Are you encountering the strangeness of your inner landscape? We name the familiar patterns so that we can take the roads less traveled into the fields and groves and coastlines in our inner world. Get down off the super highways, the paved streets, perhaps even the worn footpaths, to trample and trip through the strange territory, the places you don’t know yet, the places that make adventuring an actual adventure. You’ll be humbled and in awe when you stumble onto new parts of yourself. .
Imagine what it would be like to just happen upon the Grand Canyon, knowing nothing of it previously. Your world would change. That can happen—it does happen, when we are welcomed by the untraversed, undiscussed, uncharted places inside us, and find the courage to stay into the strange, strange lands for a while. .
And really, what is life if we don’t? Do you really want that much control? You might find scarier than hell things in the strange lands. But you’ll find the wild beauty too. And awe teaches us more than we can intend to learn.
Don’t treat the enneagram map like a maze, constantly tracing your way through it like you will, by virtue of having figured it out, get out the other side and be done.
That effort will only deepen the dissociation from the territory. You’ll start looking for the most correct, kind, efficient, creative, knowledgeable, secure, exciting, powerful, or least-resistant way through.
There is hope from within the journey, difficulties and graces we must go through. We don’t have to get outside ourselves, because these selves and their particularity and persistence through time are a gift we’ve been given. It is only within your body you’ll receive this grace.
Who stands with you, right where you are, as a witness to hope amidst the struggle? The enneagram can name that struggle, but it can’t hold itself with hope. And sometimes you can’t either. Who stands with you? Who do you stand with?
Who helps you remember this isn’t a maze, but an unfolding?
I’m still working my way through John Macquarrie’s, In Search of Humanity. I find that this view of freedom corresponds well with what we are doing when we engage the enneagram. Often I use the term “freedom work” to describe it—but freedom has inherent tensions as we experience it human-ly: “There must always be a tension between human freedom and all the sheerly given factors that belong equally to human existence but stand in the way of freedom. Human beings are called to freedom, summoned to go beyond whatever condition they find themselves in to a fuller mode of personal and social being. But the factical conditions of life are always threatening this freedom, and sometimes it appears to be cut down to extinction.... In spite of the tensions and in spite of the threats of disruption, freedom, we believe, is worth maintaining and increasing. It is so because it is essential to the human adventure. Where freedom has disappeared, humanity has disappeared, and the human being without freedom has been reduced to a member of a herd or a machine or a plant or a stone or some other object whose nature is wholly given...But the invitation to embark on this adventure is fraught with danger and anxiety, and this explains why in every society so many people prefer security to freedom and unconsciously yearn for a return to the untroubled irresponsibility of the womb.” -John Macquarrie, “Freedom” from In Search For Humanity
We’ve been on a mini-break. Both of us battling a bit of ‘brain fog’. Up until about a few years ago I had a razor sharp memory. Like it or love it everything I saw, felt or experienced became imbedded in the mind 😬. And the truth is often validation came with this unique ability. It was a way for me to differentiate myself. I was a master at memory games and word search games 🤔. Enter in brain fog. The experience with it showing up right around the time I was inviting love to enter into my body in the form of radiation.
I went inward as a way to integrate my healing around the big ‘C’ word.
It’s from there that I began to co-create something called a WHOLENESS PRACTICE tm and my soul began to come into alignment with my body .. taking back the real estate from the ever resistant mind. And my mind fought back. FULL stop. Throwing an abundance of fear and abandonment my way as a means to hang onto the real estate that I had so willingly given over to it many years ago.
Enter in brain fog and the FEAR saying ... oh oh is this the onset of something more physical? Could it be early Alzheimer’s or dementia even? Enter in my search to understand the physical symptom ... increasing vitamin intake. A visit to the oncologist ... stepping away from my own ‘walk the talk’ and allowing the mind to dominate.
These mini-breaks offer up an opportunity to come back into alignment and so time spent in nature, hiking, checking in with my guides and spending time with Steve opens doors to information that my mind was not allowing me to access.
And there it was ... the message that my soul and body are coming into alignment .. the brain wired a certain way for years and here it is now in ‘liminal space’ - the period of time when it too is going through metamorphosis - like a caterpillar to a butterfly.
In this metamorphosis it is rewiring itself to this new way of being and here I was trying to force it’s hand rather than allow it to process through. In that moment ... in this realization ... there is healing.
It is that simple.
Take heart! We ALL have to do the work to come to the most vulnerable parts of ourselves. Because we are all CRAZY and we all live with some deeply held UNTRUTH. But there is truth and there is light, and I’m thankful for my Christian faith tradition that keeps me in hope for us all, reminding me that even the most torn apart and frightening things can be put back together and healed. Most of the time it’s pretty hard to remember that because...seriously we are so crazy. Happy (almost) Easter.
“Orientation has two aspects; there are two ways we can fail to have it. I can be ignorant of the lie is the land around me—not know the important locations which make it up or how they relate to each other. This ignorance could be cured by a good map. But then I can be lost in another way if I don’t know how to place myself on this map. If I am a traveler from abroad and I ask where Mount Tremblant is, you don’t help me by taking me blindfolded up in a plane, then ripping off the blindfold and shouting, “there it is!” as we fly over the wooded hill. I know now (if I trust you) that I’m at Mount Tremblant. But in a meaningful sense, I still don’t know where I am because I can’t place Tremblant in relation to other places in the known world.” -Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
I took this photo today on a superbly glorious run (not a string of words I ever imagined putting together). And the passage is from what has already shown itself to be a deeply timely and true philosophical text. I recommend it if you’ve got 500 pages worth of free time! #gradschool
Today’s installment of #theyrebothgood brought to you by:
STRENGTH + WEAKNESS
The reality is, you can only do what you can do—and depending on what we are talking about, that might be a lot, and it might only be a tiny little bit. You are human, vulnerable just like the rest of us, in need of the upholding hand of Love. But also, you can experience and do quite a bit on your own, even while laboring under the illusion of separateness.
The question at the heart of these two words is: How can I participate in the human narrative, my narrative? How do I hold the truth of my/our power and my/our vulnerability at once?
Many people get to the end of their lives having not contended with their own weakness. Perhaps this is why, in Christian scriptures, we hear the consistent message that the vulnerable are “blessed.” Do those who have suffered and felt their own vulnerability know a truth about reality that is hidden from those who try to hide in their own strength?
But, on the other side of this, collapsing into our own weakness or turning a blind eye to exploited vulnerabilities in others is not the way either. Still others get to the end of their life wishing they’d used their immense energy to move towards their own and other’s good.
Strength and weakness are both truths and this is why we need to hold them together. Either can be used to manipulate; either can be used to harm. But, more excitingly, either can be used to bind us to Truth and to one another, helping us participate in the unfolding story with discernment and love #theyrebothgood 💪🏼🙏🏼 ...📸 by @kristynemmerwhitaker who braved the #beastfromtheeast to document the power of the North Sea.
My dear friends know that there is nothing I enjoy more than connecting my worlds. Today my academic theology/philosophy world met my contemplative enneagram world. Thanks to all who came and were so attentive! It’s always such an enjoyable process for me to create workshops with different time constraints and cultural considerations. But, also so fun to realize, time and time again, that people are people are people. And we can be so predictable, and also so surprising—and there is no end to how anomalies abound when we are partnering with the Spirit. ❤️ Thanks for the 📸 @kieferkaren 👍🏼
Check out the blog to understand the list below (link in bio):
1. You spend most of the year with a relatively significant amount of self-determination, personal space, and comfortable routine, and the holidays take away at least one of those.
2. Moving yourself (and perhaps a family) through airports and/or spending long hours in the car is tiring, germ-infested, and a potentially harrowing process that leaves you feeling stressed.
3. Your role in the community of your family or friends that you visited is very different than the role you play where the rest of your life takes place. You are having a minor identity crisis because the expectations for your behavior are very different in each place, and it’s a big transition for such a short time.
4. Updating everyone on your life is a weird/uncomfortable experience when these are the people you spent every day with for a large portion of your life. You wish it didn’t have to be this way.
5. Whether by intention or not, you and your sibling(s)/cousin(s)/friend(s) are comparing or being compared to one another.
6. You have a job or lifestyle that isn’t understood, supported, encouraged, approved of, or culturally normative in your family.
7. Money is tight, but travel, activities, eating out, and gifts are all part of the expected holiday routine, so you are going into debt for this experience that you are ambivalent about anyway. Or, you are not going into debt and you feel sad/embarrassed/mad about your inability to participate in certain rituals.
8. You love your bed and your sleep, like, a lot, and you wind up sleeping for 2-7 nights on a leaky air mattress, or with your sister who spreads out and steals the covers, or for less time than you like, or in a shared space in the house, or in the room of some significant childhood discomfort or trauma, and so you are tired.
9. Holidays remind you of people or relationships that you lost to death or painful separation, and that is just plain difficult, so what presents itself as a celebration really feels a lot more like mourning.
10. You just ate more sugar than you have had in the last few months in a matter of a week....
It was a gift to return to @lightlab for another day-long retreat—this time on the subtypes. I’m grateful grateful grateful for the communal practice. And witnessing this community has me dreaming dreaming dreaming.
Heaps of gratitude for inviting me and hosting me, @teamwoodnote + @jaydesypants — what a gift when the work in our inner and outer worlds births friendship.
Yesterday I ran a half marathon. Today I wrote a little and read words from books that enlivened my soul. Everyday I savor sips of hot coffee, get outside as often as possible, and do whatever I can to chase after wholeness in my right now life. And though it's not THE answer to the pain and dysfunction of this broken world, choosing to care for my whole self is AN answer. What does your #wholenesspractice look like today? // The World Needs You To Be Whole - up on the blog today (link in profile!) •
Lately I've been approaching this whole living life thing as a practice. I'm learning it's not about winning or achieving perfection. Simply show up, day after day, do what you can with the life you have, never stop extending grace. It's a freer, lighter, gentler way of doing life - and I'm all about that.
So I've compiled some ways I practice, some snippets of grace I can hand myself throughout the day. And I put them up on the blog for you so together we can practice. We won't be perfect, but we'll get better and better is good. (Link in profile!)
In the morning I fill this cup with steamy strong coffee, in the afternoon I gather nuts and dried fruit and a smattering of chocolate for good measure, and all day long I find small things - things that take 5 minutes or less - that make me whole. Because, as it turns out, becoming integrated, becoming whole, happens in ordinary, practical, 5 minute ways. .
I want to spend my days chasing after wholeness. And I want you to join me. So I've compiled a list of practical, everyday things that will integrate your heart, mind, body and soul into one whole being. [how to be whole in 5 minutes, up on the blog. The link is in the profile, as always!]
So here is some very exciting news:
This week I completed my enneagram certification through Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition (@enneaworld) and this week my friend @saycheech_ begins that process.
Chichi is a brilliant and kind, authentic and wise woman, and I'm so glad to be on my journey with her.
Over the next week or so, she is going to do an #instatakeover to let us in on what she is loving and learning. I'm so thankful she is going to bring us along on the journey to Menlo Park!
I’m excited to announce a 3 Hour intro workshop I’ll be doing at Karma Yoga Center on July 29, from 2-5pm. Karma Yoga is the place where I began deepening my yoga practice, listening to and working with my body in a mindful and consistent way. So, it’s a real joy that they are hosting my workshop. This will be an intro, but it will engage our bodies as much as our heads and hearts.
Our time will be filled with Movement (not yoga, but movement, nonetheless!), Music, Meditation, Storytelling and an Introduction to the Enneagram through the 3 Centers of Intelligence.
The cost is $35 for 3 hours in a beautiful, well-lit, and kind community of yogis and non-yogis alike. Registration link is in bio.
Would love to see you there! 📸: @annewarner at the @purpledoorcoffee Enneagram summer journey workshop series.
Is this a photo that looks ahead or behind? Does one angle feel more free and one more limiting?
Tonight's meditation will be about getting present to our experiences with gratitude, without needing to be anywhere else, welcoming the joy, sorrow, ease, awkwardness, pleasure & pain -- and listening to what they might teach us about ourselves, our work, our relationships, and our world. Let's get fascinated together!
Looking forward to sharing the moment, and whatever it might teach us, with you.
See ya at @purpledoorcoffee tonight at 6!
This coming Tuesday we will focus on the Type 7. Almaas speaks to the Holy Idea(s) for the Type 7 (Wisdom, Work, & Plan): "If we are to allow ourselves to unfold, the only thing we can do is to be completely where we are, to be present in exactly the spot that is manifesting in this moment; and if we are genuinely present, the next movement will unfold and we will find out what it is. So the Holy Plan can only be revealed by going through it – you cannot direct your unfoldment. In other words, to allow your soul to unfold, your orientation must be to be present in the now, and to discover the movement of the unfoldment of presence by being it. This is the Holy Work. You can only discover your place in the Holy Plan by living it, in the present, moment by moment.
We ordinarily think that a sense of orientation comes through knowing what to do, which direction to take. This implies that you know where you are going. True orientation, from the perspective of Being, however, is just presence itself. The now is orientation; the only real possible orientation is presence in the nowness. We cannot orient ourselves to the future because we don't know where our experience is going to go. If we are present in the moment, that presence will unfold from instant to instant, thereby creating its own direction. ...When the idea of Holy Wisdom, which includes Holy Plan and Holy Work, is lost to consciousness, the deluded conviction that you can create your own time orientation of the flow of your life – that is, that you can plan your life – arises."
Tonight at @purpledoorcoffee we are gathering to witness, celebrate, and work with the Type 1 structure. Our meditation will be full of flowers and serenity. Looking forward to seeing my Denver people!
In preparation for the Type One workshop next Monday (July 3), here is Almaas on Holy Perfection: "Everything that exists is gold. The gold is Being, and all of reality is Being. The forms that reality takes, such as having the form of a ring or that of a bracelet are incidental. But the ego identifies itself with the shape the gold has taken and says, “That’s me—I’m a ring.” Then it decides whether the ring is good or bad, beautiful or ugly, and so on…. When you feel that something is wrong, you try to see what is wrong with the ring. Is it too big or too small? Maybe it should have been made in a more modern style, or maybe in a more classical one. You start trying to improve it a bit. But, whatever you do to it, something always feels a little off about it. It will never feel right until you realize that the ring is really gold. As long as you don’t see the gold-ness and preciousness of it, you will always feel that something is wrong with it, and you will always try to tinker with it to make it better.
Seeing the gold does not mean that you do not see the ring. It does not eliminate the level of form, the relative level. Just because you realize that it is gold and it is precious and perfect does not mean that if the ring is too small for you, it will feel comfortable. It won’t. The relative judgments don’t just disappear. They are there for practical reasons. But underlying them is something much more fundamental, which is that this ring is precious regardless of whether it fits or not. What is precious about it is not how it fits, but that it is gold.
This is the perception we are trying to penetrate: to see the gold-hood of things rather than the ringhood of things, which the ego is focused on."
You are not about to see a super fit yoga body do amazing things. I am posting this video in honor of the Type 6 structure that we witnessed last night at our summer Type focus workshop. As I prepared for the workshop, I reflected on the question we would ask each other to sense our own empathy with the 6s: "where do you see doubt in your life?" As I mentioned to you last night, many of my own doubts come from my heart center, my capacity to connect and be present as fully myself, in the flow of giving and receiving. So, when I was doing yoga, I recognized that same sense of doubt when I did this pose.
Who knows how many times I have successfully done wheel pose, but for some reason every time I'm going from bridge to wheel I still doubt my ability to do it. I wonder if it's because it requires some arm strength as well as heart opening. It is hard for me in my emotional life to combine strength and openness of my heart. In this pose, my body seems to be telling me something interesting about the way I go through the world.
As a Type 4, equanimity is the virtue that I am practicing. So, balance poses are important, but even harder and sometimes, depending on the day, not even possible. But wheel pose is possible, and has consistently been possible, so why do I doubt it?
Yoga helps me be curious about my body and what it's telling me about my mind and heart. What practices engage your curiosity and allow your body to talk?
Food has always been important to me, comforting to me. I can remember parts of my life based on what kinds of things I was eating or drinking at the time. 6th grade: whole bags of microwave popcorn with cheddar cheese melted on them (that was hidden from my parents). Summer of 8th grade: at least 7 oranges a day (its easier to hide binge eating fruit in a family of 6). Sophomore year of college: at least 4 “we covenants” a week (blended sugary chai with peanut butter). I’ll remember this season (the last 3 years) as one in which I forged an entirely different relationship with food. Whereas food used to be about how much I could eat until I felt sick or too ashamed, now it is about nourishment. Sometimes I need more food, sometimes less. Sometimes it’s ok to eat avocados and bananas, and other times my body says, “hmm, no thanks, I’m already producing enough mucous, I’d prefer some garlic and ginger please.” Sometimes it says stuff and I don’t listen.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem to be saying anything.
I never ever, ever listened to my body until I started doing the Whole30 (modified, stricter paleo). I’m very thankful to the system, though I know it isn’t for everyone. But, my 4 Whole30 experiences, more than anything, taught me that my body can feel really good from the inside and that food has a huge impact on my physical and emotional health. Realizing how good I could feel changed my conversation with food. No longer did shame have anything to do with it. It was all about joy, empowerment and freedom. What do I love to eat? How do I want to feel? How can I grow in competence about how food affects me and the planet? What nourishes me?
Anyway, I’m not a food/lifestyle blogger. But, I do care that each of us learn to practice inner observation and sensing the body. What we find when we do this will be vastly different, just like our bodies. Food is nourishing and healing, and we all need to be nourished and healed in different ways.
It’s not the only answer, of course. But there is never only one answer :)
There are plenty of run-of-the-mill practices to help us come back to presence, but crocheting is one of my favorites. I love to create, but I can get intensely caught up in making a creation perfect, adequately expressing a feeling or connecting to it in some way. Crocheting helps me let go of the need to perfect or ride a high to create by reminding me that I can unravel anything, at any time, and the time was still well spent. It also is a way to work with feelings through color and repetition.
Seen here: my favorite color crocheted into a coaster. If you come to my office, you'll use one for your tea!
Whatever the activity, if it is done while paying attention to sensations and breath, creating a relaxed response in the body, you've found a good awareness practice. Energy follows attention. #wholenesspractice#enneagram#workyournumber