IEA Board Letter April 2018 – Community and Diversity

Our IEA Global Conference theme, Building Bridges, is grounded in our desire to build on the base created by our founders who were courageous seekers, practitioners and leaders in bringing the Enneagram to the world. Each brought their own distinct lineage, competence and life experience to the Enneagram and since then, students and practitioners have taken up the mantle and applied the Enneagram in their own fields of inquiry and practice.

We’ve learned that it takes no small amount of humility, curiosity and openness to embody this theme.

Can we build bridges between lineages, groups, teachers, countries, cities and applications without sacrificing their own unique flavor and the distinct standards and values that deeply matter to each of them?

Can we build bridges as we try to absorb vast amounts of information that comes to us faster than we are capable of digesting?

Can we build bridges when conflicting stances are involved? Our stories run deep and they matter to us for they touch into our values, experiences and worldview.

As we prepare for the conference, here’s a self-inquiry that relates to the theme of Building Bridges and I encourage you to use all three centers and reflect with an open mind, an open heart and grounded presence.

The most obvious question to ask ourselves is whether we think Building Bridges is a worthy aim.

Does building bridges matter to me? Because as anyone knows who works with people, dissatisfaction with the status quo and the desire to change needs to be greater than the resistance to change.

If it does, we can ask ourselves, “How do I contribute building bridges?” Here are a few questions for starters and I encourage you to come up with some of your own:

  • Am I congruent with what I teach, learn and/or practice?
  • Do I dissent respectfully?
  • Am I willing to have courageous conversations and avoid gossiping and denigrating others?
  • Am I aware of my type bias and projections when I’m reactive?
  • Do I walk my talk?
  • When do I personally create fissures and when do I build bridges?
  • Am I able to go beyond my own worldview and allow myself to experience other perspectives, lineages and people?
  • Am I able to lean into discomfort and difficulty? (Change and evolution includes conflict, discomfort and challenges to our comfort).

Cincinnati has a vibrant Enneagram community and we look forward to hosting you as we explore ways that we can enhance and evolve our existing Enneagram community.

Below, board member Brian Mitchell-Walker shares the way the IEA is addressing a concern from our diversity committee. This is but one way for us to build bridges with the diverse needs of our growing community.

See you in July.


Leslie Hershberger on behalf of the entire IEA Board of Directors

From Brian Mitchell Walker:

In light of our conference theme of “Building Bridges,” we are also taking steps to build bridges within our diverse community in regards to our gender identity.  As a step towards living this out we are asking conference registrants to identity their preferred pronouns.  We have often just simply seen the binary of genders as male with preferred pronouns of he/him/his or female with preferred pronouns of she/her/hers.

As we study the law of three in the Enneagram, we see how we get ourselves into trouble when we create binaries.  So we gain understanding about gender identity by moving beyond the binary.  For example, some of us identify with the opposite gender than what our body appears or for some it is a place along the continuum – identifying with both genders – or some of us don’t want to be defined by gender at all and may choose the preferred pronouns of they/them/theirs.

So we ask each of you to take a moment as you fill out your registration information to bring to awareness your gender identity and fill out your preferred pronouns.  At the conference these will be added to the name tags so we can honour the gender identity of all participants and celebrate the diversity of our community.