Disclosure: I have attended two BEs (Big Events) with Suzanne Stabile and received two free copies of this book, plus the study guide, for review.
After four years of study, prayer, pouting, protesting, and assimilation of information, I can tell you that the Enneagram has been the greatest spiritual tool to helping me connect with the person I believe God has called and gifted me to be. A significant portion of the work that I have done has been by way of materials from Suzanne Stabile and through Life in the Trinity Ministries. (I recommend her MP3s.)
The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships is Stabile’s first solo book, but all of the work that bears her name also bears the inimitable affection and compassion that she brings to this work. This book assumes that the reader is already familiar with their number. The content of the book focuses on numbers in relationship to one another. If you do not know your number, I really recommend listening to one of Suzanne’s workshops and listening to her teach the numbers. If you are a visual processor, you can also utilize The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery.
In order to read and review The Path Between Us, I read the introduction and then several of the chapters for numbers that I know well, not only my own number. By numbers I know well, I mean the numbers of people with whom I have close relationships and who often use Enneagram language and their own number for self-reflection and analysis.
The introduction briefly covers the numbers and their motivations, stances, orientation toward time, wings, and movement. Movement within the Enneagram is not only between stress and security energy, but within a range of healthy, average, unhealthy, and otherwise within one’s number. Stabile’s writing is concise and engaging in this introduction.
Each subsequent chapter focuses on a particular number with stories, sidebars about that number relating to the other eight numbers, and the environment of the (average) person in that number. The stories are helpful because Stabile is familiar with a range of stories that immediately highlight the significant framing of each number. Since the Enneagram is about essence and motivation, a key story about a number reveals something about the truth of what it is like to be a 7 or a 4 or a 9.
The book is extremely readable and engaging. While each number gets roughly the same amount of space, there are some discrepancies. This book would best be used in conjunction with the study guide. Go ahead and buy them both. The study guide gives the reader a way to process the information that has been gained through engagement with the book. The guide offers reflections on the desires, fears, gifts, and service of each number, as well as tools for discernment and work.
Like almost all spiritual tools, the Enneagram encourages self-reflection, accountability, and community support. The support framework may be daily prayer and reflection with holy writings and the study guide or in a trusted group of friends or colleagues. As I commend these resources to you, I also deeply encourage you to find support and community to do this soul work for your own sake and for the sake of your relationships.
The Reverend Julia Seymour serves Lutheran Church of Hope in Anchorage, AK. She blogs at lutheranjulia.blogspot.com and readsallthethings.com. She contributed to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit.
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