Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sure in My Own Skin. Enneagram- "The Bohemian Type 4 with 5 Wing" Based on 'Pretty' By Ingrid Michealson. And The 'Mirror Effect' From Empaths.

(Artwork by Terri Foss)

As soon as I heard Ingrid Michaelson's song, "Pretty" from her new album "Stranger Songs," I knew it could be the anthem for the Enneagram Type 4 with 5 Wing personality. The Bohemian spirit with the vagabond soul will find particular solidarity within the lyrics.
Often I can not fully explain my feelings or self fully without a song to help. "I love music. For me, music is morning coffee. It's mood medicine. It's pure magic. A good song is like a good meal- I just want to inhale it and then share a bite with someone else."- Hoda Kotb. This post is the bite I am sharing of the magic that has been swirling around me on repeat.

"I'm done- Spinning round and round. Planting my feet in the ground. I'm not afraid of the dark. I'm not afraid to get hurt."- Ingrid Michealson

"Fours almost seem to drown in their hearts as a way of relating to the intensity of their emotions. In their feelings they experience a magnetic draw toward deep sorrow and deep joy- feelings that remind them that they are alive, while everything around them seems to be dying. When Fours come home to themselves, they welcome the courage to explore the fullness of their hearts."- Christopher L Heurtz

4w5 wings are not afraid of the darkness that resides within. I'm not afraid to get hurt. I'm probably more afraid when I don't feel at all. I found it enlightening when Beatrice Chestnut wrote that 4 Types 'shadow,' which are the parts we deny or try to avoid facing, are actually the positive aspects of other types of self.

"It is the good things about themselves that Fours relegate to unconsciousness and don't own or see...One of the main challenges Fours face is that their tendency to focus on what is missing or lacking in situations can get them stuck in a negative cycles in which they can't make the transitions to accepting what is satisfying and 'good enough' in the present. They don't recognize or acknowledge their own positive qualities, like their capabilities for growth and positive change, their inherent lovability, and their beauty and power." - Beatrice Chestnut (pg. 282 The Complete Enneagram.)

I have been sitting on that chestnut since February when I picked up Beatrice's book. I admit to crying through my type's entire chapter. But it was good when I balanced the insights with my own experience, read a couple blogs by actual Type 4 people, and read the "Sacred Enneagram." After 6 months of reflection I can honestly say, "I'm done spinning round and round." I may have never been afraid to get hurt or of the dark, but I have been afraid of my own magic of self. I have been afraid of my beauty and power. I have been scared to embrace positivity and the emotions like "enthusiasm" or "happiness." And slowly, over my Spring season I have found my baby roots and I am blooming up to the sky.

"Head above the clouds. Mamma come look at me now. I'm not afraid of the world. I'm gonna fight like a girl." Ingrid Michaelson

I've realized that I am deserving of love and capable of being loved, just like anyone else. I often take on the darker feelings and parts of reality that most don't wish to acknowledge. "Fours make good targets for unconscious group projections of the Shadow, not because they are actually bad in some way but because they are highly sensitive to emotions like grief and pain. They make effective targets for others projections because they cant help but be aware of- and voice- the negative aspects that others do not wish to see or own..."- Beatrice Chestnut (pg 279.)

I'm not afraid of the world. I'm most often afraid of my self. And I have been in a place where that has suddenly stopped. I am embracing what I am again. Which honestly will be a life long struggle of ebb and flow. But right now, I'm going to fight like the girl that I AM.

"Running around with my long hair. Tearing my dress and I don't care. If you're looking for something beautiful..."- Ingrid Michaelson

I have realized that I can rest in my unshakable true self. Self actualization is my anthem and it's ok to be beautiful along with my other side.  "Along with Type Twos, Fours are the most emotional of the Enneagram personalities. In contrast to Twos, however, Fours tend to be more introverted and are sometimes more intellectual. Fours are also more likely to feel and be comfortable feeling a wider range of emotions, including hate and anger whereas Twos repress these feelings out of a persistent desire to avoid offending others."- B. Chestnut pg 281.

"Perhaps more than any other Enneagram types, Fours possess the gift of empathy....Fours have a natural comfort with a wide range of feelings, from joy to rage to fear to sadness...Their ability to feel their own feelings at a deep level gives them both a familiarity with and understanding of the intense emotional experiences of others... They have the natural ability to intuit what is happening below the surface of things on a deeper, emotional level."- Beatrice Chestnut pg. 281

"I'm pretty sure that I'm all good. Walking away from you like I should. Washing it all away. No, I'm not just pretty. No, I'm pretty Damn Good."- Ingrid Michaelson

The lyric above hit my soul. YES! When I walk away from expectations of what I SHOULD be, or from those who make me feel I am tough to love, I become cleansed. It's time to stop fearing the abandonment complex that Fours can struggle with as their inner childhood wound. As Elphaba sings in Wicked, "Too long I've been afraid of losing love, I guess I've lost. Well, if that's love it comes at much too high a cost."

"Rosy cheeks and lips. She talks but nobody listens. That's just the way of the world. I gotta fight like a girl." Ingrid Michaelson

At the same time, I have learned how to relax into ' good enough' for myself and for others. Instead of idealizing what I need or what I believe is missing from my life, I now see that I have all that I need. Perception is half the equation. Because the magic in the mundane can be found. I know, because recently I have discovered so much of it, and wake with anticipation! It used to drive me crazy when my INFJ perceptive, intuitive advice would be ignored by my close friends. I would talk but my warnings would not be listened to. But now I realize, people do what they wish. I can still advise or give insight when it matters, but maybe they need to learn their own lessons. That's just the way of the world. I have learned (mostly) when it is ok to disappear.

"Running around with my long hair. Tearing my dress and I don't care. If you're looking for something beautiful..."- Ingrid Michaelson

"I'm pretty sure that I look good, Walking away from you like I should. Washing it all away. I'm not just pretty, No, I'm pretty Damn Good."- Ingrid Michaelson
I am thankful to each soul that I have left purposefully or whom has left me. "Whether you pushed me or pulled me, drained me or fuelled me, stayed by my side or left me, loved me or hated me, hurt me or helped me, you are part of my growth, and I thank you."

This doesn't mean I have to be friends with them or have them in my life anymore, but it does mean that the prevailing emotion is gratitude. Of course, true to a Four I will cycle through anger, loss, pain ect...because Fours are comfortable with these expressions and to deny them would be to deny our own self. But, the key is for us to see the growth so we can feel those emotions in our Shadow. Which hilariously are every one else's light; The emotions of happiness, joy, enthusiasm, and lighter aspects of Being. I admit, I used to be a bit of snob to those emotions...I liked them enough, but I thought anyone who LIVED in them was slightly shallow. Now, I am learning they are part of the equation. Those who live in them, will have to learn the opposite lesson. Which is that anger, grief, jealousy, sadness ect. are also a needed part of living WHOLE.

"Sure in my own skin. Again and again and again. I am my everything. No, I'm not just pretty. No I'm pretty damn good."- Ingrid Michealson

The above lyrics are my favourite from the entire song. 'Sure in my own skin.' This lesson I learn again, and again, and again. But I truly am my own everything. Something I was taught was bad in Christian religion. But I have found true love from a Source that is within me and without. I no longer think it is a bad thing to be my own everything. I have become comfortable with Warsan Shire's quote, "You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, something not everyone knows how to love."

"I'm pretty. I'm pretty much a mess. But I'm pretty good. I'm gonna fight like a girl."- Ingrid Michaelson

I am often pretty much a mess...yet also accidentally magical. I am that paradox. Fours often are. Empaths can emulate what is known as "The Mirror Effect." This is mimicking back other's hidden behaviours, energy or emotions...attributes that often are unconscious to the other person. "If someone has traits that they don't like about themselves, they are often reminded of those traits when they are in an empath's presences. This is one reason there can be instant dislike towards an empath." Reflections of truths denied are often my forte. I have tried to dismiss this or avoid it with deflections, but lately, I have learned that it just IS what it IS. First I check myself for any reason to be disliked...for instance I make sure I don't need to apologize for something. Often I say things that others take as slights. But if I have scrutinized every interaction and taken responsibility for my own self, yet still feel the hate or blatant dislike, it is usually because of the Mirror Effect.

I have learned that I look good with boundaries. Walking away with confidence, even if there are mixed emotions, and seeing the possibilities in front of me, enable self love which translates to "looking good."

I love SOUL. Brooke Hampton wrote, "I like books that make me cry, intimacy, real talk, poetry, old music, unexpected messages to let me know I'm loved, growing things, and genuine people. I like things that make me feel. I like soul." This is the heart of an Enneagram 4 with 5 wing. When my soul feels withered, that is often a hint that it's time to say goodbye. This does not mean I do not appreciate a person, place or thing...or that it wasn't ever good...or that there wasn't beauty. Indeed, there almost always is a bit of previous magic. But life changes and we grow out of what once was or others grow...and sometimes soul requires hard choices.

"I'm aiming for the 'She's a badass and cute as hell but I wouldn't touch her without asking" look." That statement cracked me up. It's true on so many levels. Boundaries are my life long lesson. I have heard it said that often people write about their own eternal wound or goal. If a person is writing about logic constantly, it is often because they are aspiring to have some or admire that quality and know it is lacking in themselves. For myself, there are two parts of the human puzzle I constantly write about. These two aspects are not secret wounds. I readily embrace them and have seen the pattern. 1. Boundaries. 2. Knowing you are worthy simply because you Exist. I constantly tell people they are worthy because they exist. Even if they are not meant to be in my life or if I have a loathing at times (ha that wicked 1 percent of myself.) I STILL believe that. But why do I so adamantly believe that for others and not self? Because an inner wound of the Four type is struggling to believe that for their own sense of self.

I used to be so accommodating to others. I still am in many senses. It is impossible not to be to a degree when one's driver for life is "perspectives taking." With observance and intuition it is easy to see what ticks people off, what appeases them, what will drive them crazy and what will make them love me. I have two choices with that knowledge. I can use it to fit in and do all the "right things." OR I can be understanding, and use this gift to accommodate in certain situations but to choose to still be ME. For instance, I can see a few friends whom I send my blogs personally to, cringing at the language in this post. Most of the time I leave language out, even though I am comfortable with it. I don't love it when people use strong language to demean others out of anger, but otherwise I barely notice it...but I notice it for my audience. This time though, the lyrics and quotes require the language. Who cares if anyone translates that as a reason not to read me? I will never fully fit in and energy requires me elsewhere.

I am in a season of being sure in my own skin. Which technically, if one looks at all the facts, I shouldn't be. I walked away from my best friend and she walked away from me. The parting was mostly peaceful and mutual. But it happened a few months ago. But it was one of the best things that could have happened to me for this time in my life. I hope we can be casual friends later on in the future but time needs to happen first. I also know, without a doubt she lost a lot of intentional love and activated knowledge, losing me. Even if she never realizes it. I gave way too much energy the last few years that I should have been giving to my family. Now that I am- I see it needed to happen. We used to give equally and were equal in almost all our interactions for most of our friendship but at the end...the last two years- I clung on more than I should. Now, I know I look good, walking away, like I should.

I gained some weight but the reason why is so beautiful this time. I tend to gain weight randomly even on a restricted diet. This time I have decided to enjoy some foods and nurture the part of me that has said a firm, "No" for the last decade. I'm still pretty restricted ( I am Celiac after all.) I know I tend to go fully one way or the other and past a certain point I will get back on track. I have heard people use the expression, "She let herself go." But maybe she just let society's standards of beauty, weight, success and health go? I am healthier and stronger than I have been in the last year and I have consumed chocolate bars for the first time in 5 years regularly. I have eaten lettuce wrapped A&W burgers religiously, and I've even consumed sugar (gasp!) For a health nut, this is extreme. I still have sexy moments. I'm still pretty in a different way. And more importantly I'm satisfied and feel nurtured by food for the first time in years. Obviously I stay away from preservatives, Carrageenan, Diglycerides ect...but I have broken some of my own rules.

I have suddenly walked away from being constantly accommodating. Yes, I am perceived as not so nice to some people anymore, but that's been pure freedom. I used to be the first to text or felt pressure to text back immediately even if I was legitimately busy. I put so much pressure on myself to be the healer or to fix wounds. Or at the very least, to make sure I never caused harm. I still believe in harming none, however, I have slowly learned the difference in LIVING and BEING and purposeful harm. Sometimes, forgetting a text is just life and not a direct slight. Sometimes, if someone never initiates a text it means maybe they aren't receptive to my life either and it's ok to let it dissolve without my self pressure to make it happen. When I stopped texting or emailing some people- I never heard from them again. It's been over a year for some. That says something and none of it reflects badly on me. If they end up communicating again, I am fine tentatively adding them back in or responding but I won't give as much as I did without reciprocation. Because we all have seasons of limited energy. Maybe it's theirs...maybe it's mine...and that is ok.

I have given myself permission to enjoy without guilt. To savour. To take pleasure in activities that I used to have lingering christian guilt over. And I have found SO MUCH JOY. "Euphoria is a cosmic connection to the beauty around and within you, increasing sensitivity to your place in the mysteries of the universe. Breathing a moment of euphoria is the blissful realization that you have the opportunity to make each day better than the last."- Paulina Cassidy.

Sometimes, there will be pain, I found joy and euphoria in ritual which I often run away from. I dived into an aspect of Being I was always warned away from and found my inner witchiness in the best possible way. I learned to stop explaining. Writing about it in my own spaces is a process, but going out of my way to explain my behaviours, purchases or attitudes is exhausting. I was trying too hard to make my ways fit with everyone else's. I too often thought I had to explain. Take for instance cancelling an appointment. I used to always give a long explanation as to why I had to cancel. Now I just give a polite refusal and re book. If they ask I either say, "That is my business but I wouldn't be cancelling if I didn't have a reason." OR if I need to be more delicate I will give a lighter version of the truth. It truly is not their business. I used to think being godly or nice required me to give more. I realized how much I did this in my personal relationships too. I gave more than I got. A certain amount of mystery is ok. The most important people I need to give to are my inner self and also to those I deeply love who encourage respect and growth. Connection is integral to humanity but there is a balance to be found. I'm planting my feet in the ground. I'm done spinning around and around. Mamma come look at me now!

I am not afraid of the world. Planting my feet in the ground. I am sure in my own skin and I am smiling because I like this person I have fought to become.

Song choice: 'Pretty' - Ingrid Michaelson 'Stranger Songs' album. I am OBSESSED with this album 
and it plays on repeat in our home.

Confidence. Artist:Terri Foss

Post Note:
This post is for anyone who needs a boost of confidence or wants to find a new song anthem that gives it. But this post is also specifically for other type 4's who have not faced their wounds of abandonment based on whom they are. Read about your type. Explore books like Beatrice Chestnut's "The Complete Enneagram" (click) or "The Sacred Enneagram" by Christopher L Heurtz. (Click) The second is a beautiful book but it does have a Christian perspective. It is still one of my favourites. I simply translated a few of the more religious statements but otherwise, the book is a lovely balance to Chestnut's sometimes harsh look at each type.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Summer Renewal, Epicurean Light, Magic and Meaning Whilst Embracing the Micro.

In 2016 I wrote that Summer was my Winter Season (click HERE.) This has been generally true for me, however, in 2017/2018, Spring became a first time favourite, which (surprise!) has moved into Summer 2019. Summer has now become this year's top spot which has never happened to me in my adult life. I am officially an "All Seasons Gal." Each season has had it's turn to shine in my life and become a well loved source of joy.

What changed? 


Back in February I kept running into the word "Transformation." I sensed change was upcoming which was scary and hopeful all at once. All the signs intuitively were pointing to a birth of sorts. But in order for birth, there must be death first or necessary endings. Luckily, many of my endings were not as painful as the anticipation of them. And the renewal that swiftly swept in made up for any losses three fold. "It takes courage to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives."- Marianne Williamson

Speaking of loss, the picture of the mirror above was a garage sale item I found for a buck and it's solid bronze. My youngest broke it on it's way into the home, my husband trashed it, I rescued and glued it and my daughter glittered it. I love it even more now. It contains a story and a context belonging to us with mystery from the owner before. It is lovely. Reflected within are the truths of messy mistakes glittering life and refracting with even more astounding beauty.

I have learned to accept my Stoic leanings but balance them with much needed Epicurean pursuits. I have found an explosion of magic and meaning, mystery and logic, and the paradox of beauty in darkness and light. Of course, those aspects were always in my life, but the Litha sun has basked them into full bloom.

Temperate weather has probably helped as our weather has been fluctuating between rain and sunshine and averages around 20 degrees C. On my front porch, which faces south, and is always about 7-10 degrees hotter, it is pure perfection for when I need heat, and I can walk off the deck for cooler temps. Which equals sensory delight. The wild roses are releasing my favourite fragrant scent and the bees are in abundance this year. I am in absolute awe of the nature surrounding me. 

I have taken the time to watch the gophers walk up to me curiously on hind feet, the birds chirp happily a few paces away, the ants busily making their nests...I have witnessed coyotes, buffalo, Canadian geese, deer, eagles, ravens, horses, cows, beavers and a snowy white owl...all in one weeks time. Oh and a frog the size of my hand standing in the middle of the road on a late night walk beneath the waning moon. These happenings have swept me away with gratitude for the wild place I belong to. 

Of course, aspects of my introverted self still suit winter, but I think I have become balanced enough to finally suit all seasons comfortably. And I am also ok with the fact that some years I will be drawn into differing seasons, but now as the wheel of the year turns, I am finding peace in what IS. "We do not grow absolutely, chronologically, we grow sometimes in one dimension and not in another or evenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one room, childish in another, the past, the present, the future mingle and pull us backward, forward or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells and constellations."- Anais Nin. 

I've reconnected with some beautiful friends from Jr/Sr. high school and discovered other connections that help round out other aspects of self. The world is full of beautiful people. Some suit us for parts of our journey while others need a break.

I've also severed some ties that encouraged me in my winter introversion, and admit-tingly supported me to be a bit of an intellectual snob at times (not a lot but there were a few fleeting realizations. Although that is completely on me as no one can force us to become what we are not.) Perhaps I was too concerned about being "frou frou" or lacking substance? I'm naturally deep so swimming in the shallow end is not something I am used to. Maybe I was shirking away from sunlight because I felt the shadows held more appeal? But life is BOTH yin and yang. I was not scrutinizing the downsides of thinking too much. Ha, maybe I am still thinking too much... I was holding on to things that held me back while also containing others. I took solace in being stoic all the time. Stoicism is still a beautiful and needed aspect of balanced living. Intellectual pursuits are worthy and wonderful. But there is something to be said for mysticism and innocence. As Harry Potter exclaimed with wonder, "I love magic!" Yes! The magic of BEING begets so many moments of ordinary bliss. If only we re- train ourselves to pay attention to the micro world. 

Ritual and spontaneity need a marriage of respect. I have recently discovered both in ways I did not behold before. We all have the power to create. We can create with our words because words are powerful entities on to themselves. They build worlds, challenge beliefs, strengthen resolve, and enable life. The invisible becomes visible with an utterance of a word. If that is not a bit of magic, then what is?

This Spring and Summer have taken us adventuring with the shadows behind us and the sun in our smiles. Moments of storms and light reflecting crystals. "No matter how thinly you slice it- there will always be two sides."- Baruch Spinoza.

 I hope that I will always find the light in the darkness and the beauty that can come with life's storms. But I also hope that I won't just let my sufferings define me. What tiny moonbeams or star flecked skies do I ignore because I am searching for the fireworks? I have had to ask myself whom I am without my cultural expectations of self, and whom am I without my suffering?

I have had two Lyme flares since the Spring but they have been fleeting. When they do come around I have asked myself to respect my body's demands, but to also not define myself from past flares. And when I do come out of a flare, to then quickly focus my gaze towards the micro world. The picture below I would have NEVER posted before without make up in a flare, but the sun healed and it was a symbolic moment of embracing what is and averting my gaze to what can BE. 

I have spent the last decade plus learning about sensory overload, boundaries, chronic illness symptoms and management, dyspraxia, learning disabilities, and my shortcomings. All of these were needed lessons and moments. I still plan on maximizing some of those truths learned in the future. But there is a time for whimsy, childlike belief and wonder. 

Each day I wake up with anticipation, eager to learn the lessons and joys of the gift of living. Not all seasons can be like this of course, I know that due to my own past of hardships, but when they do come, it is not a bad thing to celebrate the ordinary minuscule that often gets overlooked. There is so much wonder to behold. I have taken time to watch clouds roll by, feel the home made ice cream melt on my tongue with peppermint tang, sense the sun warming up my body from the outside in, watch the bees buzz in a flower, and stare at the rainbows made by window crystals. These are not wasted moments. I still get needed organizational aspects of life completed, but they are enriched by the micro magic.

What will people think if they catch you cloud watching or focusing dreamily on a flower? What will be their reaction when they witness contentment, magic, wonder or childlike actions? If you are worried that they will leave you based on this kind of living, why are they invited to witness your sacred life in the first place? Feed your soul the food of dreams and stories. After all, your story is your epic life. Your moments are now and they won't last forever.

"I know it's a drag, I know it's a grind. I know that a dollar ain't worth a dime. Just trying to keep up with the Joneses at the end of the block. I know you get tired, I know you get down. I know you get sick of this soul sucking town. Let's make a little lemonade if lemons is all we got 'Cause I'm stuck on you, you're stuck on me. I never gotta wonder where my honey be. I ain't saving all my sugar for a Saturday night. Seven days a week I got an appetite. Sunsets like a tangerine, let's find a road we've never seen. Don't waste another mile or a minute not kissing me. Life is short, make it sweet
Open sky, glimpse of heaven, take the top off the CJ-7. Let that surfside Santa Ana wind mess up your hair, And let that windshield frame the ocean, Radio keep coast-to-coasting, If we don't get where we're going baby I don't care. I'm already there. 'Cause I'm stuck on you, you're stuck on me
I never gotta wonder where my honey be. I ain't saving all my sugar for a Saturday night. Seven days a week I got an appetite. Sunsets like a tangerine, let's find a road we've never seen. Don't waste another mile or a minute not kissing me. Life is short, make it sweet. Days will be long but the years will fly right by. We'll never be as young as we are tonight. Baby ain't that right, yeah. 'Cause I'm stuck on you, you're stuck on me. I never gotta wonder where my honey be. I ain't saving all my sugar for a Saturday night. Seven days a week I got an appetite. Sunsets like a tangerine, let's find a road we've never seen. Don't waste another mile or a minute not kissing me. Life is short, make it sweet."- Old Dominion Lyrics

With deepest gratitude to dreams, stories built from magical words, mystery and the micro. May you find your little joys to sweeten daily life.

P.S. Happy Canada Day.