As we were preparing to announce David's retirement on June 1, we learned that he died suddenly yesterday. We will share information about memorial service arrangements from his family as we know them. Here is the letter David wanted us to share with the Narrative Community followed by some personal reflections:
Dear friends, colleagues and Enneagram Narrative Community,
I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to evolve my Enneagram Core Faculty Emeritus and teaching status into full retirement. I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunities to teach the Enneagram to so many others for so many years. While my passion remains steadfast, my focus needs to shift to caring for my beloved wife, Judy, who suffers from memory decline, as well as my own health issues subsequent to my second open heart surgery.
As a founder of the International Enneagram Association, creator of the First International Conference held at Stanford University in the summer of 1994, and with Helen Palmer, originator of Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition, I have dedicated my time to bringing this amazing material further into the world. It has been an absolute joy and pleasure to collaborate with so many of you. And I have endless gratitude to all the teachers I have taught with and been hosted and supported by over the years.
My focus will now turn to writing. I will continue contributing to my comprehensive website and anticipate publishing my book on intimacy and the Enneagram in the next year.
With wishes of love, peace and joy to all,
Dear Enneagram friends,
Just days away from sending an announcement to the Narrative community that our co-founder, David Daniels, had decided to fully retire, we learned a few hours ago that he died yesterday.
David’s death is not a surprise, as he was confronting long-standing serious medical issues. But it is a deep shock to all of us who knew him, worked with him and loved him for thirty years. My heart is overwhelmed with complex emotions at this moment, grief at the loss of a dear friend mixed with gratitude for all he gave to me and to the world.
As this news lands in me, I flash back to February 1990 at Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park, where I attended my first Enneagram Professional Training Program (EPTP) with David Daniels and Helen Palmer. The struggles of several certifying novice teachers revealed just what skill, finesse and presence are required to transmit effectively this method we call the Enneagram Narrative.
Credit David with having the foresight to encourage and join with Helen to launch the world’s first professional training program for aspiring Enneagram teachers. Credit David with modeling those skills and setting high standards for us all. And credit David for continuing to revise and modify the program to keep it relevant almost 30 years later.
The debt of gratitude owed to David by the entire Enneagram community is enormous. In addition to co-creating the EPTP with Helen, his major contributions are legendary:
Those of us who have the privilege of knowing David personally also can attest to his loving presence, his wisdom and insight, his positive, optimistic nature, his absolutely endless energy and his playful spirit. “Are you sure you’re not a Type 7, Epicure?” I’d ask David (a Type 6, Loyal Skeptic) when he wanted to add one more element to a training or had one more novel idea! I recall many times on panels when the twinkle in his eye and impish grin on his face prefaced amazing observations and invitations to explore further.
ESNT, a not-for-profit organization, was created to continue the work of both David and Helen. Sheryl Cohen, ESNT’s current Board President writes, “David was a courageous pioneer as a physician and psychiatrist, forging a path for the Enneagram’s utility for clients and therapists alike. His initial vision of the necessity for an organization to hold and disseminate the work has led us to the vibrant and growing institution we are today.”
David, each of us, in our own way, from all corners of the globe, will carry your legacy forward.
I also want to acknowledge David’s impact on me personally. Our lives have been intertwined for almost three decades. I would not be where I am without his influence as my teacher, mentor, colleague, co-teacher and creative partner. As for my private life, few of you may know of David’s expertise in the matchmaking arena. I’m grateful for his role in bringing my husband, Paul Strasburg, and me together. We shared memorable experiences with David and his wife of 62 years, Judy, from the beauty of Asheville in the fall to the frozen tundra of northern Minnesota in January. As in any long-term relationship, David and I also navigated a few “growth moments,” which made our relationship even deeper and stronger. My heart is full of love and gratitude for him and all that he gave to me.
David’s goal was always simple: To bring the Enneagram to the world. And he did. David, may your spirit receive the outpouring of love and gratitude from us all.
Founding President and Core Faculty
Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition