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Somatic Advice for Ones | A Guest Blog by Peter O’Hanrahan

When I meet Ones, I am struck by their intentional goodness and how this organizes their body language and posture. Being good includes being orderly and self-disciplined. I respect their self-control and yet, I worry about how much effort this takes. Relaxation is not their default position, although they can certainly get there at times. But when the pressure is on, and it’s often on, their bodies reveal lots of tension, particularly in the diaphragm and the jaw. This is a universal somatic pattern but it’s most common for Ones. If you want to control yourself, don’t give way to the spontaneous movement of the breath (it will bring up feelings) and keep that jaw tightly shut (so you won’t say the wrong thing).

For some Ones being good means being very nice to people, even at the expense of their own feelings. The danger here is a disconnect from what they feel or sense in their gut center. Where does the anger and resentment go? Well, it goes into physical tension.

For other Ones, being good shows up as in a rather formidable quality of rightness, or even righteousness, with a critical or angry look in the face. The left eyebrow rises up while the eyes narrow in judgment; the lips are pressed together. Dear Ones, don’t let your face get stuck this way! It’s not your most attractive self, and it’s scary to small children (and sometimes adults).

So what to do? It’s all about relaxation. But sometimes we can’t relax until there is some expression, or discharge, of what’s going on inside. How about stomping around or yelling occasionally – but not at anyone! Don’t wait for a reason to make it personal. Try shaking out with your hands, arms and shoulders. Legs and hips, too! Yes, you will look spastic temporarily, but it’s the right thing to do! If you really want to work out that jaw tension, practice biting on a towel – like a dog. And by the way, with a towel in your mouth, you can yell, scream and howl without disturbing the neighbors or even the people in the next room. Let it out!

These kinds of loosening and expressive exercises are different from the kind of controlled physical exercises that are good for health but may not address the basic holding patterns. Maybe you can let your jaw hang loose when you are running. Or, you can sigh and let out a big exhale during those yoga stretches. Some Ones find that singing is a good way to relax the mouth and throat and give the diaphragm a workout – after which relaxation comes naturally.

The somatic pattern for Ones is enforced by the psychic pattern of the idealization and avoidance – I have to be right, I can’t allow myself to be wrong. What you can do is make a bigger space for rightness, one that allows for the inherent goodness and pleasure of the body. Be good to yourself, knock off the constant self-criticism, and take more space for breath and relaxation.

Peter O’Hanrahan is an Enneagram teacher, body therapist, business consultant, and Senior Member of the Enneagram in Business Network (EIBN) who teaches internationally and also works closely with the Enneagram Worldwide and the Palmer/Daniels Enneagram Professional Training Program. You can visit his website at EnneagramWork.com | POhanrahan@aol.com

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Pam Garland
1 year ago

I found this information very helpful and in line with my studies of the Enneagram. I am a Coach working with a Type 1 and wanted to find some somatic exercises for him.

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