Human Doing to Human Being

Today I had a coaching session with my Enneagram teacher. I’ve been studying Enneagram for about 3 years and am a Type 3 (self preservation for all you Ennea nerds!) I appreciate that not all of you would be familiar with the Enneagram, essentially its a very dynamic profiling system that delves into the depths of our personality and how we front up in the world. There are 9 core types, and broadly speaking each of us fit into one of them. On the surface it seems a bit narrow, but once you dive in you discover lots of variations and subtypes that demonstrate the vast and complex nature of what it is to be human! If you are interested to know more there are a few resources that I will add at the end of the post.

I am a type 3 – performer/achiever. My drive to constantly achieve, learn, grow, succeed is PERPETUAL! Worse than this I don’t always recognise I’m doing it. My great challenge if I am to move towards more growth is that I have to learn to just “be”.

My coach suggested that I write a list of a few things that I could do in order to “just be” (ironic) . This is tricky, because even with her wise instruction there always seems to be a hidden agenda behind anything that I do, that has the undertone of productivity. To simply do something for the “sake” of it is particularly foreign to me, previous attempts have felt a little disturbing, I just wanted to return to my “modus operandi” and find something to “do”!

Today was particularly difficult as I was pumped full of coffee and having a caffeine rush. I also had the house to myself so it was prime time to work and be productive. However, I heeded her call and decided to take a seat at the piano with ZERO agenda. I placed my hands on the keys, shut my eyes, and allowed myself to explore.  Atonal melodies, extreme dynamics, elaborate harmonies, exploring high and low, loud and soft, every vibration was sent right through me…. Here’s the thing – I am NOT a professional piano player. My skills are limited, as anyone who knows me will attest to. However, today I felt something overtake me, like an out of body experience as I opened myself up to freely explore without my usual agenda or goal in mind.

I suppose its a bit ironic that I’ve taken my coaches advice to just “be”, and here I am turning it into a blog. Clearly the perpetual need to do is never far away from me. But, I did at least for a moment discover some growth in my move towards “being”. Within that exploration I benefitted from the slowing down of pace, the beautiful sensory experience of the piano vibrations, and an approach that took me far away from my outcome focussed world. I was simply allowing myself to “be” with the moment, flowing freely and creatively.

We all have distractions that hold us back from “being”. The need to be productive, busy, helpful, effective, attend to duties etc. The world will have us dance the “busy” dance if we let it, western society celebrates achievement and productivity. If we don’t make the choice to step out and just “be”, we run the risk of becoming human doings NOT human beings.

As creative people I urge you to spend more time in your “being”. Enjoy moments of free creativity, deeper breathing, connecting with nature, or whatever inspires you to stop the “producing”. Press pause and just “BE”.

Enneagram resources –

How the Enneagram works.

Narrative Enneagram test.

Riso Hudson Enneagram test.