Why We Need Community to Thrive

Today I want to talk about embracing community. Why is it so important to have our people? I’m going to break down the meaning and benefits of community, and why we need it to thrive.

Let’s start by defining it.

What is Community?

Community can be described in many ways. My first thought, is of coming together with common mind and purpose. Unity is right in the word, hinting at that spirit of togetherness. What I love about this idea of community, is that it isn’t only specific to where you live, or your culture, or what you believe. Community can simply be people who have claimed each other. You belong to me, and I belong to you. That’s it. When you belong to a group of people that means something, there is a certain weight that comes with that, and the benefits of being part of a community are what we are going to dive into today.

why we need community to thrive

The Benefits of Community

Though communities can take on many different outward appearances from cross fit clubs to prayer groups, they all have one thing in common: belonging. A sense of belonging may be the most searched after thing in life today. Everyone wants to feel like they have a place, and that is exactly what community gives.

Feeling welcomed is more important that the actual purpose of the group’s gathering. If a group is getting together for book club, it isn’t the actual book that makes the gathering meaningful, it’s the sense of wholeness created when people really care about each other. When we feel seen and heard, we not only feel like we belong, but our overall feeling about life improves.

This is good news. This means that someone who would otherwise feel down and depressed, could feel completely the opposite just by being part of a community.

And that’s not all…

There’s more reasons why we need a community to thrive.

Being part of a community means you have access to talents and resources outside of yourself. Have you thought of this perk of being part of a community? The relationships created allow for this symbiotic nature. What’s mine is yours, and what I can’t do maybe you can. This element can be lived out beautifully in communities. The more people share of their talents and resources, the more willing to share others become. It creates a cycle of sharing for everyone, and reinforces those feelings of belonging. This builds confidence for the individual and added confidence in the group.

we need community to thrive

Communities are also known for the “strength in numbers” aspect. When the voices of many become one, that voice is more powerful. Standing together, always beats standing alone.

What are the problems of being without community?

You may be aware that loneliness and isolation lead to an array of serious health problems, both physically and mentally. Being without community leaves room for these possibilities to put people in real danger. Without community, when a problem arises, you have only yourself. The weight of life has the tendency to become to heavy to hold alone. We weren’t meant to be without community. We need each other to help carry that weight.

Without community, you will struggle with belonging, wellness, and to put it simply, life in general. This might sound extreme, but I think we’ve all had enough taste of isolation to know that going it alone is not the best way.

As an introvert, and type six on the enneagram, I don’t mind having some time and space for myself. In fact, many days I crave it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be in community. I am a part of a few community groups, and life without them would be torture. They lift me up when I’m feeling down, they make me feel like I have a place in the world no matter what. They share their resources, time, and talents. And together, we experience the best of parts of life.

What do you do if you don’t have a community?

Start where you are.

It’s easier to look at your life and see what is already in place around you, instead of getting overwhelmed by searching out a bunch of communities to join. Look at your schedule. What are you already doing? Do you go to a gym a few times a week? Do you take walks in your neighborhood? What are your hobbies and interests that you are already pursuing? You will be more likely to be in community with others if you can simply add to what you are already doing.

Make an effort to invite a friend or two on your daily walk, or meet up with people after your workout at your local coffee shop. Keep doing what you already love, just choose one thing to do with others.

If you are feeling more ambitious, maybe you can start your own community group. Are the type who loves planning or hosting? You could start your own club based on your interests. Maybe you all go hiking twice a month, or play cards, or get together to share stories you’ve written for fun.

However you choose to include yourself in community, know that everyone is benefitting. Now you know why we need community to thrive, and that it’s the very best way to live!

I hope this post has brought you encouragement and inspiration for your day!

What other benefits can you think of that come from being part of a community?

How to Help Someone Who is Grieving.

How can you actually help someone who is grieving? Today I want to walk you through the simple things you can do that will make a big difference for someone who is grieving.

There is so much grief happening all around us, many of us feel helpless and don’t know what to do. I’m going to break down some steps you can take to not only help that person who is grieving, but will also help you feel purposed.

So where do you begin?

The first step can seem very counterintuitive, but might be the most important.

You begin by listening.

When someone is grieving or even in crisis, we are quick to want to take action. How can I fix this? What can I do? Is this because we are uncomfortable to sit with someone in their pain?

Maybe they do need some kind of immediate action, or need met, but many times all that is required is silence, presence, and attention.

The power of listening to the grieving is like no other. Being heard is the beginning of processing and in time, healing. Listening is a quality we are severely lacking, but one acquired easily with practice. It may be uncomfortable and awkward to listen to others pain, at first, but it is so worth it.

If you know the enneagram, you might be aware that certain enneagram types are more oriented towards action, and others toward sitting with. The gut triad (8’s, 9’s, &1’s) wants to get things done, and make things happen. They are most likely to struggle sitting and simply listening. The heart triad (2’s, 3’s, & 4’s) May still want to do something about it, but not as intensely as the Gut numbers. Fours are particularly known for being comfortable with all feelings and especially those of deep melancholy. I would guess they might be the best at sitting with others in their pain. The Head triad (5’s, 6’s, & 7’s) would likely use logic to think through a solution, and sitting with would also be a struggle for these numbers, in general. To learn more about this read this post.

What else can we do to help someone who is grieving?

Be Present.

While listening is the beginning of processing and can be done in many ways, even over the phone, there is nothing like sitting with someone. Being present, begins a different kind of healing. While listening can free the mind, being present aids also in the grief the body holds onto. A hug can create a release. Being physically with someone supports them on a deep level. Sitting with someone in grief honors the person, their feelings, and who or what they are grieving for. You can cry with them, hold their hand, and be a safe place they can empty their grief upon. This will mean more than any gift you could give, or act your could perform.

Sitting with someone in grief may be best thing you can do.

How else can you help someone who is grieving?

Be Honest.

This might be surprising to include in a post about grieving, but many people are so uncomfortable around grief and death, that they talk themselves in circles instead of coming out and stating what they really feel. One thing that eases tension like nothing else is the truth. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know what to say,” and “This is what I liked when I was grieving…” Honesty can bring lightness that is so needed in those dark moments. It also helps you feel like you can be yourself instead of trying to hide behind pretense.

Thoughtful Cards and Gifts

I don’t want to leave out thoughtful cards and gifts. Though they may not be the most important, there is still value in sending a card, flowers, or something that would cheer someone up. Not everyone can sit with someone, or maybe you don’t have that kind of relationship and a card would be more appropriate. The key here is putting time and thought into it, and adding personal sentiment. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what the gift is, but that time was spent in honor of the recipient. (looking for some gift ideas? check out our unique finds in the shop or inspirational books here)

The most basic gift that many overlook, is a simple meal provided for the family or whoever is left grieving. It is a relief and stress taken off of the grieving to not have to think about how to eat. Eating can be a challenge for many when they are going through this time, and something they forget to think about, so providing this is definitely a way to care for them. There are many ways to organize this now with the help of apps and technology that make it extremely easy.

Listening begins the process of healing.

I hope that this was a helpful post for any of you who are making an effort to be there for someone who is grieving. We need more people willing to listen, be present, and provide for the needs of others.

What did you appreciate most when you were going through a time of grief?

Superheroes and the Enneagram

Being a boy mom, there is just no getting away from SUPERHEROES! In honor of my three sons, their love of superheroes, and Halloween approaching, I thought we could talk about Superheroes and the Enneagram!

This photo of our family is from about 7 years ago, but it is still one of my favorites! I leave it out all year, even though it is a Halloween picture of us all in costume. That’s me as Wonder Woman, my husband, Batman Senior, E is young batman, W, as Superman (which that year he kept referring to himself as, “Supee-batman!”-what a crack-up), and O as Clark Kent. We all love dressing up.

There’s just nothing like putting on a disguise and feeling the freedom to be someone else.

Imagine if we could do that with our personalities? ha ha…

With the enneagram there is no denying who we are, but there is always room for growth.

Let’s explore some of these famous superheroes and their enneagram types. While looking at these fictional characters, you may see yourself. After all, it is easiest to see ourselves when our characteristics are over dramatized- seeing them more plainly than in reality.

SUPERMAN Enneagram Type 1

Superman is highly motivated by seeking justice. He is willing to sacrifice for his desire to save the world and save others from death or harm. He has a strong sense of right and wrong, and holds himself to the standard of choosing right over and over again. As a type one, he honors his commitments by following through. He is orderly, polite, and respectful. His enemies can bring out his anger and resentment, that deep down resonates as guilt for not being able to save his own Father.

note: I realize many superheroes could be typed as ones, because of the type one’s natural sense of right and wrong and need to seek justice. Good versus evil is kind of the name of the game with superheroes, but I tried to go a little deeper and creatively type the most common ones, though they could easily all be ones! ha ha ha! (One to add for sure as a type one in addition to Superman, is Captain America! one of my favorites)!

Spiderman Enneagram Type 2

“Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!”

Type Two’s are known for their eager accommodation, friendly encouragement, and generosity. Spider-Man is always taking care of others, even when no one is taking care of him. He gives endlessly, and sacrifices constantly for those that he loves. He truly wants to help others, and sees this as his deep motivation in the world. He longs to be appreciated and loved for who is really is.

Ironman Enneagram Type 3

The successful achiever (type three’s nickname) is known for getting things done and loving all the attention of the spotlight while succeeding. Ironman fits this to a “T.” He completely embodies the image-conscious three, constantly pointing out his own accomplishments, and drawing attention to how great he is. Type three’s also stand out as great leaders, and concise decision makers. Ironman is an easy choice to lead others in his goal to stay on top and keep the baddies down. Though he can be self-centered and vain, Ironman is a trailblazer whom many will follow.

Hawkeye Enneagram Type 4

This Individualist, likes being unique and a little against the grain. Being authentic is very important to Hawkeye, and expressing himself whether creatively or through the beauty of his exceptional archery. His core desire is to find significance. Though sometimes withdrawn, Hawkeye can extremely supportive and introspective.

Batman Enneagram Type 5

Batman is the king of keeping to himself, complete with his super secret hide out, the Batcave. He is logical and capable, but wants nothing to do with the spotlight, unless of course he is answering the call the his literal spotlight… the bat symbol calling out for his abilities to help Gotham City. Though he keeps to himself, he has no problem standing up for the underdog and underprivileged. He is quiet, yet confident, perceptive, but also needs some time after saving the city yet again , to rest up in the Batcave.

Black Widow Enneagram Type 6

Enneagram six is known for being the most loyal of all the types. Black widow shows this loyalty both to Hawkeye and to the Avengers. She is also using the thinking power of the enneagram type 6 to consider all options at all times, paying attention to detail and scoping out lurking evil or dangerous situations. She is sometimes considered paranoid. This is a very “six” thing. Sixes are always thinking ahead, planning, and seeing possible outcomes. Black Widow makes a great teammate, even though in many cases she would rather just do it herself.

Daredevil Enneagram Type 7

It’s obvious that daredevil is going to get the most out of every situation. He is avoiding his fear by facing everything head on, and going for whatever whims are in front of him. A natural optimist, he is the life of the party. Spontaneous, fun-loving, confident and enthusiastic, he brings the fun wherever he goes.

Wonder Woman Enneagram Type 8

Type Eight is known as The Challenger. Wonder Woman definitely does not shy away from a challenge. She is truthful to a fault, and stands her own ground. She also puts up walls to protect herself from vulnerability, as all type eights are known for doing. She wants everyone on her team to be as strong as she is, and looks down on those showing weakness. She protects those she loves above all. She is empowering, inspiring, compassionate, direct, and resilient. She can also be quick to judge others, and hurt them without realizing it.

The Incredible Hulk Enneagram Type 9

This might be surprising, since the type nine is known as the peacemaker, and Hulk is classically known for “Hulking out.” However, this is a little known nine secret that the Hulk character portrays perfectly. Their anger will be stuffed inward over, and over in attempts to control their outworld and avoid conflict. This backfires, eventually resulting the the “Hulk” explosion. Bruce Banner doesn’t want to morph into Hulk, but when he can control his anger no longer, he has no other option. When doing well, nines are known for harmony and inner peace. I would assume the Bruce Banner character experiences this most of the time.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this fun take on enneagram types and superheroes! We are talking about these two subjects non-stop at my house! Maybe it will INSPIRE your next Halloween costume, but more than that, I hope it inspires your day.

What did you think of the Superhero types? Can you think of others that may fall into some of the Enneagram types that I didn’t include?

Who is your favorite superhero?

Enneagram Introduction

Have you heard of the Enneagram?

Maybe this term has caught your attention in passing, or you saw it on social media. It’s not just a trendy way to talk about personalities…

The Enneagram is actually a complex tool that not only helps you understand yourself and others, but allows you to see areas of yourself that need growth and areas where you naturally shine!

I began studying the Enneagram about 3 years ago because I love learning about how myself and others think, react and see life. There is so much to learn… I am always stumbling across even more ways to understand the people in my life, and the enneagram has become my favorite tool to help me do this!

Are You Ready to Learn More?

The beginners guide is perfect for those just learning the enneagram, and especially helpful for groups.

It includes:

– overviews of each type

-A questionnaire for each type to help you discover which sounds most like you

-A section describing what motivates each type

-Identifying wings

-Becoming our best selves- 

a section describing how understanding when we are healthy, average, or unhealthy versions of ourselves can help us become our best selves!

Though it is a simple tool, encompassing only 9 personality types, the enneagram really does go deep! But lets just talk about the basics…

So, there are nine types.

WHICH TYPE ARE YOU?

The best way to find out your type is not by taking a test, or quiz, but by reading a lot about all the types, and listening for what rings true for you.

The easiest way to begin recognizing your type is by asking this question:

What is my orientation to time?

Do I spend my days in the present, looking toward the future, or looking back in the past?

This trick will eliminate 6 of the numbers for you. Then you can determine your type from there.

If you find yourself in the present, you are likely a type 1, type 2, or a type 6.

If you find yourself looking toward the future, then you are likely a type 3, type 7, or type 8.

If you find yourself always looking back in the past, then you are likely a type 4, type 5, or a type 9.

Another thing to think about when determining your type, is to consider you first reaction to things. There are also three options here… Either you are a “doer” a “feeler,” or a “thinker.” In other words, when faced with an every day stimulus, do you need to take action, do you feel first, or do you take time to think about the situation?

The “feelers” are part of what is called the Heart Triad, including types 2, 3, and 4.

The “thinkers” are part of what is called the Head Triad, including types 5, 6, and 7.

The “Doer/ action-oriented” types 8, 9, and 1 are part of the Gut Triad.

Simply by finding your orientation to time and which triad you fall into should really narrow down which type you might be.

I am a type six. My orientation to time is the present, and I fall under the Head triad. It took me a long time to figure out my number (I didn’t know these tricks in the beginning). Also sixes typically take the longest to figure out their type (ha ha!) because we tend to over-think everything and have a lack of trust in ourselves. This didn’t stop me from being fascinated with the enneagram. I have loved learning about all the types.

Just so we’re clear, no type is better or worse than any other type. We all have strengths and weaknesses, that’s what makes us all so interesting.

Now that you know your possible orientation to time, and your triad, I’m going to give just a quick summary of each type. (Later we will go into much more detail).

Type 1 (the perfectionist)

Type ones are very black and white about things. There is a “right” way to do everything, and everyone should be doing it the “right” way. They are critical of themselves and others, but genuinely want to make the world a better place.

Type 2 (the helper)

Type twos want to help everyone… their neighbors, random people at the grocery store, their grandma, and you! They are generous and supportive, say “yes” to everything, and are truly good friends. They can be overly accommodating, and intrusive, but really just want to be appreciated.

Type 3 (the acheiver)

Type threes tend to be well-liked and popular. They use their charms to get ahead in any area they need to succeed. They are ambitious, and optimistic, but can easily become out of touch with themselves.

Type 4 (the individualist)

Type fours live primarily in their imaginations and feelings. They love to express themselves in unique ways. They are authentic, compassionate, withdrawn, and tempermental.

Type 5 (the investigator)

Type fives want to be capable and competent. They are incredible researchers, analytical, wise and dependable. They can seem distant, and cynical, but there is no one more dutiful.

Type 6 (the loyalist)

Type Sixes are steadfast and constant. They have a plan and stick to it. They want to feel secure and supported, and have a deeply high value for friendships. They can become judgmental and paranoid, but truly are the most loyal of all the types.

Type 7 (the enthusiast)

Type Sevens want the most out of life, and love imagining the fun they will have in the future. They are fun-loving, and charming and desire contentment. They can be rebellious, self-focused, and impulsive.

Type 8 (the challenger)

Type eights love goals that they can conquer. They are natural leaders with tough exteriors to protect themselves, but underneath they have a softer side. They will go to battle for those they love, and aren’t afraid to be loud, bold, and blunt.

Type 9 (the peacemaker)

Type nines see everyone’s perspectives, and often merge with opinions that are not their own to keep the peace. They value inner and outer peace above all things. They can be stubborn, passive aggressive, and unassertive.

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to the enneagram, and maybe you even saw yourself in the brief descriptions. I look forward to sharing more enneagram thoughts with you!

Thinking about going deeper?

Maybe you want to share your interest in the enneagram with a group of friends, or your family. Maybe you are part of a spiritual group, or club- the Enneagram Beginners Guide is excellent for groups. You will get a printable of all the basics! Just think of how much fun it will be to discover your types together!

When I first started learning about the enneagram, I read this book, The Road Back to You. It really helped me get a handle on finding my own type as well as beginning to understand the other types. I highly recommend it! It is easy to read and well written!

A Perfect Fall Day

It rained all morning, in that crazy, cloudy way. A welcome coffee in my hand, and open fields to gaze upon in wonder, I took it all in as the gift that it is. Now the sky is filled with billowy, fluffy clouds and sunshine. The wind is lightly blowing some leaves across the ground. It’s as if a collective sigh was made, Ahhh, yes… Autumn, how I love you!

Your crispness comforts me like a well known embrace. You give no expectation other than, show up, and BE.

The gentle changes happening around me, remind me that change is beautiful, and essential. It must happen, but it doesn’t have to be harsh or ugly. The subtle color differential from green to pale yellow, and then the bold move to vibrant vermillion all happens seamlessly, effortlessly.

We are all in different seasons of change in life. And it has often been said that the one thing we can count on in life, is change. May we strive to embrace change like the trees.