Today I Posted Another “Psychology Today” Blog

So I’ll do an original blog in this space next week. Ingrid Stabb and I are busy with our new book this month and next. It’s going well. Some events coming up are February 8 on TV (“View From the Bay”), February 9 at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, Feb. 21 at the CA Writer’s Club in the Oakland Library, a pod cast or two, and lots of reviews – and they’re all good. So we’re happy.

I just put up two videos of me and my cartoons on You Tube: “The Happy Introvert” is  “The Creative Enneagram” is There’s also another very short one there and on the HarperCollins website.

See the reviews of THE CAREER WITHIN YOU and other info at http://www.careerwithinyou/ You can download material to use from this site and upload my cartoons to share on your computer or website at

My most popular page on these days is the Famous People page, followed by the introvert pages and Beethoven pages. You can hear a chapter (the 7-Adventurer) right on the site, too. You can also hear my Enneagram piano variations. All this exposure of myself is beginning to make me nervous. Eek. My Psychology Today blog is about the subtlety of telling two Enneagram points apart that are hard to tell apart, the Adventurer and the Achiever.

Here’s one of my favorite cartoons from the chapter on Perfectionists in THE CAREER WITHIN YOU. It doesn’t fit this blog particularly. I just like it. Hey! That’s the best reason to use it of all!

I Get By With a Little Help From My Dreams

Lady with hanky If my dreams were removed from my life’s history, I wouldn’t know who I was.

Dreams started shaping my life starting with the first dream I can remember at age 4 or 5.  This dream influenced me to feel separate enough from my family to go inside and look for meaning in art and music. In adulthood I began taking some dream classes and drawing my dreams. Getting practice drawing sparked an interest in creating cartoons, which led to trying to produce greeting cards with my friend Renee. The greeting cards didn’t succeed, but we realized there was a need for an accessible introductory Enneagram book just then, so we turned to writing one ourselves, using my drawings for non-verbal learning and to spice it up with humor. “The Enneagram Made Easy”  led to several more books and hundreds more cartoons. So in a practical way my dreams created an enjoyable second career for me following the career in music that I started out with.

Here on the left is a part of one of my dream drawings.

There are two other reasons why I love dreams. First, by paying attention to almost every dream I have, and by taking some of them to groups where I can hear what other people have to say about them, I learn  things I need to learn about myself, for example to be stronger, to take certain things more seriously, and to look at parts of myself I might be neglecting. As of today I’ve recorded 1710 dreams. Several themes stand out and certain symbols recur. When their meaning becomes clear, many things tumble into place. My dreams have given me major gifts.

Second, studying my dreams and the dreams of those in the dream groups I belong to is a fascinating activity–an  interesting glimpse into the psyche. I marvel at my teachers’ gifts at interpreting and intuiting dreams’ symbolism and meaning. It’s  interesting to watch the methods my own unconscious mind comes up with “behind my back” to get points across to the me I know myself to be. Dreams trick us into taking them literally, when that’s probably rarely where the real meaning is. So it seems crucial to me to have input from at least 5 or 6 other people to help me get the point.

Would I like to have a career as a dream writer or teacher? If I were as gifted at working with dreams as some of the dream teachers I have worked with I’d consider it. I’m surprised at how many people think dreams are not important, that they’re just the mind’s clutter from the day. I find my dreams to be more intelligent than anything I can come up with in my waking life after I delve into them to figure them out. “The Career Within You” (available December 29, 2009) will probably emphasize dream-related careers in future editions as more people see the importance of our dream life to our psychological health and wholeness.

My Career As a Composer

Playing sickI majored in the composition end of music at Cal, Berkeley, where I composed a few short pieces while studying with Seymor Shiffrin, Arnold Elston and Andrew Imbrie. I took orchestration and instrumentation from the entertaining Mr. Denny. Later I composed a song when my husband Gus and I counseled at a summer camp north of the Bay Area. It was a round called “Redwoods.” In the last few years I improvised two sets of variations – one on the familiar “Chop Sticks:” one variation  for each Enneagram type; and another lullabye-like set on the nursery rhyme, “Jack and Jill.” You can’t call these few compositions a career, though I have another song in mind that I want to record for “The Career Within You.” Maybe composing is a minor sub-career.

Would I have liked to have been a composer? I think it might have been difficult to keep thinking of new musical ideas. COULD I have been a composer? Well, Brandeis University offered me a scholarship to graduate school in music composition, but I turned it down. I think I was both too afraid I wouldn’t have enough new music ideas in me and too in love with the idea of staying in Berkeley to accept their generous offer. I’ve often wondered, however, how being around other budding composers might have affected my motivation to compose.

I have recorded my variations of “Chop Sticks” and “Jack and Jill” and I’d like you to hear them. They’re on my web site, You can hear Chapter 7 of “The Beethoven Enneagram” CD on my web site, too, if you’d like to hear me play some Beethoven, at  Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a career changer some day and become a full time composer. You never know!