Enneagram as Mirror to the Soul: Type Nine (Continued)

Continuation of the Discussion for those with Enneastyle Nine.

24 Comments on “Enneagram as Mirror to the Soul: Type Nine (Continued)

  1. Ok Team Ennatype 9
    I don’t want our board to die- I still need you in these trying times.
    So, I am going to jump in and start this continued page.
    I realize as I had a big conflict with my parents. COVID has brought our polarization into a space that we can’t ignore. As a health care provider with a BFF on a COIVD team in Portland, I have taken some of his comments too personally. I ghosted them on Easter and made them scared. I think I went into a wounded child role, and I think I confused her with my Soul Child. She is pissed! I am pissed. Oh the journal letter I wrote and won’t send. My best self does not show up with my parents but as they are dualistic, winner takes all type of people, I do not feel my vulnerable self can show up- so I put on my anger -fighting suit of armor and start swinging. Then I feel frustrated and wonder if I’ll ever grow up with them. I am not sure this is a Soul Child thing. I guess in that I felt I wasn’t allowed to show emotions or ideas that contradicted my parents and brothers.
    The daily question:
    What sustains me- well this work and exploring my soul and personality does. Nature, walking and biking have always been my companions. Poetry has been very important to me this year. I think I have read at least a poem aloud each day this year.
    Taking care of people and trying to have their soul show up in a visit sustains me as a Family Physician. That is harder to do via phone call than in person. I think telemedicine is going Ok, but I miss connecting on a deeper level and listening to patient’s body language and story.
    OK- I may be rambling and missing the point. But I just missed you guys and thought I’d just start talking.

  2. Last week I stuck post-its of
    Goodness – Creates – Joy all around my home
    1- 4 – 7
    After a few days, out of the blue a light bulb moment I suddenly thought I know what my Mandela will be yesterday I sat down to start creating a Mandela.

  3. Whoa, Dana, I came floating on in to post something, and here you are with all that life has to offer. Dang, some people have all the luck. You will recognize this as my Nine’s attempt to lighten things up. When I can overcome that inappropriate response to distance myself from things that threaten to disturb my peace and harmony, I am trying hard to recognize that the things I experience as difficulties, burdens, suffering, frustrations, and anger …. have something to teach me. Today’s (4.15.20) daily practice addresses just this with respect to anger.

    I got confused trying to figure out if you were talking about a misunderstanding with your BFF or the ongoing difficulties with your parents. Perhaps you were describing two different situations, and I conflated them? Maybe the two situations are related, and I missed that.?

    It appears to me that you are doing the work. Wow, we’ve been talking about embracing our Soul Child, embracing our Shadow, and the field of play (I’m sure it feels more like a battlefield to you) opens up. Also, that confusion of the wounded child and the Soul Child seems critical … and not just to you, Dana, but to many of us Nines and likely most enneatypes. I asked Gail that question at the end of our last webinar, so we’ll let her pick that up here once she reads this.

    Daily Skyping with my family (Mom and sibs) gives me lots of opportunity to observe our dynamics. Somebody will say something, and I’ll get this little hiccup (it used to be a major shutdown in my childhood and in much of my adult life). I have one sister, who is constantly arranging and re-arranging. I would start looking around to see where or how I wasn’t measuring up or fitting in. Now, I realize that is her ‘thing.’ It’s not personal. I also realize how much I owned that ‘other’s’ definition of me, often because I can hear that little recorder going off in my brain. This messaging would be putting the lid on my Soul Child. I want to stop doing that, and in making the effort to do so, I feel a little more free. I have another sister (an actress, would you believe), whose behavior strikes me as being aggressive. Well, actually, it’s assertive. In my Nine-ness, I have confused the two. So, the Nine’s dilemma appears so clearly. I need to grow in assertiveness, and I don’t have to be aggressive to do so. As I speak up on Skype (six of us on many days), I feel aggressive. In the short run, I have to allow myself to feel this discomfort so that I can get to where I want to be: full access to my feelings like my Soul Child.

    Finally, the reason I came to the forum, I can relate to the part of your post where you speak of the inability to express ideas or emotions counter to the family norms. I met a neighbor on the trail today. During our conversation, she said three times “they have to let people go back to work.” I felt the hiccup. Immediate self reflection after the conversation led to me wondering why I didn’t express my opinion, namely that I think we need to make sure it is safe to go back to work. What prevents me from saying that? The fear that I will lose my connection to my neighbor if I express my opinion? The fear that I might feel uncomfortable (no peace, no harmony) if the conversation becomes a disagreement or, heaven forbid, an argument? Is it fear that I can’t tell where the conversation will lead and am unprepared to just hang in that flow, trusting that I can handle the discomfort and express my opinion (even if I don’t have a full-blown dissertation in mind)?

    Well, sorry, guess I got into the Nine’s ‘saga’ style. I wonder if this is helpful to you, Dana, or to our Nine friends on this forum?
    Keep up the good work.

  4. Ok, so you would think I might have started with this phenomenal coincidence. Last night (so before we got our daily question about anger), I had a dream. We surprised a couple in our home. They turned on us. It turned violent. There was lots of anger, crazy behavior, screaming and yelling, and I killed both the man and the woman. The dream ended with me putting the gun to the guy’s head (Elayne was telling me he was already dead) and screaming at him to open his eyes, so I could finish him.
    So …. let’s see …. what is my relationship with anger?

  5. Thank you, thank you Robert. So much of what who said helps so much! I can relate to that hiccup feeling when there is disagreement and the worry that someone won’t like me if I disagree with them.
    I was getting to the point of being able to observe and accept the different family members responses for what they were, and trying to connect out of love for my mom. But, my parents response to COVID- is too much for me right now. I am fighting the sensation of whiting out right now as I type this.
    Wow! Thanks for sharing your powerful dream That is intense. And I get it.
    I just realized that yesterday, when I read the assignment on anger, I thought, boy I need that. But, I realize I avoided the work! Sneaky sloth! I think I will go sit with it right now (although part of my psyche says to skip it and do the yummy Shiva Rea Yoga Nidra meditation I have been doing in these trying times. I guess I need both.

  6. The dream was very intense. There was a little prequel that I don’t recall very well, except I felt as if people were holding me down, restraining me forcefully. That one slipped off the screen, and the one I described briefly above came on. Must be the feature film:-)
    It ties in well with our daily question on 4.17.20 having to do with bringing our shadow side into the light. Anger of the rage magnitude is something that would simply overwhelm us Nines. So, it came to light through a dream. This is less threatening than a head-on meeting, isn’t it? I love that the dream – over which I have no control – shows up to help me in this compassionate manner.

    Other traits cause me to experience knee-jerk reactivity: aggressive attitudes or behaviors, energizer bunny energy, and not paying attention.

    I’m coming to realize that my lenses perceive assertiveness as aggression in others and in myself. When I assert myself, I often hear that little voice fretting over whether I’ve been too aggressive. And, I have had a couple of good opportunities to check my filter out. Asking a person sitting next to me if the two people talking are having an argument or expressing different opinions. It slayed me when they said they’re just disagreeing/it’s not an argument:-) So, checking something out with another person is a good way to clarify something that is building up in my shadow.

    My wife has untold energy that plays itself out at a high level and seemingly on overtime – Elayne is a counter phobic Six. She has some friends of like persuasion. You can imagine that can be quite the challenge to our relationship, though we have figured out how to do that dance reasonably well. On the other hand, I can watch myself when I’m looking at a gathering that includes some of her energized friends. It feels overwhelming. At times, I exclude myself, which may look like not answering if one of them calls the home phone. Yet, this fear is largely overblown in my mind. When we meet, it’s rarely so intense as to make me feel like running for the hills. So, paying close attention to my own reactions is a way to bring this out of the shadow.

    Ok, I won’t tackle paying attention here as I’ve used up some valuable forum real estate. It’s enough to say that these daily practices are proving remarkably useful to me at this time. It does take both time and effort, so an excellent opportunity for my Nine to show up.
    Hope each of you can fit some spiritual work and some fun into your weekend.

  7. The reflection on anger was not something I did easily. But it was very freeing and needed. I have a few things right now that I have anger about. And, I don’t want to get into the details of the conflicts- but how I felt it in my different centers. My head space gets blurry, I white out a bit. I try to call on my prefrontal cortex not to go off line.
    Then I feel a tightness in my throat. My feelings get hurt and indignant.
    A song came to me- from the Violent Femmes called Kiss off. I played it and thrash-danced to to it. I realized how much angry music helped my teen self as I worked through some teen angst and anger issues. And, how maybe I need to do that as an adult too. That letting myself be in my body to really feel my emotions including anger.

    I did a guided imagery exercise with Ann and Stan (who teach the coma communication sections for SALC) addressing accessing my anger- I was Geinevere on a horse running through a field of flowers, then I was the horse. A mountain lion was hunched ready to attack the horse- I reacted without thinking and fired my gun to scare it away. I protected us but I still didn’t want to harm. But Stan lead me back to use the gun. I shot the lion, and then proceeded to stab it repeatedly in the face and orbits with my dagger. I must say I felt a little lighter after that guided meditation. I do not plan to stab anyone but maybe pound a pillow with a tennis racket. In the words of Shrek- better out than in.

    The question about who offends me. Top of the list are entitled people- those who think they deserve everything or special treatment. Or, they treat others like dirt or like everyone is in service of them just because they have money or a degree. Most of them are oblivious or in denial to all their advantages to being born on third base (or some already at home base). How this ties into my 9-ness? Perhaps that I don’t feel I matter- or that we humans take ourselves too seriously. I know I was born with advantages- maybe on first base or second base, or at least a family that brought me to the ballfields.

  8. Dana,
    I’m glad we have the forum. Your descriptions are so vivid. I appreciate that as they really give life to what you’re trying to convey. “Thrash dancing!?” Now that sounds like an activity I need to try. The total opposite of Feldenkrais, yet sensing our reality through embodiment. It fits perfectly with today’s enneathought that focuses on revving it up physically. The guided meditation sure helped you access some rage, and that animal energy (horse, mountain lion) added to the intensity.

    I’m looking at today’s assignment, specifically how I’m experiencing growth in my own life. It dawned on me during Richard’s last webinar, that I have grown in two significant areas. The first became clear when he showed the slide “The Origin of the Enneatype.” Is it nature, nurture, or choice. In the last six months or so, I have become increasingly aware that I have spent too much of my life stuck in nurture, where I found it easy to blame. Now, I am much more aware of how I choose to carry on patterns I developed early in life to shield myself. Thus, a growing awareness coupled with growing responsibility are moving me towards a healthier Nine, for which I am very grateful.

    The other area of growth is captured in Richard’s use of the Moebius strip to show how our passion and our virtue are inextricably intertwined. For us Nines, that would be sloth and action. These are not separate. I can’t get rid of one to enhance the other. My being is doing a dance that involves both. Alas, in our world, we don’t accept that dance. We live in a binary -either this, or that- world. BUT NO, we live this vibrating tension, and it drive us NUTS! This new ability to see the tensions, which appear all over the place (that is life), is also a move towards reality. The acceptance of that reality takes the air out of my resistance and lets me be lighter on my feet as I dance. YAHOO!

  9. From a previous activity, my mandala was the earth as seen from space. Interestingly enough, I had just hung outside our banner featuring that image earlier this morning. Then come in to find our daily assignment. I am ‘in sync.’ Scary …..

  10. Dear Nine Friends and Others Who Wish to Understand Nines, this just in from the Sloth Calendar, April 2020:

    Is it a coincidence that sloths like Ivan and Marcus live in the jungles of Central and South America, home of the siesta? Maybe not. Their stealthy, vegetarian lifestyle means they do just 10 percent of the physical work of a mammal of similar size, which leaves plenty of time for chilling.

    So, it appears in reality that we are just way more efficient than our fellow, over-busy enneatype friends. This gives us a lot of time to chill …. I mean, a lot! Of course, we might choose to spend that time flowing between our virtues as our vices …. or …. wait a minute …. we could see our vice as a virtue#*%@!?!

  11. Robert- I realize you and I may be the sole posters on our Forum. I so appreciate that you are sharing your wise insights here.
    I love synchronicity. I wonder if I some times I am looking for it and making it up. But, I think that too many people are not open to the wonders happening around them and miss the connection or dismiss its possibility.
    Happy Earth Day!

    I was meditating on the Nature- Nurture- Choice of our personalities -I think there is an element of randomness or luck as well. Like being on a beach in Indonesia when a typhoon hits and sweeps your fiancé away and you lose an arm. Ok this happened to a friend of a friend. She had resilence as she chose to go on and accomplish great things, marry and have children and still trust the uncertainty of life after living through the unthinkable. But there was an element of randomness there too. I think I am leaning into the lack of control and uncertainty. We can only control how we respond to the uncertainty and loss. But that randomness does affect where we end up or what we do.

    The other thing I was thinking about, was how both of our anger dreams involved continuing to shoot or stab after the person/mountain lion was dead. The threat was gone, but we continued to fight it? Any thoughts?

  12. Dang, I came back to this page this morning only to discover that a reply I had written yesterday did not get posted. Woe is me! I will come back to that later today.

    For now, I want to note that bringing in Ivan and Marcus (see above) was a pretty Nine way of deflecting: using humor to avoid looking at the “tragic gap” between my virtue and my passion. So, I will revisit that for myself in greater detail privately, perhaps sharing some of that reflection here.

    Finally, I posted some questions in the webinar questions forum about the terms used in today’s assignment on the Holy Idea. I’m confused as I run into different terminology that I believe refers to the same concept. I’ll send those directly to Gwen as I want to clear that up before proceeding. Today’s assignment addresses precisely where I find myself on the spiritual playing field.

  13. Ok, Dana, let me try to capture some of what I said in the missing post.
    We are engaging with the material in this webinar, and I am most grateful to share reflections with you here. Your experiences add to my understanding of myself, cause me to think differently about my experiences, and promote this path of growth. Thank you.
    Our dreams were pretty intense. That was a very keen observation about how we both continued the fight after the ‘other’ was dead. I see that as a reflection of the sheer size and power of our rage, which has been building up over time … every time we stuff who we are to become what we think the other would like us to be. I don’t think I could access that intensity, which would seem utterly overwhelming to the Nine in me. Thank goodness, dreams allow us to ‘see’ this rage in a way that we can take in.
    I absolutely love that you’re ‘leaning into the “lack of control and uncertainty.” Is that a daily intention or perhaps a spur of the moment intention for you? That takes awareness, courage, and discipline. Good on you! I have moments like that, just too far and between. Still, baby steps …..

  14. So, Dana and all, I am revisiting here the tragic gap.
    As a Nine, my challenges are comfort and sloth; my strengths are discernment and right action. This tragic gap used to be too much tension for me to hold for long, if at all. Perhaps the fruits of the spiritual path I’ve been on -including centering prayer, enneagram work, and Feldenkrais- are bringing me to a place where I am aware of the tension, conscious of the tragic gap. As I learn to recognize what just happened, yes that retreat, that resistance, that slipping into a compliant, happy face, that anger, then I have an opportunity to process, to look at my patterns, my habits of being, and recognize that I can choose different ways of responding or even being. In a nutshell then, if I can acknowledge the ‘hook,’ hang with it, look at it … I have a chance to discern what’s going on and choose a right action. As I write this, it seems odd to start with my passion and get to my virtue. Our vision of such enterprises is that the knight in shining armor will rush in to save the day. Yet, the hero’s journey typically involves much wandering, much peril, much suffering before coming home. So, after all, I can trust my path.

    I think I’m getting better at forgiving myself. This is happening because I’m having some success engaging with my life: asserting my opinion or preference, speaking up instead of sitting on the sidelines. This can come as a surprise to family and friends who know me as the easy-going fellow I have been for so long. I can act in a way counter to my history, and the world does not fall apart. My friends and family don’t sever ties. This is also occurring because I’m viewing it from an observer’s viewpoint. In other words, it doesn’t feel quite so personal; it’s not an attack on me. More like … hmm, I wonder why I see this situation in this particular way, or I wonder why I feel _____ in response to this situation? The way the enneagram can help me negotiate situations less personally with a significant other, it can also help me vis a vis myself. Also, my ongoing dialog with my Soul Child is proving very helpful at examining what I would rather not see in myself. So far, our dialog has been tender, direct, and calm. This helps me to stay in the boat. Finally, it is encouraging not self-abasing to see myself as less than perfect. Acknowledging that I’m not perfect lifts a huge burden. I don’t have to live up to that image (as important for my Heart Point Three as for my Nine).

    These realizations are coming up in my life. This is the inspiration to continue on the path of meaningful change. That, plus I’m pretty tired of hitting my head against the same wall again and again and again …

    I’m thinking about that term “tragic” to describe the gap between what we are and how we present, between our virtue and our passion. I find it more helpful to remove “tragic” and consider this as the water I’m swimming in. It just is. What’s more, it just is for everybody. I’ve found the gap, now what will my response be.

  15. Wow! Reading the Holy Idea for the Three offered this key insight: I do not have to resist. Oh, what a relief!

    “…. we see that everything that happens is part of the changing pattern of the universe, and that nothing and no one functions separately fro the movement of the whole.”

  16. In honor of yesterday’s reflection on Surrendering.
    I wrote this poem during last months End of Life webinar. It was the product of a landscape meditation that Stan leads so beautifully. You think of something weighting on your heart, then you think of a landscape, and BECOME the landscape. The wisdom presents itself from this space. I meditated on a Weeping Willow tree that I love, and this is what came.


    You have tried to exert control
    Deluding yourself that you were in charge
    Lie beneath my drooping branches
    Close your eyes
    and open your heart
    The sacred mother has always held you
    Be rocked and comforted
    by the sound of the wind
    As it blows away the life you thought you knew
    And surrender to your new one

  17. Dana,
    That’s a stunning poem. I love how becoming one with the landscape prepares you to surrender. As with the dream, Nines seem to prefer coming at things from an angle and receiving things from an angle. It’s less threatening. It circumvents our resistance. Also, your poem is full of sensory references, so you are in your body, your gut space. Thank you so much for sharing this little treasure with us.

  18. Bittersweet indeed, Gwen.
    As I reflect back on this webinar and the accompanying daily work, I recognize that part of my path I need to engage. The Soul Child was the most important concept as evidenced by my new daily activity: conversations with my Soul Child. To get in touch with that Essence of my being. It’s helpful to have the healthy Three as a model, as a heart point, and I already hold that within. I lost it early on in my life, have pursued various programs for happiness, as Thomas Keating would say, only to discover that they don’t work in any fundamental way. In my conversations, I am discovering a Soul Child who is direct, unafraid to speak his mind, to describe his feelings; a Soul Child who is a good listener, empathetic, compassionate, nonjudgmental, and supportive. My Soul Child is a vital bridge between my personality and my Essence.

    I have become increasingly aware of my reactivity and my resistance. Whew, the energy I expend here is nothing short of phenomenal. I’m not sure how I even manage to live. So, the present work is to pay attention to the resistance, the reactivity, the fear as it arises. Where does it manifest in me? Why is it arising in this particular circumstance (help, I need somebody to trace that for me:-)? Do I need to act? Do I have options? Can I let it go?

    I am enormously grateful for the knowledge and wisdom this webinar presented and the daily work, which I had time to fully engage. I am enormously grateful to Richard and Gwen who worked so hard to create this opportunity for growth and transformation. And, I am enormously grateful for those of you, my fellow Nines, who joined the endeavor here in this forum. Your experiences, insights, and support have been so valuable. I wish everyone well, and look forward to meeting up again in a future Enneagram Exploration.
    much love

  19. didn’t take me long to reappear:-) I was just writing my Soul Child expressing my gratitude for him reflecting my resistance, my reactivity, and my fear to me. Then, it dawned on me: Yes! that is “The Enneagram as Mirror to the Soul.” It is more than funny -more mystical perhaps- that this awareness occurs simultaneously. I went on to say how important it is for me to see how these dynamics impede the flow of my Being. Bingo! I have a Wendell Berry poem on my dresser that reads:

    The Real Work

    It may be that when we no longer know what to do
    we have come to our real work,

    and that when we no longer know which way to go
    we have come to our real journey.

    The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

    The impeded stream is the one that sings.

    Oh my …… I am so fortunate to be here now.
    in loving kindness

  20. Well, it doesn’t appear that anyone is posting. It’s good for me to put this out to the universe in any event. At Listening Hearts, my centering prayer group, I shared the following yesterday evening.

    Most of you know that I’ve just finished a Sacred Art of Living webinar called Enneagram as Mirror to the Soul. One of the main concepts was that of the Soul Child. Our Soul Child holds all that potential, all that promise that was compromised, suppressed, or hidden or as Father Keating would say, our original program for happiness got thwarted so we looked for other programs. For a Nine, such as myself, the Soul Child has all the qualities of a healthy Three, which is the Nine’s Heart Point.

    One of the gifts of the webinar is a daily conversation I have with my Soul Child. The conversation has been direct, honest, supportive, and enlightening; a tool to help me move towards that Heart Point.

    This poem by Derek Walcott, Love after Love, reminds me of that journey as well as the role centering prayer has played.

    Love After Love
    Derek Walcott

    The time will come
    when, with elation
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror
    and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

    and say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel you own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.

    Lately, in my conversations with my Soul Child, I am becoming aware that my Soul Child experiences everything that I do. We are not separate. My Soul Child described this to me today as a “unitive shift.” How remarkable! So it is that as I am becoming on this present path, I am filled with wonder-ment and joy. May it be so with you, dear Reader.

  21. Robert-
    Both of your last two passages and poems that you shared are so beautiful.
    I just love to witness your spiritual growth as you converse with your Soul Child, and to learn from your writings. With the inspiration I get from reading about your journey, I am going to revisit journaling my Soul Child in the upcoming days.
    I picture your Soul Child as being straight forward. That he tells you truths about yourself in a loving and honest way, uninhibited by the pattern we 9’s learned to not offend anyone. Wise Child that he must be.
    I’ll check in after my morning meditation and share if I am able to.