You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
-Dr. Maya Angelou
Who are you?
How do you know?
How many of our reactions to life’s pains, obstacles, joys, and experiences are the sum of our experiences? How many responses to what we encounter are unique to who we truly are?
Humans have longed to know themselves and have a skilled command of the mind and body in union with the soul for decades. We catch glimpses of our true selves; we hear stories about our childhood character traits. During crisis moments, we launch into behavior that feels both natural and foreign.
If you are anything like me, you know that you are meant to make a profound change in the world and want to connect more deeply with your authentic power. Your knowing is what gave you the impulse to pick up this journal and continue this work. I see you; I honor you.
I walk alongside you on the journey of self-mastery and learning to command every virtue, expression of love, and positive human character quality at the time that it is needed.
Early in childhood, the original Good that we were created with is abundant. We see it in children all the time. They are courageous, affectionate, unselfconscious. Secure in the love of their caregivers, kids are content, and confident that all their needs met.
For each of us, somewhere between the ages of two and five, we learn that life isn't fair. People leave us. We move, experience loss, rejection, pain of numerous names. Children are so smart. As young humans, we learn to pretend and protect. That original good is disrupted by the trauma, and as a result, we develop core motivations. Desires drive us to what is comfortable. Fears avert us from what is painful.
Our habits and behaviors, over time, become a strategy that is known as personality. There are glimpses of our True Self in there, and we've constructed our identity to protect ourselves. The word “personality” is rooted in the Latin word “persona” which means “theatrical mask.” This is an apt definition of how we use our personalities today. It’s a mask of sorts that we put on every day in our attempt to be ok.
The problem is, the view of our personality, like our childhood worldview, is distorted. This distortion plays out in our daily interactions, conversations, and relationships. We step out of reality and into the realm of our past trauma. It feels like what happened then is happening again, and our personality—our mask—shows up to protect us.
Once children, we inevitably become older. Our bodies get taller. Our toys get more powerful. Our playgrounds become more massive. If our worldview doesn’t change, then we maintain the perspective of a child when it comes to the way the world works. Our viewpoint on ourselves is also that of a child, and we have an opportunity to experience the beauty of indeed "growing up." We embrace reality, becoming wholly present and engaged. In doing so, find the rootedness, connection, security that we crave—within ourselves.
The Enneagram of Personality has been a powerful tool for dismantling our distorted worldview and developing a deep understanding and compassion for the self. This begins the lifelong journey of elevating one’s consciousness to reconnect with the True Self, our True Essence.
Sandra Maitri, an Enneagram thought leader in the Western Hemisphere, and author of The Spiritual Dimension of The Enneagram: Nine Faces of The Soul, says, “The Enneagram of personality describes nine different personality or ego types, each with characteristic mental, emotional, and behavioral patterns. It also describes, if properly understood, how and why these patterns arise as we lose touch with our spiritual depths in early childhood. The enneagram's deeper function is to point the way to who we are beyond the level of the personality, a dimension of ourselves that is infinitely more profound, more interesting, more rewarding, and more real."
My goal is to provide a place and space discovering that deeper dimension, and reconnecting with our spiritual depths. I intend, with this journal, to give you a space to think through and write down our understanding as it grows, so that we can "gain deeper access to the full dimensionality of who and what we are," as Sandra teaches. This journal will have some guiding components, some self-inquiry prompts, and then some free space for you to self-reflect and observe.
It is my prayer that we will continue the work of waking up to our true selves, in community, for as long as we are in this world together.