Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Recap of the January 14th Spirit of the Enneagram Class

Well, tonight's class is off, so perhaps you'd like to stroll down memory lane with a recap of the class we did two weeks ago.

First, we went around the circle talking about our efforts at self-typing. There were a 4 and a 6 in the room, and someone who is probably a 5 but might be a 1, and someone who is probably a 1 but might be a 5, plus a type 2-or-9-why-not-split-the-difference-and-call-it-1, and someone who tests 3 or 7 or 8, but who is probably really a 6, and you get the picture. Luckily, the Enneagram itself is better than any Enneagram test. (If you've got your type narrowed down to a few, check out . There, you can click on the matrix for distinctions between two types. To get the full info, you have to register as a member, but it's free to do so.)

Next, as a means of introducing/ reinforcing some characteristics of the types, I presented The Enneagram of Cute Puppies, with the following descriptions:

1. The Stickler -- upright, neat, and attentive. Wants to be good.
2. The Giver -- a nice, sweet dog who wants to be loved.
3. The Achiever/ Performer -- wants to win at the dog show. Shows off his ribbons.
4. The Tragic Romantic -- a melancholy puppy who longs to attract a rescuer.
5. The Thinker/ Observer -- a watchful dog with an overdeveloped head center.
6. The Questioner -- a high stung, nervous, but very engaging little dog. (At this point, Mary Beth told an engaging little story about a hyper little dog.)
7. The Enthusiast -- just wants to run and play.
8. The Boss/ Challenger -- thinks he is a big dog already.
9. The Mediator -- a sleepy dog who doesn't mind being put in the middle of a bun.

Then, we talked about the Enneagram's structure -- particularly, it's organization into triads. You can read all about it here.

This material corresponds with pages 49 - 94 in The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tomorrow Night's Class May Be Canceled

Tomorrow night's session of the Spirit of the Enneagram class may be canceled due to bad weather. We will follow the lead of Davidson County public schools. If they cancel classes, so will we.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Type 8 from the World of Seinfeld

Talking with a friend today, I was reminded of a character from the show Seinfeld who illustrates type 8 perfectly. The character is Elaine's father, Alton Benes, who appeared in a season two episode entitled "The Jacket."
Here's what happens in the episode:

Jerry buys a new suede jacket and gives his old jacket to Kramer. The new jacket has an inner lining with pink stripes, but is otherwise perfect for Jerry. Later on, Jerry, George, and Elaine are supposed to meet Elaine's father at his hotel (he is in from out of town) so they can all go to dinner together. However, Elaine is delayed helping Kramer with an errand, so George and Jerry meet Alton and are stuck alone with him for a long time before she arrives.
Jerry and George are intimidated by Elaine's father right away. Like many 8s, he is physically imposing. Early on, they try to make small talk with him, as follows:

ALTON: Looks like rain.
GEORGE: (Perks up) I know, I know, that's what they said.
ALTON: Who said?
GEORGE: The weather guy, Dr. Waldo.
ALTON: I don't need anybody to tell me it's gonna rain.
GEORGE: No, of course not. I didn't..
ALTON: All I have to do is stick my head out the window. (Waiter shows up with the drinks) Which one's suppose to be the funny guy?
GEORGE: (Pointing at Jerry) Oh, he's the comedian.
JERRY: I'm just a regular person.
GEORGE: No, no. He's just being modest.
ALTON: We had a funny guy with us in Korea. A tailgunner. They blew his brains out all over the Pacific. (Long pause) There's nothing funny about that.

In this passage of the script, an 8's characteristic bluntness and directness is established. Alton is not only physically intimidating, but verbally intimidating as well.
At this point, Elaine calls and says she will be a while. George and Jerry excuse themselves to the bathroom and discuss the possibility of leaving.

GEORGE: How could she leave us alone with this lunatic? Ten more minutes, and that's it! I'm leaving. I have to tell you, this guy scares me.
JERRY: The waiter was trembling.
GEORGE: If she doesn't show up, we can't possibly have dinner with him alone.
JERRY: How are we gonna get out of it?
GEORGE: We'll say we're frightened and we have to go home.

Eventually, Elaine joins them and the group proceeds to dinner. In typical 8 fashion, Alton makes all the decisions:

ALTON: Alright, boys. We'll go to that Pakistani restaurant on 46th Street. You're not afraid of a little spice, are you?

Even Alton's choice of restaurant is telling. 8s love "spice" and intensity.
As the group walks outside, they notice it is snowing.

JERRY: (To George) Snow.. snow, that can't be good for suede, can it?
GEORGE: I wouldn't think so.
JERRY: What should I do? (To Alton) We're taking a cab, aren't we?
ALTON: Cab? It's only five blocks.
GEORGE: (To Jerry) Why don't you just turn it inside out?
JERRY: Inside out! Great.
(Jerry turns his jacket inside out, showing of the pink striped insides. Alton stops him before Jerry can leave the hotel)
ALTON: Wait a minute. What the hell do you call this?
JERRY: Oh, I turned my jacket inside out.
ALTON: Well, you look like a damn fool!
JERRY: (Like a child) Well, it's a new suede jacket. It might get ruined.
ALTON: Well, you're not going to walk down the street with me and my daughter dressed like that! That's for damn sure!

In this moment, Alton is not only domineering, but he is also showcasing another quality of type 8; he sees telling Jerry how to wear his jacket as a way of looking out for his daughter. 8s often view those they love as extensions of themselves and go to great lengths to protect them.
In the end, Jerry's new jacket is ruined and he ends up giving it to Kramer as well. You can watch a big chunk of this episode here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recap of the January 7th Spirit of the Enneagram Class

For those of you who were there, or who wished you could be there, here is what happened at the January 7th Spirit of the Enneagram class:

First, we introduced ourselves and chatted a little about our previous experience (if any) with the Enneagram. While some folks were old hands, most were relatively new to the system. A lot of people did have experience with the MBTI, though, so we talked a bit about how the two systems differ. I issued my usual dire warnings about how you probably won't be able to determine your Enneagram type by taking a quiz.
Our historian, Mary Beth, went over the events leading to the e-gram as we know it. Click here for a history lesson. Then, I talked about the meaning of the e-gram symbol itself, quite apart from its application to personality. A version of that information (plus a little recap of Star Wars) can be found here.
Next, we did a little self-reflection exercise. Participants were asked to write on the following topic:

Describe a person you know or know of who is very different from you. This person could be a friend, family member, or coworker, or even a character you have read about in a book. Explain how this person is different from you and what you think led to those differences.

We self-reflected for as long as we could stand it, which turned out to be about 20 minutes.
Being unable to put off an actual discussion of personality psychology any longer, we briefly introduced the types by talking about their characteristic sins and virtues. Highlights included Mary Beth's discussion of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a type 3, and David's characterization of type 9 as a "chair warmer."
We assigned the following homework:

Make some attempt to determine your Enneagram type, or to at least narrow it down to a couple of possibilities. Mary Beth's advice on how to go about doing so can be found here.

This lesson corresponded primarily to pages 7 - 26 in The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and we do recommend that you get the book.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Follow this Blog

If you have navigated to this blog, it might be easier to "follow" it. Just look in the column to the right and click on "follow this blog." Don't let Megan be out there all alone.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Spirit of the Enneagram Class Syllabus

This is the plan:

1/7 Intros
History of the e-gram symbol
An exercise in self-reflection
Hw: take an e-gram test

1/14 Talk about test results
The e-gram of cute puppies
Overview of all types
The triadic model

1/21 Grounding meditation
The gut types – 8, 9, and 1

1/28 Open-heart meditation
The heart types – 2, 3, and 4
Mary Beth tells the gnip-gnop story

2/4 Guided meditation
The head types – 5, 6, and 7

2/11 Q & A
applying the lessons of the e-gram

2/18 Loaded e-gram questions