Tracy Tjaden – Discovering the Key

Hi Prairie Jubilee Students, Alumni, and Friends,

As I head into my second year of Prairie Jubilee, I’ve noticed myself start to think about what it will mean when I finish. I feel a long ways away from having the confidence to call myself a spiritual director. But then again, I’ve always felt over my head and out of my depth when I start something new. Even though I may have  found the courage to make the change, there’s always an underlying belief that as soon as ‘they’ realize I have no idea what I’m doing, they’ll fire me for sure.

I’m not alone. In psychology circles they call this the Imposter Syndrome, a phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.

“Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. Notably, impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women.”

They might also add, it’s common among those identifying as a Six on the Enneagram. If you haven’t already guessed, this is my type and these habitual thought patterns, which share the common themes of self-doubt, anxiety and fear of things that are not real, are all to familiar.

For example, my monkey mind is quick to scan this definition for weak links. I don’t have ‘proof of success’ as a spiritual director, at least not yet, so my doubts are justified, right? And what about the fact that so few people outside of the program understand what I’m doing? My jumbled explanation has been met by so many sideways glances that I tend not to bring it up.

Next it wonders, if the majority of people don’t ‘get it’ then clearly I’m falling even further off the grid by following this deep, persistent desire to understand and experience what spiritual awakening really means.

This process of circular, patterned thinking can go on for a long time, I’m mortified to say. Yet now, thankfully, I can see see that while this habitual thinking is real, it’s definitely happening, the content of the thoughts is not true. There’s no evidence to show I can’t develop skills to be a successful spiritual director, just as there was never any proof to back the ‘imposter’ feeling I had each time I took a new job.

The difference is that I am more aware of what’s going on. Thanks to Prairie Jubilee, and all of the amazing Enneagram courses I’ve taken at InScapes in the past few years, as well as renowned teachers such as Adyashanti, Tara Brach and Richard Rohr, I can now see the ‘box’ I’ve been in and how tools such as meditation, contemplation and the Enneagram provide the keys to break out.

The first step is awareness of our patterns, and Prairie Jubilee’s use of the Enneagram to shine light on our habitual ways of being has been very, well, enlightening. I can see my ‘six-ness’ in operation and when a pattern is noticed, I at least have the choice to respond in more conscious, empowering way.

All of this is made possible because of the emergence of a newfound trust I am noticing — in my own being, in the universe, in our divine nature. This basic trust is the only place a Six, or perhaps anyone, can find true grounding. For me, it’s been freeing.

This is the power of spiritual formation and spiritual direction programs such as Prairie Jubilee. Stay tuned for future blogs — I look forward to sharing more about our first year, and would love to hear about the experiences of other current or former students.


As part of a joint Jubilee team effort, we’re ramping up efforts to connect with our alumni (Prairie, Pacific and Ontario Jubilees), engage them in conversation and participation, and together work toward coming up with new, innovative ways to get the word out about what a gift this program offers to individuals, communities and the entire planet.



Don’t miss our October conference on the healing power of contemplative practice. For more information, visit this link:

Jubilee Contemplative Conference 2015

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