I teach the enneagram in the Narrative Tradition, which privileges participants' perceived, felt, and sensed experiences. To this end, I utilize movement, guided meditation, repeating question exercises, panel interviewing, storytelling and any other practice that brings participant experiences to bear on the collective learning process. It is within these practices we find the narratives that hold the rich and real tensions that mark our lives as humans, and since the enneagram in my hands is a tool for helping us face reality, I don't think we can do enneagram work without these narratives and the multiple intersections and discernments they present to us.
When you come to one of my workshops, enter into coaching work, or attend a retreat, come prepared to engage. I am of the deep belief that the most of the important questions and discernments pass us by when we are not being attentive and receptive.
We begin our work with awareness practices, aimed to help us gather data about what is going on inside of us.
I believe that the learners in the classroom are also bringing the "content" and "context" of the exploration. I set the boundaries of the process and introduce the scaffolding for our exploration, but the more narrative you bring, the more content and context we have to make sense of. The goal of this work is not the scaffolding itself, but how to relate to what it helps us see in the stories we are telling.
We continue the work by forging hospitable relationships with our own and each others' lived experiences as sites of inquiry and discernment.
Often, we think of our "work" as trying to do "healthy" things, however, the process of becoming attentive to our narratives, and appreciating the many things we find, is essential to the work itself, and at the outset doesn't feel like what we understand "health" to be at all. In fact, this attentiveness can be risky, difficult and in some cases, anxiety-producing. This kind of attentiveness doesn't always feel good or ideal, but it allows us to discern just what kinds of tensions we live with, and how we tend to resolve those tensions, consciously or unconsciously. It's not a simple process, because settling into the reality of personhood (with its requisite vulnerabilities and powers) is a often a sputtering process, and there's not really a short cut (including the Enneagram itself). Sometimes we have to turn and face our individual and collective stories and what they reveal to us about what kinds of assumptions we are living with so that we can make active choices about what we actually want to love, submit to, resist, work towards, and put our hope in.
We deepen the work by doing it all over again: practicing awareness, and kindly getting to know what we find--and then making choices about what we'll do in response to what we know.
Any educational experience that I facilitate is aimed at helping participants embody what it is like to practice awareness and compassion simultaneously, and empower each person to put knowledge and discernment into practice it on the ground of communal life.
Similarly to my teaching methodology, coaching work cannot simply be a head-centered endeavor of getting the right information. While many of my clients come to me to "know themselves" better, head knowledge has little helpful effect if it isn't accompanied by the knowledge that comes to us from the heart and from the body. And, we don't actually always want to know ourselves and the tensions we live with. So, any coaching we engage in together will aim to equip you with the full bodied knowledge you need in real life. This means creating curious and kind space to notice your patterns at work, so that you can discern what to do, that is, when and how to deviate from the patterns that keep you resolving the actual tensions you live with, without ever taking responsibly for turning to face those tensions and consider the alternatives and the effects of your decisions.
Our process is compassionate towards you, and to the patterns, because there are reasons they have developed. But it must be said that the goal of my work with you (on my end) isn't just helping you feel good or "living your best life now." The process we engage in is about helping you to find ground in what is Really Real (inside of you and outside of you), and to learn how to face up to that reality with courage, wisdom and truth.
On that journey, I see myself as at times a guide, and at times a witness. Good coaches know how to do these things--observe, listen, encourage, teach, and train. That is the kind of coach I strive to be! If you are interested in how we could do this work together, send me an email and I'll share more about the practical specifics of the process.
If you are interested in the topic, you might want to read more about why I call what I do "coaching" and not "spiritual direction". You'll find the relevant discussion in Section 4.