Standing on the Edge

Fear and Courage from the Perspective of Type 6

By Deanna Martin, MA, LPC - May 2010

So you know that feeling you get when you stand on the edge of a cliff?  Well it is probably different for all the Enneagram types, but for me as a six on the Enneagram, the center of the fear triad, there is a tingling in my stomach, sweaty palms, frightful imaginations, and, yet at the same time there is a deep attraction to the edge.

Even in the fear, something pulls you closer to the edge.  There is a desire to see what is on the other side just over the rim.   You creep your way closer or if you are counter phobic you walk right up without hesitation.  What is it about the edge that is so compelling?  Why not just stand back and look at the scenery from afar?  My take on it is, that if you are still breathing then life is still calling out to you whether we hear it or listen. 

Life calls out to life.

If you are paying attention, you notice that along with fear exists another force – courage.  And where can this courage be found?

As a head type, I want to manufacture this courage. I want to figure it out, theorize about it, analyze it, intellectualize it, and fanaticize about it. I wonder who has it and where and how can I get some?  And once I find out who has it, I hope and pray they haven’t run out of it before I can get my hands on it.  I act as if it is an exhaustible resource. All the while never getting closer to the edge to the place I really want to be.

So once again, where can courage be found?  Clues are found in the root word of courage.  The root word of courage is cour the French word for “heart.”  And it is precisely in our heart that courage can be found in limitless quantities.  With each beat comes a call…

lub dub..a soft whisper

live… lub dub… live now..

lub dub… Live Courageously…lub dub.

It grows louder… LIVE!

It rises up from deep within…

Lub dub… Live now!

Lub dub. Growing even louder…




With and urgency, we are jolted out of sleep and into the heart of life! This courage has a life of its own and it is living in you and me.  It is found at the edge of that cliff.  It bubbles up like the river below and shines like the sun on the craggy rock. It is spacious like the blue sky and soars like the eagle. 

It is felt in a way that is undeniable. For a moment the veil has been lifted and we can see and feel the truth of whom we are.  We can see in this moment at the edge of the cliff that life is beautiful.  We see that this outward picture is only a reflection of our world within.  We know the truth for this moment.  We are safe.  All that we need lies within and indeed there is nothing to fear but fear itself.  Life is to be lived.

What is your edge? What is it that you would do if you were not afraid? How does life call out to you?  What is it that you cannot do?  That is your edge.  Courage is waiting.

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