Series 27: For the Love of the Enneagram | Episode 03
Enneagram Twos – Phileena Heuertz on The Helpers
Our next installment of For the Love of The Enneagram brings us to wonderful Enneagram Twos (aka The Helpers!). And leading our discussion is Phileena Heuertz, a spiritual director and Enneagram expert who, as a Two herself, knows how it feels to love others and want to help them as much as she can, while at the same time longing to feel accepted for who she is, not necessarily what she does for others. Years ago, after Phileena began to study the Enneagram a bit more and felt deeply seen by it, she began to ask herself some deep, probing questions about her Twoness: What is my motivation for serving others? Am I doing it to fulfill my need to be loved? If I stop serving you, will you still love me? And finally, Phileena realized she could find true freedom once she gave herself permission to take care of her own needs so that she could be her happiest, healthiest, and most authentic self—which would help her care for others even more deeply. Also featured in this episode is composer Ryan O’Neal (AKA Sleeping At Last), who shares his thoughts behind the music he created for the special Enneagram Twos in his life.
Phileena: Be true to you. Figure out how to be true to you, how to return to yourself, so that you can offer your best self to others.
Jen: Welcome to the For the Love Podcast with me, Jen Hatmaker. Today, we’ll discover everything you wanted to know about Enneagram Twos from spiritual director Phileena Heuertz.
Hey everybody, Jen Hatmaker is here, your host of For the Love Podcast. Super happy to welcome you to the show today.
You probably know this, but we are in a series called, drrrr—that was a drum roll—For the Love of the Enneagram, and it is so awesome. We’re absolutely laughing at everybody’s response to it. You guys are maniacs. You’re listening to it and you’re sharing it and you’re listening to it twice and you’re sending it to your friends, and we’re thrilled about it because that is literally how much we love it, too. We are obsessed, absolutely obsessed right now.
And today’s episode, you’re going to love it. Today in the series, we probably have the most altruistic number on the entire Enneagram, which is the Twos. Twos are known as the helpers, because they are generally the ones who just roll up their sleeves and get stuff done. They are amazing at being doers and helpers and selfless givers, and they’re incredible in their relationships and families. The Twos, they make the world so, so, so lovely.
And so, joining us today to talk about this number is a Two herself. I’m so happy to have Phileena Heuertz today. Phileena is an author, she’s a spiritual director, she’s a yoga instructor, very passionate about spirituality and contemplation and making the world just more lovely. So in 2012, Phileena and her husband Chris—who, by the way, is the Enneagram expert you will hear in this series on the Enneagram Eight episode—together they founded an organization called Gravity, which is this Center for Contemplative Activism, which works to help restore and guide leaders who work in justice. They’re just special people. They are so, so, so special.
And today we get to unpack the Two. And you’ve heard me say this, but I’m married to a Two, so I’m always paying deep attention to when this conversation is on the table. And Phileena—you will hear, you will find this—is so gentle, so dear, so warm and so inviting, and she’s so honest today. I mean, we’re going to talk about the best parts of a Two, the shadow side of a Two, what a Two is afraid of, what he or she needs and wants, what she has learned in her own work. And I think the Twos out there, you’re going to feel seen and heard today, you’re going to feel understood. And for all of us who love a Two, married to a Two, work with a Two, parent a Two, this is incredibly, incredibly instructive.
And I am thrilled to share my conversation with the absolutely wonderful Enneagram Two, Phileena Heuertz.
Jen: Phileena, I am so happy to have you on the podcast. This is your first time on the show, and that feels shocking to me. It’s about time.
Phileena: Well, it’s a total honor to be invited. Thanks, Jen. I appreciate it.
Jen: Okay, first of all, I have filled my listeners in a little bit about who you are and what you do, but I wonder if you could—as it pertains to this particular episode—walk us back just a little bit and tell us where you first heard about the Enneagram. When did you first learn about it, and when did you decide, I’d like this to be a portion of my work, even where you kind of go from a user to teacher. Can you walk us through that process a little bit?
Phileena: Sure, yeah. Oh my gosh. So, I think it was maybe my early thirties when I was first introduced to the Enneagram. My husband was meeting with a spiritual director at the time, and he and his wife, they actually bought us the book, the Bible of the Enneagram, that the Enneagram Institute puts out. And they have that diagram of the Enneagram on the cover, and my husband and I have a background in evangelical Christianity. And we took one look at the cover of that and we were totally weirded out by it.
Jen: Of course, sure.
Phileena: And so we promptly returned it to the local bookstore. And then it found its way back to us. I think someone else gifted it to us? And we thought, Okay, what is this thing? Maybe we should take it a little bit more seriously. And then a friend in Cambodia brought it into our conversation along the way. And once our friend kind of nailed Chris in terms of his type and started describing it, we thought, Whoa, we really need to take this seriously.
And so we took that, we opened that book, and we started learning about it. And then in 2007, my husband and I were gifted with a sabbatical from the organization that we’ve been with, and I ended up in Albuquerque at the Center for Action and Contemplation, where Richard Rohr lives, and I was doing a private retreat. And I was listening to Richard’s audio teachings actually on the Enneagram, and he was describing the Two. And I’ll tell you, Jen, it just rocked my world.
Phileena: It was like major awakening. And it was like exposure to this part of me that I hadn’t realized before, and it was actually really humiliating. And it kind of sent me into a tailspin. I ended up on the phone with my husband’s spiritual director and his wife, and really needed a lot of support to stabilize, because who I thought I was wasn’t who I really am.
Jen: Can you say a little bit more about that? Like, what were you bringing to the table when you were kind of confronted with the Two you?
Phileena: Yeah. I had this self-image of being so selfless and so self-giving…
Jen: Oh, I see.
Phileena: …which the personality of the Two presents like that.
Phileena: But as you go deeper into it, I realized how much of my life in terms of loving and giving to others was actually a pursuit of receiving some form of love.
Phileena: And so I came face to face with this part of me that didn’t know that I am loved. Yeah, it’s devastating.
Jen: Yeah, it’s heavy.
Phileena: Yeah. So it was devastating to come into that vulnerability, but it was also humiliating as a Two, because I realized, Whoa, I’m not so selfless after all. I have these unconscious motivations that are driving my so-called love.
Jen: Yes. I mean, what you’re saying, of course, is so familiar because you and I use different tools to get it. But I’m a Three, and so that’s my core need, too. I just want to be loved, and I do it of course with performance—which is ancillary to Two. Sometimes service can be performative.
Phileena: For sure.
Jen: So, I mean, I see the crossover there. Either way, it’s what we do. It’s what we do to get what we need…
Phileena: That’s right.
Jen: …and what we want. When I read the Three, it was just so humiliating because it was laser-focused correct.
Jen: And that’s a gift and it’s a hard one. It’s a hard gift to stare in the face of what is so deeply buried under our motivations and our fears and our wants.
What’s your wing? You’re a Two with a what wing?
Phileena: Well, you know, I tend to go back and forth quite a bit. And so I have different seasons of moving more in my Three and then seasons in moving more in my One. And it tends to play out or be most obvious in my profession, my vocation, the way that shows up.
Jen: Sure. I’m married to a Two, and he has a very strong One wing. But as we talked about the Enneagram a lot in our marriage, we can also identify all the seasons where the Three came out strong, which is interesting that we actually do have access to both wings. And it can be seasonal, it can be environmental.
Suzanne [Stabile] and also Richard [Rohr] said this, that what they’ve noticed in their lives since they’re older than we are is that the older they got, they noticed that they were accessing the other wing more than when they were younger and building their careers and their families a little bit more in that season of life, which I thought was really interesting because I’m Three too, and don’t identify a whole lot with a Four. And so, it feels like, Is that like the future me? Am I going to be a little bit more Four energy? I hope so. Fours are so wonderful, and they show up for people in such amazing ways. They’re so good at being in the moment with people, and I’m not good at that. And so I’m wondering if that develops in me. It’s exciting.
Okay, let’s come back. So we’ve talked about a Two a little bit, but I wonder—this is the Two episode. So, I was telling you earlier before we recorded that one thing I love about having you here is you have this incredible broad expertise with the Enneagram, which is great. And we’re going to talk about a lot of that, but you’re Two. And so this is both professional and personal for you.
So can you talk a little bit, for everybody listening, talk more about the Enneagram Two. What is that person? What does that mean? What are sort of the more or less the guard rails around an Enneagram Two and what’s under it and what do those behaviors look like? What do we see on the outside of a Two?
Phileena: Sure. So the Twos are really known to be helpers, givers. They’re very much relationship oriented. Relationships tend to be pretty primary for most Twos, because we’re concerned about relationship. We want to be connected, and we find that the way to do that is through helping and giving and figuring out how we can be of service in some way.
The values of a Two really revolve around, I know that I’m good when we’re all good, like I’m good if we’re all good. So, just kind of taking care of everyone. I mean, they do present as very self-giving, very concerned about others.
And often, it’s difficult for the Two to be aware of her own needs, his or her own needs. Usually, we’re really dialed into other people’s needs, but not so much our own. That can be a little bit of a blind spot in a growing edge. But interconnection is really important for Twos, we’re usually very relational.
Jen: So what we end up seeing in a Two is this “How can I help?” person? “What can I do?” Very springing into action at all times, paying attention to what somebody needs, how they can serve them. Can you talk a little bit more about the shadow side of that? You mentioned that a minute ago and I wonder if you can unpack a little bit about what’s under some of that and what it looks like really in health and then what sometimes that can look like in disintegration?
Phileena: Sure, yeah. So, I mean, like all the types, the Two is very complex.
Phileena: Some of the teaching on the Enneagram focuses on the shadow side, named in terms of the vices or that sort of thing. So for the Two, it’s pride that tends to be the real struggle of the Two. The kind of spiritual obstacle for the Two is pride. And this is really curious, because the way that it presented in my own life started out as self-abnegation.
And I talked about this in my first book, Pilgrimage of a Soul, where I came to realize I’ve been self-abnegating most of my life, which is a complete denial of self. And it kind of looks similar to the Nine in terms of self-forgetting. But, yeah, it’s like this complete denial of self, which was very confusing for someone like me who grew up in the church because I thought that was the way…
Phileena: To self-deny. But what I came to realize was that I wasn’t saying yes to my full potential as a divine being really, a divinely human person. And so I was denying my full capacity, and that was really a lesson in growing up and growing into who I really am. And seeing my equality with my male counterparts, that was a big part of my story.
Phileena: Yeah. So this self-abnegation part of a Two is I think really important for a lot of us to examine. How am I not stepping into my full potential? Yeah, that’s been a really important aspect for me.
Jen: That’s really interesting to hear you lay it out that plainly, and I’m curious as I hear you say that. When that became apparent to you, when you were confronted with the self-erasure, if you will, and you began the work of coming back to yourself of even self-discovery, I’m curious if that created resentment in you toward all these people that you had been serving so diligently with such commitment, all the while feeling kind of erased inside of those relationships? Whether or not they were doing or not, it’s how you were doing to yourself. Did that create some turmoil for you?
Phileena: Oh, gosh. Jen, There’s just so much upheaval when this started to occur in my life. And I see it as a feminine awakening that I went through. And so the way it kind of played out in my life, it was less about individuals and it was more about systems that I had grown up in. Why didn’t the family religious social system I grew up in affirm me? You know, that sort of thing. And really, like, seeing how systems were at work to repress me so that I could serve the system in which that kind of erasure or self-abnegation really serves the dominant consciousness.
Jen: That’s right.
Jen: Oh man! I appreciate you saying that because when it comes to self-discovery, I’m always grateful for teachers who tell the truth that there is a cost, and that sometimes disrupting all these narratives that we have either been just handed or that ultimately we became complicit in can really be disruptive. And even internally in your own brain and in your own soul and that even then it is still worth the process, it’s still worth the journey to get through to the other side in a place of freedom and truth. But, yeah, sometimes that self-awareness is really jarring and can come out sideways to the people that we are living around.
Phileena: I must say, in light of that train of thought, that personally there was great cost. The cost of stepping into my essence really impacted my relationships. Because see, they had grown used to another version of myself.
Jen: Of course, yes.
Phileena: And I think for Twos in particular, people really like the person that…
Jen: Of course.
Phileena: …are just sort of revolving around the people in their life. Like, that is a great benefit to folks.
Jen: That’s right.
Phileena: So when I stopped doing that, when I began breaking that pattern of compulsive behavior, it was kind of a shock to the relationships in my life.
Jen: I’m just going to follow that train of thought, because I wonder if you can make a distinction. That journey of kind of self-discovery, stopping the compulsive behavior while still retaining the Two that is in you because that’s your essence, you are a servant, and that is one of the ways that you come to life in the world and that wasn’t all pretend. That wasn’t all just a complete put on. There is something in you that still deeply values that way of being like toward other people and with other people. So what’s the difference between being a Two who is operating out of compulsive behavior and a Two that is just being who she or he is in the world?
Phileena: Beautiful. I mean, that’s really astute to notice that fine line there.
Yeah, the way that it’s shown up in my life is the compulsion, the compulsive behavior that caused me to revolve around everyone else was this unconscious, really deep need to know that I am loved. And this was the only way I knew to get some semblance of that sense of love, of being loved. So, to break out of that pattern was really devastating to my system because it threatened the very experience of knowing I’m loved.
Phileena: If I don’t do this for you, if I’m not this person for you anymore, will you still love me? And so it becomes this real wake-up call around who am I and who am I meant to be in the world? And if I truly show up in that essence, will I be loved? That’s a lot of the questions that the Two is asking. So it does come at great costs and it comes with great risk.
Jen: Is it possible to return to your essence in a way that even potentially looks similar where some of the behaviors are similar but you are different inside. Is that the difference between healthy and unhealthy here?
Phileena: Yes, I think so. I think you’re really on to something, because the way it’s played out in my life is that there is a liberation that I experienced in suddenly not being helpful anymore.
Phileena: The liberation is around, I’m not doing this for you to get something from you.
Jen: Yeah, I hear that.
Phileena: Okay. And so now, there’s just so much freedom to love and serve. It’s no longer compulsion. I mean, we go in and out of these.
And so we’re always contending with our vulnerability to operate from that place of, Umm, am I loved? I don’t know if I’m loved, maybe I can go back into these behaviors that worked so well for me for so many years. But when we develop that inner observer, we can watch that more carefully and we can notice when we’re getting vulnerable to that and then we can choose, and that’s really the liberation, the freedom that we can experience is, Now I am able to choose. Whereas, before I knew nothing different. I was asleep to all of that.
Jen: That is meaningful to me, even as a Three. When I think about it, I was a Three when I was three years old, way before I had a real clear understanding of what that was going to look like in the world, that’s just the way I’m created. I have really big ideas and really audacious hopes for myself and for the world and I have leadership capacity and I’m ambitious. And that’s literally who I really, really am.
But when I discovered how rewarded that behavior actually turns out to be in the world, then I can 100% chart seasons where it was no longer just operating out of truth but rather the applause. And so it’s real work to lay down to just really bring into alignment, What am I motivated by? What am I doing this for? Is it because this is what I love? This is my work that I love and it’s its own reward just to be in my skin and the way that I was created or am I doing it for what I get? And so, it’s tricky. And I think I’m both of those things sometimes in the same day.
Phileena: Yeah, for sure.
Jen: Yeah. I don’t feel like there’s a moment where I’m like, Here is when I was really bad at this and now I’m completely good at this. I find myself in and out of both my inherent self, which has a great goodness, all of us do, to offer to the world and then just what it’s getting me. It’s so strange that sometimes our very best selves create a reward that then takes us out of our best selves.
Phileena: That’s right.
Jen: What a weird thing.
Phileena: Yes. Jen, as you’re talking, I’m remembering some of the work that I’ve done with a teacher named Marion Gilbert. And she’s little known. I mean, she was not one of these big names that’s way out there, but,well, she’s Chris’ and my favorite really, an Enneagram teacher. She teaches from a somatic-based awareness. And I think she’s holding the future of Enneagram work as it’s based in the body. There’s very little of that that’s really going on. She’s on the front edge of all of this.
But as you’re talking and as a Two and a Three, we’re in the heart center triad of the Enneagram. And my work with Marion, oh my gosh, it’s so powerful. She has helped me return to my heart and see what happened for people like us, like Twos, Threes, Fours. I’m not sure exactly how it is for the other triads in particular, I’m still learning. But definitely for the heart types, there is this moment sometime, who knows? Did it happen at birth, before birth, sometime in early childhood? I don’t know. But there was a disconnect from our heart, and so we reached outward, away from ourselves to get that sense of connection.
And when we find a way to return to our heart, and it’s a very body-based thing, it’s not some ephemeral kind of experience, it is body-based. When we can come back to our heart, then those motivations that compel us to reach outward to get something and were never satisfied.
Jen: No, never.
Jen: Yeah, it’s a prison.
Phileena: And it’s such a tyranny, right, of all that stuff out there that’s calling for our attention. Yeah, when we can come back to our heart, that motivation, that false motivation really crumbles. There’s no need, because we found that reconnection. So for me, it’s been really helpful to find ways and to identify ways and practices that help me return to my heart on a regular basis.
Jen: I wonder if you could talk about those a little bit, because you are a spiritual director, you are a yoga instructor, you are an author. You have this really incredible body of work inside contemplation. And so you have a lot of interesting tools. And you just mentioned body work, which I think is sometimes a missing piece of this conversation.
Can you talk through all these areas in your life and what sort of tools and practices they have handed you and taught you to do that work of returning to yourself? Because I love that phrase, and I’m not sure everyone knows how to do that. Like, how do we even begin?
Phileena: Yeah. Well, my primary work is around contemplative spirituality. And I define that through practices of solitude, silence, and stillness. And these are practices that are largely amiss in our culture and even our religious upbringing, often. And so practices that cultivate interior solitude, silence, and stillness have been particularly helpful. Because when I create some form of solitude—and this is really important for the Two, to get away from all of the people in my life, because their needs can be so primary for me that I’m not able to get in touch with mine. I’m not able to get in touch with myself.
Going into solitude, whether it’s for twenty minutes or two days or seven to ten days, whatever it is, those doses of solitude really helped me return to myself. And then I’m able to be more truly present to people rather than with those unconscious motivations to try to get something unconsciously in return.
And then silence, practicing forms of silence cultivate this interior silence that helps me to listen to myself, to my needs, to what’s going on in my own heart. And that helps me return to myself.
And then practices of stillness really creates this capacity for deeper discernment around who I am in the world and what my work is to do. So that it makes it easier when I re-enter in relationships and responsibilities to say, “Yes, this is mine to do. No, this is not mine to do.” “Yes, I will meet that need. No, I will not meet that need, that’s not my need to meet, that’s not my responsibility.” And it just becomes clearer and clearer. So those kinds of practices are really crucial.
And then spiritual direction. Having a spiritual director is huge for me, I meet with her monthly. The art of spiritual direction is something that’s ancient but has been quite hidden from mainstream until more recent years. And there are a lot of certified spiritual directors out there now—that’s part of my work as well. And so, of course, as a Two, I really enjoy working with people like that, that’s a wonderful helping kind of profession, you know?
Phileena: And so I love that. But I need to meet with my spiritual director because I also need help and I need people to tend to me. And then, of course, therapy. I have a great psychotherapist. I go through seasons of needing that kind of support.
And then for the body-based work, yoga has been really important for me as a practice, and I’ve come to teach that as well. It’s interesting as I’m reflecting with you, Jen, because it’s like the very practices that have been so crucial for my own awakening and development end up being a lot of the same things that I end up offering others since in my vocation.
Jen: Totally. It’s like you, your interior knew what to even reach for. They would become so integral to you.
Suzanne explained to me that the Twos experience things through emotion and then stay in them. And that the Threes also, of course, experience things initially through emotion but very, very quickly pivot it to their minds where they can just think it through and solve it and fix it, and then of course adjust to it and get over it. And I’m like, Dang it, I felt like that was so rude and so on the nose and that heart capacity is so special in the world that is very hard to internalize.
Let me ask you this, because a ton of people are listening today who love a Two or they’re married to a Two, they’re parenting a Two, they work very closely with a Two. What are some of the best ways that you, as a Two, feel cared for, especially [since] you are the givers in almost all of your relationships? That’s just kind of your first bent, of course, as mentioned. And so what is it in your life that makes you feel seen and loved and nurtured and cared for?
Phileena: Well, Jen, I have to say the first thing that comes to mind is how you were with me last week, when we were supposed to record the first time, and you found out that I was having a setback with my brain injury. And you said, “We can totally reschedule. Let’s reschedule.” You made it so easy for me. And that made me feel really seen and heard and just really acknowledged and known, just like, “It’s okay to be you with your limitations today. We don’t have to do this today.” That kind of interaction with a Two is so helpful, acknowledging our vulnerability.
Jen: That’s good.
Phileena: Acknowledging that we’re vulnerable, and then acknowledging that we need connection. And see, the way the impulse of the Two for connection is often, I got to show up for you. So if you know that vulnerability of the Two that we’re just wired that way, then it’s like if you can be like, “I’m going to show up for you, and you don’t have to show up for me right now,” that’s so helpful. I have this thought around it in terms of acknowledging the needs of the Two, affirming their goodness and appreciating their relationship to you. So acknowledging, affirming, and appreciating the Twos in your life goes a really long way.
Jen: That is so incredibly helpful. I can’t remember if I said this already—no, I did. I’m married to a Two. And so I do notice that there is one set of responses that feels more meaningful to him than another, which is there’s a difference between saying, “Thank you for doing this thing,” whatever the thing that he did is, which is a billion things long. Our whole entire world would crumble without him in it. So, thank you for handling that, thank you for doing that, thank you for managing that.
And then there’s a big difference in saying, “Thank you for who you are. Thank you for who you are under that, under the behaviors, under the actions that you’re doing.” And I’m learning that with him too, for sure. So, I think that’s helpful because the Twos don’t ask for that a lot. At least that’s not my experience. The Twos in my life are very conditioned to shrug off some of that acknowledgement or pretend like they don’t need it, maybe. I’m not sure if I’m getting that quite right.
Phileena: Yes. No, that is right. That’s dead on. That’s the deeper part of the pride of the Two, which we didn’t go into too much earlier. We talked a lot about self-abnegation but, oh yeah, that’s right there. We’re happy focusing on your needs because we don’t really want to see our own, it’s kind of humiliating to acknowledge our own.
Jen: So, can you talk about that for one more minute, about the pride piece and where that lives in you and what is that telling you all the time?
Phileena: So the mantra that helps me is I am no more, I am no less, I am enough. And so this part of me, this pride part of me fluctuates between I’m less than you or I’m more than you. And you can kind of feel that. I think as a Two, you can feel that disequilibrium that when we’re not centered, grounded, connected to our heart or connected to our self, we haven’t returned to our self then we’re constantly being blown this way and that way around. We compare so much. We compare so much with other people, and so then we either feel less than or we feel more than, but it never satisfies.
And so it’s like if we can just settle in, come back to our heart, come back to our self, then we realize I am no more, I am no less, I am enough. But the pride goes both directions, feeling less than or feeling more than.
Jen: Interesting. Wow! Okay, that’s useful. That’s helpful.
Let’s talk about the kind of the opposite question, which is when somebody is in conflict with a Two, when there is something between the two of you and there’s something to resolve, how can you advise that person, “This is how to be in conflict with a Two in a way that will reach him or her, in a way that they can hear from you, in a way that will really move you forward to resolution quicker rather than slower?”
Phileena: Yeah. I think this comes back to remembering how important it is for the Two to feel connected, that relationship is primary. So, if someone’s having a problem with me, my greatest vulnerability is going to be around disconnection of relationship. If you have a problem with me, you don’t love me, you’re going to leave me. Abandonment and rejection is a big deal for Two. So anything that can reinforce “I value you, I value our relationship, I’m not going anywhere,” just kind of reinforcing—it’s like when we can understand the vulnerabilities of the different types, I think we can be in relationship with one another with so much more understanding and compassion and mercy. Yeah, I mean, life is hard, and relationships are really difficult. And we are not very skilled at really being in deep relationship with one another. Usually when things get too hard, we bail.
Jen: So true.
Phileena: So it’s how we can be sensitive to one another’s vulnerabilities and reinforce our connection with a Two or our affirmation of the Two when we need to work through difficulties.
Jen: It’s so good. And this is, again, one of the million places where the Enneagram is just an incredible resource, because I think the thing is inside a lot of conflict, it’s not as if we are wanting to erase that other person or not. It’s that sometimes we are wired so differently that how I am experiencing a conflict is not how you are. And the thing that I’m worried about in this moment is something completely different than what you’re worried about in this moment, and so we end up like missing each other in it.
And so, the Enneagram is this incredible mirror to hold up to ourselves, to hold up to our partners, to our relationships, and give us this incredible insight on what the other person is feeling and thinking probably, or at least near it. And inside of that knowledge, it’s so possible to reach each other. It’s so possible to understand what you need, what I need, and hand that to one another in a way that might not just be instinctive simply because that’s not how I think. And I know that’s not how you think or whatever. And so, the Enneagram has been a great tool for us in that. And I appreciate you saying that. This might not be natural. This might take some work, and that’s okay. Everything good does.
Let me ask you about this, speaking of kind of relationship and conflict and even just like thriving with two people inside one space. Obviously, you are a Two. Chris, your husband, he is our incredible guest for the Enneagram Eight episode. Can you talk about some of the both high points of a Two-Eight marriage and the pressure points of a Two-Eight marriage?
Phileena: Yeah. This is so important. I was just thinking of our relationship as you were talking about how important that Enneagram has been to navigating relationships with people. And I think we tend to see the world through our own lens, and we forget that people are different from us. And in my marriage with Chris, it couldn’t be more different. I think of the high points. Well, I’ll get to the low points I guess. But the high points are around, like, he’s really wired to be more of a protector, where I am more of a nurturer. And that protective/nurturing dynamic can work really well together.
Phileena: So it can almost be seamless, kind of a hand in glove type of relationship, but interestingly, in the ways that we’re different. The low points actually revolve around those same paradigms.
Jen: Yup, I get that.
Phileena: So, the Eight goes into self-protective mode, which goes into more of an autonomous mode. As a Two, I go into this self-nurturing, I’ve got to take care of my own self. And so when we’re in conflict and there’s tension, it’s easy for him to go into self-protective and then I have to go into self-nurturing. It’s like, he’s not getting the protection from me that he needs because he’s the protector. And I’m not getting the nurturing that I need from him because I’m the nurturer. And it’s like we actually need the other to be for each other what comes most easily for our own self.
Jen: I see what you’re saying. And then it’s just this process of coming back together, of kind of laying down those protective shields which is so vulnerable. And It’s just so incredibly vulnerable but possible. So possible.
Phileena: It is. When we realize, “Oh, he’s going into self-protective mode,” that’s not a rejection of me. He needs something that he’s not getting. So how can I kind of get eyes off of my own self? We’re so self-preoccupied…
Phileena: …then we can really look and understand, Oh, this is the vulnerability of the Eight, or whoever it is. They’re not wired the same way that I am. But we’re such tender creatures that we don’t tend to first think of the other and their experience. We take it more personal when it’s not meant to be personal. It’s like the other one is actually hurting, too.
Jen: That’s so good. Let me ask you this one last question before we wrap it up. For the Twos out there that are listening—and I think I have a lot of Twos in my community. That is, I have attracted a great number of Twos.
Phileena: You’re so lucky!
Jen: I know! I say it all the time. I love the Twos in my life. They’re just magical. They just make our communities beautiful, our families and homes beautiful. You’re right, I feel so lucky.
With the Twos listening right now, let’s just say they’re listening and they’re interested in this path, they’re interested in growth, they’re interested in their own personal sort of healing and embracing this bit of who they are and how they can be who they are in the healthiest possible way, specifically through the lens of the Enneagram. Can you give them a piece of advice, like if you’re speaking to the Twos who are like, “Oh, I want to be healthy and grow,” what would be the thing that you would say?
Phileena: Yeah. First and foremost, be true to you. Figure out how to be true to you, how to return to yourself so that you can offer your best self to others. What you’re offering might not be what they want or need, and that’s really critical. They might not be what they’re asking for. But when you are true to you, when you return to yourself, you can offer your best to others which actually might be not meeting their needs. And that may create space in their own life to do some growth that they need to do. And that’s really critical I think for the Two, because Twos can be rather smothering. And we can get in the way of other people’s development and work because we’ll just do everything for them. And so, being true to ourselves allows us to really offer our best to others, even if that means we don’t give people what they’re asking for.
Jen: That’s great. What a great place to start and what a great thing to say.
Okay. These are three questions that we are asking everybody in the Enneagram series. Here’s the first one. If you could choose—let’s just say for a day, let’s not say you want to personally translate. Let’s just say for a day, you got to morph into a different Enneagram number. Which one would you choose?
Phileena: Yeah. This is interesting, and it’s really telling. For me, it’s the Four. You mentioned the Four earlier. It’s like I would choose the Four because I find Fours to be so beautiful. They attract beauty, they exude beauty, they’re so creative.
Jen: They create beauty, yeah.
Phileena: Yeah, exactly. And it turns out some of the teaching of the Enneagram says that the Two in our healthiest state turns to the Four, that we take on more qualities of the Four. Some say that Four is the soul child of the Two. It’s who we were before we disconnected from our heart. So yeah, that would be it for me.
Jen: I love that. What a wonderful side energy to grab on to. I completely agree, the Fours are so wonderful too, just as wonderful as the Twos. Okay, on the flip side of that question, what part of your specific Enneagram Two personality do you enjoy most about yourself?
Phileena: I think it’s my disarming nature. I think I have a disarming nature. I hope that’s true. And warmth. I think there’s this part of the Two in me that just puts people at ease and can allow them to be seen and known and heard. And I really love that.
Jen: I know, that is such a good quality. Everybody wants to be safe and loved in this world. And so, the people that walk into a room and just immediately make you feel that you are safe and you belong and everything is going to be okay, it’s such a gift especially now. That Two energy is so special and so profoundly powerful in the lives of the people around them. And so I thank you for what you bring to the table.
Last question. This is Barbara Brown Taylor’s question. Everybody gets it in every episode, every series. Answer it however you want. What is saving your life right now?
Phileena: Oh gosh, I don’t even have to think twice about this one. Nature adventures with Chris and my puppy, Basil. Every weekend, we’re getting out in nature. We’re reconnecting with our environment and it’s like nature is reminding us who we are.
Jen: When Chris was on a couple of years ago, he said Basil. So Basil is obviously a key player in the household. And that tickles me, just tickles me.
Okay. So, I have followed you and listened to you and watched you for years, Phileena. And I find your work and presence in the world so soothing and kind and compassionate and inviting, and that is just special. It’s kind of rare and it’s wonderful. And when I think about all the people who are finding growth and healing and restoration under your very good and capable wings, I’m just proud of you and I’m thankful for you.
And so, thanks for coming in here today. With your soul and your truth and your vulnerability, I think it’s going to serve so many people, and I’m grateful.
Phileena: Thank you, Jen, for saying that. It’s very generous of you and so kind and very affirming, all the things that I need as a Two.
Jen: Yes. “She sees me!” Okay, my friend, sending you all my love to you, Chris, and Basil.
Phileena: Oh, thanks.
Phileena: Take good care.
Jen: And now to tell us more about the music you’ve been listening to in this episode, we hear from composer Ryan O’Neal, AKA Sleeping at Last, about the inspiration behind this piece.
Ryan: When I began writing the Type Two song, I knew that it had to be warm and welcoming. I knew that the cello in particular would play a huge role in communicating the heart of the Type Two, because in my opinion, the cello is the kindest of all instruments. It just sounds like the musical equivalent of a Type Two.
But I didn’t want the song to feel overly sweet, because the more I dug into learning about the Type Two, the more I saw that they are, of course, these warm and incredibly giving people, but they are so strong and so powerful.
The more I learned about the health and the letting go of the Type Two, I recognized that a key concept here was unconditional love. At their best, they are capable of this powerful, unconditional love for others, once they have that love for themselves and a love without strings attached. So because that felt so important, I decided that every instrument in the song should be a stringed instrument. So there are cellos, violins, guitars, pianos.
So I was deeply blessed to be raised by a Type Two, my amazing mom is a Two. And it was a wonderful challenge to try to write something in hopes of honoring her specifically, but also to honor every Type Two.
My hope for this song was to remind Type Twos that they are so powerful and that they are a gift to everyone that they love and also to gently remind them that they are able to love even better when they let themselves receive the same level of care and nurture that they are so freely giving to others.
Jen: Love that conversation. My brain was just churning and churning and churning and churning. I’m going to have everything Phileena Heuertz represented over at jenhatmaker.com. That’s where the podcast page is. So we’ve got the transcript, I’ll have all of her books and her work and everything you can discover about her as a spiritual director. All, all over there, one-stop shop, including our social media spaces. And I can’t wait for you to hear from her husband in the Enneagram Eight episode.
Next week, everybody come on back. You’re not going to want to miss it. I don’t care what your number is. You want to hear all these. Next week, we turn our attention to the Enneagram Threes, which is the number of yours truly. I can’t wait for you to hear the conversation. It is so raw and honest because I am talking next week to fellow Enneagram Three, Lisa Whelchel. You probably, of course, remember Lisa (singing) You take the good, you take the bad, you take ‘em all and there you have the Facts of Life. Apparently, this is the outro where I sing. And she has done a ton of work around the Enneagram and a lot of training, and I just felt like I was talking to my counterpart.
Isn’t it something? Isn’t it amazing to feel seen? When somebody really understands what’s under everything you say, think and do? They really get you, they get your heart. It’s so magical. And I think that’s why everybody loves this series, because we are able to see one another. And we are holding up these Enneagram types, and it’s just so nourishing to see ourselves reflected in them and understand that other people know who we are and get who we are and love who we are.
So, just come on back. I’m telling you, every single episode is fire. All right, you guys? Next week, Enneagram Three time. Love y’all. See you next time.