Don’t go outside your house to see the flowers.
My friend, don’t bother with that excursion.
Inside your body there are flowers.
One flower has a thousand petals.
That will do for a place to sit.
Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty
Inside the body and out of it,
Before gardens and after gardens.
For a long time I used to find myself bringing up my home state, Vermont, A LOT in casual conversation. For goodness sake, it’s mentioned in my now three-year-old bio on the UUCC website!
It felt somewhat over the top and left field bringing it up so often, but I felt an urge to let people know about my experiences there so that they could better understand me. I wanted people to know how foundational my experiences were there, to know how meaningful the stillness of snowfall was to me growing up, to know that it felt magical as a child to build fairy houses in fields, to know that I was overwhelmed by wildflowers and seeing the stars and moon without light pollution at night. To know that I loved (and continue to love) nature and her quiet lessons and eternal beauty, and that I have Vermont to thank for instilling this lifelong love of nature.
I am most certainly nostalgic about the past and Vermont, and have imbued that time in my life with a heavy layer of meaning that isn’t true to how I actually experienced it while I was living there. The truth is that I was often so bored in Vermont and was more than ready to leave when I did at age 18. I was ready for a wider and more eclectic world.
In the last couple of years — and particularly this year — I find myself bringing up the Enneagram in conversation as much as I used to bring up Vermont. For those who may not be familiar, it’s a typology system that describes human personality as a number of interconnected personality types, and to me has proven to be a way more insightful and useful relational tool than Myers-Briggs — or my history growing up in Vermont.
Although I love to get into the many further nuances, I’ll spare us all in this setting and simply say that there are nine types total and that I’m an Enneagram 4 — The Individualist. Some personality traits of a 4 that particularly resonate with me include: self-aware, sensitive, quirky, self-conscious, moody, introspective, empathic, passionate about self-expression, and strong sense of identity.
The Enneagram has been a useful tool for exploring and understanding my inner world (gosh I love the inner world), and has allowed me to acknowledge and process my type’s core drive (to express myself authentically) and fear (not having an identity or personal significance). It has also allowed me to be mindful of and present to what traits I take on when I’m in stress or in growth. Beyond how it assists just me, learning about all nine types has helped me better understand and relate to those around me and develop a sense of interconnection. To see how we all fundamentally function differently, and how each type has its own beautiful way of being in the world. To see how we all need each other.
If you’re curious, I invite you to learn more and take the Enneagram test here (you can learn which type you are and then Google it to learn more without paying for the full report they’ll try to get you to buy at the end). If you know which type you are already, I’d love to hear about it in the comments so I can learn more about you.
In exploration and celebration of the beauty of our diversity,