ESNT Call to Action

January 10, 2017 | By Sheryl Cohen, PhD

Now more than ever, I feel a personal call to do this work. The brutality and divisiveness that characterized the U.S. election cycle lets us know there is much more work to be done around all the “isms” that separate us. Now many fractures in our society have been exposed; words of hatred and prejudice seem to be on the rise. In my day job as a psychologist, I’ve worked with clients around their upset and discouragement. I hope to lead them to a place where they can declare what they stand for and clarify how they want to be part of a solution.

Encouraging compassion for yourself and the other has been a cornerstone of Enneagram teaching and practice. It is a tool and a method we need more than ever before. In dealing with my own process over the last six months, I came across a video from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series from more than 30 years ago. His words about the Earth and its place in the universe struck me as poignantly relevant:

“In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves … It becomes our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to cherish and protect the only home we have ever known … this pale blue dot.”

The Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition has been my study for 20 years. Over the past nine years, it has been my community and a source of support and friendship through the Bergamo Learning Community (Enneagram Narrative Learning Community, OH). Now ESNT will become my cause and my call to action. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time.

ESNT Personal reflection The Narrative Tradition


Erik Blois says

Thank you, Sheryl, for your message. As a father of five (ages 16 to 5) I too have felt a big increase in terms of personal call to do this work the past few challenging months. I’m wondering and hoping if there might not be a silver lining to all the hatred and intolerance that’s displayed all the “isms” so loudly and clearly. They are not as visceral but are right out in the open. I’m not yet convinced that this is a good thing overall, but for me it has translated to a real sense of urgency to commit to this work daily as fully as possible within myself, and with my wife, children, community and work as a psychiatrist at a state hospital in east Texas where, well, it’s pretty darn red.

In the spirit of encouraging compassion and cherishing this home where we all belong equally, I have gone WAY outside my comfort zone as a 9 and come out of the closest (the Enneagram closet) with my colleagues here at the hospital in the past week. I was introduced to this material some 25 years ago by David, certified with Helen and David back in 2000, have taught the Enneagram basic twice doing the panels, got distracted from the work this past decade raising a family, and now gratefully have found my way back (perhaps I never fully left and of course raising the family has been my work this past decade). I am utterly exhilarated and terrified offering the Enneagram and its compassionate core teachings to however many 100s of employees there are at this hospital, but I know that it is right action and I’m standing right there with you in your call for action. We are indeed so so much stronger together.

Madeline D'Andrea says

Education is the way, the Enneagram a beautiful and profound teaching inclusive of all.

Randy Weeks says

Beautiful and most appreciated this Sunday morning as I read it. You’ll be a blessing in this role.

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