Christmas Day


Hope gives way to joy!  God meets us in the ordinariness and messiness of life and enters it, because we are so loved.

Isaiah 9:6

For a child has been born for us,

    a son given to us;

authority rests upon his shoulders,

    and he is named

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


Who can begin to fathom this incomprehensible, moving news?

Look at who our God is, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” What’s more, God is One who enters our humanity as one of us, and into the messiness of our lives. God is Emmanuel, God with us. What could mean more?  God knows what it is to be us, in our everyday moments, and in our life-changing moments. When we are celebrating life’s special occasions,  and when we are grieving our deepest losses. God sees us. God hears us. God is with us. Praise God for this blessing beyond words.

How very loved we are. If you are not feeling that this day, may the truth of these words seep into the deepest part of you, taking root. You are so loved.


Oh God praise you for who and all you are, and for being Emmanuel, God with us.

How truly blessed we are. May we live it out in the world, embodying you. Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Executive Director

Fourth Sunday of Advent


This Advent we explore how God meets us in the ordinariness and messiness of life.

We continue with the shepherds.

Luke 2:8-14

 “Now in that same region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:  to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”


Shepherds were going about their lives, carrying out their work when suddenly an angel comes with the most astonishing and wonderful news- that God was doing the unimaginable. God entered their midst as someone with skin on. God draws close, as near as our own breath in bodily form. Our story becomes entwined with God’s story, in a loving and intimate way. We are so loved and held. God knows what it is to be human, with all that’s good and all that is so hard.  We are seen. We are heard. God is as close as our own breath.


May you sense how deeply you are loved and held by the One who is as close as your very breath. Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Executive Director

Third Sunday of Advent


This Advent we explore how God meets us in the ordinariness and messiness of life, We continue with Joseph.

Matthew 1: 18-25

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to divorce her quietly.  But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife  but had no marital relations with her until she had given birth to a son,  and he named him Jesus.


Joseph was an honorable man whose hopes were dashed, whose dreams went up in smoke. The life he planned on was seemingly gone. When and where has that happened for you? When have doubts and questions plagued you, or are they now?  God met Joseph in a dream. How has God met you? If you haven’t, you are invited to share your doubts and questions with God. It may bring a sense of relief in doing so, in lamenting losses. Be gentle with yourself and notice in what ways God comes to you. Maybe God comes through an experience with nature, through the love of a friend, a listening ear, or an answered prayer. 


Divine One, I lament my losses. As you met Joseph, please meet me. Help me to see your love and care for me and for us. Amen.

Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Executive Director

Second Sunday of Advent

This Advent we explore how God meets us in the ordinariness and messiness of life. We continue with Mary and Elizabeth. 

Luke 1:39-45

“In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”


Two women. Two miracles. One becomes pregnant in advancing years. The other becomes pregnant when single. One receives the long held desire of her heart. The other receives an unexpected blessing and favor from God. In their day, Mary’s story would be perceived as scandalous, and Elizabeth’s perhaps as humorous. The angel points Mary to her relative Elizabeth. He draws them together. Hope becomes enfleshed in community. These two women are knit together not just by blood, but by the gifts they have been given, hope through their relationship, and through who they carry within themselves. Through the gift of each other they are able to greater believe this miracle that has happened for both of them, and to embrace God’s delight in them.

Sometimes hope is hard to hang onto by ourselves. Sometimes it is hard to believe or receive God’s love for us.

Who is a person in your life who embodies hope, who reminds you who are as one beloved by God, and who is a reflection of God embodied in the flesh? 


God, when I am overwhelmed, remind me of those in my path who reflect You to me. 

May I be someone who reflects You to all those in my path. Amen.

@2022, Rev. Eva Sullivan-Knoff, Executive Director

First Sunday of Advent


This Advent we explore how God meets us in the ordinariness and messiness of life. We wait with hope. We begin with Mary.

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26-32

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.”

There is so much that is perplexing and heartbreaking in our lives and in the world around us. Fear seems to come so naturally to us. It can choke out our hope and peace. The troubles of this world and the worries in our lives are so often overwhelming. Climate Change, oppressive systems, health challenges, job changes, and loved ones lost, drain us of life and energy.  There has been so much, yet in the midst of it all, and in the midst of our fear, may we like Mary, await with hope. May we wait with the reminder that God sees us. God hears us.  God is with us. 

“Hope begins when you stand in the dark looking out at the light” 

(From the movie, “The Christmas Train.”)


God of hope, awaken me to your presence with me, with us. Amen.

The Inner Triangle, Now We Get to Practice at Point 6. 

The Inner Triangle’s journey ends here at Point 6, with what Enneagram teacher, Mario Sikora calls “Action.” Isn’t action a great word to associate withPoint 6?  In the first half of this journeyit was at Point 6 that we felt the fear of inadequacy as we woke up in a place that was unfamiliar and feeling overwhelmed. Now it is the place where we are invited to live out with courage our reconstructed, rewritten stories, to activate them.

John Keats wrote, “Nothing becomes real until it’s experienced.” So much truth is wrapped up in these few words. We often know there is something more we can do, and we often say out loud that we will do this thing and then stop there. We get fooled by the myth that knowing and planning to do something is the same as doing it. When we take an honest look we see we never executed, we have done nothing. So, as Keats points out we can’t know what we haven’t experienced. The theoretical idea we talk about has no experiential legs to stand on. It is in actually doing something that we know anything about it, know its contours, its value, its truth. We can say we believe and value something, but without putting our bodies behind it, without stepping into the action of the idea we will never really know much about the thing at all. Doing is the testing that leads to believing. Doing is felt and therefore known and can’t be taken from us.

So it is here, at Point 6, that we take what we came up with at Point 3 and put it to the test by trying it out. It will be on the other side of the action that we will have something to evaluate. We will find out as we practice these re-written stories whether or not they cause us to feel truer, whether or not they give us opportunities our old ones blocked us from.  We find out if the rewritten stories are robust enough to make life better for us and for those around us.

And then, as I used to say to my children, “practice makes easier.” Once we have experienced waking up at Point 9, the more honest rewriting of our story at Point 3 and the putting our new ideas to the test at Point 6, we get to do this three-step process again and again as we do the trial-and-error work of change. As we encounter problematic pieces of stories created earlier in our journey, rather than applying patch after patch we now have a way to reconsider and rewrite them. It is through this work that bit-by-bit we build a healthier, truer, stronger self which is life’s invitation and to which the Enneagram offers itself as a tool.

Here we are at the end of several Insights following the journey along the Enneagram’s Inner Triangle. Because the Enneagram functions to help us see ourselves honestly and then goes further to help us use what we see for continual growth, it is helpful that this classic journey of losing and then finding ourselves is found front-and-center in the Enneagram symbol. I hope you have not only found it informative and related to the journey itself, but that you will follow the second half’s pathway all the way to action and find something new for yourself.    – Sali

The Inner Triangle, Look Again, with Honesty at Point 3.         

With a newfound practice of self-awareness and an openness to seeing what we had been blind to, we arrive at Point 3. Here we are able to take an honest inventory, seeing more clearly, more truthfully, the parts of our defensive strategy that have caused problems for us and those around us. Now our life experiences can help us as we own how we have seen the world and responded to it and notice the patterns that emerge. The Enneagram’s type formulations can be a great help here as they shine a light on the motivations, the gifts, and the defensive strategies associated with each type acting as a kind and honest friend to re-direct our efforts when we are tempted to fall back to sleep.

In the last Insight I shared Rohr’s use of the analogy of first constructing our house and then taking a clarifying second look to evaluate the cracks in its construction. This all important second look highlights the shift towards self-awareness at Point 9. This shift is the pre-curser to the work we have before us at Point 3 this time around. With that awareness we must now get to work on the de-construction and the re-construction. Another analogy that is helpful to understand the work at Point 3 is given to us by Enneagram expert, Mario Sikora. Recognizing that we have all created stories that prompt us and support us in the creation of our defensive Strategy, here at Point 3 Sikora invites us to re-write those stories, but this time do the editing with courageous truthfulness.

Rohr, Sikora, and the Enneagram in general are all inviting us to look again at all we created and find what we have misunderstood. We need to look for the places we have come to over-protect that no longer need protecting, the places we have not allowed for ourselves that we can now inhabit, and the places in which we have let go of what is most important to us and settled for much less.

Whether we are re-constructing our house or rewriting our story the work requires deep honesty and time. This means we will be rounding the Inner Triangle again and again, but hopefully each time in this clockwise direction. The work at Point 3 requires us to drill down into seeing things (ourselves, others, and life itself) more accurately. Seeing accurately is challenging work. We need to become aware of the underbelly of what is going on with us. We need to understand how pain has been driving us, limiting us, and blocking us as we constructed and wrote and then use all that awareness as we re-construct our house, as we re-write our stories. It is with this emphasis in mind that Sikora calls Point 3 “Authenticity.”  Here we want to get closer to and live out the truth of ourselves.

So what more, you may ask, could the Inner Triangle offer us now that we are aware and exploring? Well stay with me to find out about the goings on at Point 6.   – Sali

The inner triangle, the miracle of waking up at point 9

When we began the topic of the Inner Triangle in the Enneagram Insights I mentioned that I would be showing you how the Inner Triangle points to both the self-awareness and the problem-solving wisdom of the Enneagram. During the first half of the Inner Triangle’s journey keen self-awareness and wise problem solving have been in short supply. But now we turn our attention to the second half of the journey starting again at Point 9 but moving to Point 3 and then on to Point 6.

To begin this part of the Inner Triangle’s journey something critical needs to show up,…self-awareness. When you consider all the forces that have been at work against becoming aware of ourselves, that is, seeing ourselves accurately, it is quite the miracle, so let’s pause a moment and be properly amazed. 

We began all this active defense work (in response to current threats) and then proactive defense work (designed to never let “that” happen again) alone, inside our heads and hearts and bodies, during those first few decades of life. We felt the danger and we designed our responses; we did our best and believed ourselves without much questioning. A lot of time and practice went into perfecting our strategy, lots of investment went into supporting and maintaining our ways of navigating life.

After all that, it is a marvel to witness the turn-about experienced by those of us who begin to recognize what we built for our protection is, in fact, causing us pain – that the very behaviors we have been practicing are not bringing about the seeing and real belonging we had hoped for. It is a miracle to recognize that all too often they have instead led to feelings of isolation and invisibility. This painful recognition is one we push down, until we began to face it and that is the miracle. It is this miracle that occurs here at Point 9 where instead of falling asleep as we did the first time around, we wake to see ourselves more accurately and so begins a second journey offered by the Inner Triangle.

Richard Rohr says it is in the first half of life that we build our house and in the second half of life we evaluate that building. Back in the day we had no option but to build something…, that was our task. What is fortunate about being the one who constructed our house is we are in the best position to de-construct and re-construct another. It is the honest “looking” here at Point 9 that makes two breakthroughs possible. First, we are able to recognize the cracks that represent the ineffective ways of protecting ourselves from what was real but has become habitually perceived threats. Second, we can face the realization that much of our defensive work has had the surprising effect of preventing us from experiencing connection and deep pleasure.

Here we get to see more clearly what we have constructed with the benefit of all our accumulated life experiences behind us. Here at Point 9 we make what some refer to it as return trip around the Inner Triangle this time with the awareness, maturity, and courage to see so much more.

Next stop, Point 3, where we will focus in on the cracks and what improvements are needed.  – Sali

The Inner Triangle, Point 3, Double Down to Deal With Fear    

Welcome back to our journey around the Enneagram’s Inner Triangle. After starting at Point 9 and hitting Point 6 we arrive at Point 3 where our task is to deal with our fear that has been mounting. We are capable of holding a lot of fear, but too much over a long period of time is a problem that must be fixed. We need to create a way out.

At Point 3, rather than re-think both the original problem (we feel unseen and unwelcomed by our people) and our created solutions (we interact in a different way we hope will better appeal to them), we will double down and further invest in our solution. We whole heartedly believe what we have told ourselves about how to be seen, how to get a secure place within the group so we invest all the more. This moves us further from Gift driven behaviors and toward Defensive Strategy driven behaviors.

You can think of the Defensive Strategy as a protective layer between us and what threatens us, like a house to shelter in from pain and fear. Here at Point 3 our move away from Gift and toward Defensive Strategy is crystalized. We have changed our mailing address and taken up residence inside our strategy. We have put curtains on the windows and pictures on the wall, creating what feels to be a stable living space. As time goes on, we will make tweaks here and there, but the hard framework of our early constructing (based solely on our efforts to be noticed by and belong to our primary group) will hold tight. It will drive how we operate, the rules we live by, the way we understand and place limits on ourselves and others. It will hold tight even while it robs us of the many possibilities that exist outside of its walls.

There will be many years of living inside our Defensive Strategy house before it occurs to us to re-think both the original problem and our created solutions and notice the substantial cracks throughout our house. For those interested in this re-think, the second part of the journey is available. It’s a return journey which starts again at Point 9 with self-awareness. Until next time.    -Sali

The Inner Triangle, Point 6, We Open our Eyes

In the last Insights we began the Inner Triangle journey at Point 9 where we, while “asleep” and unaware, solved the pain and fear of not being seen or welcomed by letting go of certain behaviors (coming out of Gift) which didn’t seem to be working and developed other behaviors (coming out of Defensive Strategy) we thought would work better to receive the welcome we sought.
We now move from Point 9 to Point 6. It is at Point 6 that we “wake up” to find ourselves in an unfamiliar place. It is as if, while we were asleep we were transported hundreds of miles down the road and much of what we used to orient ourselves is gone. Our reaction to the waking-up is disorientation and fear. Recall that the work we did at point 9 was done to reduce fear, now here our fear is inflamed.
This fearful reaction makes sense. Before we “fell sleep” we were practicing behaviors that came out of our Gifts, ones we naturally held and offered the world. We were just being us. But when our security was threatened we needed to make substantial changes. We used the currency we had and exchanged Gifts for Defensive Strategies. It’s those exchanges we awake to.
When looking at our situation objectively, we can see the understandable and yet unfortunate situation we are in at Point 6. Figuring out the best solution to creating seeing and welcoming led us to abandon parts of ourselves. Without them we feel lost and disoriented. We are a long way from where we started and are afraid. The prevailing emotion state at Point 6 is fear. Where am I? What have I created? Will it be enough to sustain me?
Point 6 on the first half of The Inner Triangle journey is a difficult place, full of fearful disorientation and crippling loneliness …not a place anyone wants to stay long. This will call for yet another solution that we will look next time as we get to Point 3.  Until then…  -Sali