Today is launch day for a very exciting book, a collaboration of author Ian Cron and Enneagram expert Suzanne Stabile. “The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery” explains this ancient personality typing system and how using the Enneagram can help you to understand yourself and others better, leading to greater compassion and empathy, and deeper, healthier relationships. In addition, understanding yourself better is key to growing in relationship with God.
A big part of my life is listening to podcasts, as I work alone and enjoy having “adult conversations” to keep me company. I started listening to Luke Norsworthy’s podcast last year. He interviews fascinating Christian authors, pastors, activists and theologians. In one of his conversations with Richard Rohr, they chatted about the Enneagram and later that night, I Googled “Enneagram” and read through The Enneagram Institute’s site. Then this summer, he did a podcast with Suzanne Stabile and Ian Cron about their upcoming book and podcast. I have since been listening each week as they interview guests about their Enneagram number. I jumped at the opportunity to read an advance copy of their book and share this review with you.
In the first chapter, Ian Cron describes his introduction to the Enneagram in seminary when he came across a Richard Rohr book, and his professor’s adamant rejection of its credibility. Later on, after burning out in pastoral ministry and finding a spiritual director, Brother Dave, to help put the pieces of his life back together, they discussed using the Enneagram together.
“It’s too bad your professor discouraged you from learning the Enneagram,” Br. Dave told me. “It’s full of wisdom for people who want to get out of their own way and become who they were created to be.” “What does ‘getting out of your own way’ entail?” I asked, knowing how many times I’d wanted to do just that in my life but didn’t know how. “It has to do with self-knowledge. Most folks assume they understand who they are when they don’t,” Br. Dave explained. “They don’t question the lens through which they see the world—where it came from, how it’s shaped their lives, or even if the vision of reality it gives them is distorted or true. Even more troubling, most people aren’t aware of how things that helped them survive as kids are now holding them back as adults. They’re asleep.”
“What we don’t know about ourselves can and will hurt us, not to mention others,” he said, pointing his finger at me and then at himself. “As long as we stay in the dark about how we see the world and the wounds and beliefs that have shaped who we are, we’re prisoners of our history. We’ll continue going through life on autopilot doing things that hurt and confuse ourselves and everyone around us. Eventually we become so accustomed to making the same mistakes over and over in our lives that they lull us to sleep. We need to wake up.”
“Working with the Enneagram helps people develop the kind of self-knowledge they need to understand who they are and why they see and relate to the world the way they do,” Br. Dave continued. “When that happens you can start to get out of your own way and become more of the person God created you to be.”
I wrote a post in March of 2015 about my journey to finding healing from codependcy. I experienced church and family trauma and I was in a similar broken place that Ian Cron describes. I didn’t have a spiritual director like Br. Dave to guide me, but God did provide spiritual guides both in the flesh and in books and on the interwebs that helped me find my footing again. I share that story and links that were helpful in the post. If I had read “The Road Back to You” at that time, I would have included this resource. I have personally experienced the change in my relationship with God as I understand myself and others better. I feel unconditional love and acceptance from God. In reading my old post, I see how my personality has always been an Enneagram 9, but I was unhealthy and now I am more self-aware. I have a deeper understanding of my healing.
I believe that churches would be healthy and productive and safe if only there was more self-awareness in parishioners. Ian and Suzanne always repeat on their podcasts that their passion for sharing the Enneagram is in seeing compassion grow. In reading the chapters explaining the nine types, I was blown away as I recognized myself, my husband, my children, my relatives and friends. I see clearly where my work needs to be done to be a healthier, safer person. I see where the behavior of others stems from, which gives me a greater ability to be gracious and forgiving and also to communicate with them in a meaningful way.
I don’t want to give away too much about this book. I just want to urge you to buy a copy or request that your church or library purchase a copy. Pass along “The Road Back to You” website to your pastor and friends. Listen to Ian and Suzanne’s podcast on your commute or while you work. This is an important resource for spiritual development and will bear much good fruit in your life if you use it as a spiritual discipline.
Here are the links one more time:
To purchase a copy: https://smile.amazon.com/Road-Back-You-Enneagram-Self-Discovery/ (using Smile.Amazon.com gives you an opportunity to give back to a cause that is important to you. If you’d like, you can choose “North Harbor Community Church” – my church in Maine).
The Road Back to You website: http://theroadbacktoyou.com/
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