Pleased to Meet Me
Updated: Jan 21, 2022
In the late eighties, one of my favorite bands was The Replacements, local Minneapolis rockers blending chaotic thrash and aching melodies that influenced a generation of musicians after them. One night, I went with a group of friends to see their show in a rinky dink venue in Sioux Falls, SD. We returned to the Holiday Inn later that night and to our delight, found them shooting dirty pool (all of them except Paul) in the upstairs billiard deck. We went up to express our thanks for a fun show and bassist Slim Dunlap invited us to join them for a game. We found them to be genuinely friendly and fun-loving guys.
Fast forward thirty years later and their album, "Pleased to Meet Me," carries new depths of meaning. The past few years I've embarked on a journey to discover and express the real me. The enneagram is a profound tool in helping us explore gifts that make as shine, as well as hidden, limiting patterns and coping mechanisms that hold us back. Through the Enneagram, I've discovered that I often hide aspects of who I am out of fear that I will be judged, rejected, and abandoned by the people I care about. As one who leads with 9 on the enneagram, I also tend to self-forget, merge with the energy of others, and focus on fulfilling their agendas over mine. I can be easily distracted by the pulls of others’ requests and demands and forget the most essential tasks and priorities on my schedule. I can be in the middle of an important deadline when someone shares their priorities for the day, and ... SQUIRREL! ... the next thing you know I am mowing the lawn, in my car heading to the store, or giving the dog a haircut. Never mind what I was doing, I'll stop and put all my energy into your emergency. No wonder I began to struggle with out of body experiences and anxiety attacks during Divinity School. According to my good friend and spiritual director, Sandra Smith, when we are not present to ourselves, boundaries dissolve and feelings of overwhelm arise. The problem is, self-forgetting becomes auto-pilot for me when I am not doing the work to stay present through meditation and journaling. Too much time in autopilot yields acts of self-forgetting that comes to the surface later with an ill-timed episode of anger or rage. Tick. Tick. Tick.
I'm learning that in addition to meditation and journaling, it is helpful for me to schedule my calendar a week or so in advance and commit to sticking to that schedule even if it interferes with the agendas of others. I'm also learning to slowly and deliberately delete the word, “whatever” and the phrase “it doesn’t matter" from my vocabulary and take a moment to think about what I want. No, actually, I don't want salad for dinner .... I want meatloaf, dammit!
Ok, that's a bit harsh, but the more I take time to think about what I really want, the more others (and myself) can get to know the real me. Pleased to meet me, a person with unique wants and desires. I Can't hardly wait to see the possibilities.