photos of my trip to Italy.

Life is an accomplishment. Being alive to all that is around me is purpose. And gratitude is recognizing each moment as a gift from God who is everywhere.

The Student

*Points in the Enneagram




Filed under More Teachers, Point Seven - The Epicure, Quotations, The Enneagram


Buddha under the Magnolia TreeLast spring I met a man on a ship who, when we were discussing parenting, said, “If I could give my children two things, it  would be to teach them meditation and speedreading. That way they could never sleep and learn everything.”

I’ve thought about it a lot. I am a seeker of knowledge. At one time this winter I was listening to Coursera lectures on Modern Mysticism in Europe, Morality in Everyday Life , Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and the beginning of a class on Soul Beliefs. At the same time, I was trying to catch up on some old Psychology lectures from the fall.

I get what I have done to myself. I have changed my daily walks from a time of contemplation to minutes and hours filled with distraction…albeit good information. What I notice is that after years of walking without earbuds, I am a bit thrown off if I don’t have anything that entertains me. My already busy mind has taken on new dimensions.

I realize that it is my personality* to want to do it all. It is difficult for me to make priority decisions because everything is captivating. I hate missing out. F.O.M.S. (Fear of Missing Something) is my middle name.

At this time in my life my best learning is probably not from college professors. And I may not need that stack of books by my bed.  What I need is to practice what I have already learned.  I need to practice love, thoughtfulness, tolerance, compassion, empathy,

What I need is stillness. Perhaps if I learned that well, I could share it with my children.

The Student

*Couple a Gemini with an Enneagram 7 and you have a peripatetic ball of activity.


Filed under More Teachers, Point Seven - The Epicure, Self-examination, The Enneagram