A body-centered approach to nine Enneagram ways to grow. Quick suggestions for each Type to assist your personal growth.
Life is busy, particularly as things start unlocking as the COVID curve improves. Being busy means we can easily neglect our own personal growth.
As well as a shortage of time, the intricacies of the Enneagram can sometimes feel like an info overload. With everything there is to learn about the Enneagram, it can feel like a head/knowledge-centered study, and we know it’s infinitely more. There are three centers — head (mind), heart(feelings), and body/gut (action) and to be fully conscious we need all three to be functioning healthily. (See more on the three centers here.)
For example, you may be a heart-centered type, but your other two centers are also important when it comes to integration.
Today I’m going to look at the Enneagram through the body/gut (action) center and suggest one thing for each Type to do to work on becoming healthier.
From a body-centered perspective then, even if it’s only for a day, you could:
Let go of the need to say: “I should improve myself by…,” when it comes to your body. Become aware of how you judge the food you eat, aspects of your body, and all other physical ways you restrict and even punish yourself. Accept yourself as you are. Your body with everything that you view as being “imperfect,” is who you are. The way you are is the way you’re meant to be.
Benefit: In accepting your body and yourself as perfect as they are, you reach real perfection.
Care for yourself. You’re great at caring for others, but today, ask what you’d most like for yourself: a massage, time in nature, a special food… If you’ve set aside the day for yourself, be prepared for that call asking for your help and create that boundary that allows you to say: “I’m not able to help today, but would be happy tomorrow.” If the person asking really loves and cares for you, they’ll accept this.
Benefit: Realizing that the ability to love and care for yourself allows you to truly love and care for others without the expectation or need for reciprocation.
Take time to smell the roses. Sounds simple enough but for motivated, busy Threes it can be much harder to be than to do. Unplug the laptop and without your mobile, go into nature, practice deep breathing exercises, or meditate. You could also take part in a non-competitive sport. Or, read a book that isn’t related to work or self-improvement, (as in The Top Five Things You Can Do to Achieve your Goals).
Benefit: What seems like taking a break, will enable you to work more efficiently.
Create a structured routine. While the idea of waiting for your creativity to arise before you take action may appeal, in reality, it’s simply procrastination. (Read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert it’s brilliant at addressing the issue of avoiding expressing our creativity.) My artist husband sets a timer for himself to paint, otherwise, he quickly distracts himself by daydreaming about what he’s going to paint, etc.
Benefit: Having structure in your day will allow you to truly be creative and produce great work. (Four moves to One = discipline).
Get that body engaged in an activity. Being a great thinker is wonderful, but you need to ground that thinking in the body. So today, run, hike, swim, do yoga, dance or whatever exercise inspires you. Ditto when it comes to eating. Trash that leftover pizza and take time away from work to make a great fresh salad or soup.
Benefit: Having a strong healthy body, will create a more focused mind.
Take a risk. By that, I’m not suggesting you should bungee jump from the top of your office skyscraper, but rather that you do something unfamiliar. This could be anything from changing your standard lunch order from the pasta salad to the quinoa one, to walking a different route to work, taking up a new sport, meeting a different group of people, or learning a new skill.
Benefit: By moving into the unknown, you’re demonstrating trust in your ability to do so, and trust in the world itself. Then you’ll experience the satisfaction of expanding your world.
Find joy in the ordinary. Instead of setting up a string of exciting engagements, try taking some simple (and possibly even boring) task and look for the joy in it. Jack Kornfield wrote a book After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, about how he had an ecstatic spiritual experience but then had to return to the practicalities of daily living. True self-mastery will find joy in every task, from making the bed to washing-up. It’s about being fully present with what you’re doing.
Benefit: Master this and boredom can’t exist. The ordinary will be extraordinary.
Swap working hard and playing hard with allowing yourself time to relax. By that, I don’t mean having drinks with your mates but giving yourself the time for being quiet — for not being in survival mode. Lust is the Passion of an Eight. It drives Eights to constantly live in a space of wanting, I lust for X so I need to work to make it happen. Constantly driving and pitting yourself against the world is exhausting. (Plus, this intensity can scare people off.) Learn then to sometimes relinquish control.
Benefit: Your health will improve and living life with less intensity will open the doors to more intimate connection with others.
Commit to taking up an activity. Slothfulness is the Passion of Nines. This is the inability to show up for yourself and can appear as emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical neglect. As we’re looking at the body/gut today examine how you resist being in the world by being inactive. Look to connect with your body and develop your potential by doing something physical — gym, running, hiking, a walk in nature with friends, all are ways of taking care of yourself.
Benefit: By connecting with your body you connect with your sense of self as well as feeling more fully awake and alive.
Essentially we are all Nine Enneagram Types, you may want to implement other Type’s suggestions as well as doing your own.
Ann Gadd is the author of The Enneagram of Eating, Sex and the Enneagram, and the Enneagram kid’s series of 9 illustrated fun books: Percy Perfect (Type 1), Hazel Helper (Type 2), Sally Star (Type 3) and the rest of the series.