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Show Notes

Have you taken an Enneagram test? 

What number are you? 

Today we welcome pet loss grief coach Wendy van de Poll and Pant the Town  Photography’s Darlene Woodward who explore the profound connection between the Enneagram and navigating the emotional journey of losing a beloved pet.  

Wendy shares her unique approach to pet loss grief, which combines her extensive experience in animal communication, mediumship and the Enneagram. 

Wendy explains how understanding the nine personality types of the Enneagram can offer invaluable insights and tools for coping with grief. She delves into the different ways head, heart, and gut types experience and process grief, providing practical advice on how to use this ancient system to foster healing and self-awareness during such a challenging time. 

Darlene, a true Type 4, shares her personal experience with grief and how the Enneagram has helped her understand and manage her emotions better, while Wendy offers tips on how to get started with the Enneagram, recommending specific books and resources to help guide you on this transformative journey. 

What to listen for 

Wendy’s journey with the Enneagram  

The three body types under the Enneagram 

How the types differ when encountering pet loss grief 

How Wendy applies the Enneagram to her animal medium sessions 

Why understanding our Enneagram number can help us cope with grief 

Where to Find Wendy 

Website 
Facebook 
LinkedIn 

Resources Mentioned 

The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Russ Hudson and Don Richard Riso 
You Are More Than a Type by Tammy Hendrix 

Transcript

Angela 

Have you taken an Enneagram test? 

What number are you? 

Today we welcome pet loss grief coach Wendy van de Poll and Pant the Town  Photography’s Darlene Woodward who explore the profound connection between the Enneagram and navigating the emotional journey of losing a beloved pet.  

Wendy shares her unique approach to pet loss grief, which combines her extensive experience in animal communication, mediumship and the Enneagram. 

Wendy explains how understanding the nine personality types of the Enneagram can offer invaluable insights and tools for coping with grief. She delves into the different ways head, heart, and gut types experience and process grief, providing practical advice on how to use this ancient system to foster healing and self-awareness during such a challenging time. 

Darlene, a true Type 4, shares her personal experience with grief and how the Enneagram has helped her understand and manage her emotions better, while Wendy offers tips on how to get started with the Enneagram, recommending specific books and resources to help guide you on this transformative journey. 

Darlene 

Good morning, I have always been fascinated with the Enneagram. I recently took an online class with Wendy Van de Poll. And the class was an intro to navigating pet loss healing through the Enneagram. I enjoyed the class, it actually could have been an hour several hours long rather than the two and a half hour class we had, there was so much information involved. But I was so fascinated with the course that I invited Wendy to be with us today so we could learn about the Enneagram and how we can use it to help us navigate through our pet loss. 

 So I’m here this morning with Wendy she stands as a certified Enneagram of essence practitioner and is professionally accredited by the International Enneagram Association. Beyond her accreditation, she is a certified life and pet loss grief coach, a 12 time bestselling author and an animal medium and communicating … excuse me … communicator leveraging her wealth of experience in collaborative endeavors with animals and people. Wendy shares profound insights that unravel life’s inherent lessons holding a Master’s of Science Degree in wolf ecology and behavior which fascinates me to Wendy’s adventurous spirit has led her to run with a wild wolves out in Minnesota, the coyotes in Massachusetts and observes foxes in her backyard.  

She currently resides in rural New Hampshire with her husband, her rescue doggo at Addie and a diverse array of wildlife Wendy’s life, art and work harmonize with the natural world. So welcome, Wendy. And thank you so much for joining me this morning. How are they? 

Wendy   

Good, Darlene, thank you. I’m so excited to be seeing you again and sharing something that we both love. 

Darlene   

I love it. I love it. And Wendy being pregnant, she’s in New Hampshire. I’m in Massachusetts, and we are both Easter in April. Trust that the internet service is going to keep through this. 

Wendy   

And the trees are going to be standing and not going through my wedding. Exactly. 

Darlene   

Tip tapping of the branches. I’m gonna start off, tell us a little bit about you, and who you are. 

Wendy   

Okay, um, let’s say as far as I’m one of those people that do a lot of things in life and the Enneagram was, is one of those things and it basically came at a really pivotal point in my life. You know, as you mentioned, in my, my bio, you know, I’ve done wolf work. I, you know, I just have done a lot of things I do animal communication and mediumship. So, it’s kind of a big bowl of who I am, who I am. And I’ve been doing, you know, along with everything, it’s I started in around 2000 With my website central for pet loss, grief, and helping people through my massage practice because I was a massage therapist at the time. And I had for humans, horses and hounds. So the the majority of the people that would call me for horse massage, or dove massage were people that had pets in hospice and wanted to do something really special. At that time, no one was doing anything about pet loss, there was Michael J. Fox, he a veterinarian, he, you know, old timey veterinarian, and he wrote a book about it that and I keep like that was the only book out there. And so I studied that and I just did a lot of different my own self study. And so it just kind of snowballed at, of, you know, getting a life coach certification. And then the man that I was studying with his school didn’t have pet loss. Nobody had pet loss at the time to get certified, but he he tailored the program for me. So I was like the person in the coaching class that did the pets was really good. One on one, so it was really awesome. So it’s just kind of blossomed from there. And you know, I have a lot of different things services on my website for people that reflect that. 

Darlene   

Yeah, I love that you have a lot of books on your site. Yeah. To get into and check out more of them. 

Wendy   

Yeah, it started off with one book. 

Darlene   

So congratulations. 

Wendy   

Thank you. Yes, yes. It started off with one, one book and pet loss. And then I was like, oh, write another one. Oh, alright, another one. Oh, I write poetry. So I’m gonna put them in a book. 

Darlene 

Wow. That’s amazing. A huge accomplishment. So the Enneagram, which I know it’s a broad topic. Yes. Can you briefly explain the Enneagram and how it relates to understanding personality types and behaviors. So a little because I am not sure everyone knows the Enneagram we may hear about it, we don’t quite get how it is involved in our lives and what it can do for us.  

Wendy   

Great question. And I, it’s can be overwhelming, when, when beginning studying it, and I urge people to be aware of that, especially if you’re going through pet loss, you don’t have to know everything about it. But I would suggest taking a look at the symbol, it’s a beautiful symbol, with nine points. And each of those points reflects a what we call a fixation, which really just means personality type. It’s kind of like, where we lean into. So we have motivations, we have fears, we have essences within those poor fixations, and each fixation is is it’s kind of a it’s like a one word, it’s like you can’t give it a one word thing. But it, it can be a wonderful way if we had opening, it can be a portal, it can be a another tool for someone who was experiencing pet loss, because you may not understand somebody that’s going through pet loss and say they’re a type 4, which is a heart type. They may you know be which they feel grief type force, a time they identify with. Enough, it’s like they become grief. So that can be you know, kind of like scary and overwhelming and, and the whole host of emotions, like shame is another big one for the heart types which four falls into. So you can start feeling like you know, you’re not good enough, or you’re not good if you have a lot of shame or guilt around what you’re going through. But what that can do is knowing that, and studying that in oneself, that who’s grieving or having a coach that can help you with that. It can bring you to this place of like, oh, okay, that’s who I am. That’s okay. I don’t have to change it. But maybe what I could do is go to another place on the Enneagram, like maybe my 1 or the type 9 or the type 8, and play in there for a while so that I can reflect and open a door for change. You know, in myself in the way I’m grieving and helping myself heal. So that was a long answer to your question. I went off on a tangent. That’s what happens with the Enneagram is like, much stagnant. You start off at one place. You find yourself you’ve gotten way around the journey and just like where it was the beginning again. 

Darlene   

It’s ironic you mentioned the 4 because I find myself a true 4 after having done the Enneagram testing. And I found a lot of that feeling. And especially when I went through my own grief process journey after losing my soul dog.  

Now, would you recommend somebody starting out and maybe they’re going through grief and they’re just trying to find ways along their journey to figure it out more. 

Taking an Enneagram test to figure out or more of researching, maybe take a, read a book about the different types and then that way, finding out where they might feel they fall into what category whether I read the heart … 

Wendy   

Yeah, that’s another awesome question. Because the Enneagram is a very old system. I won’t go into the history here, but it’s it’s old, it’s old, old, old. And there’s controversy as to where it began. But you know, it’s, it’s old. And it’s gone through changes, it’s gone through popularity, and it’s at its height right now with its popularity. So you can go on, and I don’t recommend, especially for people that are grieving. If you’ve got, you know, if you want to go and just have some fun with it, yeah, go ahead, go on, go on Instagram and social media and take a look, right. But if you really want to get the full flavor and experience and the, what I do is the essence is go into the older, older tests first, okay, taking that you can take a test that free tests, I would waste time with, the one test is Ross Hudson’s test that I recommend, that’s probably the one of the most accurate, and the least expensive of them, but it’s good, it’s good, it takes about 40 minutes to do. The other … and  his book is a good base, it’s thick, okay, it’s thick, it’s definitely the spell book of the Enneagram world, you know, and it’s it, it but it’s very clear, very easy to understand. And it’s very well written, get the hardcopy don’t get the Kindle because the Kindle is all not formatted correctly. And that’s a really good one. And then if you want to get into more of the essence of it, so moving beyond just personality type, because one of the things as you read his book, it’s very easy to feel like, you’re a bad person. Because we’re talking about personalities and fixations. So, you know, like, your, like, the title, like for type 1 is often seen, called the perfectionist. Well, who, you know, that’s a negative, kind of a negative term. Right? You know, as I … well, let’s maybe look at the reformer, these, you know, type 1s are wonderful people, they’re, you know, they just, they offer so much to the world. But when you start reading like these fixations and personalities, one can feel opposite and say, I don’t want to be a one, you know. 

Darlene 

Don’t fight it if you’re a 1. 

Wendy   

So going into the essence is much more healthy for people, especially experiencing pet loss, grief. And that book I recommend is Tammy Hendrix’s book, You Are More Than a Type. And her that’s an excellent book. She goes a little bit into personality types, but her main thing is healing. Let’s heal. And let’s look at the Enneagram as what it really is meant to be: a spiritual journey. You know, and something that can help us be better people on this planet, move through our emotions with grace and honesty and self-awakening and empowerment. So that’s where I, that’s where I sit with the whole Enneagram thing. I think it’s it’s the, you know, learning the personality types is, is good, and it’s awareness is good, but not getting getting stuck in that. 

Darlene   

Yeah, that’s true. Yeah, definitely easy to get stuck there.  

Wendy   

And as you probably know, Darlene, working with people that are going through pet loss and all you know, we’ve all here have probably gone through pet loss. So that’s why we do what we do is that it’s it’s very important to move through grief and not let it set housekeeping in the body. Because then the brain can take over and all of a sudden you’ve got chronic pain somewhere because you know, you’re … yeah, yeah, so the Enneagram can help. 

Darlene   

It’s amazing how it can help and reading up out and the different types it just Oh, wow. You know, I feel Yes. How can I, you know, get through this and work with that it brings awareness more. 

Wendy   

Exactly, exactly. And the nice thing about the essence, part of it is, I mean, this is kind of like the new, new wave of Enneagram philosophy and teaching is, you know, in this it right in the year 2000s, it’s become very popular. And it’s like, it’s very, what’s the word? You’re very linear, like, you’re a type 8. So you’re a type 8. So you’re a type 8. 

Darlene 

Not allowed to move.  

Wendy   

So what, what triggered me to say this is what you said is is like, you know, you feel like, as you read, you got a lot that, but then you read another number, and then go on that too. Oh, I’m not too, you know, so that you take all of that all of that wonderful medicine, from the different types that you resonate with. And incorporate that into your journey of working with pet loss. Grief. Right? Yeah. 

Darlene   

Do you believe that there are types that may struggle more with grief and the Enneagram? Like, one of the, you know, three categories will have a more difficult time when it comes to grief? 

Wendy   

Yes, there are three centers to the Enneagram symbol. We have the head types, which are the 7, 6 and the 5s we have the heart types, which are the 4, 3 and the 2s. And we have the gut types, which are the 8, 9 and 1s. Okay. There, that’s it. You definitely do ask great questions. I love them. 

Darlene 

I really wanted to know this too. Do some struggle more. Is it the personality and the whole? Yeah. 

Wendy   

Everybody’s struggles.  

Darlene 

Yeah, that’s for sure.  

Wendy 

And everybody. And again, this is a generalization because I’m just talking about the centers of awareness. I’m not the individual types. But in general, each, like the they’re going to each center is going to feel something different. So the head type 7, 6 or 5, they’re going to be really afraid of their grief. And what’s what if in the future? What if I don’t ever get another horse? What if you know, or I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to go to work ever again, or I’m going to be able to, you know, that kind of thing. So I’m getting to your answer. 

Darlene 

No, I love this.  

Wendy   

OK, so that we have the 8, 9 and 1, which are your gut types. So they’re, their motivation is is anger, okay, there, they, they, and that doesn’t mean that they’re nasty people because they have anger, but that’s just the way they express their, their personality, what they’re feeling their emotions, OK. So, they may keep it in type of anger, like the ones they the 9, they kind of like, zone out on the anger like, oh, no, just to try and find balance, you know, like, oh, wow, yeah, whatever, you know, kind of thing. And 8s will be more verbal about their anger.  

OK, now, we have the heart types. They are more on the shame side, so they’re guilty. So they’re going to feel all of that, like I mentioned before. So depending on the individual, because there’s then we have, we don’t only have just the centers, the types, we also have subtypes. And we have wings. So that’s a whole nother thing. Depending on where you fit on that aspect of the Enneagram. You as a 4 may be different as somebody else with a 4, somebody else with a 4, somebody else with a 4 because of your subtype Right. Um so In my experience, each center experiences grief deeply, very deeply. 

But in a different way. So like, when I’m working with a head type in grief, they’re in their heads, they don’t look like … they’re like talking heads, they don’t feel it in their body. So to dig them out, help them get dug out of that, and to feel their grief, to really feel it, because they’re thinking of it. And they’re, because they need to prepare, they’re nervous, they’re  anxious people, so they, they gotta prepare, they got to make lists, they got to do that, you know. So that’s good. So you take that, and help people that way. And people can do this on themselves. If they resonate with a head tight, start making your lists, start making your lists and doing those things that are comfortable in your center and your type. And do those personality things, but keep doing them so that you can pull yourself out of the darkness, out of the trajectory of going deep, deep, deep into fear, and to panic, into anxiety. And like, frequently, you know, like, getting freaked out.  

So you got the 4s, they want everybody to be there with them all the time. You know, and they’re going to spread their grief, and they’re going to want to bring people into the grief. Grief with me, because if you’re not, you don’t love me. Because that’s how it makes me feel like if somebody’s not with them, and even though I perceive that they’re not with me, even though the person is with them. And, you know, and feel shameful, because they’re not, because they’re grieving. So you’ve got that’s, that’s a little bit easier to … wouldn’t say easier, but that’s a little bit more. Oh, what’s the word apparent, of, of, of, like, targeting that, if that makes sense.  

Like, sometimes the head types are tough, because they’re in their heads, and they can’t they know they’re thinking to themselves, and they can’t get what’s out of their head onto into verbal. With a heart type, you’re gonna get the verbal for the most part. And it’s going to come easier for them. Right? But they’re still gonna grieve hard, so and hard and dirty. I mean, it’s like they’re gonna, they’re gonna get really into it. So, and then you’ve got the gut types, they’re in their gut. So and they’re, and they’re like, and they’re so their body types. So they’re the ones that are going to feel nauseous, they’re the ones that are going to feel dizzy, they’re going to want to be one of the ones that have maybe heard some hallucinations, type of thing, or maybe eat a lot, or not eat kind of thing. Right. OK, but again, it’s still it’s finding that avenue. So to answer your question, um, I can’t answer it because it Yeah, it’s so …  

Darlene   

There’s no harder or worse and I love that you said to take what is part of the that Enneagram and put it into a positive, like when you said the list if that’s how, OK, let’s say I’m that list maker if writing down my feelings, writing down pros and cons, when it comes to even do I get how do I grieve, how do I move on to put it on paper, and just to be able to take those personality types and find those ways to move on and go through. 

Wendy   

Like, you may not get a body type to make a list? Because body types are like they know, you know, for the most again, generalizing because we’re not talking about each number is you know, they’re action takers for the most part, 9s maybe not so much. They’re they’re more like the keep the balance kind of thing. But, you know, like one’s gonna step right in there. And I’m like, Yeah, I’ll do this. I can do this. So, you know, I don’t know Let’s start to just do it. Right. So, you know, it’s knowing that in oneself as well as, as, as being a coach or mentor specialist. Yeah. 

Darlene   

Do you have any personal stories of someone who used the Enneagram that helped them through grief in a certain way? Or any type of? 

Wendy   

Yeah, like I have, I think when you asked me that, the first one that came into my mind is, it comes the Enneagram comes through a lot with my animal medium sessions. And the animals often this is, it’s very kind of cool, it’s very cool, I think, is when they present themselves to the conversation. They will often like lay like the, the Enneagram symbol, they lay on on a certain area of a sometimes very precise, or put their paw on a number. And it’s really, it’s, it’s, I have this one client that her her animal was the very first one that did that with my animal mediumship sessions, because, you know, this is where I’ve only been going, I’ve been an animal media forever, but with the Enneagram it that started two years ago. And it was with this what this animal actually gifted that to me that was that I passed. And so she comes to me quite often to, you know, to study the Enneagram, as well as connect with her pet and get messages from her pet that has passed with Enneagram questions like, you know, I’m feeling this way, what number should I go into? So the little cat will just put his little paw on a number. And it’s been remarkable. It’s been a very cool educational experience for me, as well as for her. And she’s, it’s, it’s, she’s struggled a lot with her grief. Right? And she’s a 4. And she’s, she’s, she struggles with her 4ness, or has that’s passed, let me put that in the past. But through that her cat really, and the Enneagram provide a great service for her to move into her essence and still not lose the connection or the love or feeling grief. I mean, it doesn’t go away. Because, you know, grief that you know, as we know, grief doesn’t go away. It’s just we learn to dance with it in different ways throughout our life. So that’s her lesson what she’s been able to experience through her cat and through the Enneagram.  

Darlene   

And I bet she feels much more peace.  

Wendy   

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a great little tool. It saved my life. 

Darlene 

Yeah. And the fact you use the term dancing through that. That’s exactly what it seems to be.  

Wendy 

Because, yes, that’s, it’s always with us. Yes. Definitely. A dance and a joy. Yes, it is. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I, you know, it’s, it’s not an easy concept. Because let’s face it, grief is not fun at all. It’s, as we all know, it’s raw. It’s horrible. It’s disruptive. But you know, it’s something that as humans we’ve been given to live with, experience and it’s, it’s a great teacher than it can honestly, I don’t you probably seen this to, Darlene. I mean, it’s it. It’s, it’s not an enemy. It’s, it’s, it can be a friend. And it can be a teacher and it can be a partner. And if we treat it nice, right, we treat it nice. It will do great things for us. I know that sounds really bizarre. It sounds like you know, if you’re grieving. It’s like, oh my god, she’s nuts. And you know, but it’s real. It’s real. It’s real. 

Darlene 

Not going anywhere, we’re all going to go through this. 

Wendy   

we might as well embrace it and have it A cup of coffee with our grief. You know, just say what do you need? What do you want? I ugly? Yeah. And that’s part of the Enneagram has helped because it’s like, what it’s like the, like, what are some of the special moments? It’s like, there’s a lot and there’s some of them are teeny tiny. It’s like, it’s those aha moments. It’s the aha moments when a 6, type 6 can get out of their, their, their hamster, off their hamster wheel of worry. And like, what if I don’t you know, what if, what if, what if this happens? Or what if that was or what if that happens? And they go, Oh, I do that because I’m a 6. Oh, and because I’m a 6, this is what I’m, I’m searching for every i just want to I just need to know everything is OK. Oh, OK. I can do that. And it’s like a light bulb. And that those are the the, you know, the special experiences those those little switches that go on? 

Darlene   

When it starts to make sense. And it makes it is sometimes we think are just not normal. This isn’t going out of my mind and nobody understands me and something is really wrong with me. But in the big picture. No, it’s normal. And we all go through grief and the process. 

Wendy   

Right, right. Definitely. Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. 

Darlene   

What advice would you give someone who might be interested and learning about the Enneagram to help them in their journey through grief on how to get started and … 

Wendy   

Take it slow, it’s really important. Don’t get overwhelmed of historic, just start studying this and starting to make you pick this target of people with pet loss grief. If you start to feel like grief is getting worse while you’re reading stuff, stop. Take little bits. Stay off social media because it’s a little bit too hype-y. My opinion on is a little bit too hype-y right now. And yeah, I just say say on social media, get the two books that I recommended. Start there. If roughly you know the Enneagram book is too, too much because it’s too much on the fixation start with Stanley’s book, you are more than a type because that is more. That’s that’s written with a very differently voice. So it’s love very loving and supportive. So start there, I teach a very basic course that I’ll be doing again, and I do, I do periodically, that leads into a more advanced course. I write, I write articles on it. So people can start on my website with my, my blog articles. Or reach out to me, reach out to me, you know, it’s it’s I don’t have everything on my website. But if they want to work with me with the Enneagram they can you know, just reach out to me.  

Darlene 

Okay, yeah, we will definitely share all your info website, all that we will share. 

Is there anything else? This was great. Is there anything else that we didn’t cover? I know, there’s a lot of things but we’d be the hours and hours? Yes, we do. Is there anything else that you want to add and share? 

Wendy   

Um, let’s see. i Yes, I would I I’m a head type, I’m a 6. That’s like my primary type, but I have all the types. I and as a 6 is, is of course I’m going to come from the place of preparing but prepare and for letting it sign up a big one of list making and you know, being organized and having notes and all that kind of stuff. But out of that the essence is you know, everything’s okay. And it’s just perfect the way it is. And you know, there’s just there’s just a lot of divine support. So that’s basically my message with people is to just know that there’s so much support out there for you guys that are experiencing pet loss. And you know, we have wonderful people like Darlene doing coaching and you know other people like I’m doing coaching and it’s like reach out to those people and and it’s, you’re not alone. And the Enneagram is such an empowering tool to use. And if you vibe with it great, you know, it’s it can it can take you places and can and can change your life in a lot of different ways.  

Thank you, Darlene. 

Darlene   

Great, thank you so much for sharing your journey today. All welcome. And this was I learned so much too. 

Wendy   

Awesome, thank you. So let’s … fingers crossed. We’re still good with the storm. 

Darlene   

We made it through this. Thank you and you have a great day. You too. Bye. 

Angela 

In case you were wondering, I’m an 8 … that linear type Wendy talked about. 

I’m a gut type. Does that mean I like to eat my emotions. Trust me, I do. Do not leave me near a family-size bag of dill pickle chips … ketchup if I’ve recently made a visit to my Canadian homeland. 

I actually don’t put a lot of stock in personality tests — any of them, the Meyers-Briggs, the Strengths Finder, yada yada blue.  

But my friend Charlotte, who is into this Enneagram stuff, took one look at me one day last year and said, “You’re an 8, aren’t you?” 

Yes, yes, Charlotte,  I am. I am The Challenger, who is self-confident, strong and assertive. OK, yeah, that does sound like me. I’m protective, resourceful, straight-talking and decisive. Check, check and check. I can also be egocentric and domineering. Yes, yes, I can.  

8s have to control their environment, and we can be intimidating. Ha. I actually had a beau tell me exactly that once, intimidating.  

In grief, we 8s struggle with vulnerability and should strive to better express my emotions. I mean, I guess … I do a pretty good job of shutting out the people closest to me, but if you listen to some of the past episodes where I sob into the microphone, that might not apply to me. 

Or maybe it does … because I was controlling the environment. 

If the Enneagram resonates with you, that’s awesome and I’m glad you have it as a guidepost for your journey on this rock, especially if it helps you walk along your grief journey.  

Thanks for joining us at The Companions Collective. If you enjoyed this conversation, share it with a friend or two. If you have a moment, we’d love it if you could leave us a review or rating on your podcast platform.  

Until next week, tell your dog I said hi.