By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Holly Johnson is committed to helping people better understand themselves and others through the Enneagram. She offers regular workshops on this tool. The next is slated for Feb. 11, 2020 from 6-9 p.m. at Squirrel Haus Arts. Go to spiritgarage.org to find out more info and register.
Johnson is also pastor at Spirit Garage, which meets at the Hook and Ladder Theater and Lounge. She paused while writing two holiday sermons in December to share a bit more about the Enneagram with the Messenger.
Just what is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is a tool to help us understand how we live, move, see and respond in the world. It lays out nine basic styles of people, though there are an infinite number of expressions of each of the nine numbers.
What drew you to the Enneagram and how have you found it valuable in your own life?
When I was in seminary out in Berkeley, Calif., everyone was talking about it. I was drawn to it because I like tools for self discovery, and also tools for understanding other people.
Some people think its funny to have a pastor do this kind of work; certain kinds of Christianity think that anything that doesn’t come out of the Bible comes from the Devil. I’m not that kind of a pastor. I believe in studying all kinds of things, and self-awareness helps us understand our styles of spirituality better, as well.
What is your Enneagram number?
I understand myself to be a “social two with a three wing, and a super well-traveled 8 line.” And if that doesn’t make sense to you but you’re intrigued, come to a workshop!
How can people use the Enneagram as a tool for self-discovery?
The Enneagram helps us understand that we see and experience the world in a particular way, like a lens. Understanding that we have a lens, and that it is different from other people’s, helps us see what motivates us, and how that shapes our lives. Sometimes this lens sees things accurately, and sometimes it is distorting things. Bringing an awareness to this helps us see where our way of being is helpful, and where it might be hurting us or others. Once we have that awareness, maybe we can think about a different way to see things or respond.
In what ways can the Enneagram help people live in harmony with others?
Similarly, when we figure out that other people see the world in different ways, and have different motivations, hopefully we can bring some grace into our relationships and quit trying to make everyone believe, act, behave and respond the way we do. For example, one of the types (sixes) is going to plan for all possible problems that might arise before you go on vacation. That’s okay – just let them do that. They’ll be prepared for things you never thought of. Another type (eights) has a tendency to have a pretty large presence in a room, and can be quite intimidating to people. Another type (nines) doesn’t like making decisions, particularly if it means siding with one person and not another. So, if they never have an opinion about where you should go to dinner, that’s probably why.
How can the Enneagram help people achieve better health and wellness?
The Enneagram is a tool for emotional intelligence, so as a tool, it helps us bring awareness (and hopefully grace) to our own way of being, and also helps in relation to one another. Emotional intelligence is an important indicator in job success, and helpful in relationships of all kinds.
What resources do you recommend people use to learn more about the Enneagram?
I’m enjoying “The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. That’s a book and a podcast.