Enneagram Workshop and a Week-Long Exercise

I first heard about the Enneagram several years ago, and pretty thoroughly brushed it off.  It's a personality type tool, and because I'd been mistyped, none of the information seemed all that insightful.  About a year ago, Shauna Niequist mentioned how much she loves the Enneagram, and I gave it another shot.  This time, I took the survey and reviewed the types for myself, carefully evaluating each one.  WHOA!  SEVEN! Well, NOW it's helpful!

Unlike the Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram offers insight not just on what you're like, but how you're most likely to make unhealthy choices (and how to make healthier ones).  As I read about each type's unique motivations, I started to understand that I am not really the baseline for normal.  (Yeah, that came to me a little late.)  When other people made choices that didn't make sense to me, I finally began to think, "they must have different needs from mine" instead of "what an idiot!"

This weekend, I went to a workshop taught by Michael Naylor on the wisdom of the Enneagram.  For each of the types, Michael recommended a week-long exercise of abstinence from that Thing We Do that keeps us from spiritual growth.  Of course, that Thing We Do is also the thing that helps us dodge the relentless Inner Critic.  (Nobody said it was going to be a fun week.)  In fact, it's pretty reasonable to talk about some type-specific habits as addictions of personality.  For some it might be helping too much, for others it might be isolating themselves.

For still others, it might be refusing to commit when there are so many possibilities and options out there.


When Michael got to Sevens, the assignment was, "For one week, FINISH one project at a time before moving on to the next one."

Wait-- what?  No, you don't understand-- if I did that, I couldn't do lots of different things!


I'm trying it this week.  If I perish, you'll know why.  I will have clawed my way out of my own skin to avoid being trapped.  I'm going to try to let you know how it goes.


  1. You'd better keep us posted!

  2. Robin, if I don't spontaneously combust, I'll touch base.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins