Providing guidance and learning opportunities that invite true self-discovery and transformation.

In the Beginning…

There was Wholeness.

But I have forgotten.

At a very young and tender age, I became afraid of being seen. Upsets around me created a feeling of disorientation and disconnection. I began to sense myself as separate. I was being held, it seemed, by a very fragile thread.

 “Please, just let me live in the womb a little bit longer!”

Of course, this was very likely a developmental stage that all infants and young children experience as they begin to differentiate. But, as a baby Nine (Enneagram Harmonizer), this was especially excruciating and was at the root of my forgetting.

In Enneagram language, the Essential Qualities for a Nine are Being, Wholeness, Unity. These qualities can be felt at a soul level as real and true, imperative for survival. My Being is always tuning to the frequency of my soul language. I become attuned (heartened or disheartened) by breakdowns and conflicts that are part of a human life experience. This unconscious but deeply felt sense of loss is almost too much to bear and so I run. Or hide. Or distract. Or numb out.

In order not to feel the loss of Essence, my personality goes to work. I keep a positive outlook. I avoid thinking about things that might disturb me. I go along with other peoples’ agendas. So long as I don’t assert myself (I think), all will be comfortable and easy. Even when this is ridiculously impossible, my personality doesn’t give up. It just works harder to protect me. Because being Me can feel like the loss of You.

Unfortunately, as hard as my personality works, it’s a very poor substitute for my True Self.

Eventually, cracks develop in the forgetting of my essential being. The light gets in and draws me out, draws me in and down. Draws me to wonder and explore: Who is this person called me?

All humans grow up with some nagging sense of loss – things are not as they should be. I am not as I should be. But life goes on. Everyone adjusts and adapts with the help of their personalities. And everyone longs for something more, something true. This is, of course, the basis for our existential “search for meaning.”

The nine personality types are distinguished by those Essential Qualities that they incarnated with. And by the behaviors and patterns that help them to somehow feel better.

Every single one of us senses this soul-level loss, but Essence is never lost. It is simply forgotten.

See the Essential Qualities for all nine types here.


Kathleen Paterno ~ Enneagram Discovery

~ Kathleen