After a month’s long hiatus, I am finally ready to renew my commitment to this blog. I apologize to all those who have supported me along this journey and have thus been disappointed in my commitment to writing here. I want to thank you for not giving up on me, and assure you that you mean a great deal to me. I hope that my blog will continue to instills inspiration and provides knowledge. But enough – we know how much time can be wasted by steeping ourselves in our regrets; I will move forward with a strengthened pledge to write, here, several times a week.
Two weeks ago, my mother and I were talking over the phone during my commute home from work. It was a conversation like most of our conversations, “how are you”s and “what have you been up to”s were exchanged before we reached the meat of our chatter. We talked about work, food, and – chiefly – family friends. One of her friends, Alison, had introduced her to a book that Alison’s son, Alex, uses quite a bit in his profession as a mental health therapist. My mom told me that she had been skeptical at first, and disappointed in the results that the free online test had delivered, but as she read more about her results she began to see the correlations within her life that backed the tests’ findings.
I couldn’t tell you when I became interested in personality tests (perhaps its all the Criminal Minds that I’ve watched over the years): but using my Facebook as a testament, I do enjoy taking them (whether it be a psychologically-backed test like Myers Briggs, or “What Disney Princess Are You?”). So when my mother introduced me to the enneagram, I was unabashedly interested in her results. I had her read long explanatory paragraphs out of the book she had gotten from Alison about the enneagram and its results. When I arrived home from my commute, we hung up and I took the online enneagram quiz that my mom had inboxed me while we were talking.
When the Enneotype “Type One: the Perfectionist” flashed across the screen at the end of the test, I wish I could say I was surprised. There were a couple of Types that I wished I could’ve tailored my answers toward – but lying to myself wouldn’t get me anywhere. Thus, thirty minutes after having hung up the phone with my mother, I called her back to tell her my results. She dutifully read me excerpts from the book about Type One’s, and I felt a combination of elation and revulsion at the words of a stranger describing my personal life, code of ethics, and deep set beliefs with astounding accuracy. Twenty minutes later, I hung up the phone with my mom for a second time, with her promise that she’d send me the book ASAP.
As with most things, the enneagram has a margin of error involved. This margin was described to me as such: “red isn’t just one shade, there are thousands of different shades that fall into the category of red.” True (and sadly, I can’t put the whole blame of this on Crayola’s shoulders alone). When I received the book my mother sent me, The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by counselor Ian Morgan Cron and Enneagram master teacher Suzanne Stabile, I immediately flipped to the “Type One” chapter. The first section written down breaks up the Type One personality into three subcategories – the healthy, the average, and the unhealthy. Obviously, I have traits that fall into each of these subcategories. I kept reading. I nodded at positive judgements and sighed over negative revelations. I learned about “Ones” as children, “Ones” in relationships, “Ones” at work.
You may ask, why are you writing about your self-help enneagram book on a blog about living as thoughtful and as simple a life as one can manage? That’s a straightforward question that deserves a straightforward answer. I am writing about the enneagram because it has explained things to me about the way I think and act that had not been made clear before my introduction to this book. It has interpreted my need for a clean bathroom sink, an organized kitchen cabinet, and an artfully arranged coffee table bedecked with perfectly asymmetrically stacked coffee table books and a cheerful candle not as Obsessive Compulsive, but as having high expectations of myself and others – the way in which I look at the world. Thus, it has become clearer to be – through this study – why I want a simple, thoughtful lifestyle.
I haven’t truly focused on myself in my blog, as of yet. Rather, I have focused on the things, my surroundings, that have been made simpler by my sorting, dismissing, and cultivating hand. I have focused on the how but not the who. Before reading this book, I would have explained leaving the discussion of myself out of my blog as a way to allow you – my readers – to imagine yourselves in my stead (sort of like the way a realtor impresses upon those who are selling their home that they must remove their photos from the walls and personal affects so that potential buyers can imagine themselves in the space). Now I realize that I have been leaving myself out of my writing because I am flawed – imperfect in my search for the wholly simplistic, thoughtful lifestyle.
This study in enneagrams, starting out as a fun quiz and a book to quench my curiosity, has grown into something that has allowed me to take a step back and observe my actions in a way that aids my understanding and expands my knowledge as to why I want the lifestyle that I practice. I have suggested taking the quiz to my friends, Sawyer has taken the quiz (he is a Type Seven: the Enthusiast), and, obviously, my mom has taken the quiz (we’re still encouraging my sister to take it, as we are very curious as to what her results will be). If you are interested in taking the quiz I took, it’s free and takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. Please, please feel free to contact me about any comments or questions you may have! I enjoy hearing from you and welcome any and all feedback!
Have a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday, all!