Time outside can be fun, joyful, beautiful, challenging, and life-changing. So much depends on what we bring to the experience. How can we make the most of our time in the natural world and what gets in the way? Our Enneagram type gives insight into the roadblocks to our nature connection and the gifts that are available to each of us.
Welcome in the unpredictability of nature
Anyone who has spent time outdoors knows that something unexpected will happen. The weather may turn, your path may be blocked, the bird you are searching for will stay hidden, or the unexpected animal may burst from the brush. The sights, sounds, and situations in nature could feel full of chaos unless you release your need to be in control. The lesson for you as a One is to know that by embracing the unpredictable, you also embrace the life energy all around you and leave yourself open to discovery.
Enjoy that nature takes care of itself and simply offer observation and admiration
There’s a familiar story of a well-meaning person who helped a butterfly struggling to free itself as it emerged from its chrysalis. The poor creature was working so hard and seemed to be in distress. By aiding the butterfly, they unintentionally prevented it from gaining strength in the process and the butterfly never fully developed its wings, leaving it unable to fly. This story demonstrates how nature doesn’t need our assistance and often what we see as “help” is actually “interference.” The challenge for you as a Two is to fully embrace your role as “observer” and admire nature’s self-sufficiency.
Recognize there is no “doing” in nature, just “being” in nature
Sometimes your competitive impulses influence your actions, even when you are outdoors. You can find yourself focusing on how many miles you’re hiking, how fast you bike down the trail or other measurable achievements. When you go into nature with a “goal” or desire to accomplish something, you’re missing the important moments right in front of you. The real inspiration and meaningful insights come when you let yourself “be” in nature. The lesson for you as a Three is to release your plans, use your movement as a meditative practice, and immerse yourself into the rhythm of nature.
Feel sameness and connection with the dirt, ants, and mosses- amazing things we often think of as small and common
As a type Four, you often feel like an outsider compared with others– sometimes better, sometimes worse, almost always different. When you are out in nature, you’re surrounded by so much of the ecosystem that seems the same and works as a unit. Look to the ants, mosses, mushrooms, and even the root systems below your feet. Even though they seem identical to each other, they are the powerhouses of the natural world. The lesson as a Four is to feel a connection and kinship with these things that seem to lack individual identity but are part of an amazing, larger whole.
Find peace in being surrounded by the unknowable
It is easy to feel the need to know the name of every flower, bird, tree, and insect. What messages are the clouds giving about the weather, and what geologic era is this rock from? It is impossible to know everything about the natural world around you. It’s entirely too complex and there are still so many mysteries that no one understands. As a type Five, your lesson is to get out of your head and access wonder. Not knowing leads to peaceful observation and appreciation.
See how in nature things unfold as they should
It can be disturbing to see the forests ravaged by fire or what’s left behind after a predator has dispatched its prey. What can feel like a tragedy can actually be a part of the natural course of nature, such as the cycle of life or the cycle of the seasons. The flower opens, and the leaves fall to the ground just at the time they should. Your lesson as a type Six is to let in a deep acceptance of the natural unfolding going on all around you, bringing it into your head, heart, and body and releasing any tension about what might feel “wrong.”
Be still, be present, and be open to moments of awe
As a Seven, you often jump right into having fun when you go outdoors. There are so many things to look at and so many ways to play. All of the wonderful stimulation can be very satisfying, but you can also miss the gifts of nature if you don’t stop and be a part of the world around you. Rather than imagining how you would love to build a cabin over here or take a bunch of pictures over there, find peace just where you are. Your lesson is to find silence and stillness so you can be awestruck by what is happening now.
Share and blend inner energy with the outer energy of the wind, water, and living creatures
Your energy can fill a room, but what do you do with that energy when there’s no contained space to fill? Rather than determining and driving your place in a power structure, the power structure in the natural world is ancient and outside your influence. This can be unsettling, but it is also an opportunity to send that energy outside of yourself and connect with the parts of nature that have great power. As type Eight, the lesson is to be a part of the turbulent flow of a river or the strong gust of the wind. Look up and feel the soaring of a bird. By blending your inner energy with that outer energy, you break through your own boundaries and can feel at one with the bigger world.
Actively engage with nature using all senses
You can walk through the woods and suddenly realize that you haven’t been smelling the pine trees. You can wander next to a river and realize you haven’t listened to the sound of the water flow. You can be sitting by a lake and realize you haven’t paid attention to the wind on your skin. When you spend time outdoors, set an intention to fully experience your surroundings with all the senses available to you. Your lesson as a Nine is to embrace all the input your senses bring and honor and celebrate your body’s ability to experience the richness of nature.
Of course, there are countless lessons for all of us. The best way to start is to put on your shoes and go outside. Nature is calling.
Gwen Baker-Yuill, based in Bend, Oregon, has worn many professional “hats” throughout her career. Her varied background includes commercial sculpting for companies such as Disney, Mattel and Warner Brothers, and she has drawn, painted and illustrated for over 35 years. Recently, she has specialized in program management and online education, focusing on website design, curriculum development, marketing, customer support, grant writing, and faculty coordination. She currently works as the operations manager at The Enneagram in Business. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, author of nine Enneagram books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications. TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | email@example.com