Book Review: The Journey Toward Wholeness

Book Review: The Journey Toward Wholeness

About the Book:

Enneagram Wisdom for Stress, Balance, and Transformation

In everything from health care and politics to technology and economics, we are experiencing feelings of loss, anger, and anxiety. In the Enneagram’s wisdom, our number determines how we respond. We automatically move to another number when we’re feeling stress and to yet another when we’re feeling secure. Such moves may help us feel better temporarily but don’t last.

For those who want to dive deeper into Enneagram wisdom, expert teacher Suzanne Stabile opens the concept of three Centers of Intelligence: thinking, feeling, and doing. When we learn to manage these centers, each for its intended purpose, we open a path to reducing fear, improving relationships, growing spiritually, and finding wholeness. Drawing on the dynamic stability of the Enneagram, she explains each number’s preferred and repressed Center of Intelligence and its role in helping us move toward internal balance. Using brief focused chapters, this book provides what we need to deal with the constant change and complexity of our world to achieve lasting transformation in our lives.

suzanne stabile
Q&A with Suzanne Stabile  
How would you describe your book to a curious potential reader? Suzanne Stabile: We seem to find ourselves in a particularly tumultuous time when anger and anxiety—about politics, the environment, religion, technology, economics, and just about everything else—are pervasive and stress inducing. In The Journey Toward Wholeness I’m using Enneagram wisdom to teach strategies for managing stress, and I’m encouraging and teaching methods for balancing the three Centers of Intelligence; thinking, feeling, and doing. It is imperative that we find a way to restore appropriate ways of being in the world with people who see things the way we do, and with people who don’t.

What are some of the key themes in this book? Suzanne: In addition to learning how to manage everyday and extreme stress, there are three key themes in the book.
1. Liminality—This is the threshold between where we’ve been and where we’re going. Enneagram study and work are especially helpful in such difficult liminal times. In fact, while liminal space can be extremely challenging, it may very well be the most, maybe the only, teachable space in which we do the work to learn how to make it so. When I submitted the idea for this book to IVP, I had no idea we would have experienced the greatest time of liminality in decades by the time of its release.
2. Centers of Intelligence—It’s important to find balance within the Centers of Intelligence. Learning to use each Center for its intended purpose and recognizing how to bring up the Center that is repressed in each Enneagram number is an important theme.
3. Transformation—We tend to conflate our understanding of change and transformation. Change is when we take on something new. Transformation is when something old falls away, usually beyond our control.

How do you see this book as distinctive among other Enneagram books? Suzanne: My book is a deep dive into the Enneagram that also happens to be practical. It’s not for people new to the Enneagram. I want it to teach people how to manage their stress in healthy and productive ways, rather than falling inline with lazy, destructive behavior that is harmful and doesn’t alleviate stress in the long run. Along with that, I am teaching how to find balance in thinking, feeling, and doing. It involves bringing up the Center we least prefer and working with it consistently.

What else would you like readers to know about this book? Suzanne: This book involves more than reading. It will be work, personal work, if people are to reap its benefits. But, as I say in one of the chapters, “My grandchildren would say, ‘Grams, the juice is worth the squeeze.’”

My Thoughts:

At first I wasn’t sure I was going to find much in this book that I hadn’t already heard in Enneagram Journey podcasts or the Life in the Trinity seminars that I have done, but I found much that I could think over and apply to my own transformation. The second half of the book was particularly helpful for me. So I would just say that even if you have done a “deep dive” into some of these topics it might be helpful to dive a little deeper still.

I like the way the book is arranged and the way Christ is honored in the midst of the teaching. This is a book I can recommend.

I recieved a free unedited galley to read in exchange for my honest opinion.