Maybe right now you are asking, “But did it really take you a year and a half to get used to being in love?” Because that’s how long it was between LoveLetters. The answer is no, it did not. It took my nervous system about three months really to settle in to being in a relationship and I reached a new normal around last fall. So, I should have been ready to start writing and coaching again, right? But I wasn’t because last fall I took a grad school class on the Enneagram.
And it changed everything.
Now, I know that “life-changing” experiences seem like they are a dime-a-dozen on social media these days but, for real, the Enneagram has allowed me to change how I see pretty much my whole life.I suppose that some of you are like, “Ennawhat?!” For those folks, the Enneagram is a wisdom tradition, a spiritual tool that allows us to type ourselves into one of nine personality types.You might be thinking, “Oh, like the Myers Briggs.” But no. Not really. It is so, so much more. But this post is not supposed to be a P.S.A. for the Enneagram, though I know that it is going to play a significant role in my future, coaching practice.What I want to focus on today is how the Enneagram has helped me understand the unconscious desires that were driving most (probably all) of the life choices I have ever made.Most relevant to this post was that it led me to ask myself what my motivation was behind everything that I had been calling my sacred work. Namely, writing (or not), a coaching business and grad school.I have typed myself as a Four on the Enneagram. Fours are known as the Romantic, the Creative or the Idealist. I am not going to do this description justice in this week’s LoveLetter because there is so much to share about this rich tradition. For today’s purpose, I will just focus on one of aspect of Type Fours.
We have a deep desire to feel special.
This desire is often the unconscious driver behind many of the decisions that we make. The goal of the Enneagram is to create awareness of how our type (aka our personality/ego) is running the show and not always in our best interest.For me, what I realized was that my desire to quit my corporate job and start a coaching business back in 2014 was pretty much driven by my “Fourness.” Not that quitting your job to do something more meaningful is necessarily a bad thing.But the dialogue in my head at the time was largely about how I was “too special” for corporate America and that I needed to find my true calling, which I thought was to be a writer and a life coach who helped other women find their true calling and quit their jobs, too.I mean, that all sounds good, right? But really – it wasn’t. Quitting my corporate job before I had built enough of a coaching business to help prop our finances was actually one of the cruelest things, I ever did to myself and my then husband.
But try telling that to me at the time.
So, last fall, I made a conscious choice to keep my coaching business on pause. I also took the following semester off from grad school and, while I had intentions to write, I never did. I emptied out everything that “made me special.”Instead, I focused on other true callings. I chose to focus on being newly married and raising good men and dedicated myself to being the best daughter, friend and even corporate employee that I could be. (Oh yes, I have another corporate, which I took less than a year after quitting the previous one and for that job I am and will be eternally grateful).I also focused on really learning how to do ordinary things. That’s another trait of Type Fours. We like big adventures and magical moments. We crave and feel most comfortable with high highs and low lows. We have all the feelings and, of all the numbers on the Enneagram, are most able hold space for pain.But if you ask me to go grocery shopping or pay my bills or GASP take my vitamins every day…that’s where my shit starts breaks down. This year has been about me getting really good at doing those kinds of mundane, ordinary things.It has been about learning how to take care of myself consistently and not so that I can then care for others but just because I am good person who deserves to be loved, cherished and cared for…BY ME.I am happy to say that I have had to finished MULTIPLE bottles of vitamins and supplements this year. If you are a Type Four, you know what I am talking about! For sure, this will always be part of my life’s work, but I am proud of the progress I’ve made this year. It’s the little things, right?And speaking of life’s work, perhaps you are now wondering, if I put all this on pause, then why did I all of a sudden start writing again?
And one that I’m going to have to wait until next time to answer because this post has already gone on long enough. I will leave you with this: kenosis. It’s this great word that I learned in grad school and when I say grad school, I really mean seminary.
Kenosis the process of becoming empty so that you can then be filled up again.
And I am so full right now and, oh my gosh, I have so much more to say but I saw a snail statue today at the center of a labyrinth that I stumbled onto in the middle of Silicon Valley. I am heeding that sign and going to slow everything down and take my own, sweet time. Trusting that everything, absolutely everything is unfolding exactly as it is meant to be. Until next time…