Terry’s Favorite Memories of Helen and David

December 21, 2023 | By Terry Saracino

The Narrative Enneagram Celebrating 35 Years 1988-2023

These last few weeks I have really enjoyed walking down memory lane celebrating The Narrative Enneagram’s 35th anniversary. Profound memories of deep sharing from panelists, vibrant discussions over meals, and walks in the beauty of Vallombrosa and other centers have filled my awareness.

It was fun to recall wisdom from Narrative Enneagram founders Helen Palmer and David Daniels. I recorded brief tidbits of Helen’s and David’s wisdom regarding the growth process for each type has stayed with me over the years to share with you. You can watch the full videos on our Facebook or Instagram, and here are the short versions:

Type 1: David used to talk about the inner critic being like an extra lobe on the brain. Its constant reminders to the Type Ones of what’s wrong or incorrect keep Type Ones in a pattern of criticism of self and others. He invited Type Ones to find a way back to the gut knowing of the body center by meeting the discomfort that arises when they do not follow the voice of the inner critic. Regaining access to the wisdom deep inside the body is a powerful journey for our friends who lead with Type One.

Type 2: Helen would often say that the type that seems most loving and most giving has great difficulty receiving. Their value comes from the outside; others needing them. Her invitation was a change from the automatic pattern of “you need me” to “I need you.” This is a huge step in the journey for Type Two.

Type 3: Automatic patterns of Type Threes include a fast pace, productivity, and focus on task. David often invited Type Threes not to stop, but to slow down, like a metronome. To slow down and take in what’s happening. He also asked many a Type Three, “What’s your heart’s desire?” As they paused and let that question sink in, emotion would often arise revealing the vulnerability of their heart that lies underneath the “doing” energy.

Type 4: A fun memory I have of David when talking about how to support Type Fours in their growth is that he would say in a very serious tone of voice: There are three ways to support Type Fours in their journey to more awareness: Number one: Understand them. Followed by a long pause, Number two: Understand them. Followed by a longer pause. Number 3: Understand them. We would all chuckle, including the panelists. The point is for us to not try to talk Type Fours (or any other type for that matter) out of where they are, but to meet each person exactly where they are.

Type 5: Helen talked about Type Fives as the unenlightened Buddha, since they tend to withdraw, meditate, and escape before having a chance for any kind of experience. Buddha Nature on the other hand is about meeting the experience one is having, letting it flow through and not be attached. Type Fives need to come into their hearts and bodies where they can experience life as it is actually happening instead of through their thinking.

Type 6: I can hear Helen (both of us lead with Type Six) talking about sitting in a room scaring ourselves with our worst case thinking about what could go wrong, which are often scenarios very far away in the future.  Many know the acronym of FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real. Over and over, she invited us back to this moment, what is happening right here, right now. Come back into this moment where you can find your ground and take action on what is happening now. “This breath now.”

Type 7: David used to talk about Type Sevens who avoid limits, as actually being the most limited type on the Enneagram because they only travel the positive side of life. How can you know joy if you don’t know sadness? His invitation was to travel the full spectrum – the light side of the moon, the dark side of the moon – to meet each situation as it is happening and thus not be limited.

Type 8: Helen spoke about Type Eight’s incredible energy which can be a gift or a liability depending on how it is used.  Her invitation was for Type Eights to consider how much energy is actually needed to meet each situation. How much energy do you need to meet a small child; how much energy do you need to meet a large object? It’s about meeting each situation freshly and consciously bringing the appropriate energy.

Type 9: In a training one year in Asheville, David was interviewing a Type Nine panel on their growth process. He looked at a gentleman on the panel and said: “Comfort is not your friend.” The truth is Type Nines have to face discomfort when they come inside, particularly if they have a difference with someone who is important to them. To face what’s going on inside, find their own position and desires, and put that in the space is a huge step in the journey for Type Nines.

In 2022, The Narrative Enneagram was thrilled to be named the first-ever International Enneagram Association Accredited Enneagram School with Distinction. Deep gratitude for the excellent work of all of our staff, faculty, and Board members who put us in the position to receive this honor. Gratitude also to our teachers all over the world and our students. We couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you.

I hope you have also been inspired to spend some time recalling some of your own special memories and reflecting on how the Enneagram has impacted your life. As we look to the future, we envision an even more accessible and inclusive Enneagram. Will you consider a gift today to support scholarships and other key initiatives that will bring this life-changing work to even more people?

May the next 35 years be as rich and powerful as the past 35 in transforming lives and creating a more compassionate world.

Personal reflection The Enneagram TNE


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