Three Natures: exploring what it means to be a thinking, feeling, creating being.
“Hack your vagus nerve!” claims the latest and most unintentionally ironic social media headline to trigger my annoyance. Humans cannot be hacked. To imply that they can, whether by hacking their reward systems or nervous systems or biological functions or Enneagram types is not helpful. What exactly are we trying to do here? The definition …
Just kidding. I don’t hate the Enneagram. I just hate what I see (some) people doing with it – which is robbing it of all usefulness and meaning by encouraging people to identify with the most shallow, surface level details and cling to them as an identity. That’s pretty harsh, isn’t it? Okay…How about helping …
I hope sharing these names for the Enneagram types at different levels of health is useful as you try to identify your type. As you go deeper in your understanding, I think you’ll find there is a lot of nuance and intention behind these names. But that’s a post for another day.
I do have a Three Natures Etsy Shop – but why stop at one when I can have three? Three Natures is home to gemstone, crystal, silver and metal clay jewelry. FYeah Jewelry is the place for fun gifts featuring my favorite four-letter word. And finally, Cinter Metal Clay is where jewelry artists can buy my metal clay powders to make their very own custom jewelry.
Metal clay is one of my favorite art mediums. Tiny particles of metal are held together with a nontoxic binder and water. This gives the metal the same properties as any kind of clay – squish it, texture it, roll it up in a ball and start over. When I first took the name Three Natures, it was in reference to the three gunas: tamas, rajas and sattva. In his triad, Cinter Metal Clay is tamas: an inert lump, waiting to be transformed. I grouped my rajastic pieces in FYeah Jewelry. Finally, my Three Natures Etsy Shop contained the last category: sattva. This shop was originally named Gogoshebogo, after my sweet black lab Indigo. Here, I presented pretty crystal earrings, symbolic pendants and affirming words.
Problem is, I don’t agree with the moral hierarchy this triad implies. Tamas is dull; rajas is hyperactive. Only peaceful sattva is “good.” (I’m oversimplifying to make my point.) Yet the reality is, we need rest (sleep is so tamasic!). We need to argue in order to come to an understanding, or get really excited to break out of a slump. We need to say fuck that noise, when appropriate. Nothing is static. The interplay between these three states is what makes life interesting. By letting go of these categories, I’m now free to create a website that better reflects my true interests. Stay tuned!
I am obsessed with the Enneagram – but it wasn’t always that way. When I was first introduced to the concept of nine (ennea) personality types, depicted as a symbol (gram), I was mildly intrigued. The triads of being within the symbol are what really made the Enneagram come alive for me. We all are made up of body, head, & heart – yet how these components are expressed, ignored or otherwise experienced by each individual person is compelling to me, as it is constantly changing. Just like nature itself, we are dynamic, even if we can’t always see it. My hope is this Enneagram overview will help you tune into some interesting patterns in your world.
Every intelligent individual wants to know what makes him tick, and yet is at once fascinated and frustrated by the fact that oneself is the most difficult of all things to know.Alan Watts
How I identified my Enneagram Type
Quizzes and books helped me identify as a Nine. The description felt more accurate to me than my Meyers-Briggs, zodiac sign, birth order, or any other personality or psychological sorting system. That’s actually common for Nines – we have a tendency to merge with others in order to avoid conflict. We do it so well that we often have no idea that we are doing it, and therefore see bits of everyone in us. Other Nines have told me that they, too, tend to defy categorization.
Scratch that – all humans defy categorization, as well they should. The Enneagram is just a useful way to exploring our personalities and where we tend to get stuck. It is helpful to know that whatever challenge you have within yourself, you are not alone. People of your Enneagram Type all share the same “flavor” of experience in life.
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.Anaïs Nin
I love this quote. The quote also drives me nuts, because the positive police like to use it as a weapon ( i.e. if you don’t see beauty, its because you’re ugly). That’s not my point here. My point is that if we pay attention to where we are reactive (she annoys me! he’s so greedy!) then we can ferret those things out in ourselves. Only then can true gratitude, joy, love – all the good stuff – arise.
You are not uniquely messed up – or magically free from afflictions of the ego. All people have their issues.
Less than seven billion, as the Enneagram overview shows
And yet, it is not all chaos! You don’t have to throw up your hands in defeat, as so many “enlightened” people do, under the guise of nonattachment. There are patterns underlying human behavior. Understanding these patterns makes it possible for us to be effective in how we show up for others.
You cannot change someone’s basic Enneagram Type or outlook – nor should you try. The world needs all types of people. Yet, what do we waste our lives doing if not trying to “help” (read: change) people into what we want them to be, and/or sticking our heads in the sand and claiming (irrationally, delusionally) that what other people do is of no concern to us.
The Enneagram is just a model, an overview of personalities. It isn’t perfect. But it is a damn useful! It helps discern whether the direction we’re heading is healthy or unhealthy, so we can support what’s good and useful rather than creating more hurt.
And more than one. Reality is diverse.
Of course, every single person is unique and no system could possibly explain everything about their behavior. That’s not what the Enneagram is about. It is just a practical framework. Nine is a manageable number. If you can wrap your head around the premise that there are nine distinct ways of seeing the world, it only follows that your way is not the only way.
This is so important, it bears repeating: Your way of seeing the world is not the only way.
Yeah, yeah. We all know everyone is different. But a blank “tolerance” of our differences and a professed appreciation for “diversity” is not the same as a true understanding of what life looks and feels like for other people. Developing true empathy and compassion requires you to pay attention. The reasons *why* people do what they do is so much more interesting than the thing itself. Studying the Enneagram naturally shifts your awareness to this unseen realm of mystery – and brings you deeper into yourself. Why do you do what you do?
There are many comprehensive and detailed Enneagram websites out there. This isn’t meant to be one of them. What I will do is share my take on what I am learning, and create some visuals. It’ll be fun. I hope you’ll join me.
My (somewhat sad) first attempt at an Enneagram Chart
I am not a graphic designer, but I do like to do everything by own damn self. Here is my not perfect but perfectly serviceable depiction of the Enneagram:
The lines between numbers mean something. The colors I’ve assigned mean something, too – many things. More will be revealed in future blog posts.
Update: Thanks to wiki commons, I found a more geometrically correct drawing to base my images on. Thanks, humanity! I would be nothing without you. I’m leaving my first attempt up for fun – progress isn’t always pretty.
Hi, I’m Cindy Berg.
My husband and I went on a hike in Laguna Canyon this morning. We moved to the side of the trail and waved when a police officer drove towards us. He rolled down the window, smiled at me, and said:
“You must be from Washington.”
I am from Washington. It has taken a few years, but I no longer feel freakishly out of place in Orange County, California. So, what about me exactly screams Pacific Northwest? My comfy shoes? Flat lips? Refusal to get my hair blown out?
No. It’s just my Gonzaga Bulldogs baseball cap.
Gonzaga is not my alma mater – Eastern Washington University is. I just love dogs more than birds. Birds are great, but dogs are the best. My dog Ash was my greatest teacher.
Other things about me: I make jewelry, geek out on everything from how nutrient levels and water temps affect algae blooms (like the one in the above picture) to how our bodies – basically big bags of human and non-human cells – manage to operate as individual beings that in turn cooperate with each other. I am compulsively creative (collages, crocheting, coloring, etc.) and have a super sensitive b.s. detector hardwired into my nervous system. I’ve been practicing yoga for maybe 15 years now and feel like I’m just starting to learn what it is all about. The Enneagram has helped me accept who I am, and for that I am grateful. Meditation was something I avoided like Velveeta until fairly recently, but now I’m hooked on the clarity it brings me. My wonderful husband gets credit for that – he’s an inspiring teacher and all-around amazing human.
I write, I think, and I make things. Big deal, right? Don’t we all? Sharing is what makes all of my endeavors worthwhile, so thank you for visiting my little home on the internet. Three Natures is also the name of one of my Etsy shops, but here I plan to explore how three natures of being form our realities in endlessly fascinating ways, with maybe a few jewelry pieces here and there for good measure.