Having braved the sleet and, in some cases, potluck dining, a stalwart group of learners made it to session 1 of our Enneagram Autobiography class. We met in the broom closet (er, Emerson room) of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville.
Once we settled into the space, introductions ensued. I told my story and suggested that Mary Beth go last. We had a few participants who were too new to the Enneagram to know their types (including one who said she knew only that the Enneagram was about "shapes and intuition", which I wrote down, because I thought it was both apt and interesting), an 8, and a goodly number of 4s. I tried to skip Mary Beth, but she talked anyway.
Then, Mary Beth gave out this handout, which is about how to go about determining your type.
Wasting no time, I drew some shapes on the flip chart. The shapes were: a circle, a triangle, and a hexad, or figure made up of six lines. Together, they make up the Enneagram.
Mary Beth explained each of the nine personality types in turn. Celebrities that were mentioned included:
Type 1 -- Hillary Clinton, Martha Stewart, Al Gore
Type 2 -- Mother Teresa, Kathy Bates' character in Misery
Type 3 -- Tom Cruise, Mitt Romney
Type 4 -- James Dean, Judy Garland, Moana from The Bachelor: Paris (Check out this article where she talks about starting a charity for struggling artists and creating her own line of jewelry!)
Type 5 -- Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, David Lynch, Tim Burton, Stephen King, me
Type 6 -- Woody Allen, Mel Gibson, Meg Ryan, Mary Beth
Type 7 -- Robin Williams, Jim Carrey
Type 8 -- Danny Devito, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Type 9 -- Did we mention any type 9 celebrities? Oh well, part of being a type 9 is being overlooked.
If you need a memory-refresher, you can find brief descriptions of the types on pages 10 - 12 of The Wisdom of the Enneagram.
Next, we moved on to the real focus of the class, which is exploring our own lives. To start, we passed out sheets of paper and suggested that everyone write a "bare bones" biography of themselves, just covering the major events, concerns, and relationships of each decade of their lives -- one page per decade. Full instructions for this exercise are on pages 5 and 6 of The Wisdom of the Enneagram. Guiding questions for this exercise were:
--Where did I live during this decade?
-- What were my most important relationships?
-- What were the major events of this time period?
-- What was I doing in terms of career, job, or school?
-- What happened within my family?
-- What goals did I have?
-- What were my conflicts, worries, and concerns?
-- How did I typically spend my time and energy?
Then, we adjourned a bit early due to increasing snowfall.
-- We'll check in and talk briefly about our bios and any self-typing revelations.
-- Since we didn't talk much about intuition (only shapes), I plan to bring in some Helen Palmer material. She writes about the Enneagram and intuition.
-- There will be a handout further explaining the triads and direction of integration and disintegration.
-- We will focus in on the heart triad and type 4 especially, and fill out our bios with issues of shame and self-image.
-- Rumor has it, we will be moving to the larger meditation (er, Thoreau) room.
-- There will be food from Chinatown restaurant in the social area stating at 6:00. Cost is $7 per person.
What you should be doing now:
-- Finishing up your "bare bones" bio
-- Looking at pages 125 - 205 of The Wisdom of the Enneagram. These pages cover the "heart triad" types, and will let you know what you're in for next session.
-- Making comments on this blog post.
What you should bring to the next session:
-- Your notebook with your bio.
-- Your copy of The Wisdom of the Enneagram, if you have one.
-- Your enthusiasm for learning.
-- An interested friend.
If you are following along from a remote location:
-- Feel free to keep up with the class by doing the exercises, reading the book, and posting your comments and questions.
If you are following along from a semi-remote location in middle Tennessee:
-- Please feel free to join us for the next session. We would love to have you!