Navigating New Territory in Self Work and the Enneagram

By Neil Anderson – May 2016

As professional bodyworker (Massage Therapist) I am often with clients who desire a change of some sort from their current state. Usually feelings of discomfort, fatigue, or chronic pain accompanied by the attendant conundrum of how to be free of constriction is the general case. Often it is not so much old age as old habits that contribute to or cause their discomfort. Though this may be the usual presentation in Massage Therapy, isnt this also true for all types of self work?

In addition if the therapy is successful or effective we find ourselves in new and often uncharted waters as we try to re align ourselves around a new axis even if the shift was only temporary. If nothing else there is a brief glimpse of the realization that the old structures are no longer adequate for where we desire to go, even if we default back to them. If through repetition we gradually loosen our reliance on old habits we may find ourselves simply unable to go back to the old tools and fixed responses. This can be liberating, confusing, frightening or ecstatic all at once and that dear readers, is where I find my life as I piece together this article.

As it turned out having no idea about what I was going to present here was the most productive wellspring from which to dip my bucket and share with my conscious community.

Enneagram work(or any worthwhile path) calls us into an observed, non judgmental relationship with our experience- a faith if you will in the present moment to reveal what is needed for us to thrive. The last two years of my life have been punctuated with loss of loved ones and friends, financial gain and loss, passing opportunities, celebration and much more, but staying attendant to the living landscape of my experience has been the catalyst and driver to put me in my current process, which is one in which I'm finding that the old reference points don't work anymore. Truthfully I am neither fish nor fowl at this point.

When I fixate at my habitual point as type 5 I am information driven, forming conceptual frameworks in place of experience and generally life avoidant. You know the list. Now little of this is helpful anymore and I find myself adrift in a leaky life raft that no amount of conceptual duct tape will fix. I don't quite fit my former clothes. Going back and staying is not an option.

My emotions are always just below the surface now, pregnant under my skin insistent on enriching and moistening my presentation and bearing, paving the way for greater empathy. My attention span for reading is much shorter and often I'm unable to draw upon the mosaic of past ideas, words, quotes that made me sound so professorial. There is the attendant feeling that I'm growing stupider and my opinions are being revealed as merely provisional.

In addition I have tapered off on the Enneagram literature and instead I go through much of the day just trying to stay present. These are new waters and past maps not only feel occasionally cumbersome and pretentious but are demanding to be taken up into the service of my higher intelligence whatever that may be, and to become its mouthpiece and servant.

It is here that the centrality and importance of community in the work is becoming more obvious, as well as the rich menu of perceptual, emotional realities available to anyone willing to engage the full circle of the Enneagram in earnest. It quite simply isn't always necessary to have answers to proceed-big news for a type 5 or anyone relying on certainty in whatever way it shows up to get through. This is where I am, and by sharing a little transparency about my process I hope this serves as a bit of encouragement to anyone who may feel that they are loosening their moorings to the habitual, the known, and the fossilized reactions of the past.

This community has allowed me to get in touch with my inner redneck, and if you're wondering what that is, its that part in each one of us that does not want the world to grow bigger than our childhood reality. Do I often go back to old behaviors? You bet. But at least now I can live with the paradox of being embarassingly conditioned and infinitely free. I have the Conscious Living Center and a community of supporters to thank for that. May my experience illuminate and inform yours.  Peace.

comments powered by Disqus
Website design, development, and content tools from NetCrafters - Cincinnati, OH