Breath & Growth: Powerful Companions

For many years, I have studied the process of what it takes for us to be our best selves.  I have looked for the most simple and practical ideas that if practiced effectively, would yield the greatest outcomes.  Since humans are so complex, I figured the answer would also be complex and need to be tailored to the uniqueness of each person.

I recently came to terms with what I think the best tool is and it isn’t what I thought it would be. Our breath.

From my research in the field of Psychology, Sports, Spirituality, Religion, Business, Philosophy, the Arts and more, this simple process of inhaling and exhaling is a universal tool for optimizing our ability to be effective and satisfied in our lives.

In my Enneagram studies, my teacher, Helen Palmer, really challenged us to develop a practice for tuning into our breath as a way to work with our personality structures, and relax them so we can be more than the limitations of our type.  It is challenging to remember to use the breath when the way we are wired is to simply react.

I don’t profess to be an expert, but I do believe from now having put a great deal more effort into practicing using my breath as a tool for growth, that it is extremely worthwhile.  I gain greater objectivity, less emotional intensity, expansion of possible ways to look at a situation, increased compassion for others, and an overall sense of calm and well being.  This is cool stuff and it’s accessible to me anywhere, any time. I have a saying I tell myself – Conscious breathing, conscious living!

To learn more about how to work with your specific personality type and breath, check out this great Enneagram teacher, Peter O’Hanrahan.

It turns out, one size really does fit all when it comes to using our breath as a companion in growth!

 

 

 

 

Can I Coach Myself?

Sure!

It can happen all the time if you work on it, and it’s actually a great skill to learn.  Here is a simple technique to try the next time you want to do or say something to get the best outcome .

In the simplest terms, we have what the personality experts refer to as 3 Centers of Intelligence.  (Refer to my Enneagram  page for my favorite personality tool that provides more detail about this!)

Our Centers of Intelligence can be thought of as our central operating system – how we process information.  The three centers are the head center or intellectual center, the heart center or the emotional center and the body center or the physical center.  Most of us operate with one Center of Intelligence more dominantly and then the others follow in priority to some degree of intensity, or in some cases, are considered very little.

Think of yourself like a tripod.  If we prefer to use our head or thoughts to solve a problem, then that is the longest leg on our tripod.  We think our way through a situation first and foremost.  That leaves the other two legs shorter and typically one is the shortest.  What happens when your tripod has differing length of legs?  Not such a secure place for our camera!

For example, someone operating foremost from their Head Center, can collect so much information from so many perspectives that they become confused as to which information is the most relevant or important. Someone operating foremost from their Heart Center, can be over-empathic with people or with themselves so they lost objectivity about the situation. Someone operating foremost from their  Body Center, can become overly stubborn when they perceive another as trying to control them or extremely quick to act without thinking through the implications of their actions.

This may sound frightfully simplistic.  The take away is this.  If you were to give consideration to all 3 Centers of Intelligence when trying to perform at your best, what would that do for the outcome you are trying to create?  Most personality experts agree, that to be centered and balanced, we need to access all 3 Centers of Intelligence in a productive way if we want to operate to our full potential.

So next time you are trying to solve a problem ask yourself:  What do I think?  How do I feel ?  What do I do?  See if your solution reflects the best version of yourself and let me know!