The Wisdom and Happiness in Your Life

One day, when my daughter was a very young, I was having a particularly bad day. I honestly can’t remember why I was so unhappy, I just remember wondering if life was even worth living. I still struggled with crippling depression at that time in my life.  I was sitting on the couch, trying to motivate myself to get up and DO something — anything — but I couldn’t find the energy.

My daughter was playing on the floor with the little horses that she loved so much at that age. She had arranged them in a way that she thought was very special and she turned around to beam at me with one of her mega-watt smiles.

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Listening for Folk Wisdom

My maternal grandmother used to say, “I’m an old woman and I know a thing or two.”

She lived in the harshness and the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains her whole life, and survived and thrived through many of “life’s storms,” as she called them. She died when I was a teenager, but I can’t think of another person I have known who had a harder life. Whenever I looked into her eyes, I saw strength, humor and the wisdom of having fully lived. From her, I learned practical things, like how to bake a fabulous applesauce stack cake, and the deeper wisdom of how to face your fear and just keep moving through it. She gave me her folk wisdom.

Folk wisdom is the collected thoughts of people who are living successfully and happily. They have experience in handling all of the slings and arrows of life, and still manage to dodge and weave enough to survive and thrive. Some, like my grandmother even manage to be happy, despite what life throws at them.

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The Unhappiness of Perfection

The Enneagram teaches that each of us has a primary personality type that best describes our patterns of behavior. There are nine Ennea-Types, each with distinctive qualities, motivations, desires, fears and gifts. While we have one type that best describes us, we have the potential for all of the traits of all of the types.

Some are more dominant in our personality than others. Some are recessed and if strengthened would add significantly to your happiness. The healthier traits of each type generally support happiness.  The less healthy traits — we call them stress reactions — interfere with your happiness.

If we look at the example of the Ennea-Type ONE. If this is your Ennea-type, your are the Principled Idealist. Even if this isn’t your primary type, each of us has some degree of idealism in our personality.

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