My future sister-in-law, Kimberly, is a writer and a budding Enneagram Enthusiast. She asked me to write a guest post on her collective blog, Obey the Muse. Obey the Muse is a gathering place for writers, so she wanted me to focus specifically on how the Enneagram can be used to help break past creative blocks. Below is my post.
The Enneagram is a personality system that describes nine different types, or points of view, from a psychological, somatic and spiritual perspective. To learn about the Enneagram and your specific type is to engage in a process of self-discovery, which will ultimately garner greater compassion for yourself and for those around you. It is also especially helpful in uncovering your subconscious patterns, shining light on them so you have the power to choose whether or not to engage in them. Furthermore, it can be beneficial for artists and their approach to their craft.
If you know your specific strengths and weaknesses, your particular blind spots, and the subconscious object of your attention, you have more clarity about your own experience. As artists and creators, we are all seeking to express our unique experience. When you are in the dark about what inhibits or hinders you, you have no choice but to stay frozen in that which binds you.
Here are the nine different types with a brief glimpse into what their struggle might be in regards to creative blocks.
Type One is The Perfectionist. True to their name, they strive and seek perfection. Where they might get stuck creatively is in trying to hard to create perfection. As we know, creation is only perfect in its imperfection. In order for the One to get un-stuck, they need to forge ahead. Put pen to paper, paintbrush to canvas and when the image in front of you is not the same as the ideal one in your head, continue on with curiosity and compassion.
Type Two is The Helper. Their focus is so much on meeting others desires and needs that they might not prioritize their own need to create. For the Two, scheduling a specific time in the day or week to focus on their art and fulfill their own needs is extremely important.
Type Three is The Achiever. Threes are great performers and at times, they can get so caught up in impressing others, that they lose touch with their own truth. The sense of deception that comes with trying to maintain a superhuman image can block them from sharing their vulnerability through their art. When the Three allows themselves to be loved for who they are, and not what they do, they are able to express more truthfully.
Type Four is The Tragic Romantic. Fours are idealists, who are caught in the trance of desiring that which is unavailable. The following quote by C.S. Lewis sums up their point of view perfectly. “True joy lies not in the having but in the desiring. The bliss that is eternal; the delight that never fades, is only yours when what you most desire is just out of reach.” This perspective inhibits them from taking the necessary steps to make their dream a reality. It is important Fours get curious about the process of creativity and release the fear of it not living up to their ideal.
Type Five is The Observer. Thinking about doing can often replace the action of doing. So, if they have an artistic product to complete, they may spend all their time researching, planning, thinking about doing the project instead of actually doing it. Fives may need to go out of their comfort zone of living in their heads, connect to their heart to find their expression, and connect to their body to engage into action.
Type Six is The Loyal Skeptic. Sixes can avoid success for fear of being exposed to potential harm or ridicule from others. This fear of success may also hinder them from taking action. As they get close to succeeding on an artistic project, they can quickly shrink away and shift gear to something altogether different. It’s important Sixes allow themselves to feel the fear, but not be frozen by it.
Type Seven is The Enthusiast. Their zeal for life and exploring many options makes them wary of commitment. They are also most energized in the planning stage of an artistic process and shy away from the follow-through. Sobering up to the deep satisfaction that comes from committing to their creative expression will lead Sevens on the path that more closely resembles the adventure they seek.
Type Eight is The Challenger. Eights like to be in control and in charge. They may be great leaders in an artistic endeavor, but may also put the emphasis on being strong. The vulnerability Eights try to conceal is the tenderness of the artist, so by relinquishing control, they are more easily in the zone of creation.
Type Nine is The Peacemaker. Nines have a hard time knowing what they want, and they often and easily merge with other’s agendas. Furthermore, when it is necessary for Nines to prioritize their creative process, they are likely to get sidetracked by inessential tasks. The great news is that once a Nine gets started they can continue with ease, so find a way to get that ball rolling!
This was just a brief overview into the nine different types and how each personality pattern can get in the way of creative expression. If you are interested in learning more about your type or the Enneagram system as a whole, please get in touch. I look forward to helping you uncover your creative blocks and let your unique essence express!