In 1998 I attended my first Narrative Enneagram class. I knew the basics of the Enneagram and thought that I might be a Type One, but I wasn’t sure.
During the class, the teachers explained that a Type One was a body type. Ha! I thought that couldn’t be right – I must be a head type! The voice in my head was constant, always active – judging what I was doing, checking how things were going, always looking at others. And, by the way, what is a body type? I didn’t understand, and thought the teachers must be wrong.
Fast forward to 2019. This memory is funny to me now that I understand how my type was in action at the time. My quest for understanding my patterns of thinking, feeling and sensing has come a long way. Over the past two decades, I certified as a Narrative Enneagram teacher, attended numerous Learning Community weekends, participated in Narrative Enneagram retreats, worked on teacher conferences, attended IEA conferences, taught classes, learned and participated in somatic work. I now serve as TNE Board President. I have had powerful and wonderful inner experiences and met lifelong teachers and friends on this journey. And I still have work to do.
I recently hosted an engagement party for one of my nieces, with other nieces and nephews attending, all in their 30s and 40s. Someone brought up the Enneagram and soon everyone was engaged in the conversation and asking questions. Some knew their type because I had done typing interviews with them, or they had attended one of my workshops with their significant others. Some had heard about the Enneagram from their friends, some learned about it at work.
This experience made me realize that most individuals are interested in understanding themselves better. They pay attention to their lives and relationships, and want to know how to get along with their partner, their boss, their siblings, or their children. Everyone wants to know, “What is the best type for me to be in relationship with?”
Here is what I want to say. The Enneagram is much more than a personality system. It can play a vital role in enticing individuals to begin to wonder about themselves. It offers an important personal and spiritual hook toward further inner inquiry – AND a foundation that naturally leads to deeper inner work.
The Narrative Enneagram is an important and welcoming place to start the journey into your inner self. For me, it was the beginning of a 20-year path that led to other teachings and practices, all in service to my self-understanding and growth. TNE remains the foundation of my personal and spiritual life. The Enneagram is more than a personality system. It’s also the container for a diverse international community on the path of self-development.