Letter from Cressida Pryor
September 19, 2018
Autumn Equinox 2018
As night and day length come again into balance the extreme winds, storms and tornadoes howl across land mass and neighbourhoods at huge human cost. The pressing message: we neglect our part in this beautiful planet and it’s climate change at our peril...
A couple of weeks ago I organised a small gathering to explore what are known as the ‘subtypes’ in the Enneagram* understanding of how we can live with more balance from our ego personality drives and instincts...these are often out of our awareness but can get in the way of healthy ‘clear’ relationships.
It seems knowing our instinctual patterns can help us live healthier, more equitable lives. Indeed, our subtype pattern is one of the primary ways that we “fall asleep” in daily life. And like a shadow element outside of awareness, we don’t often notice its impact as clearly as others in our lives do, especially when they are a different subtype.
Just to explain a little: the first type is known as ‘Self preservation’ and this is where basic survival issues are the strongest in someone even when life is going swimmingly...folks who have this instinct predominate live their life responding to perceived threats and needs...so safety, comfort, protection, food, shelter warmth and family relations are highlighted for them. We all have this to some extent of course but someone where this is the strongest will be the sort of person who travels with their own feather pillow, just in case...It is thought that this instinct might be strongest for those who struggled through a difficult birth and start in life.
The next is known as ‘One-to-one’ – where the primary relationship instinct is super strong...connection to vital relationships...sharing our bonding with special others...a sense of union with earthly or more transcendent divine beings is predominant...one to one. For folks where this is the primary focus there may have been challenges in the first bonding and attachment relationship.
The last is known as the ‘Social subtype’ – humankind is a group living species...creating social structures within communities...group membership and participation can be important especially to these types and roles, status, sense of social acceptance, being included, companionship and fellowship functions are especially focussed on for this subtype...doing our best to cooperate with each other... for this person the challenges were with early sibling and wider relationships.
You might recognise your own subtype quite quickly or can see where others instinctual bias lies.
Why do I think this is important to share with you? I think it can help understand how different people respond to different situations and challenges...and being able to understand this is a real help to stop us from judging and building walls of criticism. The more we understand and stop jumping to judgment, the better communities and people get on.
I am a social subtype; I enjoy creating different groups and events to bring people together. The satisfaction of seeing people gather is huge. I would guess that Olivia too in co-creating the FOI wanted to bring people together. This does not mean I don’t have self preservation or one to one needs just that the strongest drive is towards the social arena. Perhaps at this equinox we can be aware of our differences but balance this with knowing how much we also share.
Isis, Queen of a Thousand Names, teach us to respect our myriad differences and celebrate what we share. At this equinox may we balance our lives; the doing and the rest, the noise and the quiet, the holding and the letting go so we can serve the common good to bring peace to our world. So may it be.
* The Narrative Enneagram
FOI Letters & Correspondence
(Our thanks to Cressida for sending her seasonal letters.)
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