Cheryl's Blog

Getting to know you in a brand new way

I’m happy to let you know that registration is now open for our next Self Care by the Sea retreat and it’s going to be special.

The intention of this retreat is for you to get to know yourself in a deeper, more meaningful way so you can center your life around who and what matters most.

During the weekend, which is open to men and women, I’ll be joined by Russ Hudson, one of the world’s principal teachers of the Enneagram.

If you’re not familiar with the Enneagram, I’d like to share an excerpt from Waking Up in Winter where I talk about how this personality typing system changed my life and my relationship with Michael.  Here’s what I wrote in my journal:

I’d been introduced to the Enneagram more than twenty years earlier when a friend referred me to Helen Palmer’s work.  A prominent teacher in the field, Palmer described the Enneagram as a human-development system consisting of nine personality types, each with its own “distinct, well-developed coping strategy for relating to self, others, and the environment. In addition, each of the nine types has its own precise path to psychological and spiritual freedom.” Back then I was drawn to her work but had other more pressing interests, so I merely touched the surface.

Years later, Robert (Holden) introduced me to it again, this time by inviting me to take a test developed by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, authors of a book called The Wisdom of the Enneagram. After spending nearly an hour online answering multiple questions to determine my type, I discovered I was a 2—the Helper. Once I knew this, I went to the book and fell in love with Riso and Hudson’s work.

By the time I’d finished reading about my type, I felt a strange combination of exposed and deeply understood. The chapter about the Helper told the story of my life. It described my childhood experience, my history of sacrificing my needs in relationships in the hopes of gaining love, my propensity for people-pleasing, and my bullying behavior when I felt unappreciated and resentful. It also captured the essence of what I love doing when I’m in a healthy, balanced state—supporting those in need without an agenda and helping people to realize their full potential. These are the gifts the Helper has to offer, and providing them brings me immense joy and satisfaction.

In addition to helping me understand myself better, the Enneagram also changed my relationship with Michael.  After taking the test himself, he discovered he was a type 5, the Investigator, and when we put our profiles together, it gave us an instant appreciation for the friction points and gifts in our relationship. Things that often bothered me—Michael’s habit of always presenting both sides of an issue, his tendency to overthink things, and his need for privacy and time alone—suddenly took on new meaning and context. I could begin to see how those qualities supported the development of what I love most about him—his compassionate heart, his visionary thinking, and his ability to focus on and stick with a project for long stretches at a time.


Since discovering and studying the Enneagram, I’ve wanted to share this transformational tool with you because it altered the direction of my life and my work. You can read about the retreat here.

If you don’t plan to attend, I strongly encourage you to learn more about the Enneagram.  You can do so, here.  (You’ll find the test on this site, too).  If you’re ready, I have no doubt you’ll see yourself and others in a helpful, objective way, and discover a path to freedom that will change your life, too.

I’ll talk more about the Enneagram on this week’s Facebook Live scheduled for Monday at 7pm EST/4pm PST.  You can attend by visiting my Facebook Page here.  Be sure to mark your calendars!

I hope to see you at the retreat in May!




P.S. – To learn more about my midlife journey, check out:  Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife.  You can find info, here.

P.S.S. – You can watch previous sessions of Facebook Live on my YouTube channel at CherylRichardsonTV here.

Need a little Divine Direction? Use the “Touch of Grace” button on our homepage here.