This blog was inspired by Ruth Landis’ insights about Expansion. You can read about how each of us, based on our Enneagram styles, can become increasingly expansive. Ruth Landis is a Senior Member of the Enneagram in Business Network.
As we expand beyond who we think we are, we begin to incorporate qualities into ourselves that we have neglected or not fully explored and we begin to see the ways we have limited ourselves. For the next eight days choose an Enneagram style other than your own and try walking around as that type for a day. How would they handle situations in ways you would not have thought to try? Allow yourself to be courageous in this experiment of wearing a different point of view as you might wear a new pair of glasses. What surprises you, amuses you, and frees you up as you walk around in this new pair of shoes?
Obstacles and Opportunities for Expansion
I’ve added the ways in which individuals of each Enneagram style can increase their expansion by using their arrow lines as well as their wing styles on either side of their core style.
Obstacle: Ones keep themselves inside a clearly defined container of what is right and wrong, correct and incorrect, and this shows in their bodies, which are often highly controlled. With tight musculature and highly erect posture, their bodies keep the lid on their impulses. This tightly controlled physical way of being in the world gives them strong, clear, and sometimes rigid boundaries that limit their expansiveness.
Opportunity: Expand rather than constrict yourself. First, dance spontaneously and move like a 7, without concern about whether or not you are doing it right; then, allow more elements from your environment to affect you like a 4; next, relax your back and spine like a 9; and finally, move with fluidity and grace like a 2.
Obstacle: Twos are never sure how big or small they are. When the passion or emotional pattern of Pride appears, Twos can inflate like a balloon, taking pride in their ability to provide for others, their effectiveness in influencing situations to make them go according to plan, or their success in getting others to respond positively to them. The opposite is also true; Twos become deflated when someone takes issue with them as a person or something didn’t go well for another person or group they tried to guide.
Opportunity: Practice being both bigger and smaller than you actually are. First, make yourself really big by breathing robust energy into your entire body and moving around in space and being really big like an 8; then, breath deeply and gently only into the interior of your body and intentionally make yourself smaller than you are like a 4; next, stand tall and feel the clear boundaries between your body and the environment without extending your energy to others like a 1; and now move in space and go after what you really want in a clear and decisive way like a 3.
Obstacle: Threes conform to what they believe the world wants from them, imitating what success or achievement looks like and then believing their behavior is reflective of the true self. They can even fool themselves into thinking they are expansive because they can change the way they behave or appear to satisfy the particular referent group of their choosing. Externally, Threes may appear outwardly expansive, but their internal experience is not one of expansiveness from the inside out.
Opportunity: Threes need to find their own expansiveness that arises from their internal desires. First, you have to relax and go more with your inner flow like a 9; then, access your inner insight and intuition like a 6; next, open and access your heart more like a 2; and finally, explore your real emotional life to find out how you really feel and what you want that is unique to you – separate from what others expect of you – like a 4.
Obstacle: Fours try to expand themselves internally, but there is only so far a person solely can expand within themselves. Expansion also involves extending oneself to others and in the environment. A person has to be able to hold steady about what they truly desire and then be able to manifest this in the world. Fours can have difficulty holding steadfast and can be even more challenged to manifest themselves, with artistic expression being an exception to this.
Opportunity: Think this: hold steady. First, expand outward, and be more self-contained – both internally and externally – like a 1; next, focus on others as much as yourself like a 2; then, be far more objective about yourself like a 5; and finally, manifest your desires for expansion with a goal and an effective and efficient plan like a 3.
Obstacle: Fives keep themselves much smaller in space than they deserve; a person can only expand in a limited way when the space within which they operate is so small. Concerns about invasion of privacy, visibility, intrusion by others, intruding on others, and the external expenditure of energy get in their way. All of these are reasons why Fives keep themselves in a smaller space than they actually have available, and Fives also maintain tight and firm personal boundaries to keep themselves in this smaller space.
Opportunity: Fives need to be as big as they actually are if they want to be more expansive. First, be big, even bigger than you are as a way of practicing bigness like an 8, then, walk around like you are entitled to command the room; next, enjoy engagement with others like a 7; then, tune into your own big dreams, desires, and feelings in real time like a 4; and finally, honor the importance of supportive groups – instead of believing you are in this world as a solo player – like a 6.
Obstacle: Claudio Naranjo said it best in Germany this past summer: 1-1 Sixes (counterphobic) need to put down their guns; social subtype Sixes need to put down their rules; and self-preservation Sixes need to put down their self-doubt. All these things get in the way of expansiveness and growth.
Opportunity: Sixes need to trust that they can expand and that it is safe enough for them to let go enough to do so. First, relax, walk, and enjoy nature like a 9; then, keep your eye on the goal and feel confident like a 3; next, be more objective about what really matters like a 5; and finally, enjoy yourself thoroughly like a 7. If you are not enjoying something, ask yourself why not!
Obstacle: Sevens confuse their need to try everything with true expansiveness. Real expansion occurs internally and externally, and both require focus and sustained commitment. Moving so quickly from one thing to another mentally or wanting to experience everything may be stimulating, but it is not the same as true expansiveness.
Opportunity: Sevens need to make the choice to expand in ways that they can integrate into their continued way of being. First, spend time reflecting on what truly matters to you and select on the important areas so you conserve your energy like a 5; then, stay committed to your course of action without distraction like a 1; next, allow yourself to stay with difficult and complex issues –including emotional ones – like a 6; and finally, become more fully embodied and grounded like an 8.
Obstacle: Eights can confuse being big and taking up space or seizing territory with true expansiveness, which involves exploring the unknown, being open to whatever happens, and allowing all of oneself to emerge, including one’s vulnerability.
Opportunity: Eights can experience a vast expansiveness if they are willing to allow rather than to control. First, spend time in self-reflection and solitude like a 5; then, enjoy the engagement with others and the generosity of spirit like a 2; next, feel the joy and pleasure in all your new experiences in a spontaneous way like a 7; and finally, learn to go with the flow like a 9.
Obstacle: Nines can confuse being expansive with being defused, and they can misinterpret their tendency to blend with people, activities, and objects as expansiveness rather than realize they are merging and losing themselves in the process. In order to truly expand, there must be deep and lively contact with the self because it is from this deeper contact that true expansiveness takes form.
Opportunity: When Nines stayed attuned to themselves, a deeply experienced and lasting expansiveness can emerge. First, set a concrete goal for expansiveness and a practical plan for doing so like a 3; next, allow yourself to access all your insights that relate to your desire for expansiveness, including the identification of internal and external obstacles on the path like a 6; then, let yourself be as big as you really are by filling your body with all its potential energy like an 8; and finally, enjoy how perfect all this is, including the effort you put forth in becoming more and more expansive like a 1.
*Thanks to Tom Condon for the idea that Twos don’t know what size they are!