Some years ago I discovered that I am an Enneagram type Two. The Enneagram is an ancient wisdom which teaches about the 9 ways of ‘being’ and perceiving life. It was created mainly for the egoic traits that arise through each type. Each of the 9 types are different, but have pretty much default and predictable behavioural patterns, and between them they make up humanity. When you understand this, you tend to understand why so many people feel so easily offended or can be judgmental in today’s society… it’s because we are all so different whilst telling each other ‘Be like me, be like me!’ rather than ‘Be like you, be like you!’…

These days, the Enneagram has become very sugar-coated to make it socially acceptable so that it doesn’t offend the fragile egos of those who would have to face the truth about how they show up at times and the patterns they play on themselves and others. As a society, we do everything we can to avoid or gloss over this side of ourselves, yet we don’t realise just how much it’s preventing us from finding our deepest peace. With this sugar-coating, the wisdom and potential the Enneagram contains becomes hugely diluted. You see, you cannot recognise and break through anything that is holding you back if you’re refusing to acknowledge what that is. You simply cannot break through what you’re not willing to see.

One of the things I discovered about being a Two, is that Twos have a sense of false abundance. We tend to focus on abundance in order to remain happy and prideful, and we also tend to overlook potential potholes. There is a very good reason for this, as with each of the behavioural traits of all 9 types which it has now become my life’s work to research and teach, but which I can’t explain here without writing an entire book…

However, for someone who teaches about positive thinking, you might be able to imagine how it felt when I first discovered that my abundantly positive attitude to life was ego based, and existed first and foremost to actually serve my ego. It came as quite a shock. However, with everything I’d learned about the 9 ways of being, it all made perfect sense… My journey of growth was to discover a place way beyond that… into the ‘me’ that is not my ego. Recognising my ego for the first time allowed me to see the box that I had so inadvertently placed myself into, which allowed the following process to unfold.

With this knowledge came the understanding that for years I had been denying myself the opportunity to feel lower calibrating emotions, such as fear, shame, guilt, apathy etc. They were something I always strived to work away from, rarely allowing myself to feel for any length of time, because they didn’t serve my ego. This all went on subconsciously, whilst I carried on blissfully blind to my way of being. And so I kept focusing on abundance and retained a positive attitude to life, as Twos tends to do.

A few years ago I took the deepest journey yet into my shadow side. I had been there before, but compared to this experience, the other times were more intellectually based. I spent 7 days there, surrendering totally to the process of facing my ego head on. I felt intense shame and humiliation, probably for the very first time at this level. I reviewed my entire life like a movie, from my first childhood memory through to adulthood, and because I am now able to clearly recognise the traits of the Two, I could see my ego showing up everywhere… ouch, ouch and ouch! The shame and pain I felt was intense and painful. But rather than lifting myself out of the shame I felt in that moment with my positive thinking toolkit, as I would have done in the past, I allowed my shame to encompass me completely. I resisted nothing…

I felt like I was drowning. During this process, my physical body became dense and sore as my energy came to a standstill. Then something incredible happened, I became aware of my soul’s presence. It was observing me lying in my shame with the most incredible love, cradling me protectively as a mother cradles her child.

Then I began to feel two opposing ‘selves’ from either end of the scale – shame from my body and all-encompassing love from my soul, and I felt them both at the same time. There are no words to describe it. I felt these two emotions for several days.

At first I was observing my soul as ‘over there’ whilst it cradled my aching body. And then suddenly I was observing my aching body as ‘over there’ as I stepped into my soul’s presence and became the observer of my body, mind and emotions. In that moment, everything changed. Absolutely everything. The immensity of it all dawned in a moment I will never forget. My consciousness became fully present in my soul, and it’s from there that I began to experience life.

I became aware that my soul is such a powerful presence. The shame was simply something my body was feeling. Something my ego was creating. In reality, my shame was an illusion, it could not truly harm me. Nothing could. Even my body felt like an illusion. I don’t really know how to find words to express the expansiveness of being and the love that I felt inside.

Several days later when I came out of this intense experience, I felt like I had broken free from a shell. I felt like I had wings. I felt the most liberating and beautiful sense of freedom. I had a clarity on life that was so simple, so huge and so peaceful. I felt like my eyes and heart had both been opened. The reality of life’s illusion had lifted, and I knew who I was.

I also knew who I was not.

From that day onwards, my being felt different. My understanding of spirituality changed completely. The simplicity of it all was quite incredible. The only way to explain it is that I gave up all resistance. Funny thing is, that I didn’t even know I’d been resisting, but I’d had nothing to compare it to until then. I found myself wanting only healthy foods, good things, happiness, love, all naturally. My body felt completely at ease. I no longer desired any pain in my life. What was shocking was that I wasn’t even aware that somehow beneath the surface I had been creating my own pain and drama. Yes, even with my falsely abundant attitude. This is why we tend to feel hurt, pain, anger, fear in our lives… we become almost addicted to it. It happens to each and every one of us, as our ego works away under the surface without our awareness…

From that day forward, and for the first time in my life, I allowed myself to feel every emotion there is. I no longer resist them, no longer have any need to ice over them, to be permanently abundant or positive… I am honouring my entire Self and everything that means.

And because I am no longer resisting these emotions, they simply don’t seem to have any need to surface. I have very little drama in my life, and I’m enjoying a wonderful clarity and peacefulness about sharing my entire truth. Because now I know what my truth is.

This peacefulness is powerful, all encompassing and coming from the core of my being. It feels so beautiful, I don’t know how to express it in words. I began experiencing a whole new kind of love. I have loved how Andy has shared in this whole journey with me. It has been very special. He has been amazing throughout. I am so blessed to be his wife.

The one thing I do know, is that life will bring me many more opportunities to experience fear, guilt, shame, anger, grief… of course it will… and I am no longer going to ice over them. I am no longer subconsciously avoiding them, nor do I even feel they are negative emotions. They just are… that’s all. Part of being human. We can all forgive ourselves for that. Allowing myself to surrender to them provided me with one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

Something else came into my awareness at that time too…. it’s that there are many who want to tell others how to be, what they should be feeling, rather than just allowing them to ‘be’ with their emotions. One of the things I lost the moment this happened was any desire to do that. I don’t want to offer advice to anyone else on how to be, unless they specifically request it from me. After all, I don’t want to be told what to feel, or how to feel it, or that I should ice over lower calibrating emotions any longer. If I’m not in any way fearful of these emotions, then I don’t want others trying to convince me that I need to be…

I realised too that I only wish to learn from people who have a willingness to listen. No one else can teach me if they are only trying to teach me to be like them. I am not them. I am me. Each of the 9 Enneatypes need something entirely different when it comes to their journey. This is why I am so passionate about teaching this – to open awareness to other ways of being and perceiving. If someone can hear who I am first, and offer me wisdom based on that… wonderful. There is nothing I love more. If however, someone’s desire to speak overpowers their ability to listen, well… there is a ancient Indian proverb “Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf”.

This is an incredible journey, and I am riding it like a stallion…
Diane Nicholson