making our way home
convergence and our enneagram conversation
My resistance to the Enneagram
It was hard for me to begin an enneagram study. Mostly because of the popularity of it all now (this will make sense in a moment). I just couldn’t get motivated to dig in to something that was referenced in so many social circles, instagram memes, and casual questions, “what’s your number?” It seems all so superficial and popular. So I resisted.
The season of Lent was now coming around, and I began to consider where our community was, where I was, and what might be the theme of this years trek through the forty days preceeding Easter. Lent is a season where we hold a mirror up to our life — where we are honest, evaluative, and even deconstructing of what we have come to believe. Many of the years I’ve led our community through Lent (as we call it, The Forty), it has been a way to lean into the darker and impermanent side of mortality — it all begins on Ash Wednesday with “ashes to ashes” on our lips. But the growing, gnawing, unrelenting language of our community has moved toward the boundlessness of God’s Love, the immanent nearness of Light, and the overwhelming gift of Life. Lent still exists — in all of it’s reflection, fasting, and honest evaluation. However, we are not looking to see ourselves as mostly or primarily broken, fickle, and faint. We, collectively, have had plenty of years to hone these kinds of voices. And I dare say, these voices have very little of the God Voice in them.
The things most resonate with us, as a community, have seemed to be that which echoes not the already anchored voices of our neediness, but the unfamiliar calling of Love. With this in mind, I kept coming back to this theme of being at home — at home in our skin. To be at home is to be present HERE. To be home is to be present NOW. To be home is not — one day i’ll be this or that. But we are often not at home. And often — whatever message of faith that we have been given, often does little to ground us in HOME, NOW, HERE.
“May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul. May you realize that you are never alone, that your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe. May you have respect for your individuality and difference. May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique, that you have a special destiny here, that behind the façade of your life there is something beautiful and eternal happening. May you learn to see your self with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees you in every moment.”
— Ian Morgan Cron, The Road Back to You
Can we find home in our own skin? Do we want to? Do we even know how?
Have we (our beliefs, our practices, our faith) devalued our home that we no longer wish to occupy it?
Yeah, this all led me to the enneagram. My first exposure (other than the annoying memes and influx of pop-enneagram) to the enneagram was through Megan Tietz and her Sorta Awesome Podcast (especially Episode 12 — at the about 47 minute mark). I heard Leigh Kramer tell her story and it 100% resonated in a way that was revealing and hopeful. Her language exposed things in me that made sense of my actions TEN MINUTES BEFORE. I was scrolling through my instagram asking the question, “why am i not special?” to this person and comparing myself to the work of this person. All highlighting my depth of struggle at this moment in my life.
I grabbed the following books that evening and began my study.
A Change in My Own Perception
I was now welcoming the enneagram wisdom into my life. I couldn’t wait to share what I was finding and also find out what others knew in our community. Yes, the enneagram was still popular. Yes, studying the enneagram wasn’t original or obscure. But it was needed. So, i put aside what I later discovered was a tendency of type 4 — and dove into the conversation anyway. And our community has grown from the process.
Our prayer has been:
May we recognize our presence; know our power; and view the light of our soul.
May we realize our belonging and experience our intimate connectedness.
May we see ourselves through the eyes of God.
And our questions have been, WHAT IF . . .
What if light was seen where we thought darkness resided?
What if truth was seen where we had been only aware of something less true?
What if we saw something beautiful in us, in others, that has been there all along?
What if we made a way out of our loops, echoes, and patterns of disintegration?
What if wholeness was made more evident in integration?
What if we use this as a tool for growth?
“. . . we do not understand ourselves and do not know who we are. But what treasures this soul may harbor within it, who dwells in it, and what great value it has, these are the things we seldom consider, and hence people are so little concerned with preserving their beauty with all care.”
- Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle
What has emerged?
We encountered the enneagram as a community — a conversation — and a meditation on the types as they have been described by so many capable and wise writers.
But we also considered the types through art and songwriting. Sleeping at Last has put out a song for each enneagram type that has guided our way in identifying our types. The songs are incredibly revealing and beautifully crafted. We encourage you to take time to listen to the songs.
We also spent much of our time considering what it means to be empathetic of each enneagram type. Sure, this is a practice of self-discovery — but it is also a community practice of how to be at home with others in the world. Community, at it’s best, is a safe space to learn how to see through the eyes of another — a sacred space to honor our similarities and differences. So much of our language was about forgiving us for not recognizing the value each type brings.
We also connected practices of silence, centering prayer, and breath prayer with the enneagram conversation. We grew so much through the work of Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram by Adele and Doug Calhoun & Clare and Scott Loughrige — which shares a breath prayer for each type. We breath in (inhale) “We are the image of God . . .” and breath out (exhale) these unique phrases — letting go, relaxing, into the words —
We hope this guide might be an encouragment for you to be more at home with yourself — and offer a safe place for others to be at home as well.
A compilation of the work we’ve been doing is here: