To be a 4

There’s a lot about being an Enneagram four that I’ve learned. Of course, there’s plenty for me to continue to learn, I’m sure, but what I have learned has been illuminating. For example, one of the ways we fours have learned to compensate for experience in the real” world is to create fantasy worlds. These can be pretty elaborate places with entire lives we lead far, far away from the realities of the mundane world we’re in. They can also be short lived, temporary places in which we feel good. You see, a big part of this is that we (fours) identify pretty strongly with our emotions, so we do what we can to experience the emotions that we are attached to. Fun fact: believe it or not, this can include negative emotions as well as positive ones. You might be amazed just how easy” it can be to be addicted to feeling like shit.

Essentially, fantasy becomes a habit for us. Definitely for me.

Today, I took a nice walk in one of Seattle’s best parks - Discovery Park. It’s a beautiful space. It has woods, fields, views, beaches. It’s kind of got it all. I went out there to get some connection to nature. I was walking through this beautiful bit of woods when I noticed myself in mid-fantasy. I noticed it felt good, so I kept going, even though I knew I wanted to be present with where I was. But then I noticed that it was actually making me a bit sad.

The sadness was kind of at a distance, but was there. And I could tell it was a result of the fantasy. (Here’s what I’lll say about the fantasy: there were aspects of it that I’d like to explore in real” life. It’s related to my work. They often are - and some pieces of it are actually in motion..at least in theory).

Drawing from mindfulness training, I took a breath and turned my attention to my senses. I felt the breeze on my arms. I felt my feet as I walked. I noticed what my eyes were seeing. And, almost immediately, that sadness faded. I felt here I felt good It seems to be the true” path to feeling good - what is. Feeling it. In the body. Not exactly huge, earth-shattering news. Just something real.

It’s nice to have (and understand) a path.

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