Embracing the constancy of relational transition is, ironically, the best way to maintain a spiritually solid relational connection with anyone.   It is the ride of the ever-changing real in relating that creates meaningful history with another, not the rigidity of a galvanized fantasy.   Fall is that beautiful seasonal reminder that everything transitions in one way or another.   It’s the crisp calendar start to some new frames in our interpersonal world.   We will know our loved ones and coworkers in ways we have not yet known them.  And those new frames are organic, they have the heartbeat of God’s universe pulsing through all of their unfamiliarity.   Something is shifting, and that is a given.  Loving others and ourselves through that shifting experience can provide an exhilarating reboot to our relational lives.

Expectations that “you will be this way” and “I will be that way,” however, often stifle the potential inherent in relational transitions.  The Enneagram of Personality can help us notice and get honest about those expectations.   What if we simply called expectations of others what they really are: projections?  Expectations in relationships are, at their core, only guesses formed from our own experience about ways the other person will behave, feel, and think.  Our egos fight that piece of reality, understandably.  However, opening to the shifting rhythms of the real relationship, even slightly, is an adventure that will mature us and our connections.  We finally fully land in the realization that all is unfolding in God’s hands.

The three centers of the Enneagram can help us move and choose more effectively during relational transition.   Here are some ways to participate in the exciting wave of what truly “is” coming next in our lives:

If you’re a Body Type (Eight, Nine, One), notice what changes you’re defending against in your relationships.

If you’re a Heart Type (Two, Three, Four), notice what you’re promoting to avoid change in your relationships.

If you’re a Head Type (Five, Six, Seven), notice what you’re fearing about change in your relationships.

A great reminder to carry with you into your daily interactions that can free you from the tyranny of expectations:  “Nothing to defend, nothing to promote, nothing to fear.”  (Don Riso & Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram)

For more on this topic: 

Join Dr. Ronna Phifer-Ritchie and Dr. Roxanne Howe-Murphy for

the Relationship Workshop:  Intimate and Professional

October 17-19, 2008,   Burlingame, CA


…and for EVEN MORE on this topic:

Participate in the January through April 2008

Enneagram Relational Growth Group:  “Working and Playing Well with Others”

A 10-session, in-depth, group coaching series – Saturday mornings January 5th – April 12th