Posted by: smstrouse | December 3, 2016

How’s Your Enneagram Type Processing the Election?

flat-coverThanks to a post by a Facebook friend, I discovered a new Enneagram website: The Road Back To You: Looking at Life through the Lens of the Enneagram. Included on the site is a weekly podcast hosted by authors Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile.

I’m interested in all things Enneagram, so this was a great find. Then I noticed the  introduction to the podcast from November 16:
“The election is over. How do you feel?”
My response: “I’m a One. How do you think I feel? I’m pissed!”

1473716046577But seeing that the topic was “Reclaiming Hope: A Conversation with Michael Wear on Politics, the Enneagram, and How America Moves Forward,” I figured it would be worth a listen. Guest interviewee was Michael Wear, author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America. A list of things that you wouldn’t want to miss included:

  • How to utilize the Enneagram to help understand your motivation
  • How to respond to others instead of reacting
  • How to discover a path of hope in the midst of profound disappointment

It was definitely worth the hour I spent listening – and then going back to hear parts of it again ! (You can listen to the podcast here.)

The premise of the interview was that people today are feeling a basic instability. Politics isn’t the only reason for this, but it plays a big role. And different people react to change and instability in different ways. In the second half of the interview, they went through all the numbers of the Enneagram to describe what the reaction to the election would be. Very, very briefly:

#One: Anger, responsibility. “I have to do something to fix this!”
Who knew Augustine would nail it?!
(I’m a One, by the way)
#Two: Sadness about breaches in relationships. “How do we repair this?”
#Three: Big picture thinking. “There is an answer and when I figure it I out, I want people to follow my leadership.”
#Four:  Needs certitude.”I want to affirm what I know to be true, to return to a firm foundation.”
#Five: Investigation. “I’ve got to figure this out knowledge-wise.”
#Six: This is particularly interesting, since the authors believe that Sixes played a big part in this election, that politicians manipulated their fears and need for security. They also claim that there are more Sixes in the general population than any other number. This definitely calls for more study.
#Seven: Struggling, but they can also be optimistic: “We have to laugh at ourselves, use out of the box thinking.”
#Eight: Done looking backward. “What are we going to do now to move forward?”
#9  They think Nines might be the most helpful in the days ahead and need to step up. Nines are the peacemakers, the only number that sees two sides to everything. They may be able to help in the de-weaponizing of our political views.


Quoting Richard Rohr, they remind us that change is when you take on something new. But transformation is when something old falls away, usually beyond our control.  It is a liminal space: it’s neither where we were or to where we’re going. It may be extremely uncomfortable, but it’s the most teachable space.

Although we are are now in a time of profound disappointment, they spoke of a
“fundamental hope” that transcends circumstances. A profound disappointment can open us up to something more than the trauma we’ve been through. And they wonder if this is a  season our country has to go through?

I found inspiration in this podcast. But I also understand my place of privilege. In no way do I intend to minimize the threat to other people in our country or the suffering that will come from lack of health care and other basic rights. But I’m convinced that those of us who want to “fix this” need to have a solid spiritual and emotional center. I think I’m going to have to go back and listen to this again.

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