Coming Home

I spent last week, while Hurricane Sandy was tearing up my beloved New York City, at the base of the Black Mountain range in North Carolina, attending an Enneagram Intensive taught in the Narrative Tradition.  While people were coming together on the Eastern seaboard in an effort to support each other during the Natural Disaster, nearly 30 others and I were uniting in a spirit of healing and rebirth.

The Enneagram is a powerful system, a system that illuminates the dark edges of one's soul, a system that unites all differences of personality and perspective.  It is a difficult system to describe, due to its depth and complexity.  I am a new student of the Enneagram, having studied it only for the last year and a half.  However, after all of my seeking into self-help, personal growth, therapies, and spirituality practices, I have never found a teaching that is more resonant than the Enneagram. 

Simply put, it is about compassion, for oneself and for others, it is about uniting the three forces of being: heart, mind and body, it is about transformation.  In childhood, we each formed an adaptive strategy to reconcile our inner world with the outer world.  The Enneagram teaches the nine different types of personality, or adaptive strategies.

Before learning about the Enneagram, I was certain that everyone saw the world in more or less the same way.  If my friend hurt me by an action she made, I took it personally, thinking: Why would she do that to me?  If I had done that to her it would be in the spirit of malice.  What I came to discover was that everyone sees the world differently, yet everyone's perspective can be understood through the view of nine different types.

Once I learned about my type (Four- The Tragic Romantic) and the other eight types, I felt seen and understood.  I felt like I could see and understand others.  If my friend hurt me, she was not coming from the same place as I would have, had I executed the same action to her.  I could take things less personally.  I could treat myself kinder.  Before learning the Enneagram, I was constantly trying to change who I was, make myself different, make myself better.  Now I know, the path to peace comes from accepting myself, opening my heart, living inside my body, being awake to myself, others and the world.

I am so grateful to everyone I met this last week, who shared their stories, who listened, who created a safe space for us all to be vulnerable and present.  I look forward to creating this same spirit of unity and sharing my compassion now that I'm home with my friends, family, and fellow New Yorkers.