Belly as through a glass, darkly
This past year, I encountered the Enneagram for the first time–it’s a tool for, among other things, understanding human personalities, motivations, and life lessons. My type is 7. According to the book The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Ross Hudson, this suggests that the core fear that drives many of my actions on a subconscious level is the fear of not having enough.
This explained so much for me, so many themes — why I struggled so hard with jealousy for so many years, why I can’t drink alcohol, why I so often order more food than I actually need. It was just that combination of chagrin and relief that the authors said would mark the recognition of something true about myself within that particular body of wisdom.
So I overconsume. I’ve done it ever since childhood. And I have indeed had, for as long as I can remember, an underlying anxiety about not having what I need to be happy. I deeply fear not having enough — friends, love, free time, money, pizza, education, songs, attention, life experience, just about anything, really, could trigger this fear in me. On the other hand, having an enormous supply of anything (oatmeal, nails, socks, paper) has always been a great comfort to me.
It was actually quite helpful to have this pointed out to me. I did feel shame when I first saw myself in those terms. But I also felt the healing sting of letting some part of my shadow self come into the light. Yes, many of my most embarrassing moments arose from me being driven by this fear. Oh well. That’s part of who I am. It’s both part of my past and a potentiality of my present. To acknowledge this is sobering and also hopeful: once I allow myself to become conscious of my shadow, once I own it, I maybe start to choose something other than mindlessly acting it out.
On some level I have long thought of my belly as basically the evidence of my weakness or gluttony. Of course the feeling associated with thoughts like these is shame.
But it also occurred to me today that the belly is also a symbol of abundance.
It can remind me that whatever I fear, I HAVE been provided for throughout my entire life. I’ve never been homeless or friendless or without access to food. Seeing this, maybe I can relax a little, slow down a little, and celebrate my blessings a little, or a lot.
In fact, the older I get, the more I understand how much power I have to create my own life. I become more and more convinced that my highest happiness lies in being aligned with Divine will for my life, and that as I come closer to the right balance between action and surrender, I’ll receive absolutely everything I need to fulfill my soul’s purpose, nothing more and nothing less, exactly the perfect amount.
Yay belly! What a great teacher!