I know my type. Now what?
Yes, I used to hear that a lot. In the early days of the Enneagram Monthly, we were sort of the hub of all news Enneagram. We embraced all the schools of thought as well as independent thinkers, poetry, book and movie reviews, new theories, research and more. People from around the world called us with their contributions and questions.
It was not uncommon to hear this: “I learned what my type is. Now what?” And one I really liked, “Now what, so what?!” It was a genuinely curious question, wanting to know what to do with this fascinating body of knowledge. And in fact, some people left the Enneagram behind because they weren’t able to find the value in what to “do” with the information so that it would make a difference in their lives. If you don’t know how to use the Enneagram, it remains brain candy. Enjoyable, sweet and even addictive, but not very nurturing.
Knowing the Enneagram increases your self-understanding about why you are the way you are, and can give you a great deal of compassion for yourself and others, but it doesn’t provoke change by itself. You need to know what to do with it. Also, it’s not a good idea to simply tell someone what you think their type is. That usually doesn’t go so well!
Andrea has figured out a way for us to personally experience the types through the way we move our bodies. In studying the Enneagram, we try to walk in one another’s shoes. I felt I came very close to doing this literally in Andrea’s EnneaMotion program.
– Elizabeth Wagele
Author of Are You My Type, Am I Yours?,
and The Enneagram of Parenting
My Journey with the “Now What”
Because the Enneagram is an unlimited, deep and powerful body of work, it captivated me and I kept reading about my type and the rest of them, sure that it would teach me how not to be pulled into my fixation.
I remember asking one of my teachers, “How can the Enneagram help if you find yourself going down into the lower levels of health?” I also wanted a “Now What?”!
In answering my question, I was told a lot of theory about the lines and arrows (Claudio), integration and disintegration (Don and Russ), and stress and heart points (Helen and David). But these answers didn’t help or change anything.
Because of my dance background and knowing how to embody, well, just about anything….. I knew that yes, you can embody the gifts of each type. You “move as if” you have confidence, peace, integrity, social ease, etc., and if you don’t have a neural pathway for it yet, you can create one. It’s the closest you can get to “walking in the shoes” of another type.
When a student asked, “Do I take a pass when we get to my own type?”, because they already had those gifts already and didn’t need to work on cultivating them. I knew the answer was, “No,” and that there was something else lurking for each of us with this question! The answer was looking at the shadow side of each type. There is something we can each cultivate to counteract or to antidote the powerful tendency to slip into our dark shadow.
We all have different amounts of the gifts and the shadows of all the types! EnneaMotion is a system that teaches you how to embody the gifts of each, and gives you the ability, range and flexibility to shift out of your own shadow, out of any of the shadows. You’ve got more resources than you thought, and with this technique, you can deal with difficult people and situations with greater ease while maintaining a calm center.
When triggered and the old, ineffective tendency wants to jump into action, it’s useful to draw from the gifts of another type.
The “now what” can be to embody holding your ground like the Eight does, the patience of the Nine while maintaining the loving connection of the Two.
THIS was the beginning to my answer to the “Now What?” question. As a recovering shy type Four scoring “zero” for type Eight, learning how to embody the healthy Eight qualities taught me how to hold my ground, stay present and speak up for myself. It infused me with confidence.
The greatest compliment I ever received was after teaching a workshop when someone said, “You can’t be a Four. You’ve gotta be an Eight!” I loved it because it meant they simply saw my confidence!
This method is simple, easy-to-use and will provide lasting change. As you change and grow, how you use it will also change and grow, deepening you and your ability to be present, remain calm no matter what, always responding to life’s challenges as your best and highest self.
Your comments and questions are welcome! For instance, what struck you the most? Have you had this experience? If so, what did you do?