Embodiment: the antidote to the cycle of burnout and overwhelm.Oct 18, 2021
Let's talk burnout.
The ripple effect of being completely overwhelmed, disconnected and not sure how to break the cycle of stress without looping back to feeling overwhelmed, etc...
For each of the Enneagram types, the signs of burnout and stress show up in very different ways. Part of what informs my work with the Enneagram is identifying what your particular type needs to break the cycle, and the potent practices that will help you move through the overwhelm.
I call this Embodiment through the lens of the Enneagram.
Acknowledging your unconscious patterns and behaviours, finding a sense of radical self-awareness, through the wisdom of the Enneagram will inform your inner work, and how you show up for yourself every day. And then watch the ripple effects as its wisdom spills into every element of your life.
I should know - my Seven nature's work was to tune in and embody my heart's purposeful expression, expand into a place of peace, and be in deep relationship with my body, heart and the present moment. And it's through that work that I confidently share with you this framework that I’ve created from over a decade of studying the enneagram, psychology and human behaviour.
My coaching clients have also felt this powerful shift. After just a few weeks of integrating short embodiment practices informed by their individual nature everyday, my clients express more peace and less worry, more calm and less reactivity, more contentment and less disconnection.
So let's rewind a little - the Enneagram is a spiritual model that outlines nine unique personality types, and is rooted in the understanding that humans have three brains; the head, the heart and the gut.
These three thinking centres help you filter information and navigate your human experience, providing you with three very different tools; thinking, feeling and taking action.
Embodiment means living in a state fully connected to all three centres, engaging your energetic capacity to:
- Think clearly
- Attune emotionally
- Act impactfully
To be embodied is to be your most alive, authentic and awake self within the present moment. You can access this state in any waking moment, when fully engaged in life's joys and challenges, equally using your thinking, feeling and instinctual mind. Embodiment is not something to be achieved; it's a state of being which can be transformative for your work, your partnerships and all other aspects of your experience.
Each of the nine types has a predictable way of using these three brains, which ultimately can leave us stuck in repetitive patterns that leave us over dependent on one of the centres (or sometimes two) and under using the others.
Embodiment in the context of the enneagram asks curious humans to do the work of expanding your energetic potential by consciously strengthening the non-dominant centre of your nature so you can be in this embodied state of presence in all three intelligence centres: mind, heart and body.
Embodiment work is integrating practices everyday that help to strengthen all three of your intelligence centres, especially the ones your type under-uses by nature. These are practices that, with consistency, can allow you to live in fuller awareness, even in life's most mundane moments.
Here are the three types embodiment practices, which can be integrated in small quantities (think 5-10 mins a day) - do these daily, and watch the magic happen!
Build grounded presence in the body to become more connected with your felt sense, your gut feelings and inner knowing to cultivate trust in your instinctual self. Bodywork practices to integrate into your everyday:
- Stand tall with bare feet on the earth.
- Deep belly breaths
- Somatic practices: mindful movement, in synchronicity with breath, cultivating awareness
- Massage (can be self-massage)
- Breathwork: Box breathing, to clear stagnant energy
All types will benefit from integrating bodywork into your everyday, since all personal transformation happens in the body, but types in the withdrawing stance should prioritize this work, enneagram types 4, 5 & 9s
Cultivate connection with your heartspace. Become more emotionally attuned, nurturing to self and others and learn to balance your emotional self. Types of heartwork to integrate into your everyday:
- Journaling or creative expression
- Forgiving yourself for your humanness and others for theirs
- Prayer, chanting or signing
- Hands to heart, visualising sensations like warmth or golden colour
- Alternate nostril breaths (nadi shodhana in sanskrit).
Heartwork is challenging, especially because it’s the centre we’ve been conditioned to under-rely on. Systemically, we were taught that emotions are not as important as thoughts or actions. So again, all types can benefit from heartwork, but types in the aggressive stance should prioritize this work, enneagram types 3, 7 & 8's
Clear the distractions of mind. Become more awake to the present moment, clear on what’s next, and learn to focus the limitless possibilities of your mind. Types of mindfulness to integrate into your everyday:
- Meditation and quiet screen-free time.
- Visualization exercises: can be vision boarding or writing out a vision for your path forward
- Awareness of the present moment and being at peace with what is present
- Ujayi breathing
Mindfulness has gained collective momentum where science confirms its benefits, so again all types can benefit from heart work, but types in the compliant stance should prioritize this work, enneagram types 1, 2 & 6's
As with starting any new habit, the key to being consistent in your embodiment work (and therefore feeling and witnessing the transformative impacts of this work) is making it sustainable. If you only have 5 minutes to sit with yourself - and if we're honest we all have 5 minutes in our day to switch off from external distractions and tend to ourselves -then take 5 minutes. Do not underestimate how powerful those few minutes of dedicated space will be, and with a few gentle reminders to commit to yourself everyday you'll be feeling the potent magic of this framework too.
If the big transitions of the season have you craving a deeper connection to who you are, what you’re meant to express, and what you’re meant to do, you'll be amazed at what these embodiment practices will do. If you’re ready to dive in and start integrating embodiment into your everyday, download the Curious Humans’ Guide to Embodiment at www.rachelle-taylor.com/embodiment-guide
Ok curious human, how are you integrating embodiment work today?
Stay curious, friend and I’ll see you next week with more insight to support your inner expansion.
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