Letter from the Director – March 2022

In Between Black and White

The first weekend of this month was special. We hosted a new retreat inspired by a conversation I had during the Goals Retreat in January. We were talking about personality and how that relates to the personalities of the characters we write. That led to a discussion about the Enneagram which led to a thought about an Enneagram Retreat which led to me writing a post on Facebook. (I know this seems crazy, but that’s how we roll here!) I asked the social media universe if anyone knew an Enneagram teacher in the middle Tennesee area. Enter Sue Mohr, Certified Life and Business Coach/Consultant, recommended by a friend of a friend, and one of the reasons why the first weekend of this month was so special. 

We hosted the “Enneagram for Writers: Unpacking the Power of Personality for Yourself and Your Characters” retreat and Sue facilitated. I was drawn to what Sue said about the 9 main personality types in the Enneagram system. It’s not about comparing the types and thinking one is better than another. It’s about discovering something about yourself and the people you interact with so that you can respond in a manner that is helpful and loving. 

As a One (I bet you could have guessed that, right?), my personality tends to see things as black and white, wrong or right. I want to be moral and I want things to be fair. Yet, the world doesn’t operate in fairness and many situations are tinged with such nuances that make it hard to demand absolutes. It’s like photographs in grayscale. The darkest possible shade is black and the lightest is white, but there is a range of shades of gray that play upon the eye to create an image. Everything in between the absolute of black and white matters too. 

In my relationships, I’m learning to see things differently and respond differently. I’m opening my eyes to all that’s between my standard right and wrong way of interpreting the world. Sue shared with me a black and white photo she took at the colony of a tree and a barn. Because of the white, the darker shades stand out and deepen the whole. Because of the black, the lighter shades highlight and brighten the whole. The elements work together to create a scene more interesting, more powerful than any single element could produce by itself. 

Isn’t it interesting how a change to black, white, and gray allows for a new perspective? My wish for you this month is this: dare to see something differently, in between the lines of how you might otherwise see it. Maybe you, as I did at the Enneagram Retreat, will realize something important about how you see the world.