Wednesday, September 26, 2018

38. Letting God Come Close: An Approach to the Ignatian Exercises


I did the Spiritual Exercises last year, and LOVED the entire experience (so much so that I am doing it all over again with my husband). This was fun to read from the viewpoint of giving the Spiritual Exercises as a Spiritual Director (which is what I am now being trained to do - stay tuned). I really like William Barry's writing style, and I learned nuances about the exercises. I wouldn't necessarily recommend reading this book unless you have gone through them or at least more familiar with them. 


It was a worthwhile read! 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Type Two Enneagram Thought for the the Day


EnneaThought® for the Day


Try this Affirmation today: "I now affirm that my happiness does not depend on pleasing others." (Enneagram Transformations, 47)
Does this personality type system have me pegged or what? It will be good as I face new students this morning!

Monday, September 17, 2018

37. Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life


People rave about this book, but I just thought it was OK. He is a philosophy guy, and that is not really my thing. His premise is that we have two halves of life and most people don't really get to the second half of life. We all have to go on a journey to find our true home and true self, and he compares this throughout the book to Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey. That was fun since I have spent a lot of time in that poem.  


I think I started "falling upward" pretty early in life. So grateful for a breakdown at 23. I think that is really the best thing that has every happened to me. It was a marker point in history. The humiliation was so public, spread throughout my organization and my office. But it was so freeing at the same time. Pain has a way of doing that. Failure is a path to freedom. So grateful. I found so much about God through that "fall"! So maybe this quote encapsulates it for you. Sorry that I do not have the page number. I read a library book so I did not underline but found this in a review:


Failure and suffering are the great equalizers and levelers among humans. …There is a strange and even wonderful communion in real human pain, actually much more than in joy, which is often manufactured and passing. In one sense, pain’s effects are not passing, and pain is less commonly manufactured. Thus it is a more honest doorway into lasting communion than even happiness…. Many of us discover in times of such falling the Great Divine Gaze, the ultimate I-Thou relationship, which is always compassionate and embracing, or it would not be divine. Like any true mirror, the gaze of God receives us exactly as we are, without judgment or distortion, subtraction or addition. Such perfect receiving is what transforms us. Being totally received as we truly are is what we wait and long for all our lives. All we can do is receive and return the loving gaze of God every day, and afterwards we will be internally free and deeply happy at the same time.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

36. The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything


I did the online Creighton University Spiritual Exercises last year this time (the new one starts TODAY, in fact), but I loved reading this "encyclopedia" of all things Jesuit to give me an overall view of Ignatian Spirituality. It was fascinating. I don't agree with everything in it, but it has some wonderful things about finding God in all things, making decisions, discovering vocation, and surrendering all to God. I am a big proponent of the Spiritual Exercises for everyone (including evangelicals - very little is decidedly "Catholic" if you are afraid of that). My husband and I along with another couple will be doing the Exercises in Portland starting in six days (seelportland.org). It is such a great deal: prayer exercises every morning, meeting with a spiritual director two times a month, and a half day retreat in a gorgeous setting with other retreatants once a month for only $445!


Here is an National Public Radio with the author: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124357786?storyId=124357786

Saturday, September 15, 2018

35. Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23

This is very much in the theme of most of Dallas Willard's books so I am very familiar with the content, but it was nice to be reminded that with God we lack nothing. He has some very practical suggestions for sharing a moment by moment day with Jesus too.

I think I like Living in Christ's Presence much better, and it has similar content. 

Here is another review by someone from LibraryThing.com:


Using the well-known Psalm 23 as his launching point, author Dallas Willard explores what it means to live a life without fear; a life of trust in God; a life without lack. Based on a series of talks given by the author some 20+ years ago, this book was compiled posthumously by a close friend of the author. Willard is an expert at breaking down deep thoughts into digestible bites, and his warmth and true care for the reader is evident in every page. Read this one with pen in hand - lots to ponder and savor.

This review is based on an advance reader copy from the publisher. ( )
   NeedMoreShelves | Feb 6, 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

34. The Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


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I read the full book of the Brother Karamazov years ago and love it. This was a nice abridged version of the story. 

I did not know the story of The Idiot, and it was excellent. 

I really enjoy these LA Theatre Works adaptations of classics! 

33. Candlelight: Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction by Susan S. Phillips


This author has been doing spiritual direction for several years. She tells the story of her journey with nine of her directees. It is quite beautifully written, and I learned a lot about direction from reading about these journeys. 

Sunday, September 09, 2018

32. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo


 



The Best Book Ever Written!

This was such a good investment of 58 hours. I loved this narrator. This is my third or fourth time through it, and I loved it even more this time. It remains hands-down my favorite book by a long shot. How much more meaningful to have been to Paris and to see the location of the Barricades and all the places mentioned in the book. It was also such a treat to see the house in which he wrote part of Les Miserables! I was in HUGO HEAVEN at his house, and the old gentleman who looked after the tourist was so tickled at my excitement. 

I read this book in the summer of 1996, culminating with me seeing the stage version in Seattle on my birthday, July 27. This was before I had homeschooled and read all the books from The Well-Educated Mind (press hyperlink to see how long it took me). Twenty-two years later, I understood much more of his references.

The writing is so beautiful. The story is amazing. I think everyone should read this book at least one time in their life! It is so worth the time.   



"The night was starless and extremely dark. No doubt, in the gloom, some immense angel stood erect with wings outspread, awaiting that soul."


Friday, September 07, 2018

Type Two: Indirection


Type Two EnneaThought® for September 7th

The overall keynote of Twos is indirection. Personal needs and desires are expressed indirectly, through service to others. Twos feel that they cannot go after what they want directly: it must be given to them by others as a sign that they are really loved and appreciated. Notice today when you are being indirect. (Understanding the Enneagram, 78)

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Type Two Thought for the Day



EnneaThought® for the Day

Type Two EnneaThought® for September 4th
When we are identified with our personality, we forget that there is much more to us. Today, let go of your habitual self-image and allow your healthy qualities of unselfishness and altruism to unfold. (Understanding the Enneagram, 360)

Monday, September 03, 2018

George finally took the Enneagram Test. He is a Type 9

I cannot believe how accurately this describes our relationship. George is a very healthy 9 though!

Enneagram Twos and Nines are similar in a wide variety of areas and reactions; both types are interested in nurturing others and in helping people to be better, more comfortable with themselves, and more at peace. Both types also tend to be optimistic and to reframe disappointments in the most positive way possible. This pairing has an outstanding warm, kindly, and good-natured quality about it that each side reinforces. Twos and Nines are easy-going, hospitable, and undemanding, happy to make friends happy and to welcome them into their home. Twos bring to the pair a more outward and interpersonally engaging energy: they would most likely be the first to introduce themselves at a party or to go to someone's aid and comfort if they perceived that the other person had some kind of problem. Twos are proud of their relationship, their home, their family and their friends—and they want to share them with others. Twos constantly add energy and new people to the relationship mix. They are more talkative than Nines and more openly curious about other people, how they live and what they are like, and more eager to get involved in others' lives.
On the other hand, Nines bring a quiet steadiness and uncomplicated directness that allows people to flourish and things to get done with a minimum of stress and conflict. Even if Twos become upset about their relationships, or are feeling moments of self-doubt about how loved they are, Nines have a way of calming them down and of providing a great deal of unquestioned acceptance. Both types are drawn to each other to provide soothing and support; their home and hearth, pets and love of nature are extremely important to them. Both go out of their way to be considerate of each other, as well as of other people. Much of their best communication is non-verbal, physical, arising from their simple, direct presence to each other. They can develop almost a psychic link with each other. This is a very mellow couple, whose emphasis on hospitality reminds people of how healing it is to be around loving, generous people.

31. The Sacred Enneagram: Finding You Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Heuertz

The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth
I loved how this author ties the Enneagram types to contemplative spirituality. There were times where it seemed a little too complicated for me to understand, but I kept swimming through the material, and I did not drown. I think it was the third book I have read on this subject in preparation for a seminar I will be attending in November (https://www.benedictine-srs.org/events Scroll down the page to find the event). 

I understood so much more after reading this book. I think I took the test on the urging of Michelle Delanty about five years ago (?), but I didn't really know what to do with it and now I look at the page of the Enneagram Institute, and after reading this book, I "get" so much more! I like that this guy is really into not just using the Enneagram for self-awareness but for "reconstruction, where we'll find signposts to help us navigate the reordering of our identity into wholeness" (p. 192). 

My spiritual direction training will also cover this so we can utilize it when working with directees. 

Again, this author (like the authors of The Road Back to You) reiterated that Type Two needs solitude for growth. This book helped me understand more deeply why this is the case. So I am grateful. 

I was surprised to see that it is only $1.99 on the Kindle. I am not sure if that price is temporary or not, but I am so glad because the copy I had was a library book, and I think I would like to have this one for future reference. I took quite a few notes, but it will be nice to highlight the Kindle book. 

The one thing that was weird was he mentioned that yoga "connects you to your body" (p. 174). He is talking about how mindfulness has come into the general population of Western society and not specifically about Christian contemplative prayer, but he really needs to clarify this in the book. (For more information about this subject see the excellent explanation of what yoga is all about by Pietra Fitness: https://pietrafitness.com/pf-not-yoga/)

Other than this comment that needs to be clarified, and the misspelling of the famous missiologist Ralph D. Winter (not Winters as the author incorrectly spells his name), I found this book to be very enlightening and mind-stretching (still need to read over some parts because much of the terminology was new to me)! I also think he nailed why solitude, silence, and stillness are important for the different types. 

I have a friend who thinks Mirror for the Soul: A Christian Guide to the Enneagram is a better choice, but the reviews for it are mixed. 

I decided to add my book report for this book that I did for my Spiritual Direction Training:



The premise of the book is that the Enneagram is more than just a personality test for self-awareness, but it is a pathway of reconstruction for spiritual growth.  The author does a thorough job of explaining the Enneagram and then goes on to look at each of the types in terms of contemplative practice.

In Section One, the author identifies the questions of identity of who we are, how we got lost, and how we might find our way home to our true identity. I totally agree with his premise that we lose our way through our childhood wounds (determine that it comes at 3-5 years of age) that are an assault to our original innocence. This leads to masks that we wear. This can be our perception of things that leads to wounds and not necessarily things that our parent “did” to us. The good news is that God wants to bring us back to who He created us to be, our true essence. Then, he thoroughly explains the Enneagram including its history, his story of how he discovered it, and how it has personally helped him. I found his explanations to be extremely thorough. I was exposed to the enneagram probably more than five years ago; but even though I had read The Enneagram Made Easy and the Riso-Hudson website, I never quite understood how it really had practical application until I read The Road Back to You and this book. This book helped me understand it even more deeply. He is quite thorough, almost to a point where my head hurt reading it as he got into the minutia of this ancient tool. I just kept reading and things began to make more sense. At the end of this long and thorough foundation, Finally, he goes through all the types.

In Section Two, he introduced the intelligence centers of head (thinking), heart (feeling), and body (instinctive). These can determine how we react to things. Head people respond with anxiety or distress, body people respond with anger or frustration, feeling people respond with fear or shame.  He goes into the basic desire, fear, virtue, fixation, passion, direction of integration, and direction of disintegration for each type that was very through and informative. 

I finally understood why sometimes I would go to a Type 8 when I am under stress, anger coming out of “nowhere” when I am not normally an angry person. I used to call them my “Mr. Hyde” moments.  I knew this would happen when I was in a hurry, had too much on my plate, rushed, stressed, or driving. I knew I coped with it by balancing my life, slowing down, saying “no” to people asking me for help, and eliminating people-pleasing. Now I understand the why behind going to this disintegration because it was my “innate self-survival reflex” and “subconscious self-preservation instinct to prevent [me] an unhealthy person from falling farther down the hole [I] they feel stuck in” (p. 122).  This was an “aha” moment for me. I am still trying to understand the integration side of things when I go to a Type Four. I am looking forward to a workshop on “Appreciating the Wisdom of the Enneagram” that I will go to in November to understand this more thoroughly.

Section Three is what makes this particular book on the Enneagram so great. It is about contemplative practice based on our Enneagram type. The author states, “One of the gifts of contemplation is that it facilitates a very gentle awakening to the misguided, selfish, and ego-driven impulses in our subconscious and unconscious” (p. 180). He purports that each need something in their contemplative life to being them back to “home” or their “true self.” The “gut-obsessed, body, control types (8,9,1) need stillness. The “heart-obsessed, feeling, connection types (2, 3, 4) need solitude. The head-obsessed, thinking, competence types (5, 6, 7) need silence.  “Stillness interrupts the addictions of gut people and prompts a reevaluation of their drive” (p. 181). “Solitude functions as a correction to the feeling types dependency on connection and comparison” (p. 182).  “Is it possible to head people to turn down the inner noise—everything that serves as a distraction—to be able to really listen?” (p. 183). This part of the book is what sets it apart from other books I have read on this subject.

This book informs my personal relationship with God in that it explains to me, after all these years, why disconnecting from people in solitude has been so important in my personal growth journey. I am so grateful that my bible study leader in college strongly encouraged us to get away and pray. I need to get away in solitude so that I am not distracted by other people and my compulsion to feel like I need to help them. “Heart people who find themselves constantly drawn toward others for affirmation and approval are often still very lonely because they are disconnected for their essence . . . “In solitude, a heart person emerges in painfully liberating ways. Solitude teaches us how to be present—present to God, to ourselves, to others with no strings attached” (p. 182). This so makes sense to me because I often find myself in days of prayer and solitude saying, “I had lost me in the midst of all the people and needs. I have gotten back in touch with me!” It will inform my practice of spiritual direction to be able to understand what contemplative practice might be healthy for individual directees based on their Enneagram type.

I would heartily recommend this book to others. It goes much deeper than most books I have read on the subject. Even Ian Morgan Cron, author of The Road Back to You, states that his book is just a “primer” and that this book is excellent for going deeper. I highly recommend Cron’s interview with Heuertz on his Typology podcast Episode 11.

Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...