The Enneagram: Peacemaking Practices for the Soul

Mary Albert Darling

Transcribed from a webinar hosted on May 28th, 2019.

Note: We use software to create our transcripts, and they are far from perfect! For a more accurate record of the event, watch the video.

Joel Van Dyke  

Welcome to our Street Psalms, thought leader webinar series. We’ve been doing these now for four or five months. We have two types of thought leader webinars. We have some that are focused on “Perspectives,” and some that are focused on “Practices.” We’ve been alternating between perspective webinars and practice webinars. This morning, we’re happy to invite Mary Albert Darling to be with us in this thought leader webinar focused on practice around the use of the Enneagram as a tool for discernment in the pursuit of inner peace. So Mary, could you please introduce yourself to us on a personal and professional level? We’d love to know who is talking with us this morning before we dive into the content that you have prepared to bring to us.

Mary Albert Darling  

All right, well, I’m really happy to be with you. I’m talking about something that I have come to love. I am calling from Spring Arbor, Michigan. If you know anything about Michigan, we always do this (points to her hand). So we are in South Central, Michigan at a small, private Christian University. I have taught here for many, many, many years in the Department of Communication, and I also have taught in our masters program in Spiritual Formation and Leadership, which unfortunately, is a program we no longer have. That makes me very sad, but I’ll get back to that in a minute.  My husband, Terry, teaches at Spring Arbor University with me, we both met here. He teaches Psychology. We have two adult sons who went to school and graduated from here, one is living here in Spring Arbor and the other is living just outside of DC in Virginia. We just drove back from there yesterday. We have had three grandchildren in the last two years so they are all under two, all three of them. They are incredible joys. 

Our daughter in laws, both spent semesters in Guatemala. We all have this connection, heart and literal connection to Guatemala as we’ve been there several times which is where we met Joel. I don’t know exactly how many years ago. It’s been several years now. I went to Nicaragua with Joel’s invitation to a group to do facilitate process of Spiritual Formation, which is a great passion of mine. You’ll hear that the Enneagram works beautifully with that. But back to our masters in spiritual formation. I was able to teach a couple courses in the program. I completed a two-year program in Spiritual Direction about 18 years ago and because of that, taught a classs in Spiritual Direction. And then I also taught a class on Spirituality and Justice that took me to Guatemala for 10 days for six summers. I know a few of you. So it’s just really great to be with you. I’m excited to talk about the Enneagram.

Joel Van Dyke  

Great, thank you, Mary. Yeah, Mary serves as a member of our advisory council at Street Psalms. We meet as a council a couple times a year. And it’s in that capacity as well that we’ve come to really know and appreciate Mary, she’s been a really helpful voice to us as an organization and to the global network of the UTC that we serve. So, really thankful that we could have this time around a tool that different ones of us have been utilizing at different levels. Some of us are very conversant with the Enneagram, its numbers, its harmony triads, its use and its implications. And our assumption is that we have folks on that whole spectrum of connectedness right now, as well as those who will be listening in and engaging the recording of this webinar at a later time. So Mary wanted to start with sharing for a couple of minutes just to give us a really brief overview of what the Enneagram is. Mary can you give us a quick overview of what the Enneagram is so we’re on the same page in order to understand what this thing is that we’re going to dive into and unpack together. 

Mary Albert Darling  

To begin I want to say something that I’ve heard it two of my trainings. And that is that “all models are false and some are useful.” So all models are false, and some are useful. And I say that because I am so excited about the Enneagram, I have found it so incredibly useful that I might start talking like it is the thing everybody has to know about all the time. And that is not my intention. But my intention is to tell you why I think it’s such a useful tool, remembering that it is a tool. So I teach in the Communication Department and I am so interested in self-awareness because I see so much lack of self awareness. And so one in myself and others, and at my age, I think how can there still be so many things I don’t know about myself, because a lot of these things are things that hinder me from living in the kind of freedom I can live in in Christ and that we all can. 

And so I was introduced to the Enneagram about 20 years ago, but it’s just been the last seven to 10 years that I’ve been really interested in it and studying it going to different trainings. And now I’m doing workshops and stuff on it because I find it such a useful self-awareness tool. And what I didn’t mention was one of the ways that Joel and I connected in the past was that I co-authored two books with social activist and preacher, Tony Campolo. The first one was on spiritual practices. And three that came out of my spiritual direction program that I feel like transformed my life. And, and I’ll talk about those a little bit in in context later. But I wrote that with Tony and then another book called “Connecting Like Jesus” and it’s a lot about awareness of our patterns of communication, and how we are to communicate as members of the body of Christ. So when I talk about self awareness, what is so important is that from a Christian perspective, we need to move from self awareness to awareness of who we are in Christ. And that’s huge. So moving from self awareness to awareness of who we are in Christ and you know, maybe you hear this language I haven’t said it yet, but the Prayer of Examen and if you’re familiar with that is all over what what I’m talking about. And I think it’s so beautifully connected to the Enneagram. So I have found my work with spiritual practices and my passion for spiritual practices to be so connected to what I’m learning about the Enneagram. And so it gives me a common language with students that helps me to go deep with students more quickly than I ever have been able to before. So I do a lot of spiritual direction with students. I know it’s a younger population. Sometimes they think it’s simply mentorship but I tell them, this is what I do. And I also start to introduce the Enneagram if they’re interested So it’s helpful for us as individuals and communities and in the work in cities. And so I think, you know, coming to terms with where we’re healthy, where we’re unhealthy, and is so important. And so I love this as an it’s been an extremely useful tool.

Joel Van Dyke  

Great, thanks, Mary. So, that gives us some context on what the Enneagram is and Mary’s particular journey into it and how it’s really animated her work as a professor and work with young people etc. We are a global network of leadership trainers and we’re all engaged at one level or another in the training of incarnational leaders and Street Psalms as an organization is committed to developing incarnational leaders. And then we serve this Urban Training Collaborative, this network of leaders all over the world that are on the ground in their respective cities, seeking to nurture and develop incarnational  leadership that is participating in the social and spiritual renewal of their cities. 

So as a tool, what we’re interested in is trying to understand how the Enneagram can become an effective tool, both for us internally as a global network, and then also externally in our respective contexts where it is that we’re doing leadership formation. What I want us to do as a community listening is to be able to listen to what Mary is going to present to us for the next 15 minutes or so and think it through those two particular vantage points, both from the perspective of how does this and how can the Enneagram better serve us as a urban training collaborative as a network of leaders all over the world engaged in international leadership development. And then the second lens is, on a personal level. What does this mean for my work in Manila, in my work in Delhi, in Tacoma, in Johannesburg, South Africa, in Grand Rapids and Montreal, what does it mean for the work I’m engaged with in my respective context, and we want to unpack it from these two perspectives in the conversation that will have so as Mary lays out some stuff for us, by way of some content sharing around the specificityOur interest is in our work as the former’s of international leaders in that capacity, both as a global network and in our respective cities, we really want to unpack the use of the Enneagram as a tool in in those roles. And so that’s what we’ve asked Mary to present to us and to share with us about and asking you to all engage from those two vantage points. And so please, again, as Mary is sharing, use the chat, make comments, ask questions. Okay, so Mary, we’re going to turn it back to you with Kristy monitoring the chat and let’s see what we can unpack for the implications of incarnational leadership formation, and use of the Enneagram per se.

Mary Albert Darling  

Alright, so let’s see here. I’m going to move this. Can you all see it? Yes, okay, great. There are so many verses that talk about examining ourselves. The Enneagram is a way for us to search ourselves to examine ourselves. And that’s in a broad sweep. I think that it is a great connection to the perfect family. And there are lots of verses in the Bible that talk about the importance of examining ourselves. But even more importantly, it’s about the Holy Spirit examining us. So I just want to take a couple moments for you to just look at that verse and, and just take a deep breath. You know, just breathe slowly, in and out. We all have things that you know, keep us busy in life. And so just to take a moment here, to breathe deeply and as a way to help us to be present and to sit with us first for just a few moments. I think on the surface we might all say I want to I want to do that I want to know but when it gets really deep, this can be a problem. And some things that I appreciate about the Enneagram, is that what language is not afraid to go into language like false self . Or the less resourceful if we want to be a little more neutral, they’re more resourceful, less resourceful, but it calls us out. I love personality tests. And my undergrad was in psychology, my husband’s a psychologist, I love personality tests, but a lot of them are more neutral. And the Enneagram really calls us out in ways that we are unhealthy and need to live more into our healthy self. We’re supposed to be looking at ourselves first, not other people and that can be a real temptation as they always I know where they’re unhealthy. But it’s so important for us to say, where are we unhealthy? And how can we be healthier and live in more freedom in Christ? So how do we get that peace within that helps us to, you know, work for peace in our cities and in the world? 

So one of my favorite illustrations for me personally, and I gave you the little bit tamed version of this, and maybe you’ve heard this, but it’s the two fish swimming along and the one fish says, how’s the water, and the other fish says what’s water. And I say that a lot. Now, because this has been so incredibly useful for me. The water I swim in is different water than the water you swim in. And even if we’re the same number in the Enneagram, that similar numbers on the ground, same numbers can look different. And so we’re going to get into things like fears and motivations and the difference between motivation and behavior. We’re going to cover a lot of material but all by way of introduction to see what might be helpful for you all in the future. And so just so you know, this is this information is going to be shared, there are a few slides that are copyrighted that I have permission to teach but not literally share. So what I’ll do is give you a reference to some of those slides but everything here will be sent to you so you don’t have to feel like you have to write I’m going to have a lot of information on a few slides that I’m only using for a reference point not that you need to look at everything single thing on that slide. So what is water? 

Well, we don’t recognize our own water that we swim in sometimes. One of the things I think is so interesting, I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts on the Enneagram and in almost every time when somebody says they discovered their type on the Enneagram they will say, but I thought everyone felt that way or everyone was motivated that way or everyone feared that. And if we don’t get to the point where we recognize our differences, it’s going to be hard to establish the kind of peace within that can help us promote peace without so what is water? I find that useful to continue to say to yourself, what is the water I swim in that I assume everybody else is also swimming in. And they might not be in. That’s one reason I find me any ground to be such a useful tool. So here it is. And you know, you’ll see lots of different diagrams. 

The Enneagram is very popular right now. And there’s danger when things become popular. So there’s a lot of misinformation out there. And I’m also happy to share with you some of the sites if you’re not familiar with it, I know some of you are. And there’s a continuum here, but uh, who to look for and who not to, I mean, who to look at, as the main people. So this is one of the very common ones, the document that you received, tells you some of the main characteristics, some of the main words that are used for the different types. This is from the Enneagram Institute, and comes highly recommended. And so that just gives you an idea. 

We’re not going to get into all the nuances of the program, we don’t have time. So what we’re again focusing on is how can this help us leaders and help internally in your cities, in your communities in the city? So, you know, some people will say that way to discover your number is to take a test and we talked about you know, if we have time, we’ll have fun talking about Joel at the end and his test results. But there are people who say not to take the test. And it’s because if you ever have seen the office and the it’s like Michael Scott driving into the river because his GPS said he needed to drive that way. So we went into the river. And so sometimes if we say, Oh, I didn’t know I was that number, and now I’m going to live into that which can misguide us. And so to go deep into those waters that we swim in, we need to go I believe deep into who we are as far as what the underground can show us. So this I find this very interesting. People who know the Enneagram have mistyped themselves. And so we have to be careful with that. So the test that Joel took is the one that I recommend. I’ll mention it later. The actual name of it. It’s the only one that’s endorsed by the American Psychological Association. There are some good tests out there and there are some bad ones. 

One of the ways to identify yourself is to read all nine descriptions that the Enneagram Institute has on their site and just say one of the top two or three. When you look at the test, sometimes you look at the various your tool, this is your top number, but you don’t look at the stats. And so you can if you have two or three really close numbers, you have to enter into a process of discernment on what is my main fear and main motivation? Again, we’re parts of all these numbers, but we can be misguided into what’s the healthiest way what are some spiritual practices that are best for our particular number. And if we don’t know what that is, it can throw us off track and it can help us it can it steer us away from what’s most healthy for us to learn about ourselves, so that we can be better members of the body of Christ, which is another great way to look at the Enneagram. 

These are all parts of the body of Christ and we all have parts of these, but there’s one predominant part and the so to discern what that is because some of us have missed our true numbers. We’re not we miss type. We can miss it. We can think we’re one part of the body of Christ when really, we’re called more to be another part. And it might be that well, I want to be that part. But what is our true calling? What is our true self? So these this don’t, you don’t need to look at all of this, this is this is taken directly from that on the handout that you were sent. These are very common terms. But what I want to draw your attention to when you are later either typing yourself or saying, well, I always thought I was this but if I am really honest with myself, and if I take some time with myself, I might see some other things lifting up here. So you can have someone talking about behavior and motivation. When we look at motivation, we’re looking at that middle column, what’s our basic desire or need what motivates us the most it’s like an eye doctor test. If you’ve ever had these, this or this and some of them are so close, you’re not sure which one to choose by. There is one that comes clear lifts off the page more than others, and that if we don’t understand ourselves well enough, we can miss type ourselves and that can hurt ourselves, our communities and the world, and so on. 

So to be able to take a look and say, What is my basic need or desire? So one of the things that’s important to know is that when we’re talking about the difference between behavior and motivation, you can have nine different types doing the same thing. It looks like the same behavior. They’re doing it for different reasons. They’re doing it for different motivations, possibly different fears. And so, most master trainers will tell you that to really discern your number. You look at these two columns here. What is your basic desire need and your basic fear? Now the problem here and this is one of the reasons we really need each other as leaders is because we could be blind to our own stuff. And so we need what I like to call trusted lovers of Jesus, that help us to see who we are, and to help us be loved in that, so that we can be our best selves. So and this I the Enneagram also talks a lot about virtue and vice, you’ll see these a lot. If you have any questions on these some of these seem can be they might, they might seem a little odd, like my husband, who’s a five didn’t understand what greed meant, until he understood the word “withholding” because my husband can be in a group of people and we’re talking about a topic that I know he knows more about this topic than anybody in the room. And he’s not going to say anything unless he’s asked. And it’s like say something cherish you something, you know this stuff. So think about how this can help in leadership. 

If you know that someone has those tendencies, you might not know this person is a wealth of information. But if you know Enneagram language that can help you to know that, hey, this person loves investigating, but they might not tell you that they might have a wealth of information, they’re not sharing. And if you’re someone who has no unspoken thought, that is really hard to understand. Someone who has met them mostly have unspoken thoughts. So these can really be helpful to look at. And we can unpack this a little bit later if we do the example with Joel with some of these. So just basic language on if I talk about this later, you can look down at your sheet if you’re wondering what I’m talking about, but there are three centers. So the number’s 8,9, and 1 are operating out of the gut, the 2, 3, and 4 operate from the heart and the 5,6, and 7 operate from the head.  The main emotions 891 anger, 234 shame and 567 fear so when I do workshops I often have people come to me and I’m not sure which number and this is part of that discernment is looking at Hey, do I operate more from my gut, my heart or my head first and what emotion might be the strongest here we all fear things. But you have people who are in the 891 triad who experienced a whole lot of anger first before other things. So these are just some of those things to look at. 

Alright, so now, Thomas Merton has one of the best quotes with what I think we’re talking about here. I’m going to put it on the screen and I’m going to have you read it. It is not a fun quote but I think with what we’re talking about, how do we what do we have to do? How can this be such a helpful tool? When I was thinking about this and prepping Merton’s quote for the last several kept coming to me. And so I want you to just take a few minutes to read this and maybe read it twice. I think this is the guts of what I’m talking about with the Enneagram. 

I believe that combining the Enneagram with spiritual practices long term. Give us this day our daily bread continuing to do this as a transformational tool is the way to that peace within, that helps us to be able to work toward peace in the world. This is hard. Because some of us don’t want to think about this. Some of us don’t think we need to think about these things. And even our Enneagram numbers can help us see where we might it’s like, I don’t have the time to think about that or know what I’m doing is important. It’s good. Where do we need to step back and really come to terms with the water that we swim in? And so this quote, again, this will be something that is sent to you but I think this is so powerful, because it’s not necessarily something that we want to take a look at, but it is something that can lead to greater freedom within ourselves and all of our relationships. 

So back to the guts of the question I want to read to you just a couple things from a book I highly recommend I’m going to leave I’m going to leave this up for a minute this quote, but, um, when it talks about Oh, wait, I’m sorry. I’m gonna go the next one. Okay, so one of the areas in the Enneagram is talking about fixation. And then you’ve already seen this passion list. So the Enneagram tends to use older language like passion. Passion is a popular term right now what’s your passion? What do you like to do, but passion. The Enneagram language of passion is the language of vices. And so it’s like our personality, the mask that we put on our ego. Those are different terms that people use when they’re talking about passion. So what is your passion? What do you need to know about that I find the list of fixations to be really helpful. So as I have that up there, and again, you don’t need to study this but if you think you know your number, you might want to go toward that or CF. Another number is kind of getting in your gut or your head or your heart more. Here’s some reasons that I find the Enneagram so helpful when it deals with passions and fixations, it says the invitation here, the invitation of the program is to find the beauty in our imperfections, however, they manifest themselves. And so that is something that I want to invite you to be to be thinking about how can those imperfections actually be beautiful they can they can be the key that unlocks areas that help us to be freer. 

The other thing is if we can come to terms with our own stuff and still love ourselves, it will help us to come to terms with other people’s stuff and still love them. Because one of the things that I will say now and I’ll say it again at the end I put it in a slide because I do not want to forget it is that grace is so important. Grace to ourselves and grace to other people understand the language of the Enneagram does not excuse us, but it helps us to understand that even in our imperfections, we’re loved by God and we need to love other people and ourselves in our imperfections. So a couple of things off of this page from the Enneagram, our mind uses the fixation of our type, as a way of convincing our heart that the passion is justified, creating an inevitable loop of which we must be aware. I’ll read that one more time. Our mind uses the fixation of our type as a way of convincing our heart that the passion is justified, creating an inevitable loop of which we must be aware. And then he ends the section by saying by learning to observe, just simply observe which is a spiritual practice. Just observe it, lay it at God’s feet. By just observing we can learn to correct its claims on our well being. I love that we can learn to correct its claims on our wellbeing a couple more things, and then I’ll give it back to Joel to see what questions he has. 

So, I think that trainers can use the Enneagram as a transformational tool. And I think the starting point there is to model because I think you know, it’s more fun to talk a bit I have more fun talking about this than doing the work of it. And it’s most important that I’m doing the work and you know, if I can only say one thing today, it would probably be okay, let’s go learn about the underground. I think it’s helpful. But but so many of us want to talk about this stuff, and not model it and not do it and it needs to flow from those deeper waters. So I love the image. I love the image of the water we swim in and that tends to be on the surface. And so how do we go into those deep waters?

I remember when I was doing, I was in supervision in my spiritual direction program. I remember my supervisor still saying to me, why does this bother me? Why does this bother you? It took me four times with my supervisor before I said oh, this is about me. She was like Why? Why are you not able to sit with her in that? Sit with her in her pain and for me I have some strong high numbers and they all interact with each other and I want things to be done. I want to get things done. I am high in the four on the Enneagram and a healthy four is very comfortable with being with people in their pain. I behind three I’m not a three I’m actually I’ve given you hints. I’m a six on the grid but I have a high three and so I might want to bring people out of their pain. You know, I just I want to do something and I can learn a lot from a four who’s very comfortable being with someone in pain, a seven, the joyful person. One of the things that didn’t an unhealthy joyful person doesn’t want his pain. I don’t talk about I don’t think about it. Well, when you’re dealing with painful situations, imagine a seven. That could be among us. Imagine a seven having to deal with pain, it has to be a healthy seven, who can deal with pain. And so I hope you’re seeing some examples here of how this can work. So Joel, Do I have time to just quickly show them some of the spiritual practice slides?

Joel Van Dyke  

Yes, go ahead. Yeah, go ahead and please the rest of you be preparing some comments and some questions for some interaction. 

Mary Albert Darling  

Alright, so I’m not going to I when I start to go through one slide, don’t be nervous. I’m not going to go through all of them or we’d be here all afternoon. I’m using them as an example for a resource for you. So we take the Enneagram language, and we discern our type which can take a long time. In the meantime, there’s a spiritual practices that we can all no matter what number we are, but there are some that are tailored. And so my friend Claire, she’s actually in my spiritual direction supervision group. She co-authored this book, she and her husband, and Adele and Doug Calhoun. If the Calhoun name sounds familiar, Adele Calhoun, right, they wrote the spiritual disciplines handbook on which is really a spiritual practices handbook that I’ve used in classes. It’s really, really helpful. But this has a lot of spiritual practices with the Enneagram. We can’t get into this so much, but I want to bring this up. Okay. So, my friend Claire does this thing called motions of the soul. And if you’re looking at that, and you see constellation and desolation, if you notice what she’s copyrighted down there “I-Enneagram”, the “I” stands Ignation, the Ignatian Enneagram. So she has taken the work of Ignatius of Loyola, which is who we studied and did the spiritual practices of in my spiritual direction program. So, what she has done is you’ll see some of the Ignation language in what she does with these spiritual practices. So I’m just going to give you a couple examples here. And then I want you to know what spiritual practices tailored to each one is in this book, and I’ll give you the I’ll send you that reference. I’ll send this to Joel and he can sum this up to you along with the PowerPoint. 

Alright, so here’s something that she does with each practice. And often times, when you’re looking at a book, I’ll be a gram. You might know this, that oftentimes it starts with the eight because they’re doing the centers so they do 8,9,1 as the gut center, and then the 2,3,4 as the heart and then 5,6,7 as the head. That’s how it is organized. Every one of these slides of all of the nine numbers start with silence and solitude as a recommendation and end with nightly examen, as the recommendation that no matter what number so if you don’t know what spiritual practice to do, or to help other people, how do I train other people in this if they don’t know their type? Well, you always can start with silence and solitude and you can always end with an examen at night. There are the rest of these are all tailored to a particular number. 

Okay, the other thing that I find so helpful with this whole idea of motions of the soul is that if you look at the diagram, in the upper left side of the slide, you’ll see that it says 2,5,8.  Joel mentioned harmony, triads at the very beginning. I’m only going to give about one to two minutes of this but a lot of the work with motions of the soul is about harmony triad. So that mantra at the top justice is contemplative love. So what it says is if you’re an eight, if you’re an eight and think about the implications here for yourself and for training and for your city, so if you’re an eight year adjust as person, you’re a challenger. And so justice is contemplative love says that if the eight wants to be his or her best self, then the eight needs to recognize what they can get from the two which is the helper, the giver, and what they need from the five they need to cultivate their two in their five. So an eight might want that justice work done, but is not so much of a helper wants other people to do that. And so to understand what the two can bring to the table, the eight sometimes the gut person, the eight challenger wants to go out and do it. And the five is going Wait, have we researched this enough? Do we know have we asked the right questions?

Have we researched the right thing? Do we know what to do here, you could run through every one of these I was talking about motivation and behavior. You could say, hey, let’s talk about better water sources in our city. Let’s talk about healthier water. No matter where I live, I’m an hour and a half from Flint, Michigan. You know, if you don’t know anything about Flint and water, I have to do is Google it. But there’s been huge issues with Flint and their water supply and the injustice there. And you can have all nine numbers want to work to get better water for people, but they’re doing it for different motivations, and different fears can stop them from doing their best job. So you see how we really need each other and we need to recognize our parts of the body of Christ so that we can work them in the best ways and community. I think if we have a group of people, like imagine, imagine a team that has all nine, nine numbers and they’re all healthy, because they are what do we need to tell us what we need to hear from you. It’s the common language of the Enneagram I think is that’s so helpful. Are there other tools? Can you live a good life without it? Yes. Can you know all this without it? Absolutely. And there are people who teach grammar without ever using any specific language. They don’t talk about the ending and they don’t talk about tight, but they know enough about it, that they know how to talk to people how to ask the right questions, how to listen well, which I’ll come back to at the very end with with a take a quick takeaway slide. So I have there we have these for every single number, I’m not going to take the time to go through all of them, but you will have access to this. And then I do want to talk about some fruit of this. I’ll do that just for a minute on. So I think the fruit of the Enneagram as a transformational tool is waking up to a very common way of talking about this because we can be asleep in the water.

Women, but that doesn’t mean I’m asleep to the water that I swim in how do we wake up and find freedom in Christ? So I think these committing to these spiritual practices and these tailored spiritual practices to understand them and then committing to them, not telling other people to do them if we’re not doing them, because we know we need to see the fruit. What is the fruit? Is there an increase in love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and faithfulness and self control? And yes, there are nine fruits of the Spirit. There are nine Enneagram types and people have done that work too. It’s really interesting if you want to look that up for the spirit and the Enneagram types. So an increase in grace toward ourselves and one another. An increase in sacred listening and an increase in the ability to ask beautiful questions. So before we get into this. I was reading my email this week even though I was traveling. And the Word from Below this week is just perfect with what we’re talking about this week. And so I’ll just give you a minute to look at this because this is what I’m trying to say. And I think this was said beautifully here. So I’ll give you a minute to read this.

I love the title of this the “Vulnerability of Asking,” there’s vulnerability and asking the beautiful questions. I think we need to be willing to ask ourselves those questions. We need to be willing to hear those questions asked of us by other people, we need to learn to trust one another. We need to learn to have more grace toward one another. And when we look out at people that we’re serving, we need to know what are our danger points are and our unhealthy points. For example, as a 2 (the helper), I have a very high two although my six trumps my two. I have a very high two and I missed typed myself for several years as a two and went through a process of discernment a week long process of discernment where it was finally a dear friend of mine, who I said you’re trained in this, you’re so highly trained. And you know me so well. And I don’t know I wrote this long paper on Am I at two or six? I just kept going back and forth. 

So she asked, “You really want to know?” It reminds me of Jesus question, do you want to be healed? So do you want to know? And I said, Yes. And she said, I was with you when you had your kids. You are a helper, you’re not as much of a helper of other as you think you are. I saw your fear and anxiety come out when you had your children. And it was like out and then once she said it, I started to recognize the water I swam in. Its water. I had been swimming in my whole life. But I didn’t recognize it to the degree that has so helped for me. But what’s helped me the most is combining the Enneagram with spiritual practices like the Examen and sitting in silence with God. It’s that idea of indirection. Maybe you’ve heard of it. But some of this stuff is hard that, Merton quote, and what we’re hearing here, this stuff is hard, we need each other. And we also need to recognize that when we go straight at some unhealthy areas of ourselves, it’s too hard. And so you’ll find sometimes when you if you commit to sitting with God in stillness, what Gregory the Great calls deep resting with God. If you commit to that every day, you will actually see some of this start to fall away. But though, the way that I started, if you commit to it, if you continue to show up, we can talk about this, but we don’t always show up. We really need each other to help us show up. That’s how we find that peace within that helps us to have to cultivate that peace within our communities in our cities. I think I went over. Joel?

Joel Van Dyke  

That’s fine. That’s great. Well, let’s — Kristy is monitoring the chat. So are there some things that are worth lifting up from what has been transpiring there?

Kristy Humphreys  

So far, we don’t have any questions. We’ve had some good references and suggestions from people about additional resources, but if anyone has a question or comment, feel free to enter in the chat box.

Joel Van Dyke  

It’d be great to hear a little bot from some of you since we have a smaller group online today which  gives us a little bit more flexibility. Some of you have done some extensive work with the Enneagram in your contexts. It’d be great just to hear a couple of you reflect on the impact of its use in your leadership development. And maybe that dovetails into a question that’s been nagging at you, something perhaps you’d simply like to pose to Mary. What in Mary’s presentation brought up for you questions or what can you affirm from the work that you’ve done personally and as a leadership trainer

Kristy Humphreys  

I actually have a question. As you were saying, you know, self-awareness can be tricky. And even with doing the work, you can be wrong about your own number a lot of times, right, because you just haven’t gotten far enough along in the process. So when I think about this in terms of leadership development and being a resource for others around me, how can I safely help guide other people when I may not be completely self aware yet, right, like how, how do I do both of those things simultaneously without causing damage or misleading others? 

Mary Albert Darling  

Yeah, I appreciate your question because we don’t want to make the point so much that it’s like everybody goes into inactivity. “I don’t know, what if I’m a danger?” And so I have always found it helpful when people you know, self disclose with, you know, this is alot of your time on the Enneagram in particular and saying, Okay, this is what, who I think I am and this is what I feel called to do. But to always have a little bit of humility. And I think what’s so important is that we continue to have other trustworthy people around us that can help guide us. Ideally it has to be more than one person because we can all be misguided, right?

And so to say “I’m doing the best that I can and that’s why Grace is so important,” but to continue to ask myself— and I think that for me an example is that I think that I was I missed I was misguided. I was going after the wrong things for a while. I do believe in Romans 8:28 in terms of, you know, I feel like sometimes God saying to me, it’s not exactly what you know where I wanted you there and not that you know I’m not getting into the theological point of what I’m talking about here as far as is every single thing guided or not, but what I mean is I really feel like I was off track in some areas can God still use those areas? Yes, absolutely. Can God use the class that I really think I should have said no to but I taught anyway because it wasn’t really where my gifts and passions I can God still use that? Yes. But are my resources better used somewhere else? Yes. And so I think, you know, there’s a lot of room for grace here, which is why I love grace.

But that we have to stay open to is that at times we could be wrong, I could be misguiding people but I still believe that I can take my offerings and use them for good. But I do think this is a great tool for helping call people out the two, for example, the two wants to help when they really might not need to help that whole idea of toxic charity. And when helping hurts. The 2 needs to be aware of that. The 3 needs to be aware that sometimes you’re more about achieving than about what this person really needs, or is that the best program? That’s where we need each other to help. But in the meantime, we remember grace and we do that problem solving method. If this isn’t working that well, then we go back in and do something else. I would love to hear other people’s ideas on that. I think that’s a really good question.

Joel Van Dyke  

Yeah, I’m wondering, I’m wondering maybe if, Trevor, you know, representing Servant Partners. I know that you’ve done some great work with your team in particular around with the use of the Enneagram. What are some of the implications that you’ve learned as a team utilizing the Enneagram? It would be great to hear from your perspective for a minute, speaking into our network.

Trevor  

Yeah, I think Mary talked earlier just about the kind of thinking that everyone’s swimming in the same water and trying to solve problems from your particular perspective so I think we as a team all decided to enter into the work of starting to understand our own Enneagram numbers, then obviously it helps us to look at each other in different way. I mean, I think it’s been significant in my marriage as well as just to understand how I play and how my wife plays, because you just don’t understand why this person reacting the way they are was a you know, not reacting like me, this seems unreasonable. But I think that helps you to kind of have a different perspective. I think once you know, then it alleviates the stress of feeling like this person is acting irrationally, or is acting uncertain, potentially or just being resistant to change. And I think just that kind of those different perspectives of understanding each other, I think has been helpful, strong, still growing. And I don’t think there’s something that we kind of are all aware in all the time, but it’s often when it comes into sticky times or conflict, and you kind of have to take a step back in your life, “Oh, yeah, I remember, this is who I am.” So I think that’s the problem. I think we’re trying to think about how to use it on teams as an organization. That’s a new thing that we’re developing to try and think about how that works specifically for navigating conflict on teams and emerging teams. 

Mary Albert Darling  

You mentioned conflict, I mean, the Enneagram is an extremely useful tool with conflict management. It’s being used alot with marital premarital counseling, marital counseling, and I think that whole idea it does it can change things when you understand somebody in terms of their type and help different that person is free I mentioned the four and the seven before but to the four it can be very comfortable with pain and unhealthy seven is not put those two together they’re really going to have trouble with each other. But when they start to understand their own fears and motivations as compared to somebody else’s fears and motivations, it can change so many things and that awareness is huge. So yeah, I appreciate what you said Trevor about, about marriage and close relationships. When I found out that a close friend of mine was a certain number, the light went on. A light that can lead you in a good direction. You were never supposed to weaponize this thing. We’re never supposed to use it as, “Oh, that was such a six thing to do.”

Trevor  

Very tempting though. Oh, so tempting. So I might do it with Joel.

Kris Rocke  

Mary, this is Kris. One of the things that I appreciated in your own story with this is how long it took you to kind of discern the difference between would you say a two and a six. And there’s an old adage that says something like, you know, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” And that fits my own sort of journey with the Enneagram where I’ve had a couple of different numbers that that I’ve lived into and was even typed by somebody who I highly respect as a six and living into that six thing out of fear and anxiety in the six space right but the but just living into that relaxed me enough to finally admit that I’m not a six. Now, I think I, I think I’ve got all of that in me and who knows, right but, but the one that makes the most sense still is a four. But the work is, you know, and this is one of the things that I felt like she did say that was very helpful is, is that as long as you’re doing good work. it really matters less that you get your number, right. It matters a whole lot more that you’re doing good work in whatever number you think you are. And going even in in and this is that back to Kristy I think question, it’s less important to get it. I’ll use the word “right” because that’s the one she used, but it’s less important to get it right. Just to lean in, because that’s where the Spirit can now work. And I wonder if that fits your own experience? 

Mary Albert Darling  

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it does. I and I think again, this is a tool, right? It’s a tool. And so as long as it’s a helpful tool, but we can do good work we can it’s not that all that time that I miss type myself, I wasn’t that erase those. I wish I could erase those years. It’s not that at all. But yeah, I would have been so much healthier and freer. It’s you know, it’s such a great spiritual formation tool for me to be able to understand my main fears and my main motivations, and again, recognizing that we do have parts of all the numbers because if you’re someone who compartmentalizes it’s like, oh, I’m not that I’m still a very high two. I’m actually a high three also. I mean, if you look at how I operate, I see so many things. And I also see areas that Oh, not so much that. I mean, I used to be really scared of 8’s. And so to understand what 8’s bring to the table, and if I’m in a crisis, I want an 8 with me, you know, so I’m to understand the gifts that we all bring. It just gives me that language to process but absolutely, I think I functioned fine as a two, but there’s more freedom now it what I’ve come to realize about myself as a 6.

Joel Van Dyke  

Yeah, well, I’m just wondering, and this might be, I mean, just putting on my hat of having lived in Guatemala City for 15 years and seeing that we have Aguilar and Nester on the call, and Mario from Santo Domingo, Trevor, just talked from South Africa. But I’m just wondering, you know, having understood a little bit of the origins of the Enneagram and it’s coming into vogue in the U.S. in the mid 80s, When Rohr did his book, and I’m just, I’m just wondering, has there been pushback from parts of the world outside of North America that see the Enneagram as just another North American thing. They’re all excited about this in North America, but, you know, in Latin America or in Africa, in Asia, it’s like, “here we go, again, something else that folks in North America are trying to push on us.” I’m just, is it really, is it is it having connecting points in a global way? Or where’s the predominant voice continued to come from in the use of the Enneagram? 

Mary Albert Darling  

Well, I and I would love to hear from other people. The perceptions of people not living in the States, but it has become very westernized, you know, since the 80s. And it didn’t originate here. You know, there’s lots of different stories of origins of the Enneagram. There’s some good articles I could point you to. And yeah, it’s become very westernized. And so I think there is a call there to say, How can we expand this beyond what we’re doing here in the States with the Enneagram, but I would like to hear from other people. I mean, I think it has something to offer everywhere, but I think we have to be careful with the ways that we’re writing about it and how people might feel excluded with that. I think we need more voices from other parts of the world because, you know, if you don’t know anything about the Enneagram, you’re going to think it originated in the states in the 70s and 80s. I mean, the first anything is an oral tradition. So the first things written were by Jerry Wagner actually who I did most of my major training under who does the wax test, the one that John did. He’s one of the first people who has a book in print on it, and it was a late 70s, early 80s. Some up to look at the copyright and then Richard Rohr, and you’ve got Risa and Hudson and you know, so they’re the people that are writing it are writing it more from the western perspective. So you’re going to think this is where it originated if you don’t know anything about the history of the Enneagram. I’d like to hear about some others of you in your areas. 

Joel Van Dyke

Yeah, I don’t know if Aguilar would have a comment we had Nestor on but he just disappeared. Yeah. But Mario or someone else? Do you have any comment about that from your perspective as living outside of the US?

Mario Matos

Here, I’m sorry up late here to the call. I had to go to visit the doctor for a stomach discomfort. I grew up in a Pentecostal faith tradition. So spiritual formation only took place at church. You’re in the worship services almost every day, pray alot, read the Bible I was it. Anything that has to do with contemplation was seen as something carefully and not for the Protestants so people are very suspicious of it. I first came to understand the value and the usefulness of spiritual formation in this practice as part of the Street Psalms community. Actually Mary, led us many years ago in a retreat in Nicaragua. And all these drills you gave us that have been using personally since ever. And then the Enneagram I read as part of an exercise with the Street Psalms community and it has been very, very enriching. And that’s part of our practices now in our leadership development processes. Spiritual information is a very key component of what we offer to the network and some people are growing in an appreciation of it. It has been very helpful for their work within marginalized communities and also personally, lots of stories of transformation and their families. Couple of relationships are really, really rhich stuff, and I’m very thankful for it. But yeah, then obviously the larger parts in the communities are suspicious of anything that has to do with contemplation and those spiritual disciplines because the rivalry between Protestants and Catholic is too big here still, but I think it’s changing.

Mary Albert Darling  

I, when I was writing, learning more about the spiritual practices about 18 years ago, and then writing on it, I was getting a lot of pushback on you know, what Joel was saying with contemplation with the use of the word mystic and mystical even though we contextualize it you know, there were people that had a lot of trouble with it, and here I am 18-20 years later, and that that same thing is happening with the Enneagram and so just if you want any resources there, I think it was last year there was a beautiful article written in response to some– to a Christian who was saying you should not have anything to do with the Enneagram. It’s evil. So I’m just saying if anyone wants the article that beautifully gracefully written rebuttal to that I’m happy to send that. And while when he said that I was teaching them that I’m not sure what I was teaching them because Joel was my interpreter so it’s whatever he taught interpreting for me. But thank you!

Joel Aguilar  

Hi, this is Joel Aguilar. Mario was speaking first with his very strong beautiful voice. So just from our perspective here, it’s been a little hard because the Enneagram does not necessarily emphasize what you’re good at, and what you like (ie-strengths) and how you can use your strength to achieve something but has more of a focus on what’s not healthy and how you can improve that. So I would say that would be the major pushback for us, at least in in Guatemala. And part of it is because we have bought all the leadership development type of, you know, John Maxwell style things that like, you know, the entrepreneurial spirit and, and just how you achieve your dreams and push through everything. So that’s kind of like the perspective that that people usually have. Then what I noticed when speaking about the Enneagram is just a little bit of hesitance because 1, that, and secondly, because it’s feels a little bit too close to Mayan spirituality because the Enneagram talks about “energy” and the type of energy that the different types have. And it’s not necessarily a personality, you know, it’s the energy that it’s contained in the specific types. So those are the specific pushbacks. Besides that it’s still very, very, very US based. Not many people know about it here and not many people are pursuing any further knowledge. So, so yeah, seem very Westernized, very, very US-based.

Joel Van Dyke  

Yeah, thanks. I wish Nestor was still on. I’d love to hear his perspective from Manila. But great, I think it’d be fun… we have 15 minutes here before officially done. I think it might be a great kind of way to finish our time just by merely doing a quick in a second just kind of, you know, throwing up my profile and saying so here’s an actual profile. This is what this is, what the implications would be from what I need from the community, what I contribute, etc. where my blind spots are especially relevant just so we can touch on it and the reality of how this can be utilized in our global network and then as we turn  out to our respective cities, but I don’t want to do that prior to making sure if there’s anybody else that Kristy was or something else from the chats that should be referenced or is there anyone else who has a question or a comment about their engagement with the Enneagram before we conclude with a quick case study?

Kristy Humphreys  

Laurie left a really nice thought for us before she had to go so I’ll just read that really quick in case anyone hasn’t had a chance to see it. And she says, “I have to leave as well but a thought from Grand Rapids: I have a print hanging on my wall at home that says, ‘beauty is a colorful collection of imperfections.’ I like the idea of finding the beauty in the imperfections of our Enneagram numbers. It’s easy to get depressed by our vices. Thanks. Thanks for the reminder to see the beauty and all of our being blessings to everyone.

Mary Albert Darling  

I love that.

Joel Van Dyke  

That’s great. I think that’s what you know, having been a psych major in college to, you know, I went through all of the personality profile things and all the MPI, Rorshach, etc. and all this stuff and that’s what turned me off to pursuing psychology more, because it just felt like it was an artificial kind of categorization that I didn’t find helpful. But the Enneagram has been significantly different from that. And I think what I’ve been schooled with in this context of our global network has been this theology of imperfection. That is something we’ve learned to embrace. And the Enneagram gives voice to that in really concrete way so it’s not a deficit way of looking at oneself. It’s an honest, engaged way of really looking at one’s self in a way that then helps us to live into the assets that we can contribute, and awareness of the blockages that hold us back from giving those assets to the world around us. So it’s what that I think you mentioned in a couple of points as well, that kind of beauty in our imperfections and the Enneagram opens us up to see that beauty there. So that’s really helpful. Anybody else? And then we can just finish by a quick case study of how Mary actually brings this to life through an actual typing. Okay, go ahead, Mary. Why don’t you to take the screen back if you want—

Mary Albert Darling  

Okay, so first Kristy, that question that you asked at the beginning, you know, I think that whole idea of the beauty of the imperfection is a great way to look at your question to say there’s still beauty in our imperfections when we’re not getting it. Right, right? And we all have to have grace to understand that about ourselves and each other. So Joel and I actually have already gone over this and so he knows basically things that I will say here, and he has given me permission to talk about this. So um, I believe that the best way to discover your type is a lot of self-reflection, asking other people, not sabotaging what they might say, don’t ask if you don’t want to know. But asking people to be honest with you. And so for example, I sometimes suggest folks take this test. This test is a great test, if you’re not sure, but if you read descriptions and you start reading about the Enneagram and you say, “Whoa, yeah.” Or what a lot of people say is pick the top two or three descriptions that resonate with you. And then enter into a process of discernment read more about those but read a lot because again, there’s a lot there, the grand goes really deep. And there is a lot of misinformation out there and a lot of surface information, we didn’t even get into things like the childhood wound, what’s called the childhood wound and how getting in touch with some of the things that happened in our childhood. It can really help us to understand how we lived out our type through those experiences. 

And so there’s just all kinds of ways that this goes really deep. So the one of the best ways or the best way is that self discovery, but if I tell people if you’re really not sure after a long period of time or nothing, you know, you just can’t decide then I recommend a test but, I recommend that you talk to somebody who can interpret it. And so this is from the percentile scores of what’s called the WEPSS test. And this is Jerome Wagner, the Enneagram spectrum. And so the Enneagram Institute has a good test too. But this is the one that I like. I like the stats and how it’s done. So let me tell you what to do with this. So if you look at this, you see that that Joel’s highest number is a seven on 95.5. But his closest next number is 90.8. So what we’re doing is we’re looking at his top two or three scores, and he has clearly three top scores, the 95, the 90.8, and then the 89.8. So what I what I’ve told him is okay, yeah, you’ve worked with us. So with your work that you’ve done with this, you probably are a seven, because he’s done work. But if if if somebody was new to this with these scores, what I would say to them is you at you do need to consider a two, but right neck and neck, you need to consider the two and the three, because they’re too close to call me a 90.8. And at 89.8, I just I typed myself as a six because the test told me I was a six, I wish the test would have said, the algorithm just picks out your top number. I wish it would have said it’s too close to call because I was one point away from the six. My two was one point away. 

So if Joel was new to this, I’d say you need to do a process of discernment with yourself and others as to whether you’re a seven, a two or three. And this is what you can do in community. I mean, if you’ve got a good group of leaders here, you can help each other but you need to trust each other, right? You need to have grace and you need to have trust and if you don’t have those two things you’ve got a backup figure out what you do to establish that trust and that grace before you get into something like this so the two and the three are too close to call. He’s got a high seven, which means that Joel wants to go for what is joyful, you know the joy of the Lord is our strength might be averse you really like an unhealthy Joel would not want to deal with the pain, a healthy Joel moving in a healthy direction, what is it can deal with pain. And then what we also need to know is that he is also a very high helper, and he also wants to get things done to achieve. 

Now one of the things about a 3 and I’m doing a sideline here and one of the things about a three that gets misinterpreted is that people tend to think that a three because they’re the effective producer, performer achiever, that they’re really good with details and a three is not necessarily good with details. I know a lot of threes in my life who perform who achieved but they need a win person. They actually need a strong one wing to get the details done a lot of the one tends to be more of the perfectionist. I don’t know if this is true of your job, but your one’s pretty low. So you’re not necessarily going to go for perfection, but you’re still going to want to achieve so you need someone what Joel would need is someone and I’m getting into hypothetical because I don’t work directly with him. But Joel would need someone who is going to help him with the detail work. If he’s writing a book he needs the copy editor you know and then the other one that he would have to look at. He’s pretty low. My numbers aren’t coming up here your faces are those 12345 you’re lowering the five you’d have to do you want to do you want to get a team around you. You want someone who’s going to handle your details. You want someone who’s going to do a research for you. You also want someone who’s going to tell you what some of the fears might be, you know, the six, he’s got a 2.7 with a six. That’s a low score, he needs me to say okay, here’s where you need to draw, you could use a little fear I want to put a fear in your here, or I’m, you know, it would be okay to be a little anxious about.

There’s some possible danger here. A six can also help people with loyalty the six is a little bit different. The one number and the agreements a little bit different. Because the six has two parts, you can be counter or you can be phobic or counter phobic. And so a six is often called a loyalist or a loyal skeptic. So a six is loyal until they’re not. If they determine your not worth being loyal to anymore, they will cut you off and go in another direction. That’s often what a six does, but Joel, it would say that you could be helped a little bit by that six energy that uses the word energy. And you start you have a high nine, that’s good, but you would look at I mean as far as being able to be still but it also the unhealthy side of the nine would mean that it’s going to be in a little bit of conflict with your three you want to achieve but you also are tired and you don’t want to do anything. And so there’s just a lot that can be going on here that these scores can help us with. I’ll stop there to see I mean, I could go further into this but I think you can see team language and how team can really help each other be our best selves here. What does Joel need these scores can help him see what he needs. Questions on what I said, am I off track?

Joel Van Dyke  

Because of my high three, I’d like to know what I have to contribute. What do these numbers say about the incredible things I can contribute to this wonderful network around the world?

Mary Albert Darling

Are you asking me?

Joel Van Dyke  

Feciciously, yeah.

Mary Albert Darling  

Well, okay, hard work. You’re doing hard work in difficult places. We need what you’re seeing right now. We need that face. We need that smile. We need that. That wonderful, fun energy. We need that person who I was with in the streets in Managua saying, “I love this. I love this. I could live right here in the streets.” And my six is saying, “really? You can live in the street and in the dark?” but you’re full of joy in those situations. When I’m with you, you’re just so full of joy and energy. And we need that, especially when we’re working in difficult places in hard places. We need that joy. We need that optimism. It’s one of the main things we need. Combine that with being a 2, the helper, and that’s a dynamic combination. You just might need help with the details according to this.

Joel Van Dyke  

Well, as you were saying that Nic walked into the room where Kristy is sitting, right when you were saying how I might need someone to help with research and details. And I saw Nic laughing hysterically. We’ll just leave that right there. Because Yeah, for obvious reasons

Mary Albert Darling  

We don’t want to hear from Nic?

Joel Van Dyke  

Nic was listening to this as he drove North for the last 2 hours. But we’ve come up to our time. So thank you, Mary, so much for this opportunity. I know that we’ve talked about you offering, if there’s interest,  a place where folks from our network would like to take the test and then have some time of consultation with Mary she is available to meet with you and talk through the results. She’s more than happy to do that as a resource to our network. And so if that’s something you’re interested in, let me know and then we’ll make that connection for that to happen. As you know, she is an advisory member of our Street Psalms team and in that capacity really wants to continue to be a resource to us in this and other ways as well. 

So thank you, Mary, for bringing your passion, your zeal, your love for this tool. And hopefully it’s inspired for us and sparked further a desire to use it and deepen engagement with it. I think individually, many of us have found it very helpful but we have not proactively engaged it at a collective level. And I think that hopefully, part of what we can take from this, this conversation is some energy to do that and to take a look at some of its more collective usefulness for us as a global network and for our respective cities. So thank you so much. Thank you, all of you for participating. You’ll get a note soon with the recording and the resources that were referred to and notice about our next thought leader webinar as well that will be scheduled for September 3, with Ruth Padilla DeBorst and you’ll be hearing more information about that. So thank you once again, Mary. God bless you all.

Mary Albert Darling

Good to be with y’all. Thank you

Transcribed by https://otter.ai