Book Review: The Road Back to You

This idea of self-compassion raises the other issue we want you to take away from this book: every number on the Enneagram teaches us something about the nature and character of the God who made us. Inside each number is a hidden gift that reveals something about God’s heart. So when you are tempted to prosecute yourself for the flaws in your own character, remember that each type is at its core a signpost pointing us to travel toward and embrace an aspect of God’s character that we need.” Ian Morgan Cron, Page: 228

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron was a great read! I’ve heard great things about it and have listened to several podcasts that he was a part of. Talking about the Enneagram is a popular thing right now. I love when these types of things come out and everyone is talking about it. What are you on the DISC? How about Myers-Briggs? Are you an otter or a golden retriever? Sanguine or choleric? In the end, all of these things can be valuable…IF…they help us learn more about how God has gifted us and how we can best use those gifts to love and serve Him and others. I’ve had lots of people tell me that I’m an 8. I probably am. After reading this…the good, bad, and the ugly of the 8 hits pretty close to home.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • May you learn to see your self with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees you in every moment. Page: 19
  • Human beings are wired for survival. As little kids we instinctually place a mask called personality over parts of our authentic self to protect us from harm and make our way in the world. Page: 22
  • As Frederick Buechner so poignantly describes it, “The original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.” Page: 23
  • The Enneagram teaches that there are nine different personality styles in the world, one of which we naturally gravitate toward and adopt in childhood to cope and feel safe. Each type or number has a distinct way of seeing the world and an underlying motivation that powerfully influences how that type thinks, feels and behaves. Page: 24
  • The Enneagram takes its name from the Greek words for nine (ennea) and for a drawing or figure (gram). It is a nine-pointed geometric figure that illustrates nine different but interconnected personality types. Each numbered point on the circumference is connected to two others by arrows across the circle, indicating their dynamic interaction with one another. Page: 25
  • “A humble self-knowledge is a surer way to God than a search after deep learning.” Thomas À Kempis Page: 26
  • The true purpose of the Enneagram is to reveal to you your shadow side and offer spiritual counsel on how to open it to the transformative light of grace. Page: 31
  • Healthy Eights are great friends, exceptional leaders and champions of those who cannot fight on their own behalf. They have the intelligence, courage and stamina to do what others say can’t be done. They have learned to use power in the right measure at the right times, and they are capable of collaborating and valuing the contributions of others. They understand vulnerability and even embrace it at times. Page: 41
  • Healthy Nines are natural mediators. They see and value the perspective of other people and can harmonize what seem to be irreconcilable points of view. They are unselfish, flexible and inclusive. These Nines are seldom attached to their own way of seeing and doing things. They’ve learned to make decisions based on the right priorities. They are inspiring, self-actualized people. Page: 64
  • Healthy Ones are committed to a life of service and integrity. They are balanced and responsible and able to forgive themselves and others for being imperfect. They are principled but patient with the processes that slowly but surely make the world a better place. Page: 91
  • Healthy Twos can often name their own needs and feelings without fear of losing relationships. They are generous in their efforts to love well and care for others. These happy, secure Twos also have appropriate boundaries, knowing what is theirs to do and what is not. They create a comfortable, safe space for others and are often considered to be a friend to many. Loving and lovable, they adapt well to changing circumstances and are aware of the true self that exists beyond their relationships. Page: 111
  • The real question is, can you love the real me? . . . Not that image you had of me, but who I really am. Christine Feehan Page: 130
  • Healthy Threes have transcended the goal of merely looking good and are moving toward being known and loved for who they are, not for what they accomplish. They still love to set goals, rise to challenges and solve problems, but their self-worth is not tied to these things. They try to balance their abundant energy between work, rest and some kind of contemplative practice, recognizing the importance of being instead of doing. They feel valuable, which unleashes a tender benevolence that is focused on the common good. Page: 130
  • Healthy Fours have a considerable emotional range, and they manage it by not speaking or acting on every feeling they have. They know they don’t have to be special to win God’s unconditional love. These Fours have found a way to live, for the most part, outside the pattern of shame and inferiority. They are deeply creative, emotionally honest and connected, and attuned to beauty. Page: 149
  • Healthy Fives have a long view of things. They manage an appropriate balance between participation and observation, engaging with others comfortably and demonstrating true neutrality. These Fives are likely to have depth in knowledge in several areas of their lives, and they willingly share their findings with others. They live in a world of abundance, seeing themselves as part of the whole environment instead of separate from everyone and everything. Page: 168
  • Healthy Sixes have learned to trust their own experiences of life. They are aware that certainty and accurate predictability are not likely in most situations. They are productive, logical thinkers who almost always organize their thoughts and actions around what would be most advantageous for the common good. Loyal, honest and reliable, healthy Sixes are clear-eyed judges of character. These Sixes have come to believe that in the end everything will be all right. Page: 189
  • “Anxiety is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” Jodi Picoult Page: 198
  • “Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” Brené Brown Page: 202
  • Healthy Sevens know that often “less is more.” They are aware of the energy they have invested in manufacturing happiness and they know that joy is a gift or grace that can only be received. They have embraced a full range of human emotion and they are growing in their ability to accept life as it is rather than as they want it to be. They are able to incorporate pain and disappointment into the whole of their lives, rather than merely avoiding it. When Enthusiasts are in a healthy space, they are not only fun and adventurous but also spiritually grounded, practical and resilient. Page: 206
  • “Compassion is a verb.” Thich Nhat Hanh Page: 227
  • If we all could have nine pairs of Enneagram glasses and swap them, we could be moved to extend infinitely more grace and understanding to one another. Such compassion is the foundation of relationships. It changes everything. Page: 227
  • This idea of self-compassion raises the other issue we want you to take away from this book: every number on the Enneagram teaches us something about the nature and character of the God who made us. Inside each number is a hidden gift that reveals something about God’s heart. So when you are tempted to prosecute yourself for the flaws in your own character, remember that each type is at its core a signpost pointing us to travel toward and embrace an aspect of God’s character that we need. Page: 228
  • We most delight and reflect the glory of God when we discover and reclaim our God-given identity, with which we lost connection shortly after our arrival in this fallen world. Page: 230
  • And now allow us the joy of passing on to you John O’Donohue’s Blessing for Solitude, which Br. Dave prayed over me as I embarked on my Enneagram journey of self-discovery and self-knowledge. May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul. May you realize that you are never alone, that your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe. May you have respect for your individuality and difference. May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique, that you have a special destiny here, that behind the façade of your life there is something beautiful and eternal happening. May you learn to see your self with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees you in every moment. Amen. Let it be so. Page: 230

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