Enneagram as Mirror to the Soul: Type Nine

A place for those with the type nine enneastyle to discuss personal growth.

Rumi Poem | Type 9

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep!

The door is round and open

Don’t go back to sleep!

~ Rumi

Why is this an important poem for type Nines to use for reflection? Nines are known as “anger that went to sleep,” and this has many meanings. Nines keep their anger so minimal that they often don’t recognize it. Without access to their anger, however, Nines put their entire vibrancy to sleep, lose their “voice” and become disabled from expressing what they want, knowing at times what they don’t want but not what they do want. Hence the message, “Don’t go back to sleep!”

By Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD. Visit: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

47 Comments on “Enneagram as Mirror to the Soul: Type Nine

  1. So, I’ve been meeting with a group of Nines for quite some time now. We enjoy processing our Enneagram work together. We are currently reading the “Wisdom of the Enneagram,” and are dealing with wings and instinctual centers. We realize that each of us has a One wing, and pretty sure we are self preservation. These characteristics may help explain why our group of Nines joined up and remain together. It also means we have circled the wagons rather tightly. I mean, who knew there were Nines out there who look and act quite differently than we do. And, so emerges an awareness of the richness and variety within our Ennea-type as well as across the Enneagram spectrum. Wow!

    • I, too, am a 9w1 and appreciated your comments. Looking at my Soul Child (from the work here) and reading Sandra Maitri has given me new insight into who I really am. Focusing on my Essence rather than some negative characteristics has been most helpful. Thanks for posting.

    • Richard, As someone exploring E9 with an E1 wing and a self-preservation variant, I’d be grateful to hear what your group feels is different about themselves vis-a-vis other E9s — those who are E1 wings but not self- preservation types particularly. And how do you all experience your E1 wing presenting in your thoughts, feelings and patterns.
      Thanks if you can answer. I’d really appreciate it.
      Stephanie

      • Stephanie,
        I am assuming you addressed this to me (as opposed to Richard Groves). I’m Robert.
        Anyway, the primary purpose in posting what I did was the sudden recognition that our lovely group of Nines were drawn together, because we’re so comfortable with one another. We work together well because we share the same instinctual variant (self pres). And, in that context, can we challenge ourselves, both individually and collectively, to move toward our heart point, to reclaim our Soul Child. Does this make sense?
        Now, 9w8 will look very different. If you’ve been around 8s, you know they hold a very different kind of energy. They can be confident to the point of being arrogant. They like to take charge. That’s quite a challenge -let’s just say shock- to us peaceful Nine types and very different from a 1 wing. In the “Wisdom of the Enneagram”, 9w8 are described as referees. They tend to be social. The 9w1 are said to be dreamers. My group of 9w1, if I may speak for them, see ourselves as idealistic with a sense of our purpose in the world. This is a strength and an illusion. After all, we succumb to the temptation of living out every other person’s dreams and purpose:-) The self preservation is most keenly felt when we try to size up any environment we enter. Is this a safe place for me? Does it hold what I will need to feel at peace and in harmony?
        I must say, while we all claim the self preservation instinct, we all have a strong social instinct as well. The sexual instinct is least developed. Understandable, as we are not seeking intensity in our environments or our relationships.
        That brings me to a different point. Our Soul Child, my Soul Child suffers in the presence of intense personalities. The latter are a gift in my life. Whether they’re given to me (my Mom), or I choose them (my wife), I am provided with what I need to fully occupy my Presence. This is a lot easier to recognize in my sixties than when I was six! Enough for now. Hope I didn’t overwhelm.

  2. I’m also a 9w1 and looking at the Soul child description has certainly provided food for thought in terms of how I ‘hide’ by concealing my true thoughts and feelings…

  3. As an E9 I have always struggled with the desire to be seen versus the fear of being seen. I’m sure this is my soul child 3 who was told never to brag or show off. It became very comfortable and safe to hide. My work with the Enneagram has allowed me to find a voice and to stay centered in my self.

    • Kathleen and Margaret,
      Yes, yes, yes. “Hiding’ is such a good description of what we do. I love that. And then, the tension between wanting to be seen and the fear of being seen, I mean WOW! That is our existential dilemma, no small thing at all. No wonder we hide. Doing this work feels a bit like finding the right piece to place in our puzzle. Play on ….

    • Ah Yes, the dichotomy of wanting to be seen and fear of being seen…..Feeling invisible and not important, yet hiding in the back, when there is a new situation or group. Feeling that I don’t matter anyway.

      But now — I realize that I do have things to contribute and that I do matter. It’s new for me to see how I craved to be noticed, yet feeling I should “hide” from others.

      There is balance now. Thanks for pointing this out.

  4. Well, well, I took a little side detour -or was it?- as I prepared to do a soul collage. I attempted this after trying to get tickets from the Tower Theater website. I have had very poor luck doing this, and yesterday was no different. First arrow of several as I tried different ways of accessing a free ticket for crying out loud! Following this, I said to my wife, why are we giving money to the Tower if we can’t even get a ticket without difficulty. Another arrow. I finally went to my old computer. The Tower website recognized me, my password, and the tickets were mine. Thank goodness.

    As I dug up some magazines for the soul collage, I read the directions including the sentence structure “I am the one who ….” Still feeling some rumbling in my chest, I grabbed a piece of paper an wrote the following:

    I am the one who rages.
    I rage because you don’t see me.
    I rage because you won’t acknowledge my presence.
    I rage because I cannot be me.

    You don’t see the rage because I’ve buried it so deep …
    I don’t feel it.

    I will try to get back to the soul collage, and the impression I received is that in the moment I was a living soul collage. It was a powerful interaction with my rage. Heretofore, I was often puzzled with all the talk about Nines and their rage. Not so puzzled as it arose at the moment of my attempts to picture my Soul Child.
    Wow!

    • What an experience! I’m so glad there were insights along the way. I can’t wait to see the final product.

    • Funny (not ha ha), but I don’t rage (Iwithdraw) — I tend to suck it up or somehow feel I don’t deserve or not worthy. I’m sure there is anger underneath, but usually not expressed. I think that being able to observe what is going on internally and then to dispel the false beliefs creating the emotion. Sort of an inner aha (observer) — Oh, that’s what’s going on. Sort of an — what must I be believing???

      • I too Mary. I don’t rage; I withdraw. The amgrier I am, the more deeply I withdraw. Ironically, though I may feel intense anger or rage, I generally also feel extremely vulnerable in that. I feel and judge myself as wrong and bad for feeling so angry….and for not knowing how to dispel it. I feel like I’ve done something wrong even when I know I haven’t, even when I know I am the wronged party. I cringe and back away but underneath is usually a towering rage. I am afraid if I let the energy of that rage out, it will be like a volcano that will destroy. The ways I find for expressing it, to move it from my body and find some peace., are through playing the piano, creating artwork, writing poetry or spending time in nature with hard walking/exertion. I would like not to have so much anger, and to be more skillful with it so I’m not eating it inside myself nor giving it out toward others (historically I internalize it….introject my anger), but as I’m relatively new in being fully open with myself about my anger, I’m still learning.

    • Robert,

      Somehow I missed the poem you embedded in this share. It is beautiful! I relate to it completely. I have felt this since I was a child.
      Stephanie

  5. Fellow Nines,
    I’m fortunate enough to have a large sloth calendar in the kitchen. March features “Cinnabun, a three-toed or Bradypus (Greek for ‘slow foot’) sloth. Humans might take offense at being given such a name, but to a sloth, it’s a compliment. They are the slowest mammals on the planet and it’s one of the reasons they are such great survivors.” So, as one Enneagram facilitator recommended to a group of offended Nines, “Embrace your sloth.” Just wanted to share a bit of 9 humor as we roll up our sleeves (+:
    PS. Cinnabun is super cute.

  6. The lovely round by Aly Halpert is so very touching. As a Nine, I put a lot of effort to resist energies from without and from within: anything that might disturb my sense of peace and harmony (really that place of no engagement with myself or the world). That calls for a lot of loosening, and repeated loosening.

    As I have shared, I participate in Feldenkrais (awareness through movement). Virtually all lessons are done lying on the floor. I would expect to be in total relaxation, yet periodically, I sense that I’m holding. That holding is occurring at all times in my day, and I am usually unaware of it.

    Perhaps, other Nines have had similar perceptions. Enjoy your Sabbath rest.

    • I’m so happy you found it helpful. I use that song almost every day.

    • Robert, I am so often aware of holding tension in my body. It is chronic for me. One of the most potent ways for me to come into my still center is to sit with my breath, and once connected with it deeply, to move my attention through my body and be present to the tightnesses, tensions and holding places within. I emerge calmer, more grounded and more cemtered in body, energy, mind amd spirit. I wonder if this is similar to your Feldenkris experience?

      • Stephanie,
        Your sitting practice while paying attention to your breath as you scan your body for areas of tension is very useful. From time to time, I begin my centering prayer in this way. Feldenkrais is a bit different in that I’m only paying attention to the body moving. I may feel tension or ‘stuck’, in which case I do focus on how I might organize my body to follow a certain direction. Most of the time, I’m sensing what part of my body moves and realizing more often what other parts of my body are at play in a certain movement. This awareness increases over time. So, I am more in my body. Perhaps this helps you see that more clearly. I’ve found Feldenkrais to be a critical piece in my spiritual practice.

  7. Thank you, Mary Solomon, for sharing this quote:

    “I’m 100% responsible for who I am in this relationship. My task is to free myself sufficiently so that I can respond in the present moment – not from past programming. That’s what freedom is.” – Dr. Gabor Maté

  8. Mary and Stephanie,
    Thanks for responding to my little piece on rage. Re-reading it, I could see that the intensity in the description could send Nines running. I appreciate your courage in staying with me.
    As a stay at home Dad, many moons ago, I remember feeling rage rising in my chest. It occurred in the kitchen with our three sons. I did have the wisdom to tell the boys that Dad needed a time-out. I went into the laundry room and could feel that rage as a strong reverberating churning in my chest. I needed to feel that. Then, I paused to consider whether this rage reaction was in any way commensurate with what my sons had been up to in the kitchen. Absolutely not. So, my rage was triggered, but it didn’t have anything to do with our sons. It was an instructive moment, though I fail so very often to allow myself that process.
    When I don’t feel my anger, acknowledge it, it seeps out sideways as passive aggressiveness. After a while, I can get sick of being around myself! 🙂
    Lately, I’ve noticed that I can express my anger and I’m done. There is some after reverberations, but I don’t hold on to the anger and I don’t go through some negative self talk. I’m just done.
    Here’s the thing about tamping down our anger: when we put a lid on it so fast, we don’t even feel it, we are also putting the lid on all feelings we might have. At least, I believe this is why I have a difficult time feeling joy, feeling connected to others and to myself, feeling sadness, feeling grief, feeling satisfied, feeling accomplished, feeling happy. So working with my ‘underlying’ rage is a critical piece for me in order to break out of my straight jacket.
    Does this make sense, or do you see it differently?
    I am grateful for your thoughtful, kind responses, and for your engagement.

    • Oh, thank you for this Robert. I relate. When my anger rises, it feels like a volcano that is going to spew lava over me and everyone nearby. I know from experience the damage it can do it if I let it happen. I’ve never thought of it as a time out when I take myself aside and keep silent. I’ve always felt like I was stifling myself and swallowing the rage.. I am going to use this description of a self-chosen time out. Much better. Because in truth, it is too, too much anger that arises. It is never appropriate. And goes way beyond the bounds of the current situation. I have to step away to be able to process and then come back to only deal with the particular situation.

    • Robert,

      I wonder if one of the gifts of E9 is the ability, when anger is gotten in touch with and expressed healthfully, to then just let it go. I’ve found that this is true of me, and I really like this about myself. It is such a relief! To feel free of the anger, to know I’ve expressed myself in a healthy way (not as a volcano), and to know that I need not fear that suppressed anger will not seep out to others energetically or passive aggressively.

      Do you, or other 9s, experience this as well? I wonder if this is an E9 trait in relation to anger.

  9. Well, I had a very hearty laugh when I read today’s ‘Daily Question or Practice’. I thought there is no way in hell a Nine would have posed such questions for reflection. I mean, come on, goals, are you kidding me?! Perhaps it’s just this Nine:-)
    While I have been studying my Nineness with a group of fellow Nines, I have not focused on movement towards my Heart Point (3). It seems clear that I am ready to engage in the movement towards that Heart Point, and that getting to know my Soul Child will play a key role in that movement.
    The daily work – which took me by surprise, more of a shock really – produced a sense of overwhelment initially. It was fleeting as I reminded myself how this work ties into my spiritual tripod (Enneagram, Centering Prayer, and Feldenkrais). This insight opened the door to other insights.
    -visiting my Soul Child will offer me suffering and sweetness
    -I don’t think of myself as a visual person, yet the soul collage was huge for me. It opened the door to my rage. It made me aware of how carefully I work to present my image. Letting go, slipping into the flow produced a meaningful piece that seems to offer another insight into my being each time I pause to take it in, to really look at myself.
    -the questions often summoned images of past experiences without me consciously seeking them out. Snowmass, labyrinth at the Mercy Center, Englishman River Falls. Seen with a new awareness, these experiences have become more meaningful and helpful.
    -this focused energy and effort helped me see and appreciate new things about myself, both things I liked seeing and things I would rather not confront.

    So, I am looking forward to the second part of this ‘Enneagram as Mirror of the Soul’ journey. Thanks for bearing with me as I fell back on the Nine’s ‘saga’ way of telling a story.
    in loving kindness

    • Hi Robert,
      I love your comments. Thank you for all your wonderful insights. Yes – a seven wrote that question for today! I’ve got about thirty goals I’m working on right now, so I forget not everyone fills their days with a million plans, goals, and intentions : ) Such an example of seven energy right there! Thanks again for all you add to this discussion.
      -Gwen

      • Hahaha! Your comment makes me laugh:-) Ain’t life brilliant!

    • Hmmmm… Robert, you’ve made me think here. I am an artist. I find that my best and more “real” art is an outpouring of the pain and rage held for so long, with no place to go or be put. I have struggled with this. Yet making art that has to be “beautiful” has no meaning to me. And my pieces that, to me, have expressed some of my deepest pain — and seemed to me my most personal — have always been those that resonated most powerfully and deeply with others. (The personal, touched deeply and honestly enough, dives deep enough to swim in the ocean of universal experience. People’s responses to my art taught me this.) These pieces have, given people’s responses to and gratitude for them, been those that left me feeling successful with my art, being of service through my art. It never occurred to me until reading your post that perhaps the reason so much pain and fear and rage comes through my art is because I had no place to put it or express it throughout my childhood. This rather feels like real inner permission to share what is mine to share even if it’s not “pretty”. It is healing…for me and for others; this I know. Ironically, people tell me how beautiful the work is. Thank you for your words.

      • I’m correcting my own words. I have known that my art has been a place to pour feelings I was not allowed in childhood, that is was seriously dangerous to feel, much less express. What your post gave me was the heart insight that my sharing them through my art is good, is healing, is alright, is healthy, is ok. Intellectually I knew the art works and is of service in the world. In my body I knew I needed to “cough it up onto the wall” and that this is healing for me. But in my heart I have felt guilty and ashamed still for having such feelings and needing to express them…still caught in the messages of my childhood. Your words open a window in my heart, letting in fresh, clean air, washing out the guilt and shame (or starting too…just have to leave the window open…) so that I can stop questioning myself in my heart about this. and move more into the E3 Soul Child who knows I have things to share in the world that help and are of service to others, who wants very much to offer what is mine to offer, and to believe in myself in doing so, and to act upon what I know in my gut I need to share, what I know in my head I am “good enough” and gifted in sharing. It is my heart’s doubt and fear/anxiety that has been holding me back, that makes me want to stay under the covers and be cozy and warm and sleepy. My sweet sloth…

  10. As I made dinner and thought about my day, I remembered spending two and a half hours working on a book I’m writing. I feel intense joy every time I give myself the time to work on it. (I recently took on an accountability partner to give me a spur in my own backside; it is helping very much.) I realized I feel tremendously proud of myself for giving myself time to write….time for myself, for my goals and needs and dreams…for what nourishes me and brings me into joy. It is so hard for me to give myself this permission, this time and space. There is always so much else to do….responsibilites. And indeed I chronically define others needs and agendas as “important” and “prioirty,” while I label my own as selfish and frivolous. Even to the extent of not earning the money I could and need. This seems classic E9 and it is core to who I am. Perhaps my biggest achilles heel. Anyone relate? Thoughts? Feelings?

  11. Stephanie,
    How appropriate that this little gem should appear in my inbox this morning:

    “To be nobody-but-yourself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”
    E.E. Cummings

    Your personal story illustrates perfectly Cummings’ words and the work we Nines face. I admire the strength you have brought to your path/your calling as well as the wisdom of seeking the help of another to help keep you accountable to yourself. Perhaps this is an intermediary step on the way to becoming accountable all on your own? On the other hand, maybe our work is not only ‘personal’, something each of us achieves on our own? I like that sense of the human journey being a communitarian, collaborative effort:-) Engaging with the daily question in this webinar has kept me on track, an opportunity to engage with myself. Will I have the commitment to keep up this work on my own?
    Recently, I read a book by Rohr in which he encourages the reader to read ‘trust’ when we see or think the word ‘faith’. That made tremendous sense to me. In light of our work, can I trust the path I’m on even and especially when it doesn’t look like the socially approved one. You appear to have answered that question affirmatively, Stephanie. Good on ‘yer and thank you for sharing with such a vivid and concrete example.

  12. Thank you Robert,

    It has been my lifelong challenge to move toward who I am and away from what others want of me or think I should be….or think I am. As you no doubt understand, my field of vision in that struggle has often been blurred or even blinded. Yet deep in my core I have always known who I am, and though I haven’t always treated or held myaelf with love, in my core I have always loved who I am and known that I am loved by Creation/God./The Mystery….

  13. Yes, Stephanie, I suspect the words you use to describe your journey apply to each and every one of us. To become the person I am even when I and others cannot “see” that person. Reminds me of the Little Prince, who says “it’s only with the heart that one truly sees.” I love the Little Prince. Cynthia Bourgeault comes at this in centering prayer as she urges us to allow our mind perception to join our heart perception, thus creating a unitive world (ie, non-dual). Lest we forget, it is a hero’s journey!

    I stumbled across the Type Nine Enneathought for February 29th. “Nines remember the Essential quality of wholeness and completion. They remember the interconnectedness of all things. This knowledge brings great inner peace, and the Nine’s purpose in life is to be a living reminder of the spiritual nature of reality and, consequently, of the underlying unity of our true nature.” It seems from the comments above that each of us has experience of feeling this Essential Quality. It is fleeting, at least for me, and very difficult to stay in this state of consciousness. Yet our hearts desire more of the same (as does the Beloved), and it seems our journeys are leading us there. In that remembering, in that awareness and spaciousness, we are truly home. May it be so …

  14. I’m correcting my own words. I have known that my art has been a place to pour feelings I was not allowed in childhood, that is was seriously dangerous to feel, much less express. What your post gave me was the heart insight that my sharing them through my art is good, is healing, is alright, is healthy, is ok. Intellectually I knew the art works and is of service in the world. In my body I knew I needed to “cough it up onto the wall” and that this is healing for me. But in my heart I have felt guilty and ashamed still for having such feelings and needing to express them…still caught in the messages of my childhood. Your words open a window in my heart, letting in fresh, clean air, washing out the guilt and shame (or starting too…just have to leave the window open…) so that I can stop questioning myself in my heart about this. and move more into the E3 Soul Child who knows I have things to share in the world that help and are of service to others, who wants very much to offer what is mine to offer, and to believe in myself in doing so, and to act upon what I know in my gut I need to share, what I know in my head I am “good enough” and gifted in sharing. It is my heart’s doubt and fear/anxiety that has been holding me back, that makes me want to stay under the covers and be cozy and warm and sleepy. My sweet sloth…

  15. Stephanie,
    That’s awesome! I can see you simultaneously putting the pieces of your self-puzzle together and redefining the way you perceive your self, especially in regards to art. For us Nines, fear seems to surface when we’re afraid of losing connection to others. Yet if we give in to that fear, we lose our connection to our very selves. These days, when I get angry, I notice upon reflection that I’m angry because I gave my self away. As this happens, and as I pay attention to it, the anger seems to dissipate very quickly, and I don’t hold on to it. It’s pretty freeing. I am grateful to have the opportunity to share this here with you, my fellow Nines, as this confirms for me what I am learning about myself.
    Then, I love this image I have of you curling up with your sweet sloth. Yes, and we have so much time these days that you likely have enough time to engage with your art, grow through your enneagram work and have a nice afternoon sloth nap. I am grateful Stephanie that you “corrected your own words.”
    The second webinar was powerful, and it looks like you’re integrating it already. Wonderful. I look forward to more Nine conversations here in the coming month.

  16. So, I have a question, which one or more of you may be able to clarify. We talk of the Gut Instinct, the Heart, and the Head. I believe each of these represents one of the Instinctive Triads. Is there any reason to say Gut Instinct vs Gut, as in ‘what does your gut know?’ Conversely, would it make sense to speak of the Heart Instinct and the Head Instinct. Perhaps, this is just a matter of semantics, however, I do want to be clear.
    thanks in advance

  17. I’m going to jump in with my attempt to respond to today’s daily question. I feel unsure of the format and about whether I’m moving in the right direction.

    the current issue: sheltering in place

    My gut knows this is good. It is good for the immediate health of all this planet’s citizens. It is good for those of us who live in fast paced cultures and economies. It is good for me as it opens opportunities for growth.

    My heart feels joyful because this downtime has such potential and it feels sad knowing there will be lots of pain, suffering, and death.

    My head thinks we will pull through all this, resolving problems together even though we’re temporarily isolated.

    That’s the thumbnail sketch. If there is harmony to come from all this, it is the sense that we are in a very tough period, which we will get through. So, a sense of realization (hope I’m not minimizing a la Nine) coupled with a sense of quiet confidence. In some ways, I think I could have come to this place directly from my Gut. That said, I think it is good for me to consider our situation from the Head and Heart. Perhaps, a consideration of the Head and Heart concerns grounds me as a Nine, so that I don’t fantasize. It puts the meat on the bones, so to speak. Let me know if this makes sense and if it appears I’m on the right track. Thanks

  18. Hi-
    I really enjoyed reading the thread and can absolutely relate to most of it. I am E9W1 (fairly certain) especially as a I read Robert’s description and my head was nodding away.
    I am confused how I am a gut type and anger type but both of which I have walled myself off from. I know over the years I have repressed my anger, then feel self righteous and express it passive aggressively- super healthy I know! Doing this work with the enneagram workshops has helped be be more in touch with my gut and anger. I was lucky enough to do the silent retreat with SALC -if it is a possibility this year I urge anyone thinking about it- to go!
    It has upset my family homeostasis a bit- as being a self forgetting peace keeper has been my role. I haven’t been raging on everyone, but speaking up more.
    This workshop and thinking about my soul child and what was not OK to be expressed as a girl in my house. I am a 4th child with 3 older brothers, born in 1970. My parents encouraged me to succeed but to also do all the house chores and that my opinions and feelings should be hidden (along with my menstrual pads)!
    I am thinking about how my 3 Soul Child can show up and contribute and lead. I have things to offer and I feel my Soul Child getting excited to shine.
    I was fascinated by the movement of the arrows, but definitely need to listen to the webinar again as it was a lot to digest (especially with the COVID stress on my mind)

  19. Dana,
    So good to have you here. I thought I saw your face on one of the screen views Gwen was having us play with. At first, seeing the anger/getting in touch with that came as a surprise to me. What anger?! Since anger wasn’t allowed in our home, I learned to repress it, so tightly that it’s hard to access other feelings as in “yes, I really do feel joy now, or satisfaction ….” Going back to “hold that child, to reassure him, to treasure him” is part of the journey that allows me to face the pain and or suffering of rage, which is a very overwhelming emotion. Lord knows, nothing a Nine wants to be any where near.

    I love that you’re upsetting the home-ostasis. You’re giving yourself, your Soul Child that voice. I’ve found that it helps if I explain that to family or friends, so that they can appreciate I’m trying on a new me. And I need to do it far more often than I do.

    My wife is a counter phobic 6, the oldest of eight. When they brought home the third boy, she cried. An early story she shared with me was about confronting her parents about having to do all the indoor chores, while her brothers got the outdoor ones (fewer in number). They did hear her and made a chore rotation, which was still in effect when I first met her.

    Anyway, it is fun to hear the excitement about being in touch with your Soul Child and giving that Child voice. Go for it!

  20. Good evening Fellow Nines,
    This forum seems pretty quiet. As a Nine, I occasionally feel aggressive if I make a statement, speak up, give myself voice. On the other hand, I feel committed to addressing what’s going on as we move more deeply into this Enneagram as Mirror to the Soul webinar.

    My Mom is in assisted living in one of those full care facilities in Alexandria, Virginia. Her facility has set up Skype for those third floor residents so that they have contact with the outside world. We meet daily at 2pm for an hour. She seems delighted. Today, I came feeling unsettled, out of sorts and couldn’t figure out why. Technical glitches? Too many people (my niece and her husband joined the five sibs and my Mom)? Something going on with me?

    I went for a walk in the Badlands late this afternoon, and things became more clear and made sense. I might call it Skype as mirror to the Enneatype Nine. The screen is divided into a grid. In the top right hand corner, in a much smaller square, I can see myself. During our call, I was aware that I looked like the ‘observer,’ one of our most comfortable roles as Nines. Because of the format, the observer looked pretty small and insignificant relative to the other participants. This very visual impression reminded me of the role I have played so long in my family. I’m the observer, which means I remain aloof and to varying degrees unengaged. And, that reinforcement of a pattern learned early in childhood and lived out my entire life brings back some residue of pain. I say that because I did not feel that pain with any intensity (repression at work as well). On the other hand, this all came as a sort of revelation. The light bulb turned on. I am grateful to have had this experience, which reflected back to me so clearly how I am in the world so very often, if not always.

    I want to dwell with these images and allow myself some quiet and some time to get in touch with the pain of that Soul Child, who wanted to be seen (even though he was very shy). Also, when I had those feelings after today’s Skype, I thought “well, that’s that. I might check in to say hi, then leave the call, or I just might not even bother. How’s that for typical Nine responses. In the Badlands, I decided energetically that I needed to go back to that Skype and use it as repeated opportunities to engage. I’ll let you know how it goes. Sheltering in place seems to be bearing fruit for me.

  21. Hello 9s,

    Robert – I too was the observer in my family. We had a very narrow kitchen and all 5 of us were often in it and often, heated – not angry but passionate and lively – discussions were had in this kitchen. I would notice that no one was listening to anyone other than themselves and saw the futility and some humor in this. I would go sit on the kitchen counter – which put me spatially above everyone – to watch, observe and yes distance myself but not in a left out way. I knew that I was still participating just in a different role – the role of the observer. I danced when I was this age and we were doing Peter and the Wolf. I was the cat but there is a bird named Sasha in Peter and the Wolf who never interacts but sits in the tree and watches and observes everything that is going on. My dad – noticing that I was sitting on the kitchen counter watching, smiled and called me Sasha. Sasha became a nickname for me in my family that I really loved. So as a 9 did I lose some part of me here when I took myself out of the fray and happily took on the observer role that I now need to find again to heal? Had I already – I was about 11 at the time of this story – lost the part of me that wanted to be seen and to be heard and to participate in the fray that I didn’t even know at 11 was missing because it was so long gone? Had the pattern of allowing others to carry on while I removed myself become so fully a part of my personality that I would play out this pattern until now? Was this the deceit and lying that Sandra Maitri talks about in regard to the 9’s Soul Child? I knew that I was removing myself so I was not lying/being deceitful to others as it was clear to the whole family, but I think now that I was lying/being deceitful to myself because I did not honor my desire to participate because at 11 I had already forgotten that my presence mattered. I am grappling with how this has manifested during my life and how it continues to play a role in my life.

  22. Dear All,

    I so appreciate your sharing. I’ve bee.n a bit swamped recently. I hope I am about to enter a period of more spaciousness. I look forwars to responding to your comments. Just wanted to let you know I’m still here ans liatening.
    Stephanie

  23. Hi all-
    I love reading about everyone’s childhood and 9 experiences. And, Robert thanks for the feedback. I have a guided imagery I want to share sometime, but I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to do so right now.
    I tried reading right now- but read the same page 3 times and closed the book.
    Hang in everyone.

    • You hang in as well, Dana! Sending love and support as you care for our community.

  24. Stephanie and Dana,
    thanks for checking in. I am grateful to know you’re still in and trying to cope with this mess.
    Mary Jane,
    or might we call you Sasha? I took delight in the descriptions of your family life: sitting up on the counter to watch the mayhem unfold and the lovely descriptions of ballet. I couldn’t help but key in on your comments about Maitri. I’ve been mulling that one and seeking more info. On our chart of of enneagram styles and characteristics, I see that Three’s challenge is vanity. Yet in Diagram 2, which precedes the intro to her book, is helpful in unraveling some of this although there isn’t correspondence between the terms. Are the passions in this diagram the challenge or the chief feature in the styles and characteristics chart. Either way, in that diagram, the Three’s passion is listed as lying. While I experienced that in an outward way, ie lying to others, your point that Nines could be lying to ourselves is on point and poignant. We hide from our very selves that which we cannot hold. Does that sound right? Still, Maitri’s description in the Soul Child handout is very strong, scary even.

    On another note: pertaining to my skype experience, I shared with my family how the technology reflected back my personality (the aloof observer). They found that interesting. That’s a word we of British extraction use a lot: interesting. It doesn’t require commitment, empathy, or some action to make me feel as though that weren’t true. More insight into family dynamics for me.
    that’s it for this evening
    wishing you well everybody

  25. Watch out, Nines, I am back in the saddle with a vengeance!!! Well, inadvertently, I unsubscribed from Sacred Art of Living so was no longer getting the daily questions. I thought “wow, corona virus has brought down our webinar series. Then, I noticed Gwen’s comment above, and she helped put me back in the stream. I am most grateful to you, Gwen. This short absence helped me see how committed I am to this process of growth and transformation, how willing I am to put in the daily work this calls for, and how much I miss when this isn’t available to me. There is a lot of Three coming out in this for which I am also very grateful.

    Thus, I am catching up with y’all with the daily question about the Three (listing the attributes of our soul child). I am fortunate enough to have a very positive Three as a friend, so I can observe how he gives life to his gifts. I kid him saying “when I grow up, I want to be like you.” The gentle kidding becomes reality as the Three is such a great role model for us all, regardless of enneatype.
    So, pragmatic (at times), adaptable (sometimes overly so), and driven (though counter-culturally rather than keeping up with the Joneses) are at play when I am a healthy Nine. I can be self assured and charming, diplomatic and poised though I tend to switch these attributes on and off. It would behoove me to pay attention when I do this. I rather suspect that turning off is a sign of me acting as an unhealthy Nine. Along these lines, paying attention to times when I feel self-accepting and authentic would be clear indicators that I am in a healthy state of being. Taking time to acknowledge this, feel it, take it in would no doubt help me move toward my heart point, toward my essence.

    I have known my Three friend for many years. During the better part of that time, I have found it easy to idealize him in the way Nines are prone to do. With increasing awareness, no doubt due to enneagram work, I have sensed this gap between his being in the world and some being that he himself is perhaps not aware of. That gap is similar the one I feel in myself. This realization is unsettling and also reassuring as it marks continued movement along my path …. and a reminder that our paths overlap.

    A long time ago, before I knew anything about the enneagram, I posted a Thomas Merton quote in huge font size on my book shelf. It reads “Be anything you like. Be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form. But at all costs avoid one thing: Success.” This alone may say more about me than any of the lengthy posts!?!

    The more I study the enneagram, the various types (9s, 3s, and 6s because my wife is one), the more aware I am of the word ‘paradox’ coming up. So, it really is about holding the paradox, holding the tension. While there are many aspects of Three I aspire to, I do not aspire to all of it. There are parts of my Nine that I treasure and do not want to give up. It’s like having the whole enchilada, which would include some downsides found in the Nine, but downsides found in the Three as well.

    Well, I do have some things to attend to, and I’ll get going on the next daily question this afternoon sometime. Be well wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.

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