I’m a 9. And a Turtle.

I’m a 9 on the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a model of human personality using nine interconnected personality types. (See more here: The Enneagram Institute.)

Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. (from the Enneagram Institute)

Years ago, in a day-long workshop led by my friends, Kim and Donna, I visualized my Totem Animal during a guided meditation. I’ve lived with rheumatoid arthritis in my body for almost 30 years so I hoped for something graceful and fast like a gazelle or a cheetah. I got Turtle.  (Here’s a blog post about this: Turtle or Gazelle.)

Turtle lives a slow and steady life of non-doing, one day at a time – not reacting, simply accepting and moving on in its natural rhythm. Turtle naturally withdraws and goes within when in turmoil. It does not need to learn the importance of this focusing inward, it naturally knows. (from whats-your-sign.com/animal-symbolism)

I had outpatient hernia surgery the end of August. Not such a big deal compared to some of my surgeries, but it still involved general anesthesia and an incision. I stopped taking the immune suppressant drug that keeps my arthritis under control because it makes me a very slow healer.

I was supposed to rest, right? I am really good at resting.

Inertia (Enneagram 9) +

Withdrawing into my shell when vulnerable (Turtle) +

Introvert +

Life-long Reader =

a rather happy camper, once the pain eased up.

The problem came when I got the okay to start my medicine again and resume normal activities.  Remember inertia from science class? It’s the resistance of any physical object to changes to its speed, direction or state of rest. In other words a body at rest tends to stay at rest. This body does. I enjoy doing nothing but reading and sipping on a cup of tea.

The retired man I live with and at least one of my daughters don’t have that gene. They got the one his mother passed on–always needing to be doing something.  Thank God.

Surely there are people who live somewhere in the middle of that continuum. Not in my house. The retired man I live with has 2 speeds–doing or dozing. I have one speed–slow, with rest stops.

I’m workin’ on it. (See this blog post: I’m Workin’ On It.)

I’ve made lunch dates with friends, enough that my checking account looks like I eat out all the time. I’ve gone back to water exercise. I’m writing this blog post.

I start in a 4-week small group at church tonight about white privilege. I’m president-elect of the Board of Directors for a local non-profit and I spent a long time on the phone this morning with our new Executive Director.

I live a quiet life, by choice. It works for me. I’ve learned the difference between isolation and solitude. Like most of us, I strive for balance. I want to choose to resist living inside my shell. Some days that’s easier than others.

Want to meet for coffee or lunch?

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on October 6, 2016 at 6:09 pm  Comments (7)  
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Give Up or Surrender?

I just about ran out of pluck.

And gumption.

And grit.

I’ve had 6 surgeries in the last year and a half, some bigger than others, but all required some rest and recovery time.  My muscles atrophied from all the sitting.  It’s harder for me to move around easily. Then I took a trip and came home worn out and sick with bronchitis.

After a long day of consciously feeling the fear of not getting better and staying weak and fragile, I realized I had a choice. I could give up or I could surrender to reality and begin the work to get better. Giving up looked easier.

Giving up means admitting defeat. It’s saying, “I have lost, there’s no sense in trying anymore.” Surrender means stopping the fight against forces you cannot control. Surrender allows you to reserve your energy for later. It’s the process of letting go. It does not mean giving up. (Teresa Bruni)

I surrendered. I asked–well, begged–God to help me find my pluck and gumption and grit again.

The difference between surrender and giving up is the difference between suffering (giving up) and being at peace (surrender). It is the difference between being lost and finding your way.  (Tim Custis)

I remembered what I hear in 12-step meetings:  Do the next right thing. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

And from Anne Lamott:  Right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe.

Giving up is resistance to what is. Surrender is acceptance of what is. Giving up says “No” to life (you curl up in a ball on the bed). Surrender says “Yes” to life (you hold your arms wide open ready to receive). Giving up moves you away from God. Surrender moves you closer to God.  (Tim Custis)

I exercise in the pool again. I ride the exercise bike in the basement. I lead with my weaker leg when I go up the stairs from the basement. I bought some new shoes (Hey, girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do) that work with my new orthotics so I can walk outside.

I’m not angry at God anymore. I had to feel the anger and tell God I was angry before I could let go of it.

There is no hope in giving up. It’s a dark, miserable place to be.

God and I are buddies again.

I have hope again.

And pluck.

And gumption.

And grit.

Thank God.

Published in: on April 21, 2015 at 12:03 pm  Comments (15)  
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Right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe.

(Here is why I haven’t written much lately for this blog.  And why it may be a while before I post again.)

My younger daughter (with her husband, 2 1/2-year-old daughter and 5 month old son) has been moving from our town to the next town over, 30 minutes away, for the last 2 weeks.  Their leases overlap so everything didn’t go at once.  Maybe not a good thing for a couple who are organization-challenged and procrastination-inclined.  (She didn’t get those traits from her daddy.)

The retired man I live with has helped A LOT.  My job has been to watch and care for and amuse the children.  The toddler still takes a good nap.  That helps.  The 5-month-old is still totally nursing, will take a bottle of pumped milk and can go about an hour or 2 before Mommy-withdrawal sets in.  One day we drove to the new house to get his mom–we couldn’t settle him down.  After that, my child care and his mom stayed together.

My older daughter’s 8-month-old baby is having heart surgery on Thursday, 9/27.  Her abnormality was diagnosed the day after she was born and she has grown and developed well since then.  The surgery is necessary to guarantee a normal life as she grows into adolescence and adulthood.

We know a couple of grown women who had the surgery 30-40 years ago.  Each has lived with no restrictions ever since.  We have confidence that all will go well for the baby.  Our concern is mostly for our daughter and son-in-law.  When one of our children hurts, we hurt.

Our mantra these days is right foot, left foot, right foot, breathe. (Thank you Anne Lamott.)  We know that love and prayer and support always help.  We are surrounded by many friends who are praying.  We feel it.  And we are all grateful.