Five Things The Enneagram Taught Me About Myself

As I coordinate schedules in hopes of getting my pilot Enneagram group going soon, I’m thinking about how much I’ve learned about the Enneagram since I began studying it about two years back.

The Enneagram is an ancient tool for learning more about yourself and how you relate to other people. Unlike astrology or Human Design, someone doesn’t tell you your type, based on particular facts about yourself, like when you were born. Instead, you study the nine types (traditionally, this is done as an oral tradition, and our group will be watching videos to learn our type), and from that study and through engaging with other people to learn more about it, you can discern which type you are. Knowing your type gives you a path to follow toward a more whole and healthy life. In my case, it’s also made a major difference in my marriage, and it’s helped me to understand my family and friends better too.

Here are the top five things the Enneagram taught me about myself!

I Get Frustrated

Okay, so maybe that seems obvious to you if you know me personally. Or maybe you’re reading this and thinking, don’t we all get frustrated sometimes? But the Enneagram taught me that most of the time, when I don’t know how to put what I’m feeling into words, or when I feel angry, or a lot of other negative emotions, what’s honestly at the root of it all is frustration. And while that frustration is often directed at other people, more often than not, at least if I dig deeper, I will find out that I’m most frustrated with myself.

I Am My Own Worst Critic

Again, this might be obvious to some of you, and to some of you, you may assume everyone is their own worst critic. But as a 1 on the Enneagram, I’ve got a fun little voice in my head that likes to spend all of its time pointing out flaws in the world, but most especially my own flaws. Recognizing and identifying that voice is the first step in some major acceptance of who I am. It’s also helped me to recognize why it is that I get so critical about little things when I am tired or under stress. It’s also given my husband more compassion for me, rather than simply feeling angry or hurt, when I default to wanting things clean or fixed or put away on my schedule (rather than on OUR schedule).

I Verbally Process Things

Before studying the Enneagram, I knew I sometimes verbally processed (thought things through out loud, in conversation). What I hadn’t realized is that verbal processing is the way I like to process everything! One of my favorite tips from podcaster, author, and Enneagram expert Suzanne Stabile has been that I should end each day verbally processing what’s happened with my husband (or a friend, roommate, or even a journal or cat might work in a pinch). It’s something that I’d generally done with my husband, but studying the Enneagram made me aware of how healthy and important this is for me and my mental health.

People Tend To be Past, Present, or Future-Oriented

Before studying the Enneagram, I knew I was very aware of the present moment. I knew that some of my clients and friends struggled with looking ahead to the future or resisted spending time talking about the past, even wanting to put up a wall and avoid revisiting tough experiences.

I now know that each of us either past, present, or future-oriented. I happen to be oriented to the present, and for me, that means I have no problem supporting someone right now, but I can get easily distracted by a present task (or email or question) and lose sight of the bigger picture ahead of me.

I’ve also learned that some people (including a very close family member) are oriented toward the past, which can help explain why it’s tough for them to create goal and find motivation toward the future. Likewise, my more future-minded family members are constantly thinking about what’s next, so much so that it can be hard for them to enjoy the present moment. Of course, there are practices to help with all of this. In our ideal worlds, we’d all find balance between all three, so we can take steps to get there.

Just knowing this is a normal distinction and pattern has really helped me to understand why other people do what they do.

You Aren’t As Special, Or As Normal, As You Think You Are

What do I mean by that, exactly? There are so many pieces of the puzzle when it comes to who we are. In addition to the circumstances I experienced growing up, I am an Enneagram 1, a highly sensitive person (HSP), and an introvert. I’m also the oldest of four children, a white cisgender woman without any children, I grew up fairly well off in the Northeastern United States….

I could go on and on, of course, but the point is, there are tons of factors that come together and make us unique.

At the same time, I can find community, finding a LOT in common, in any of those groups. I might bond with one person who grew up visiting the White Mountains of New Hampshire, find traits in common with fellow introverts or with oldest siblings, or find people who sound an AWFUL lot like me who also identify as Enneagram 1s.

Some of my “weirdest” quirks I have in common with a lot of other people. And knowing that feels vulnerable and also super cool.

If you want to figure out your own Enneagram type, or if you know it, but you’d like to learn more about it and get to know people of other types as well as your own, please reach out to me and join our pilot.

And as always, if you’re looking for support in finding out what you truly want in life, and then figuring out how to make it happen, I’m your woman!

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help further by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! 
  • Take Ross’ online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

In Defense of Tea

Are you a tea drinker? Is it a part of a daily habit or ritual for you?

Okay, so in light of everything going on in the US and around the world, there are certainly larger issues we could tackle this week. But I want to support you in your life journey, so I wanted to take a moment to celebrate an easy and delightful bit of self-care and ritual: tea!

Lots of cultures value tea highly, and drinking it is often a daily norm. But for many of us in the U.S., we come to tea later in life. Who knows – maybe it goes back to the tea party before the Revolutionary War, but for whatever reason, many of us do not grow up drinking tea.

My experience with tea was that it was a thing for “grown ups”. As a young Brownie (a Girl Scout), I attended my first tea party at age six and loved it, but we didn’t drink tea in my home growing up. In college, I had access to tea and housemates who drank it, so I would experiment with a cup of tea sometimes. But it really wasn’t until I was an adult seeking “afternoon tea”, aka a three course meal paired with tea, that I developed my passion for it.

With COVID-19, I found myself seeking additional ways to ground and center myself each day. I had a great morning routine, but I felt it might be getting stale. When Sarah Jenkins suggested adding tea or coffee to our morning routine or sacred start, I knew this was the perfect excuse to up my tea intake and feel like I was truly indulging.

Now, I carve out an extra 10-15 minutes each morning to steep and enjoy some tea. Some days it’s black, some days it’s herbal, some days it has milk or sugar in it. But it always delights. It forces me to pause, to savor. I pair it with a sacred or reflective book and enjoy a slow and beautiful start to my morning before the workday begins.

Tea comes in so many forms, and in so many flavors. You can keep it super healthy or sweeten it up. (This morning I made a candy cane latte…oh my goodness it was good!)

And if you don’t like any teas, you can enjoy a similar ritual, whether it’s coffee or another drink (something warm is ideal for the winter months).

I guess when I’m suggesting you make time for tea, what I’m really suggesting is that you make time for yourself. Finding a few minutes to pause is so therapeutic. You start your day centered instead of off balance, calm instead of rushed. Even if I had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to do, I would make it happen. (In fact, I get up at 4:45 a.m. once a week, but that’s another story.)

Do you drink tea? Why or why not?

P.S. My “More Steps Challenge” continues in our Facebook group, and I’ve been going live and talking to people about their walking goals. Join us there, or grab your copy of The Four Steps To Your Dream Life Blueprint, if you found this helpful.

Five Self-Care Tips For An Uncertain World

I’m honestly at a loss about where to start this post. All of the mindfulness practice in the world can’t change the fact that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, an American crisis of democracy, and that we’re dealing with the effects of systemic racism, made more plain every day.

On a personal level, I’m finding that calming my mind for yoga or meditation is extremely difficult, walking, while therapeutic, doesn’t solve anything once the walk itself has ended, and talking to friends or family may fan the flames rather than put out the fire.

I’m torn between the desire to veg out on the couch with a movie and the desire to throw all of my energy into work.

If I’m feeling this way, I know you might be too. So here are my top five self-care tips for an uncertain world.

1 Ground Yourself

Feel your feet on the floor. Take very slow breaths, and focus on your breath going in, holding for a moment, and going back out. If you can’t get any alone time for this, do it on the toilet. Seriously. (I used to do that when I worked a corporate job in a cubicle!) The best grounding is done outside, with shoes off, but any of this work will give you major benefits.

2 Savor A Hot Beverage

If you can carve out 5-10 minutes to do this, it’s an easy way to give yourself alone time that is just for you. Each morning, part of my routine includes a cup of tea. You may go with an evening cup, or a cup of coffee, or some hot chocolate. The ritual and experience of a hot beverage is so satisfying, relatively easy and affordable, easy to include in a healthy diet if desired, and a moment to indulge yourself.

3 Take A Walk

My daily walks have been giving me life for years. They are absolutely essential when the world is, pardon my language, a shitshow. I highly recommend taking your walk outside if at all possible. Freezing temperatures? Bundle up, and keep it short if you don’t warm up within 10-15 minutes. (Personally, by that time I’m usually feeling a lot warmer.) And if quarantine or safety or timing etc. keep you from getting outside, my next best recommendation is walking indoors while looking outside. (If you don’t have a treadmill, walking in a room will do!) Science shows us that looking at nature is calming, Getting outside is calming. If you need extra support or motivation for your walks, come join my free More Steps! Challenge on Facebook.

4 Read A Relaxing Book

One of the wild outcomes of the state of the world right now has been the realization that even a book of fiction can stress me out right now. (Yes, seriously!) I just finished a fantastic book for my book club, but the stories were hitting too close to real life (the struggles of immigrants, of lower-income folks) and I found myself dreading turning the page.

Luckily, I’ve still got other books that calm and center me. I try to keep two other books going at any given moment – a sacred or reflective book, for my morning routine, and a more practical or strategic book for personal development. (And, of course, my third book is fiction or fun, but I think I’ll be sticking to more mindless books in that realm for a while!)

5 Journal

I journal each morning, as soon as I get up, as a way of getting the cobwebs out, as outlined in The Artist’s Way. Whatever thoughts and fears are rolling around in my head get let out and recognized immediately, allowing me to go about my day with clarity. I highly recommend it – it’s been my practice for a couple of years now.

If you found these tips helpful, you might also want to join my group or grab your copy of my free resource, The Four Steps To Your Dream Life Blueprint.

What did I miss? Which of these do you find most helpful?

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! His latest is a holiday ukulele album, and pre-orders are half price!
  • Become a beta tester for Ross’ new online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

Three Places To Focus When The World Is Spinning

Gosh, things are challenging right now! Even with all of my blessings and privilege, I’m feeling like it’s tough to stay in the moment and also to stay focused on my goals when the world seems to be falling apart around me.

So here is an update on the three things I’m focusing on right now to keep me going.

Habits

I’ve spent years developing the habits I’ve always wanted to have. It’s been a slow process, adding them in one by one, and a couple I’ve let go or let be flexible as I’ve figured out what’s worked for me. But developing great habits is SO important when things are stressful.

For me, my daily habits include writing in the morning (brain dump, gratitude, journal from the day prior…anything counts, but I write for about 15-20 minutes typically and make sure to at least write something), reading something for my personal development, walking outside, making myself a healthy breakfast, drinking at least 16 ounces of water and taking my vitamins. I’ve also got some personal prep routines in the mix, and lately I do some meditation and yoga in the mix too (I take three live classes currently, 3 days a week, and it’s such a blessing). Habits give you predictability when the world around you feels like a total disaster!

Daily Activism

Black Lives Matter. The state of the world has me panicked, I’m not going to lie. So one way for me to address that is to make sure that every day, I make time to do something to make the world a better place. I stand up for someone who needs it, I sign some petitions, I write my reps or make a phone call. I can’t do it all, but being able to say I’ve done something every day is key to feeling like I’m making a difference and not being complacent as it feels like we’re moving towards fascism. (The news of people being taken off the streets in unmarked vehicles is just the latest, of course. I’m not planning to stop bugging my reps until Trump backs off of that.)

Planning Ahead and Being Prepared

I also take time every day to think about planning ahead and being prepared. Am I well-stocked with food and supplies? Have I taken a few minutes to create a vision for the future of my business? Have I researched the next steps for my career goals? Even when these things seem like a silly distraction, I know that taking a few minutes to do this daily will make sure that when I look back on 2020, I’ll see how I made the best of it rather than how I fell apart.

Bonus: Self-Care

If you’re like me, without kids, white, employed, this list probably makes sense so far. If you’ve got lots of additional issues you’re dealing with right now, whether that’s mental health or sick family or anything else, please prioritize your self-care and give yourself grace when things don’t happen.

And if you’re like me, you probably STILL feel overwhelmed daily. I know I do. So take what works from this list and build your own list that DOES work for you. Take a bath. Have some ice cream. And leave me a comment to let me know how you’re coping during these challenging times.

I’ll also take a couple of sentences to plug Deadbolt Mystery Society – we’ve just completed our third mystery box and it is an absolutely delightful way to spend a few hours! At-home date nights for the win. Use my code to save a little cash. It is seriously the best time we’ve had since quarantine started. Perfect for 1-4 people with access to the internet and a smartphone with a QR code reader.

Sending love and hugs (virus-free) to all of you across the miles. Thanks for reading.

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.