Melanie Bell is a writer, editor, workshop facilitator, and coauthor of The Modern Enneagram. Her writing has appeared in various publications including Cicada, Autostraddle, xoJane and Grain.
“I just got back from Florida when the memories came rolling in.” Bill paused, his elbows on the Formica table. “The other day my arm was numb. Felt like a two by four attached to my side. The doctor said it was shellfish poisoning. And the next day all these memories came back! Like a can of film, you know, that opens up and unrolls all the negatives. Well, I won’t be going down south again anytime soon. Not after they kicked me out of that job.”
No matter what our lifestyle is, all of us have habits that help us manage our lives. Sometimes these habits, such as flossing daily and having a regular personal growth practice, sustain and nourish our long-term happiness and health. Other habits, such as skipping lunch to be productive or not getting enough sleep, allow us to meet goals in the short term but aren’t good for our long-term well-being.
Rolling dunes of red sand studded with marram grass. Wild strawberries and lupin fields teeming with pink, white, and purple spires. My parents, enchanted by the summer landscape and a greenhouse business my father wanted to buy, moved home and baby from suburban Connecticut to rural Prince Edward Island. There were disconnections between themselves and the locals.
The creative writing scene in Montreal seemed wondrous to me, full of new ways of shaping and playing with words, and I imagined it would be my path to success. I got invited to read my work, and people I knew talked about publishing one of my books someday. Yet there were elements in the community that seemed off.
At the 2014 IEA Global and European Conferences, we introduced the practice of Ayurveda which we use as a complement to our Enneagram work. Maintaining a regular, structured practice that fosters mindfulness is helpful for using the Enneagram’s insights effectively. A good practice builds up the capacity to observe oneself, in order to see one’s automatic type habits at play and choose to engage differently. Ayurveda is one such practice that draws on the body center’s intelligence.
What’s the hardest part of the writing process? Writers are divided on whether it’s starting or finishing. It’s a challenge to face a blank page or screen and get those first words down. Once you’ve found momentum on a writing project, you might run into writer’s block while wading through a tricky, unstructured middle. Finally, it may prove difficult to sustain the energy and structure to get to the end, or even to know when you’ve finished.
I chose my university major hoping, among other things, to find out more about myself. The innovative Renaissance College leadership program at the University of New Brunswick took place over the course of three years housed inside a teal Victorian mansion. Instead of a fourth year, students would study over two summers, first interning somewhere within Canada and the second, internationally.
Through the door of the cave dwelling, we were watching. Demet had nudged the leather aside just enough to see and just little enough so we wouldn't be noticed. Aunt Alay's back was to us as she bent over the stone table, curved down towards the bread she was slicing, and in that same moment I caught sight of a white flash at the back of the room. A face. Chalk white, the colour of fresh bone.
I realized I needed to make a commitment when I could no longer keep track of everything I was supposed to be doing. I got home from teaching writing classes and tutoring international students, to freelance editing projects to list of to-dos for my Enneagram personality workshop business. If I was lucky, I might get to write that day. There were things I liked about all my jobs, but I could no longer handle the exhaustion of bouncing between them.
Think of your favorite fictional characters. Chances are they have a personality you can recognize and motivations you can relate to. Drawing on personality systems can help you craft characters who are dynamic and believable enough to live beyond the page. In this post, I’ll introduce the nine personality types of the Enneagram, an insightful personality model for understanding ourselves and others that can easily be adapted for character creation.
IDENTIFYING AND USING YOUR STRENGTHS
Living with accountability involves being true to our best selves. Sure, the Enneagram teaches us to pinpoint and work on what’s difficult for us, but it’s also important to stay positive. Chugging through our daily lives and simply trying to survive, we often get settled into routines that don’t always serve us.